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Norma Jean - Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child (Cover Artwork)

Norma Jean

Norma Jean: Bless The Martyr And Kiss The ChildBless The Martyr And Kiss The Child (2003)
Solid State Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: theundergroundscenetheundergroundscene
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This is Norma Jean's debut album..... as Norma Jean anyway. The artists formerly known as Luti-Kriss are back with their follow up to their successful full length debut "Throwing Myself." With this album, Norma Jean should truly make a name for themselves (especially since they no longer share a nam.
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This is Norma Jean's debut album..... as Norma Jean anyway. The artists formerly known as Luti-Kriss are back with their follow up to their successful full length debut "Throwing Myself." With this album, Norma Jean should truly make a name for themselves (especially since they no longer share a name with a certain hip-hop artist). So what else is new besides the name? Not much. They still keep their general sound only matured and solidified. It's a major step up from "Throwing Myself" in every possible way, especially in the production. This time around they worked with Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, who besides being in an upcoming, amazing band is really making a name for himself as a producer. Let's dig in to the CD itself now.

Vocally, Josh Scogin makes the biggest improvement. That isn't a knock on his vocals on the last album, it's just on this album his vocals are less distorted, more real, and actually more full. When I say "more full," I mean they have that extra "umph" that really kicks your ass. They are not quite death metal vocals, but are a little heavier then hardcore vocals. I guess that would make them metalcore, but they kind of stand out on their own, kind of like if Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed tried to do metal vocals with a hint of Mike Patton in his styling. Make sense? Anyway, the vocals on this album totally rip. On the track "I Used To Hate Cellphones But Now I Hate Car Accidents," there is even some eerie, choruslike background vocals. Many of the songs have a very dark, dramatic feel to them. This album is just as amazing lyrically as it is any other aspect of the album. They seem to have deep, personal meaning, but can be interpreted on a more general level. Just look at the song titles, it seems Josh has so much to say that the titles are longer then some band's entire songs! That is definitely not a knock, because I wish more bands had something worthwhile to say in their songs. I think I've established myself as a lyric person, and this is an album that I would want to associate myself with lyrically.

Musically, this album just rips, but at the same time is just as dramatic as it is chaotic. Tons of pace changes and cool, almost experimental sounds. On the track "The Entire World Is Counting On Me and They Don't Even Know it" there is a part about mid-song where it sounds like a skipping record, it's stuff like this that the album is full of that really keeps me interested. There are tons of cool breakdowns thrown in all over the album, but no solos that are going to blow you away. At the same time, I wouldn't want anything like that on this album, because it would create a totally different vibe. On the slower stuff, it blends with the vocals to give a very dark, melodic feel to the song, and many times these darker moments actually serve as a precursor for Josh's vocal explosions. I really like the sound Norma Jean has created for themselves.

Since Norma Jean spent nearly 16 minutes on the track "Pretty Soon, I Don't Know What, But Something Is Going To Happen," I figure I can at least spend a paragraph on it. The name of this song could not be more appropriate, nor could the placement of the song as the fifth track of 11. I like the placement because of the build up the song has, over six minutes of music that has it's ups and downs before Josh bursts in. The vocals continue in the same manner as the intro does, with ups and downs for about three minutes, and then there is what seems to be an outro to the song, but only serves as yet another curve in the song. It gets really downpaced with a drum/lead guitar solo before building up again that leads right back into the song before Josh comes back in almost three minutes later. Just when you think it's over, it keeps going, and going, and going. As I mentioned, the title is almost prophetic, because as a listener you know something is going to happen, you can feel the build up, then it comes and you're just like "wow." It truly is an epic, amazing, and worth the purchase of the CD itself.

There is no such thing as a sophomore slump for Norma Jean. It just seems that as this year goes on, more and more amazing CD's keep coming out, and this is definitely one of them. Fans of bands like ZAO and especially fans of Christian metalcore/hardcore bands are going to be all over this. Norma Jean really has a unique sound, so it's hard to compare them to anything else out there right now. I will say though that this album is amazing and a must have for your CD collection, but even moreso, you need to see this band live. I think after seeing them destroy both the crowd and themselves live, I can truly say I "get it." You should too.

Standout Tracks:

"Pretty Soon, I Don't Know What, But Something Is Going To Happen"
"Face:Face"
"Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste"

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Thrice - The Artist In The AmbulanceLifetime - Jersey's Best DancersFinch - What It Is To BurnRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteNOFX - Punk In DrublicThrice - VheissuThrice - The Illusion of SafetyNorma Jean - RedeemerEvery Time I Die - Gutter PhenomenonGlassjaw - Worship and Tribute

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
DestroyAllVirtues (November 27, 2007)

I believe this is NJ's best creation yet.
their sound on this album is also the most innovative to.
It almost seems like they left their roots when realeased Redeemer.
and O' God The Aftermath is just to techinal sometime I can't understand whats going on...

