Norma Jean
Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child


1.5
very poor

Review

by TurnTheOtherWay USER (8 Reviews)
August 30th, 2006 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Sometimes when a band has a fairly unique idea, it can be translated into a good album that gives a breath of fresh air to the music scene. Or it can end up like Norma Jean's Bless The Martyr and Kiss The Child. Norma Jean is a Christian metalcore band from Georgia. They also seem to be the definition of a one-trick pony.

They use pretty much the same formula for every song. The guitars generally play high, ringing, dissonant notes wedged in between pounding power chords. This actually sounded interesting to me for a little while on the album. While I admittedly haven't listened to that much music compared to many of you on the site, I hadn't really heard much of anything like it. However, this only sounds fresh for a short period of time before it just gets old and annoying. The high, dissonant parts are effective in moderation. But there's a fine line between effectiveness and irritation. Norma Jean apparently has no reservations about stepping over that line.

The vocals don't really have much going for them either. Josh Scogin's scream is rather poor. There are times when his slurred, abrasive scream fits with the mess that is the instrumentation, but there are also parts on the album that are nearly unlistenable. The vocals in the first part of Face: Face are just terrible. Scogin sounds like a dying animal in his shriek in the intro, and it doesn't get much better once the song gets going.

What makes the screaming seem even worse than it actually is is the fact that there's almost no clean vocals on the album. The closest thing to singing you'll find on the album is the outro of one of the few highlights, Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste. mewithoutYou's Aaron Weiss makes an appearance in which he half-talks, half-sings for about a minute, and sadly it becomes one of the vocal highlights. Scogin somewhat raps (unimpressively) on I Used to Hate Cell Phones but Now I Hate Car Accidents.

Norma Jean does try to break out of their mold at one point in the album. Pretty Soon, I Don't Know What, but Something Is Going to Happen is a nearly 16 minute song that slowly builds. However, the climax really isn't worth the wait, as the build-up is rather dull and uninteresting. And when we finally get there, we're rewarded with mediocre riffing and screaming. Yay! Really, this song seems like a failed attempt at an epic song. Well, they failed. But at least they tried.

As much as I've been ragging on this album, there are a couple worthwhile tracks to be had. The previously mentioned Memphis… is Norma Jean's style put to the best use. The dissonance isn't as irritating, the screaming, while not great, is still somewhat enjoyable, and it features the largest amount of clean vocals on the album. It shows what Norma Jean is capable of if everything falls into place. Unfortunately, that tended not to happen very often.

While not as good as Memphis…, the song Organized Beyond Recognition is also a highlight. You can actually understand Scogin's screams! The discordant guitars of the other songs are tamed down quite a bit. However at over 7 minutes, the song drags. A lot.

Bless The Martyr and Kiss The Child was a disappointing record. While they never really showed signs of great talent or musicianship, I expected a fresh, new sound. Instead, I got a sea of inharmonious noise.



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user ratings (895)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2006


16089 Comments


Organized Beyond Recognition is the only song worth half a shit here. Album isbrutally bad. Nice review, you could have went into more depth as to why it sucked though.

TimJim
August 30th 2006


145 Comments


i pursonally liked this,but until i move out, i can't listen to anything harder than as i lay dying

Thor
August 30th 2006


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haha, kicks the shit out of my old review.

This album sucks.

Digging: Black Crown Initiate - The Wreckage of Stars

TurnTheOtherWay
August 30th 2006


459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I know the review's short, but I couldn't think of anything else to add at the moment and I wasn't about to sit through this album a second straight time to extend the review.

until i move out, i can't listen to anything harder than as i lay dying

...

TimJim
August 30th 2006


145 Comments


im serious you know,my parents are"too old" to "listen to all that screaming"

Bron-Yr-Aur
August 30th 2006


4405 Comments


Headphones are nifty.

TimJim
August 30th 2006


145 Comments


good point,remind me to invest in those

Intransit
August 30th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

god, this record is like getting blown by someone who uses their teeth. Its honestly painful to listen to. If I could give it a negative score, I would in a heart beat. This Message Edited On 08.30.06

canadapantsman
August 30th 2006


236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

werd

though Memphis and I Dont Know When are good songs...

br3ad_man
Emeritus
August 30th 2006


2125 Comments


I've only heard this album once. I love O God The Aftermath and "Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste" though, so I'm sure I'd love this record. Meh.

I heard somewhere that the vocals at the end of "Memphis..." were a guest appearance from the dude from mewithoutYou.

Concubine
August 30th 2006


333 Comments


Truth. I saw their live video. It is the dude from MeWithout You

TurnTheOtherWay
August 30th 2006


459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I heard somewhere that the vocals at the end of "Memphis..." were a guest appearance from the dude from mewithoutYou

They very possibly could be, considering I've never heard clean vocals from Josh Scogin, so I wouldn't know if that was him or not.
I also love "Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste", so don't assume that you're automatically gonna like the album based on that. I did and look where it got me.

TimJim
September 3rd 2006


145 Comments


yes i believe this is true

cbmartinez
September 3rd 2006


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, it's the singer from mewithoutYou at the end of "Memphis.."

I loved this album when it came out but it's kind of grown old. It's still fun to listen to now and then but to be honest, I'd rather listen to the Chariot's full length. More interesting. Plus, I've actually grown to love O' God more, because of the technicality and talent on that album and for the disgusting scene following this album has attached to it. I almost can't listen to it without thinking of some scene kid jocking Memphis like it's the greatest thing to ever happen to music.

3.5/5

Syncratic
September 4th 2006


756 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I perfer Remembering Never to these guys, although "Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste" is a great song.

igotworms
September 6th 2006


5 Comments


so yeah...whoever wrote this review is a moron. do you youre homework if youre gonna review. it was adam weiss of mewithoutyou at the end of memphis...amoong many other mistakes.

TurnTheOtherWay
September 6th 2006


459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Ok, so I didn't know who the "singer" at the end of Memphis was. Tell me, what other mistakes did I make in this review? Other than the fact that you disagree?

Statutory Ape
September 8th 2006


20 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I enjoy Norma Jean quite a bit.

I don't like this review, it's too opinionated. Norma Jean created a style that is much different than any other bands, and it's a metal that is enjoyable. Much better than this Grindcore, Sludge, Funeral, Viking metal shit. Which is all a complete joke.

Statutory Ape
September 8th 2006


20 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Turn the other way's favorite bands:

"Avenged Sevenfold, Bad Religion, Mudvayne, NOFX, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, System of a Down, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Tool, Weezer"


All credibility lost, imo.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2006


16089 Comments


It's a good thing your opinion means as much as Jon Benet Ramsey's here, then.



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