Norma Jean
Meridional


3.0
good

Review

by Andrew H. EMERITUS
July 12th, 2010 | 145 replies | 34,054 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not quite the 'return to roots' promised in the lead-up to the record's release, but rather a messy mishmash of the different directions the band has taken throughout their career.

Meridional, album number five from Georgia's Norma Jean is not quite the 'return to roots' promised in the lead-up to the record's release, but rather a messy mishmash of the different directions the band has taken throughout their career. Throughout its 67 minute playing time, we hear technical mathcore reminiscent of O God, the Aftermath ("Leaderless and Self-Enlisted"), melodic tunes complete with vocal harmonies reminiscent of Redeemer and The Anti-Mother (most of the second half) and dissonant, ball-busting breakdowns ala the group's first album ("Bastardizer").

Certainly, Norma Jean have gone in a lot of different directions throughout their career and most of them have divided followers of the group's work. Those who liked the brutal simplicity of Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child were turned off by the Botch-style technicality and absence of breakdowns in the second album. Those who liked the second album were turned off by the simple and melodic structures of Redeemer and The Anti-Mother. What we get with Meridional, then, is a band trying to play it safe and please all parties while throwing in a few new tricks, and to some degree it works. Fans of the more technical sound, for example, will find a lot to like about the album's first few tracks, especially "The Anthem of the Angry Brides", a blatant but tasteful rip-off of latter day Dillinger Escape Plan. The ambient interludes throughout ("Septentrional", "Occidental", "Oriental" (a hidden track at the end)) are a nice touch, as is the presence of instruments like acoustic guitar ("High Noise, Low Output"), synthesiser ("Falling From the Sky: Day Seven") and even piano ("Innocent Bystanders United"). Ultimately though, these embellishments do little more than provide a cosmetic enhancement for a bunch of ideas that are not particularly new.

Ultimately, it's hard to imagine fans of any era Norma Jean outright hating Meridional, but it's also difficult to imagine anyone being overly impressed either. For sure, Meridional has a bunch of good moments, but chances are if you've heard any other Norma Jean album, you've already heard what it has to offer done better.



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user ratings (649)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Benjamino Jackanory (4)
    Supremely unique, if flawed, mathcore....

    Ironing (5)
    Norma Jean releases their best album yet and keeps the Normachine a chuggin'...

    BrodieGron (4)
    Stop complaining, listen and you'll find a great album, a perfect mixture of the 3 previou...

    stillexist (3)
    Might be time for the band to hang it up and go live the dreaded "normal" life...

  • jitteryzeitgeist (3.5)
    Meri...merd...din...dinnal.... Norma Jeans newest is a pretty good ragtag metalcore romp f...

    fromtheinside (3)
    The band does try branching out every now and again, but the downside is the moments are t...


Comments:Add a Comment 
br3ad_man
Emeritus
July 13th 2010



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice soundoff

The other review that was featured was quite good and goes into more depth. I would have written more but ultimately this was all I really wanted to say.

East Hastings
July 13th 2010



4391 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Certainly, Norma Jean's have gone in a lot of different directions

Norma Jean* maybe? Otherwise, good review. I need to check this out

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010



7584 Comments


Am I the only one who thinks this is a return to their roots? There's a large amount of Redeemer in this and some mish-mash of their first two records, too.

fromtheinside
July 13th 2010



18024 Comments


glad to see we agree. though concise its an excellent write up.

Digging: Transcending Bizarre? - The Serpent's Manifolds

alachlahol
July 13th 2010



7484 Comments


does that cover art depict Hannibal falling off one of his Carthaginian elephants?

forshoredividesusger
July 13th 2010



34 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this band lost me after oh god, the aftermath. this dude just cant sing. seriously.

JesusV4
July 13th 2010



391 Comments


What's the album to try out Norma Jean?

GibTG
July 14th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album entitled "Bastardizer"...

Isn't that Knut?

fromtheinside
July 14th 2010



18024 Comments


he's referring to their first album resembling that track. not naming their first album Bastardizer.
@Jesus: Redeemer would probably be the easiest to get into NJ if you're not familiar with their style.

GibTG
July 14th 2010



279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sorry, I see now.

sexualsoybean
July 15th 2010



911 Comments


What's the album to try out Norma Jean?

If you like The Chariot than you should check out their first, "Bless The Martyr". If you like Botch then you should try "Redeemer". If you havent heard either of those two bands just get Redeemer.

fromtheinside
July 15th 2010



18024 Comments


if you like Botch you want to get O' God.

WhiteTieBlackJacket
July 15th 2010



791 Comments


I honestly feel like Norma Jean are the AFI of metalcore. They have always been a solid band with decent releases, a
couple of them actually being gems in my eyes, and one of them being pretty disappointing.

I love AFI's Decemberunderground, but I felt like The Anti-Mother was sorta Norma Jean's Decemberunderground - a
departure from their regular sound where they experimented and shed most of their roots. I completely hated The Anti
Mother in the same way many original AFI fans despised DU. That being said, Meridional is kind of like Crash Love.
They're both ultimately different from what fans of those bands would have expected them to create, but they're solid
records nonetheless. Crash Love and Meridional are not groundbreaking records for either band, but they are at least
definably good.

WhiteTieBlackJacket
July 15th 2010



791 Comments


What in fuck's name is up with the formatting of that post....

fromtheinside
July 15th 2010



18024 Comments


didn't you give a 4.5 to the Anti Mother?

WhiteTieBlackJacket
July 15th 2010



791 Comments


Nope. I took over my brother's account. I'm considering editing a couple of his reviews, but...eh

PanasonicYouth
July 16th 2010



7411 Comments


kinda surprised at how not terrible this is

Thakey91
July 17th 2010



33 Comments


I don't mind it.

SlightlyEpic
July 17th 2010



5780 Comments


still haven't listened to this, still don't know if I want to

brutebeard
July 17th 2010



1655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so basically this is like a best of Marilyn Monroe?



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