These guys have been one of my favorite bands for awhile now.
and it's this album that makes me like them the most..
listening to their other albums now are almost like a chor.

viper77 (September 2, 2007)

not bad...i've heard much better....but its not bad at all

it seems like theres a lot of filler...but its huge standout moments make it for it

rns_93 (January 20, 2007)

As a Christian listening to this... ohh man. Brutality at its best. Songs like Face:Face, for me, is serious nonstop headbanging. I think Christian music used to be repetitive and rather phoney at times (and I'm saying this as a Christian O.o) but now the music's evolved a lot, and it's way, way better.

Snakes (August 18, 2006)

i've grown tired of metalcore over the years,but this albulm is still amazing

Angel_Dust (June 30, 2006)

Far superior to "O' God...", but still pretty derivative. Some of the songs are great, but many just do not catch my attention. Check out "The Entire World..." (it's pretty sweet live), "Face:Face", "Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste", and "I Used To Hate Cell Phones..." - these are honestly some of my favorite songs from this genre.

hxcwannabe (April 15, 2006)

this whole cd fucking kills its just amazing i love it

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

took me a second to click as well but once i got past the screaming, the dissonances, and learned/comprehended the offtimeness i realized that these kids were pretty much smarter than the average hooligans.

Anonymous (April 28, 2005)

Norma Jean is amazing.

Anonymous (April 7, 2005)

this cd is fuckin good!!!
Norma Jean is a great fucking band!
ya know alot of people dont like norma jean because they are a christian band. but it doesnt fucking matter u guys gotta have some fuckin respect. they are a great band and they have good fuckin music. i guarantee u , if u get this album or any other one you will like , as a matter of fact you will love it!!! give this band a motherfuckin chane you gay bitches!!!!!!!!-

Anonymous (April 6, 2005)

outstanding.

moneenerd (February 28, 2005)

"what the fuck does it matter if there christian. there better then half the fucking "BLACK METAL" bands out there. OOH IM A VAMPIRE fucking gay is what they are with there gay keyboard sound effects. fuck. if there good then there good norma jean is fucking good. i hate iron maiden go back to the 70's or 80's or whenever the hell it was but its not now and they are old and over."

Way to stick up for God and call that dude a 'fag" all on one paragraph, you moron.

Also, this album does fucking rule, and the new one is even twice as good.

Anonymous (January 31, 2005)

someone said that this cd isnt metal its metalcore....you shouldnt really label bands unless they label themsleves that...... but if it were to be labeled it wouldn't be metal......it wouldnt be metalcore......it would be somthing like Religious Hardcore.....or Christian Hardcore...... Metalcore would be alot different...like atreyu.... or bleeding through.... or A7X..... where theres more singing....but i would deffinitally not call Norma Jean metalcore.......

BTW- can't wait to see them at the paladium 3/5 be there

Norma Jean overall 10/10

Support Norma Jean when O' God, The Aftermath comes out (3/1)
DON'T PIRATE GOOD MUSIC......lol

~jake

Anonymous (January 27, 2005)

The best band ever and I'm seeing them in a week in Arkansas...........

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

Solid Record.

~Zak

Anonymous (October 20, 2004)

Since the day i listened to Bless the Martyr Kiss the Child, i have been infatuated with its insanity. Thank you for making beautiful christian music Norma Jean.

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

anyone who has anything bad to say about norma jean must have listened to a different record than i did. i don't know one person who doesn't put this in their metalcore top five. the record is gripping from begining to end, and they put on a live show equal to that that of the dillinger escape plan or converge. and as for knocking them for being christian, i'm not christian...in fact i'm the biggest atheist you will ever meet, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing awsome music when i see it. you all need to get off of your musical high horses and admit that norma jean kills, because they do.

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

anyone who has anything bad to say about norma jean must have listened to a different record than i did. i don't know one person who doesn't put this in their metalcore top five. the record is gripping from begining to end, and they put on a live show equal to that that of the dillinger escape plan or converge. and as for knocking them for being christian, i'm not christian...in fact i'm the biggest atheist you will ever meet, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing awsome music when i see it. you all need to get off of your musical high horses and admit that norma jean kills, because they do.

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

anyone who has anything bad to say about norma jean must have listened to a different record than i did. i don't know one person who doesn't put this in their metalcore top five. the record is gripping from begining to end, and they put on a live show equal to that that of the dillinger escape plan or converge. and as for knocking them for being christian, i'm not christian...in fact i'm the biggest atheist you will ever meet, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing awsome music when i see it. you all need to get off of your musical high horses and admit that norma jean kills, because they do.

Anonymous (September 17, 2004)

anyone who has anything bad to say about norma jean must have listened to a different record than i did. i don't know one person who doesn't put this in their metalcore top five. the record is gripping from begining to end, and they put on a live show equal to that that of the dillinger escape plan or converge. and as for knocking them for being christian, i'm not christian...in fact i'm the biggest atheist you will ever meet, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing awsome music when i see it. you all need to get off of your musical high horses and admit that norma jean kills, because they do.

