Norma Jean
Wrongdoers


4.5
superb

Review

by BeardedTurpulence USER (5 Reviews)
August 6th, 2013 | 1109 replies


Release Date: 08/06/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “Silence shows nothing but weakness”

It’s been three years since Norma Jean’s last offering, and despite Meridional’s generally favorable reception, something was a little askew. The album seemed torn in too many directions; not quite the cohesive experience its concept indicated, but rather an ungainly conglomerate of interesting (but unrelated) ideas and past iterations. Judging by the relatively lengthy span of time separating Meridional from Wrongdoers, it appears that perhaps the band had similar feelings. “For us it’s not just about writing a bunch of riffs and throwing them down. We do not cut any corners when we create, and I’m proud of what we made,” claims vocalist Cory Brandon, and Wrongdoers substantiates his claim 100%. Not since The Anti Mother has Norma Jean brought such a focused ferocity, and their attention to detail has yielded an album that pulls from an engaging variety of sounds and influences without sacrificing an ounce of coherency or intensity.

Even out of the gate, Norma Jean means business. “Hive Minds” creeps in over crepuscular tones, a slow drum pattern pounding in the foreground with swirling guitar, finally launching into an ensemble onslaught of coursing bass and Brandon’s tortured howl. After several evolving recapitulations of the initial attack (peppered with tastefully varied screams) the song settles easily into an almost post-rock bridge, which swells mightily in conclusion. At nearly seven minutes, the album’s first track runs the gamut of everything that makes Norma Jean awesome, and a better sampler for everything Wrongdoers has to offer would be tough to choose.

From there, it’s all up. ‘If You Got It At Five, You Got It At Fifty’ roars out at full speed, chomping at the bit, and further in ‘The Lash Whistled Like A Singing Wind’ absolutely pounds you into submission despite only being a minute long. Therein lies one of the album’s biggest strengths; every track seems to be just as long as it needs to be. Regardless if a track is short or long, every second of it feels purposeful, with no particular parts sticking out as prolonged or contrived. Another welcome component of this particular outing is the careful placement of clean vocals for maximum impact, a feat that is only made possible by the flexibility of Bradon’s scream. It’s not even until the titular third track that he unleashes his punkish croon, and it dominates the fray, soaring over chugging choruses with an unmistakable musicality. Other standout singing can be found on “Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes”, where mournful admonitions resound over trudging guitars that build in complexity before tearing completely loose as the track looms heavier and heavier.

However excellent Wrongdoers may be as a whole (and it is quite excellent), exceptional praise must be given to its final cut. “Sun Dies, Blood Moon” unfolds over fourteen poignant minutes, flowing effortlessly from echoing distortion to the almost symphonic roil of strings and acoustic guitar, finally dying out in a massive sludgy riff that reverberates long after your headphones clear. It’s a fantastic end to the album, and honestly blows anything the band has done thus far completely out of the water.

Both immensely satisfying and extremely replayable, Norma Jean’s Wrongdoers is so much more than a return to form; it’s a bold stride into new territory, “some old school classic Norma Jean nastiness”, and honestly one of the coolest things I’ve heard all year.


user ratings (510)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
fromtheinside (4.5)
Yeah...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BeardedTurpulence
August 5th 2013


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Streaming at http://loudwire.com/norma-jean-wrongdoers-exclusive-album-stream/

Eclecticist
August 5th 2013


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol, no.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 5th 2013


31617 Comments


Shut up Butchered

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Krossceeper
August 5th 2013


83 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A little bit track-by-track, but nonetheless very good review. Pos

Suddy911
August 5th 2013


1191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review album is niceeeee

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 5th 2013


1687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Not since The Anti Mother has Norma Jean brought such a focused ferocity..."

neg.

jk, but seriously, what??

wacknizzle
August 5th 2013


13681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, pos'd. Album is still sinking in but damn I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Hoping it will achieve 4.5 status with me.

Digging: Phobocosm - Deprived

Eclecticist
August 5th 2013


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Shut up Butchered"

The review isn't very convincing, and it probably should be for an audacious rating given to this album.

Scoot
August 5th 2013


17910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

digging this hard

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

BeardedTurpulence
August 6th 2013


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the love, and Eclecticist, I wasn't aware that an album review was supposed to be persuasive...

Eclecticist
August 6th 2013


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"and Eclecticist, I wasn't aware that an album review was supposed to be persuasive..."

So, were you critically evaluating this album for yourself then?

bloc
August 6th 2013


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes sir, this is quite awesome. I'll have to listen to the previous elephant album very soon.

TooLateToGoBack
August 6th 2013


1780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sweet

Suddy911
August 6th 2013


1191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

still not as good as the amazing classic that is o god

fromtheinside
August 6th 2013


19148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is beyond dull

Digging: Bolt Thrower - ...For Victory

cvlts
August 6th 2013


8984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is pretty good

fromtheinside
August 6th 2013


19148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no please don't break my heart two times in a row. lets go to a departures thread so i can remember what it used to be like

irrevrent
August 6th 2013


115 Comments


I'll give it a chance but so far...meh.

Gwyn.
August 6th 2013


15321 Comments


bet this queefs

fromtheinside
August 6th 2013


19148 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

bet high



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