1. Hive Minds
2. If You Got It At Five, You Got It At Fifty
4. Potter Has No Hands
5. Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes
6. Afterhour Animals
7. The Lash Whistled Like A Singing Wind
8. Neck In the Hemp
10. Funeral Singer
11. Sun Dies, Blood Moon
[Razor & Tie]
Norma Jean have been destroying things with their sounds since the late 90s, and 2013 is no different. With the band playing on Summer Slaughter, and even planning a tour later this year, there seems to be no end in sight for this Atlanta quintet. The band are getting ready to release their newest album, their first in three years, and with an album as good as Meridional, the metal world was left wondering whether or not the band would be able to live up to the expectations set for them and deliver an awesome album. The band, have indeed done this and more, but fair warning, it takes some getting used to.
The album’s noticeable change in sound is what fans may need time to appreciate. Sure, they still have their heavy hitters like their lead single ‘If You Got It At Five, You Got It At Fifty’, but for the most part, the album is slower tempos, more melodic passages and clean vocals. However, where the chaos lacks is where the songwriting really took a step up, improving from Meridional and becoming one of the best albums the bands has ever written. I harkens back to the older days of Norma Jean, on albums such as Bless The Martyr and O God…where the band was not as focused on being so chaotic and were still carving their signature sound into the hardcore board. It really works well for them on this new album, especially the cleans, which shine all throughout the record.
Along with the major improvements that came the cleans, there is a new sense of musicianship that was never there before. Whereas before the band excelled at writing chaotic hardcore songs, the band has set that aside for the most part and focused on writing really catchy songs. ‘Wrongdoers’, the album highlight, is a perfect example of this improved songwriting. Don’t sit there and act like the chorus and main riff aren’t super catchy. It’s not clichéd, nor is it any attempt at going more “mainstream” as some fans of the band will be quick to point out; it’s merely the band evolving, trying out some new territories that they really haven’t explored save for a couple songs on each record preceding this one.
The only complaints that anyone could find with this record is the lack of really hardcore, chaotic songs like ‘If You Got It At Five…’ While they do a fantastic job with the slower and more melodic pieces, the reason so many people got into the band in the first place was that hardcore aspect, that chaos that takes over and ultimately makes you feel like they’ve lost control, but still come back at the end and round it all up. Perhaps this was the band simply exercising their want, and need, to do a slower record, so that they can have some songs to segue between the chaos of their others so they don’t get burnt out. Or maybe the band have just made this record as a precursor, with all albums following beings more and more melodic. Whatever the case, it’s not THAT large of an error on the band’s part, and should be overlooked in the grand scheme of things.
Wrongdoers, is not only the culmination of over a decade’s worth of evolution, but it’s also a testament to their past, not only bringing in new things the band haven’t done too much, but also breaking the barriers of hardcore and melodic music and combining the two. Wrongdoers may not be as chaotic, and it may scare some fans off, but by god it’s a fantastic album that has the band heading in the right direction, and that’s a lot more fulfilling.
Norma Jean – Wrongdoers gets…