Sunday, June 10, 2007

What A Sea To Swim In

Norma Jean - O God the Aftermath

Norma Jean was recommended to me as combining the technical insanity of Dillinger Escape Plan and the intensity of Converge. That's a reasonable description but it doesn't tell the whole story. Their music leans far more in the direction of Converge, and while there is some rhythmic wildness going on it's nowhere near the level of Dillinger. What sets these guys apart from the other hardcore I've been listening to is that they contain an element of pop punk (or at least pop hardcore), which surprisingly enough I quite liked. Against all expectations it fits well when a Converge like thrash riff suddenly segues into a more conventional metalcore chorus, with soaring vocals and straight up punk riffs.

This album took a little while to grow on me but I've come to really like it. The song names are a bit precious (each one is prefixed by a cute portmanteau, such as 'disconnecktie' or 'bayonetwork') and the lyrics, while reasonably eloquent, are typical emo bullshit with a dash of Jesus love, so the Wildebeest Asylum official recommendation is to stay away from the lyrics book in order to preserve maximum enjoyment of the album, but despite that there's some very fine musicianship and songwriting on display here.

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