Norma Jean
Deathrattle Sing for Me


4.5
superb

Review

by Mateo Ottie USER (21 Reviews)
August 12th, 2022 | 674 replies


Release Date: 08/12/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I’m witnessing the end of the world, and I like it.

One of the most consistent and tenured bands in metalcore, Norma Jean are back with their first album in 3 years, ‘Deathrattle Sing For Me’. The band’s consistency is almost anomalous for an outfit that has a revolving door of lineup changes, with ‘DSFM’ being the latest in a string of incredibly strong records since the band’s defining 2006 album ‘Redeemer’, each increasing in intensity and creativity with time. This in part, makes ‘DSFM’ that much more impressive, being released one day removed from the 20th anniversary of their debut album ‘Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child’ with the fact that this late into the band’s career, the band is still releasing some of their best material to date. As is the case with every Norma Jean release, the album feels like an old friend, a familiar face, but one that has matured and grown since the last time you saw them, constantly expanding their core sound and experimenting with new ideas. At this stage of the band, you know exactly what to expect from a new Norma Jean record, and yet every single time, they never cease to shock and surprise you. One of the loudest-mixed albums I’ve ever personally heard, ‘Deathrattle Sing For Me’ is a visceral listen, with intentionally jarring volume jumps and thick layers of distortion, rarely relenting during it’s 53-minute, 13 track runtime. This is exemplified on the abrasive opening cuts “1994” and “Call For The Blood”, which consist of digitally altered and distorted riffs and samples beyond recognition, which make for an off-kilter, but intriguing listening experience.

Shockingly, the digitalization of Norma Jean’s sound works in the band’s favor, crafting not only some of their most chaotic moments to date, but also the most massive record from the band yet. Intensified by the distorted samples and digital effects, singles “Spearmint Revolt” and “Sleep Explosion” are thoroughly engaging offerings, with bone-crushing breakdowns and soaring choruses that will be stuck in your head for days on end. The charging punk rager “Any%” is a fireball consisting of pure, pulsating adrenaline in the best way possible. Injecting lots of energy and excitement into the record, the track is perfectly placed and classic Norma Jean at its finest.

While “Deathrattle’ thrives on total chaos and pulverizing riffs, that isn’t to say the record is without it’s softer moments. Treading on even more new territory for the band, the brooding “Penny Margs” and “Parallela” take heavily after 90’s alternative and grunge. Driven primarily by ominous atmospherics and unsettling note selections, the slower tracks still connect perfectly with the record’s heaviest moments. The tracks often provide perfectly placed breathers in the trackless, avoiding burnout in what is an incredibly dense, and at times overwhelming listen. Despite this, the denseness is however still very much present, with cuts like “Memorial Hoard” and the 8-minute closer “Heartache” being dominated by droning, sludgy guitars.

‘Deathrattle Sing For Me’ is an intense album. With a reported over 200 individual audio tracks across the 13 songs, The album is weighted down by its sheer length and density. The record is structurally chaotic, adapting various styles such as sludge, grunge, punk, and alternative into the band’s already harsh metalcore sound. Despite this, the entire album feels incredibly cohesive, with many of it’s tracks leading into the next with dynamic production and passionate, emotive vocal performances from frontman Cory Brandan. This is perhaps best culminated in “A Killing Word”, a full-force assault of drum fills and bludgeoning riffs that blends unhinged aggression with the soaring rock choruses of “Sleep Explosion” and atmospherics of “el-roi”, feeling like everything the record tries to be condensed into one track. Due to its overwhelming nature, the album is a grower, taking repeated listens to fully digest, and while it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor ‘All Hail’, its still an incredibly solid album and one of the best metalcore releases of 2022 thus far. While easy to miss the midst of its own chaos, ‘Deathrattle Sing For Me’ is bookended by two circular poetic hooks that sum it’s sound and lyrics up itself perfectly: “I think I’m witnessing the end of the world and I like it”, “This world was never meant for me, or I was never meant for it”.

ALL HAIL THE ALMIGHTY NORMA JEAN.



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user ratings (345)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
KrillBoi
August 12th 2022


169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

All hail. This band doesn't fucking miss this past decade.

cloakanddagger
August 12th 2022


579 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review, this band has been on a roll since Wrongdoers and this album is no different. First few listens have had me floored.

Crxmateo
August 12th 2022


124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can’t think of a single band that has been THIS good consistently this late in their career, literally everything from Wrongdoers and after is incredible imo

Zac124
August 12th 2022


515 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I remember listening to All Hail a few years ago and really liking it. I need to actually dive into their discography.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2022


46884 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I liked this. def better than PS and AH, still not a patch on Wrongdoers



glad they mostly lost the weak ass interludes lol

RadioNew03
August 12th 2022


124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What a slapper!!, amazing how good this is on every level this late in the career of Norma Jean !!!!!

Slex
August 12th 2022


14809 Comments


Was going to write about this but holy hell you people are too quick
Good review tho!

gravityswitch
August 12th 2022


1197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Huge fucking album. 1994 and Any% are BIG highlights. I don't remember them being this aggressive before, maybe on O God?



Also putting Sleep Explosion, the most "classic" song with a big chorus at the end of the album is actually genius, make me want to listen to it from front to end.

Toondude10
August 12th 2022


15006 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Jamming now



update: album rules, will probably give it a 5 after a few more listens

MyColdShoulder
August 12th 2022


424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A Killing Word fucking RIPS

DiscoveringAxiom
August 12th 2022


48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Defs going to listen to this today; band has owned since Wrongdoers.

rafalafa
August 12th 2022


254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album fucks.

onionbubs
August 12th 2022


16301 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

HAPPY SONGS

MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A LIIIIAAAAAAR

Rawmeeth38
August 12th 2022


2122 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What are these guys similar to

leku200
August 12th 2022


41 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hyype! Love what their sound has developed into. Earholes are happy.

Crxmateo
August 12th 2022


124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha thank you Slex! I actually got a review copy about two weeks ago so I’ve had more time with the record

Muppelope
August 12th 2022


1973 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

All you saying they've been on a roll since Wrongdoers, but I gotta tell you they've been on a roll since Bless The Martyr.

DadKungFu
August 12th 2022


1939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Feel like 1994's this massive, rusted machine slowly grinding into motion, absolutely pummeling

Josh D.
August 12th 2022


17557 Comments


Never listened to much NJ and their peers, but I enjoy "Spearmint Revolt" so I will have to listen to this.

Squizzy
August 12th 2022


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Absolute rager. Definitely going to be in rotation for a long while.



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