Anonymous (July 28, 2004)

I have reservations about all the shit Christian music out there, using rock and metal as a means to spread the good word. But after hearing this album........Jesus rocks!!

Anonymous (July 28, 2004)

I have reservations about all the shit Christian music out there, using rock and metal as a means to spread the good word. But after hearing this album........Jesus rocks!!

Anonymous (June 6, 2004)

what the fuck does it matter if there christian. there better then half the fucking "BLACK METAL" bands out there. OOH IM A VAMPIRE fucking gay is what they are with there gay keyboard sound effects. fuck. if there good then there good norma jean is fucking good. i hate iron maiden go back to the 70's or 80's or whenever the hell it was but its not now and they are old and over.

Anonymous (February 1, 2004)

first of all, this is not a metal album, this is a metalcore album, or "mosh" or whatever you kids are calling it this 5 minutes (metal is Carcass, Iron Maiden, Children of Bodom, Meshuggah, Arch Enemy, Accept, etc., etc.)

that being said, for being a "metalcore" record, this is a pretty good album--this genre has become WAY too oversaturated lately and really should collapse under its own weight if there is any justice, in my opinion
however, this is an exception to the rule: Norma Jean knows how to get it done, and is much more balls-out than 99.9% of the bands in this genre
if you want the cream of the crop, get this, or something by etid and stay away from nonsense like bury your dead
-notaclevername

Anonymous (July 8, 2003)

fuck christians trying to play metal, fuck em

FortyMinutesWest (July 7, 2003)

Dave Witte destroys all. I miss Discordance Axis..

Anonymous (July 7, 2003)

I think if Burnt By the Sun and norma jean got in a music battle burnt by the sun would rip them a new asshole, im not saying norma jean is not good, but come on burnt by the sun has dave witte on the drums (isnt that enough said in itself). Its not even about what style i like better but more about bring something new to the table and executing it fabulously. kudos burnt by the sun.

slippy (July 7, 2003)

alexisonfire isnt metal at all...this isnt metal either, but its damn close, which is why it is referred to as metalcore.

Anonymous (July 7, 2003)

"The Trooper" by Iron Maiden is a pretty good song.

Anonymous (July 7, 2003)

O swear, all these metal bands are starting to sound the exact same. the only metal bands that i can recognize really is alexisonfire. and i don't even know if you cool cats call it "metal" anymore. All i know is that i can't tolerate this kind of shit.

Anonymous (July 6, 2003)

nothing compares to it?....I seriously think you need to update your metal collection if this makes the top.

Anonymous (July 5, 2003)

This is my faveourite metal album of all time, nothing compares to it.
They have grown so much, and I have never heard so many good things about a bands live performance.

They recorded this album LIVE in the studio, which is so impressive, considering the tightness of it.

Anonymous (July 5, 2003)

fuck shittty christian metalcore

Anonymous (July 4, 2003)

burnt by the sun isnt by any means better than norma jean...

backinaction,
-feedmynightmare

Anonymous (July 3, 2003)

oh man this album rips. i was in Rome for awhile and couldn't get it. and when i got back it was like christmas came early. i love this thing. it owns me right now.

evildeadalive (July 2, 2003)

Ummm... who even knows what the hell people are talking about when they say 'screamo'. Everyone's got their own idea of what it is it seems. I guess it all depends on who you are talking to, and whether or not they actually know what it is or not.

Yellowtrash (July 2, 2003)

This is not screamo. Saetia's screamo.

FortyMinutesWest (July 2, 2003)

No.

Anonymous (July 2, 2003)

when people say screamo, are they refering to stuff like this?

FortyMinutesWest (July 1, 2003)

Burnt by the Sun is better..

Kurt_F (July 1, 2003)

That breakdown on the end of "Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste" is freaking great. This is a solid band.

Anonymous (July 1, 2003)

is it just me or does this band sound just like burnt by the sun?

funkisdead (July 1, 2003)

i heard some off their mp3.com site and i was impressed

FortyMinutesWest (July 1, 2003)

I can't get into this band, but they're talented.

Anonymous (July 1, 2003)

this album is incredible. every song is great, and it couldn't be tighter. i think "memphis will be laid to waste" is the standout track. the intro is killer, and when that riff comes in you just can't sit still. the guest vocals by aaron from mewithoutYou also fit the song really well and sound great. the only time i saw NJ they were without their vocalist, who was really sick. it was kind of cool to just listen to the music, because it's amazing. but i'm really excited to see them w/ a vocalist. by the way, the vocalist they have now is different than the one who recorded this album.

Anonymous (July 1, 2003)

for some reason i didn't like this cd at first, then all of a sudden it clicked and i love it, it's amazing, but it takes a little to get into it.

Anonymous (July 1, 2003)

i don't know if it was official at the time, but i think i was at the show they announced they changed their name. i could be wrong and they could have announced it many times, but oh well. they are decent live. i didn't get a good view because everyone was in front of me and me not being a huge fan of them was standing in the back admiring the music. good music. i despise ludicris because of the name deal. at least norma jean has talent!

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