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RECORD REVIEW: NORMA JEAN’S “ALL HAIL”

METALCORE’S CRITERION CONTINUES

I can’t claim to be an expert of anything when it comes to a specific genre of music, so if someone were to ask me what Metalcore is, I would give them a handful of bands to go listen to instead of trying to explain this montage of musical elements that originate from the seemingly obscure. And as if you didn’t know, NORMA JEAN would be one of the bands included in that Playlist. Namely because NORMA JEAN always comes up in a convo about this genre and more importantly, NORMA JEAN auspiciously carries on, without fail and with a defining purpose. Just ask any fan and they’ll tell you. IMHO, NORMA JEAN was universally created to repeat patterns that aid in carrying a message to fans; processing and feeling heals. And “ALL HAIL” again proves this within the tracks.

ALL HAIL” is a record that shakes it up and pulls you in with massive guitar hooks, tell all tempos, and some of the sickest bass lines ever, not to mention the resounding force of CORY BRANDAN’S vocals: NORMA JEAN jousts the heavy into any opponent and to prove that point, here’s the OMV for the recently released single, “[Mind over mind]” just so you will get a feeling for the direction NORMA JEAN will take you on in “ALL HAIL” :

With that, Here’s my take on this blistering record, track by track:

(1 ) ORPHAN TWIN – terrifying slam on the bass drum at the start. Offering up an eerie “Donnie Darko” type of haunt to the first song on this record. Cory takes the reigns with a powerful vocal combo. I’m impressed with the deep bass thrombosis on the blows from that six string bass.

(2) (MIND OVER MIND) – Explosive picked riffs that are loud AF and give your ears a walloping. These are matched like cards in game of go fish with the mmmmmm’s of the bass. The breaks with a pummeling beats takes a second for your breath to catch up to the feeling of being mentally chased during the whole song. Right as you think, “whew, i’m ok…” BAM!! track 3 starts.

(3) SAFETY LAST – I love the middle in the chaotic riffs and tempo that drags down your spine. Cory’s on the verge of jumping through the mic and with the speed of light travels down the chord right to the platform of my headphones. Beautiful double based beats that sounds like oil and water settling in a hot af iron skillet in an earthquake. Cory’s vocal in this track is literally jaw dropping and rolls along with this epilogue to the story.

(4) VOLUNTEER TOOTH FILLING – f this scary track. Straight up. NO!!
(Cory refers to this break as a palate cleaner of sorts – it’s a break in the music that sets up the next few tracks…it’s still freakishly doused with the creeps and all of the sounds that make your skin crawl!)

(5) LANDSLIDE DEFEATER – white, hot, flaming vocals fire off from Cory’s delivery. Power-driving lyrics that scrape inside your brain to a point. These guitars create stabbing sounds that just miss your eardrum. The distorted melody stirs it up, making this masterpiece’s bass line drop it like it’s hot and OMG…wait for the lava around the 2:19 marker…holy. moly.

Available via Solid State Records – October 25, 2019.

(6) FULL CIRCLE IN UNDER A MIN – totally spontaneous greatness in the melody. The guitars fly up and hit you like an insect hits a windshield on a dark, country road. Immersive layers twist you in and out of the tunnels made by the music…The tone in the bass is dope AF and will beat your eardrums until you almost say mercy. The strength and reality of this song is so frightening it will make you sit alone and reflect. Mother of GOD!! The bass at the end… #stfu

(7) WITH_ERRORS – tribal temperatures, close to 100 degrees with 100% humidity; it’s a sticky little trick that drips the dense diversity of Cory’s abilities into your soul. Literally. I dig the drag towards the end that is followed by the unexpected, heavy and humid yet airy tones in the guitars. Look, the bass line throughout this track is just as magnificent as any part Mozart ever wrote for any instrument. ever.

(8) TRACE LEVELS OF DYSTOPIA – IDK about you guys but my inner child’s been trying to escape Dystopia since she knew she was trapped there. Just like the chains that keep something tethered clank when being set free, so do the guitars in this track. The fast paced punk-ish tempo you’ve just ingested, try and windmill their way out of your innards. The clamoring of the guitars grab hold where they can while the rest of the music acts like a weight to pull itself out. Nice transition in the middle! Hand to god, this song will stir the pit like a hurricane. I MUST SEE THIS SONG LIVE!

(9) Translational – THE PACE OF THE WHOLE RECORD ECHOES IN THIS TRACK’S PEAKS AND DENTS and by the blatant blows of CORY’S vocals. I LOVE THE BLISTERING LOWS AND HOW DIFFERENT PARTS SNEAK UP THROUGHOUT THE SONG – THIS IS IMPORTANT WORK Y’ALL – I LOVE THE CHANGES WOUND UP IN HERE! watch out for the boost of nitrous though in the lyric “Bury me with your guilt, in the dessert in the bitter sun…” To finally, “burn… baby burn”. This is an epic sounding end to the song!

NORMA JEAN – TREES DALLAS, TX

(10) EXTRA DIMENSIONAL PALATE CLEANSER – As creepy as the other, only my ears are now conditioned not to fear it. whatever it manifests itself into at that particular moment…

(11) if [loss] then [leader] – A placeholder for the royal thunder’s gait that is about to crash loudly again. Cory builds it up with a tone to a scream, to a song bird and back to a mouth moving behind the lectern strongly calling out to come forward. There are some parts that go right over my head and other parts that stick like mistakes.

(12) CAREEN – dude. little girl voices singing to some distorted reverberations fuse young and old. Trippy. NORMA JEAN slows the grind here, but picks up delightful elements with Cory singing. There is a sadness nestled in this track between the hollow body hollering in the far back with a splat on the tap of the snare. This one sucker punched me folks. You have to wait for the bass and guitar triple Lutz at the end.

(13) ANNA – here’s the feels folks, right nicely packed up in this track. ANNA is almost too overwhelming because of the personal attachment between ANNA and NORMA JEAN. My god, the slapping in the drums before the bridge is as hard as a well-deserved slap with an open hand of reality. It’s harsh and painful but this song exhales NORMA JEAN’S intense and lasting relationships with their fans. (Cory talks about this song in my Chat with him – watch for the interview coming soon!)

(14) THE MIRROR & THE SECOND VEIL – music is a method of the conscious speaking to the subconscious and this final pallet cleanser is exactly what the two talking, sound like. And these vibrations are visible in the folds of the reflection and reality that brings NORMA JEAN’S music through these two places, simultaneously.

If you missed it, I’ll have more from NORMA JEAN‘S phenomenal front man, CORY BRANDAN and I chat about the record and a ton of other band and music related topics! So stay tuned for that coming up right here at cherribird.com!

Til Next Time – MRML – Cherri

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