Meridional: Or Norma Jean Returns to its Roots

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21 jui. 2010, 6h38m

I haven't reviewed an album in a few millenia or so mostly because, as I explain in a future, pending interview with one of my favorite bands: "When I hear a CD, I usually want to soak it in kerosene, light it on fire, and launch it with a clay pigeon shooter." I think that's rage enough to qualify me to listen to and review the new Norma Jean album then, no? And also, because they used to be my favorite band?

On this, their latest album, Meridional, they claim they were returning to their roots. Whatever that means. It doesn't mean returning to their critically acclaimed Bless The Martyr, Kiss The Child because that was 4 albums, a drummer, a lead vocalist, and a bassist ago. I think it means, like most bands whose cleverness is completely limited to their lyrics and music, that they're running out of ideas. Let's see:

I'm not going to lie to you. I love this album's cover and liner notes.


Leaderless and Self-Enlisted: About 2½ minutes in, Cory Brandan belts, "I never wanted to show you since we know you've heard it before." So much for that, eh? It's not that it's a terrible song; it's that I already bought their previous album and don't need what could've been its B-side, on their current album.

The anthem of angry brides: Now, this I can get down to--an uncharacteristic guitar riff on the verses for NJ, at least since their first album. And there's always the catchy shout-chant at the end, of "You're not getting under my skiiin." Cause y'know, that's the first step in making a suit out of your skin in the Hannibal Lecter handbook. Cory, I, for one, am with you.

Deathbed Atheist: Palm-muting. You guys are killing me. Just kidding. It's not a bad first thirty seconds. Then, the uninspired vocals come in.

Bastardizer: One who bastardizes older Norma Jean albums? I haven't been on dictionary.com in a while but I'm guessing that one's right.

A Media Friendly Turn for the Worst: One of the great charms of Norma Jean's first album was its many cool and clever song titles. If only for a song or two, they've recaptured that element of their roots. Luckily, it's also one of the better songs on the album.

Blood Burner: This one just kind of burns my blood. And not in a good way.

High Noise Low Output: Return of the melodic vocals. Not bad actually. Little screaming, too. Reminds me of Robots 3 Humans 0 off their last album.

Falling From The Sky: Day Seven: Reminds me more of a He Is Legend song than a Norma Jean song but in a good way. But it is 6 minutes long, and I'm not sure they quite pull it off in the end.

Everlasting Tapeworm: I like it. The song title. Song, too. But you've got to be a real asshole not to like tapeworms.

My favorite page of the liner notes: "Blood is thicker than water,
but which did you drink?" (from "A Media Turn...")


The People That Surround You on a Regular Basis: I think the name fits (if it didn't--you know me--I'd make it fit somehow). It's kind of pedestrian for Norma Jean, but I enjoy it.

Innocent Bystanders United: This intro smells like Redeemer with its repetive, atmospheric, feedback-laden intro. 4 minutes of pure, unadulterated goodness, if you ask me. If you're not asking me, go read someone else's review, preferrably while being wrapped in a rug and set on fire.

But yeah, this song is one of those once-an-album, long-as-fuck tracks that actually doesn't get old. There's even a nice little piano outro at the end. I think I'm going to go fight a bear now.


Bonus Tracks:

Kill More Presidents: It would've been a great track. If it didn't suck. Okay, it doesn't quite suck but it's not worth downloading, paying for, or listening to on the youtube. Whatever you cool kids are doing now. Kind of sad for a song with such a great title. Actually, the band itself said they were tired of this song and were reworking it. Reason enough for me not to listen to this version.

Distance to Planets: Meh? People still use that word, right?


Overall Rating: 3½ stars out of 5

Recommended Tracks : The anthem of angry brides, Innocent Bystanders United, A Media Friendly Turn for the Worst, Everlasting Tapeworm, in that order


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