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
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.