Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Norma Jean : "All Hail"
When it comes time to review this band I am always on the fen e. Aside from Wovenhand they are the only christian band I will cover here. I think the music in both projects is the focus and it doesn't compromise the mission statement of this blog which is to spread darkness sonically. When I cover pop music it compromises this more, but I love it so , I will just double down on the black metal. their sound has become streamlined the opener just to the left of the Deftones heaviest moments . Not pure hardcore, put enough groove to hold my ear. The second song has more punk anger to it. By the 3rd song the screamed vocals and hammer guitars begin to run together without the groove to hold it together. The frenetic energy of "Landslide Defeater" only benefits from when more of a melody comes about at the chorus.
"Full Circle in Under a Minute" has more groove , but doesn't feel like it connects as well as a song and is slightly disjointed. The clean sung verse to "with_errors" works to break things up . This also shows how much easier it is to write a song with singing. "Trace Levels of Dystopia" is almost in Converge's zip code sonically. I like how the heaviness and atmosphere come together . Melody continues to help their cause on "Transitional". This does not make them any less hard hitting. They can come other compromises in this regard and do not have to follow the rules of Myspace metal when it come to blending their refined anger and melody. They take this even further with more of a power ballad like emo tone to "Careen". "Anna" does not connect as well with me until later in the song.
These guys have expanded their sound and moving in more effective directions as song writers. Age is mellowing them only a little. When they dip into a more angular chaos , I do not think they do this as well as Converge, in fact the only thing they do better than Converge is the Deftones infused emo sound. I do not plan on listening to this any more than I have due to my prejudices against their religious leanings , but if their music was a good as Wovenhand's then I might be able to keep that part in a more compartmentalized context. I will give this one an 8.5. If you do not like the fact i won't give Christian bands a shot then go to fucking hell.