Due to the overwhelming success of Jimmy’s ‘Five Reasons Why Deathcore Isn’t Total Shit‘ series last summer, Heavy Blog Is Heavy will be backing further up the ladder of ‘core’ for the next two weeks, and counting down the five reasons why metalcore isn’t full of shit. It gets a bad rap sometimes, and being the underdog(?) champions that we are, we’re making a stand for the fat kid and suplexing the skinny elitist bully right on his stupid face.
Make sure to throw your $0.02 at me and tell me why I’m completely wrong in the comments section, if you wish. I shall use it to buy soap to wash the spittle from my forehead, safe in the knowledge that I’ll be your boss at the plant some day.
Norma Jean. Really? Yeah, fuckin’ really. Although their releases since have ranged from pretty good (Meridional) to distinctly average (The Anti-Mother), nothing has ever come close to the masterpiece (yeah, I said it) that is Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child.
Bless the Martyr, for those caught unawares with their metaphorical trousers-of-metal-knowledge firmly around their ankles, was actually their first album, so to find it included in this list is no mean feat. Released in 2002 – almost a decade ago now – it found the band at their very best. No discredit to the current incarnation, but something about the original line-up just had it. It featured drummer Daniel Davison, who was responsible for much of the writing (and as a side note, he left in 2007, which was when The Anti-Mother came out…). The original five also contained vocalist Josh Scogin, who for me makes this album. His vocal performance elevates the album to something really special, and if it weren’t for The Chariot, I’d be super bummed that he left shortly after this was released.
Bless the Martyr just gives me a feeling – in fact, several feelings. Energy. Rage. Fucking terror; because this album is scary. Just look at the video above – sure it’s weird, and more than a little lo-fi, but it’s got a Lynchian quality to it, and for that reason at least it gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Interestingly, the whole album was recorded live, with almost no overdubbing, and was produced without the use of computers. It could have gone so disastrously wrong, but the skill of the guys involved shines through, showcasing a visceral and heartfelt display of what makes metalcore good — big riffs and punk fucking rock.
It delivers exactly what you would want from the genre, does it well, and does it in spades. This is metalcore that is not only intelligent, but that you can dance to and scream to yourself in the shower, like a bad Norman Bates/Mary Crane impression. I’d perhaps avoid dancing in the shower however, unless you want to crack your head open on the tub.