Norma Jean
Meridional


3.5
great

Review

by jitteryzeitgeist USER (36 Reviews)
July 26th, 2010 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Meri...merd...din...dinnal.... Norma Jeans newest is a pretty good ragtag metalcore romp for the melodically inclined.

Somewhere between Converge, insulin-induced anaphylactic shock caused at a truck stop in Minnesota, and (this surprises me as I write it) Alexisonfire sits Norma Jeans new effort entitled Merdin...

Mer... merdinnal....ridinal...merdon...meridinal....mer.. .what...

You know what, f*ck it, the title is up top.

So, anyway, this disc is chugging dose of melodic metalcore in the Botch vein (We really need a way to distinguish the difference between the Killswitch Engage and Converge styles of metalcore... seriously, they're not even close), guaranteed to repel heshers and death metal purists quicker than a fresh bar of Ivory soap.

If you're putting cringe lines in your corpse-paint at this moment, you've probably realized this isn't your cup of tea.

What the Georgian five-piece have done here is put together a collection of thirteen lurching (sometimes limping) tracks consisting of slithering single-string antics, chiming arpeggio, chugga chug, and some genuinely catchy moments. Hints of progressiveness peek through here and there, but are usually put to a screeching halt by a well-placed chorus, spearheaded by Cory Putnam (From what I've read, no relation to Seth). His vocals are apparently the sticking point with the band, but I see nothing really big about them. They're workmanlike and palatable without being particularly good or bad (or tuneful). His phrasing and cadence is just fine, although lacking any real pizazz.

The band themselves do fine, as well. I mean, much like their frontman, nothing they do really sticks out as particularly great. The total sum of the songwriting helped elevate this album to "Great" status, but the individual performances are pretty been-done.

What does interest me is that after the first few songs, the heaviness Norma Jean puts on display (And these fellas can get down) turns into a tertiary concern. It ends up being a vehicle to express the songwriting, not heavy for heaviness' sake, and while it does work for the most part.... it obviously didn't work for the whole part, otherwise Meridi...mer...merdin... the album would've been a five up top.

Fans of dirty, textured melodic metalcore (if they exist) may find some stuff to chew on here. Burst, Every Time I Die and Fear Before the March of Flames fans especially, although this album isn't better than anything the former had accomplished before their entirely unnecessary breakup. Despite not being overly impressed with the individual members, I have to say I do enjoy this album, even if I can't say its name without looking directly at the title and sounding it out. Theres some repetition to be found here, but the nuances and stark melodies work well.

Bottom Line: Blood is thicker than waaaaaaaaaaaaaater.




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user ratings (898)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • br3ad_man EMERITUS (3)
    Not quite the 'return to roots' promised in the lead-up to the record's release, but rathe...

    PumpBoffBag (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...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Bitchfork
July 26th 2010


7584 Comments


lolwutisthisidonteven

Bitchfork
July 26th 2010


7584 Comments


you know what... i'll pos this bitch just because of how informal, yet how completely descriptive it is.

FYI. Bolding things is really distracting. Standard is to put quotes around song titles and italicize album names. If you want to put emphasis on band names (no one really does this, anymore) [ L ] (insert band name here [ / L ] (no spaces.)

jitteryzeitgeist
July 26th 2010


99 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I gotta put the emphasis on the band names. I dunno, my thing.



I hate "normal" reviews, especially track-by-tracks. Thanks for the heads up though, and the POS. Appreciate it!

Bitchfork
July 26th 2010


7584 Comments


Just don't try to be so original that you fall on your face with a lack of logic and a ton awkward prose/beliefs, though; it's happened to a lot of the more "experimental" reviewers on the site (ie., Michael Jordan with his little CTTS stint). But, if you mature and use parentheses less, you could break the pretentious mold.

jitteryzeitgeist
July 26th 2010


99 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I've had a misstep already (Sevendust review. Still don't like the album, but the review

format sucked).



I write all my reviews on the fly, though. I don't re-edit, look up anything (Aside from names and

where the band is from), or anything, I just do it. I love parenthesis, but I gotta try and curb

the use. Believe me, I've tried. I may be addicted. The only thing I really go in to the review

knowing is the descriptions and comparisons, but even that is jumbled in my head at review time. I

do have the goal of making sure people actually know what the album sounds like. The rest is

honestly just what I'm thinking at the time.



Again, thanks for the crit. It's appreciated.

Bitchfork
July 26th 2010


7584 Comments


It's really best to revise spur-of-the-moment reviews. Sleep on the review, wake up, read it as though you've never read it before and you're some cynic who will neg at an error such as "the band are known for..." or something of that trivial nature.

And, contextual knowledge in reviews can go a long way; Meatplow, one of the site's most notorious and popular reviewers takes the back stories of unknown artists to new extremes (i.e., his review for NON's God & Beast). His writing style is particularly formal though, so he's able to balance a relative "need" for accessibility with an odd concept.

Perhaps something along those lines will better suit you? I don't know, just don't replicate or even stand near a fellow reviewer's style if you're willing to do this "experimental" reviewing shit. Seriously, know your shit, be as upfront and honest as possible, and break as many fucking boundaries as you can before you write geometric proofs on why an album is factually worthless (i.e. MichaelJordan's CTTS review).

Literally, every staff reviewer and every contributor has some originality within his works, so it really can take you a long way if you refine it (i.e., Robin Smith's Realism) and you can totally get flamed for sucking at it (do I need to point out this geometric proof anymore?)

IAmInsect
July 26th 2010


3800 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

album is awful

Obfuscation24
July 26th 2010


3939 Comments


Mer... merdinnal....ridinal...merdon...meridinal....mer.. .what...

You know what, f*ck it, the title is up top.


Pos'd simply for that. I agree with IAmInsect though, I can't stand the album tbh

burnafterbreeding
July 26th 2010


1529 Comments


MichaelJordan sucks

jmh886
July 26th 2010


2497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this album. Huge step up from antimother. Ive pretty much loved everything norma jean has released. I hate how they always get crap for being a "Botch rip off." I mean sure they have a similar style, but they do it well (better imo) and write good songs. Every style of music is gonna have similar bands. Who the f cares?

BurnedBlack606
January 18th 2011


513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album has a nice groove to it, pretty good

Edwin
January 18th 2011


1399 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was refreshingly not crap. Rating would probably drop if I listened again now though.

BurnedBlack606
January 18th 2011


513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mine actually jumped a little :3

keyboardxmosh
January 18th 2011


1007 Comments


This album has too much nu-metal sounding hard rock on it. Really disappointed me, considering it was supposed to sound like Bless The Martyr...

BurnedBlack606
July 25th 2011


513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Currently my favorite album to listen to in the car



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