Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Norma Jean : "Polar Similar"
I never got into Norma Jean, or really wanted anything to do with them once I was told they were a christian band. I have come across people over the years whose opinions in regards to music I half way respected that were into these guys . Going into giving this album a shot, I did a little clicking around and found out that some of the members are christians, but they are not a christian band, so then it was o.k for me to go ahead with listening to this album. Lyrically it's a mixed bag in this regard , like most christians they have to clue what is in the bible as they scream about hoping that you burn and what you are feeling is the loneliness of god. I never guess that they would use clean vocals, what I have heard from this band before did not have clean vocals. There is a very Tool like pulse to "Everyone Talking Over Everyone Else". It kind descends into a perpetual break down. Sean Ingram from Coalesce appears on "Forever Hurtling Towards Andromeda". There is not a ton of difference between what is going on here and what these guys were doing back in the days of Myspace. It sounds like a more hardcore berserker version of the Deftones. This album is well produced and mixed. They have a really good heavy guitar tone. The riff to "1, OOO,OOO Watts" is catchy and I like the use of clean vocals here. It's the first song that connects with me.
They go into the more spastic side of metal core on " Death is A Living Partner". Here the screamed vocals are not as focused and the math of their riffs is not as catchy. For all it's chaotic math "Synthetic Sun" is still better put together than the previous song. There is some screaming about the light not coming outside. Here is another song heavily influenced by the Deftones. It's got plenty of punch that is well placed aside the melodies. The drumming is very Tool inspired until they get to the most drivingly heavy section of the song. The first guitar riff to "the Close and Discontent" reminds me of Soundgarden, they accelerate into more of a hard core zip code. It's hard to tell what is the breakdown and what is just business as usual for these guys. This makes them rely more on the melodic sung sections. "An Ocean Of War" is explosive, but compact in it's out bursts so that it makes sense in a song , much like some of Botch's more metal moments.
"A Thousand Years A Minutes" has a very Deftones like throb to the bounce it carries when not breaking down into indie rock sections, when they ask if you got what you came for. I am not sure how to answer that question, as I thought they were going to be heavier, so I am not sure that I came here for this , but it is better than I expected. After some atmosphere they bust into the meat of "Nexus". The singer exclaims it takes one to know one. This song wanders around and winds up in many of the same places we have heard them go. They jam on this for sometime, which I am sure would convert well to a live setting. I check out a little bit during this section. I'll give this album an 8.5 though I am unsure that I'll really get many more listens out of this , but if you are a fan of the band I am sure you will get what you came for.