Review Summary: Mindblowingly intense, more refined than Scogin's official entry into the world of mathcore and beyond anything that God or Satan could hope to achieve in 2000 years. An essential modern day mathematical metal classic.
In a concise way to describe them, Marilyn Monroe JC following metal-core-whatever Norma Jean have totally eclipsed the modern hardcore punk scene within the last two decades. To an extent where they have become absolutely perfect in their work at crafting a purely horrific yet beautiful chaotic vortex of musicianship, sin and virtue. To put it simply, Scogin was the creator but the true divinity of Norma Jean came after Bless the Martyr. Their mix of metal, punk and mathematical polyrhythmic madness has spawned a huge number of incredible albums, furious riffs, sporadic and varied drumming and some truly ***ing heavy songs.
Imagine Botch, Converge, UnderOath (without the cleans), Coalesce and possibly the melodious aspects of post-hardcore in a crackpipe. Quite literally, the result is explosive. Polar Similar was their best release yet. However, in a manner of speaking, O' God the Aftermath was undoubtedly their most technically proficient album (inevitably the angriest too). Right from the opener Murdererotica, the listener is barraged with insane tempos, time signatures and terrifying biblical quotation.
Whilst I preferred Scogin as a vocalist, he was a little too hoarse and repetitive. Their best work remains on BTM&KtC but here, the experimentation with new progressive musical elements retains a certain sound that resonates deeper than Bless did. Enter Corey Brandon...
Lyrically, everything here is perfect. Vertebraille (quite possibly the highlight of the album) features fantastic duelling guitars, mixing technicality with off-key rhythms that meld perfectly with the whole sound. Everything production wise is handled very well indeed and the final result is an album capable of forcing God to fall from the sky on the plate that John the Baptist's head was served on by Salome.
Essentially, if you like any Christian rock or metal, NJ are quintessential listening for any heavy music fan. Personally, I'm a Neo-Political Nietzschean scientist (which isn't really anything special) but NJ really were the tits when I first heard Bayonetwork. The riffs in Charactarantula are phenomenal - the grooves in Liarsenic and Dillemmachine are a cacophonous piece of art and the album closer is quite simply one of the best closers of a metalcore album ever to grace my little ears.
Pretendeavour explains it all quite simply with the lyric "OH MY GOD". The most refreshing aspect of the sophomore album was most definitely the addition of clean vocals. Whilst they are quite unrefined, everything is amalgamated beautifully well and the additional elements of sludge, tech wizardry and even slight early djent elements really make the album incredibly. In conclusion, I'd say this is probably my fave NJ album. Give it a try if you like heavy hardcore music. Especially if you believe in Jesus Christ.