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Norma Jean - The Anti Mother (Cover Artwork)

Norma Jean

Norma Jean: The Anti MotherThe Anti Mother (2008)
Solid State Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


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

Norma Jean's Bless the Matryr, Kiss the Child was about as competent a Botch ripoff that could be conceivably produced. But as vocalist Josh Scogin left the band, so did the genuine intensity and angular bombast the band was succeeding on (where both can now be found in the Chariot, a noisy interpre.
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Norma Jean's Bless the Matryr, Kiss the Child was about as competent a Botch ripoff that could be conceivably produced. But as vocalist Josh Scogin left the band, so did the genuine intensity and angular bombast the band was succeeding on (where both can now be found in the Chariot, a noisy interpretation of the aforementioned). As the years and recordings went by, it seemed the band would never shake the comparison; worsening matters was the fact that both followup albums seemed founded on a shaky foundation of awkward melody and more rehashed groove despite the continuing underground commercial success.

The Anti Mother finally seems to scrap that practice, favoring pulsing low ends for its heavier tracks and rough-hewn, desperate sing-alongs for its more melodic-driven counterparts. It's almost like they severed the hybrid and let each trait carry a whole song.

Opener "Vipers, Snakes, And Actors" is a good example of the former, even if Cory Brandon's metaphors aren't the most profound ("You wear that cross like a crown / You wear that cross like a dagger"). Up next is a perfect slice of the latter, where Brandon can be found singing in a coarse and raw manner -- "Self Employed Chemist" sounds like what would result if J. Robbins produced Thrice's The Artist in the Ambulance.

Granted, that's a largely formulaic way to go about an album, but it works pretty well. It continues through at least Anti Mother's first six tracks, with each song flip-flopping between one and the other. The seventh, "Murphy Was an Optimist," breaks the cycle by being one of those more sing-song-y tracks, but there's still a bit off rugged aggro there.

The typical ex-girlfriend stuff does bubble up, of course. If the end of "Birth of the Anti Mother" ("She's not breathing. / Choke that witch out. / Suffocate her. / Choke her out.") ccould be described as misogynistic, it's no more so then the bridge from "Face:Face" off Martyr. It's only mildly bothersome, though, because it does seem to geniunely play into some sort of greater spirit here, and Brandon doesn't repeat any possible revenge fantasies elsewhere on the album.

The second half is a little guest-heavy, but they provide a welcome dynamic to the swing of things. Page Hamilton's wailing riffs and raucous cackling border on comical but lean towards uniquely fierce on "Opposite of Left and Wrong," while Deftones' Chino Moreno and Saosin's Cove Reber provide a respective bellow and high-pitched howl for both "Robots 3, Humans 0," "Murphy Was an Optimist" and "Surrender Your Sons," though it's most evident and effective on the last of those. Reber contributes vaguely to some other songs, as does a number of other guests whose names don't seem entirely distinguished.

It'd be silly to call The Anti Mother a perfect album, but this is a noticeable improvement and fine change for Norma Jean, who manage to find some more original territory and deliver their best effort in six years.

STREAM
Birth of the Anti Mother
Robots 3, Humans 0
And There Will Be a Swarm of Hornets

 

 
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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.
Laurier (January 23, 2009)

I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul.

wallofyouth (January 22, 2009)

this is why i am here

mikexdude (January 22, 2009)

Norma Jean fans = assholes
MattRamone = asshole
MattRamone = Norma Jean fan

mattramone (January 22, 2009)

This band is awful and if you like them and their fruity little headsets even a little, you're a giant asshole. No two ways about it.

scorpiondeathlock (January 22, 2009)

k so i looked it up and apparently to write love on her arms is a group that tries to keep emo gets from committing suicide. this is bullshit. these kids should be encouraged to commit suiciide at every turn in life.

Best Wrestler= Bret Hart FTW

inagreendase (January 22, 2009)

i have no idea what "to write love on her arms" is, judging by the people ive seen where those shirts, im sure it has something to do with some pussy terrible screamo band. those kids dont deserve to live.

The ironing is delicious.

elliot (January 22, 2009)

Besides clearly not having a clue as to what To Write Love On Her Arms is, I like what ScorpionDeathLock is doing. We should just talk about wrestling here, instead of this shitty album.

Who is your favorite wrestler of all time?

Mine is either Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair. Incredibly generic, I know, but they're the most famous for a reason.

smelltheglove (January 22, 2009)

Wahoo McDaniel > Chief Jay Strongbow > Tatanka

scorpiondeathlock (January 21, 2009)

i have no idea what "to write love on her arms" is, judging by the people ive seen where those shirts, im sure it has something to do with some pussy terrible screamo band. id rather be gang raped by a host of mid 90's WWF Superstars (Tatanka, Razor Ramon, etc) then research anything affiliated with that 14 year old kid hot topic scene. those kids dont deserve to live.

elliot (January 21, 2009)

I completely disagree. This is average, middle-of-the-road crap from a band that has consistently gotten worse with each album. Two stars at best.

But hey, I guess I'm not a staff reviewer.

inagreendase (January 21, 2009)

Eliot, you're not wrong, but I was planning on reviewing this after I heard good things and went after a copy.

It's nothing personal. I just felt like this album is way less deserving of a panning than, say, Skyeatsairplane or Alesana or something.

Again they're talking about sin rather than an actual person.

Yeah, but they still use the pronoun "she." Granted I'm not terribly versed in religious text, but it pokes at the cynic in me.

xrebelheartsx (January 21, 2009)

i lol'd at the kid that thinks "to write love on her arms" is a band. do a little research idiot.

oh yeah, pretty good album here.

xjustx24 (January 21, 2009)

this band went downhill after O'God

maverick (January 21, 2009)

An unbelievably awesome record. The collaborations with Chino Moreno and Page Hamilton both kill, and "Self Employed Chemist" is the best Thrice song never written. This is the first record by these guys I've ever enjoyed.

-Scott

SilentStorms (January 21, 2009)

Since Bless and O God, I have been digging their albums less and less. I mediocre Botch is still better than almost anything else out there. I hope they go back to trying to be neo-Botch, but I doubt it will happen. I streamed this album months ago and the score is for what I heard.

canaandrumzz (January 21, 2009)

Oh, and the song face:face is about lust. The song is basically straight up lifted from a section in the bible from the book of proverbs. Again they're talking about sin rather than an actual person.

canaandrumzz (January 21, 2009)

I haven't read the lyrics too deeply but I think the "Anti-mother" is the devil. They're a christian band and they've definitely compared sin to an evil temptress before. I think this is more of the same. I like it when they do the singing stuff. They know how to infuse a little bit of melody into heavy parts and I wish they'd do more.

mikexdude (January 21, 2009)

Oh, and did that guy seriously just say "faggot kids"?

mikexdude (January 21, 2009)

Elliot, Brian is all powerful.

asvln12 (January 20, 2009)

Ever since o god the aftermath norma jean has lost its touch. Bless the martyr was a great cd. O God was Cory's first cd with the band and i thought he was going to be considered a much better fit with Norma Jean, but after that cd he didnt prove himself to me at least. Redeemer was nothing special, anti-mother i felt was a dissapointment. I could only get into robots 3. So to say that this cd was awesome is truely a letdown.

scorpiondeathlock (January 20, 2009)

i refuse to listen to this band based on the faggot kids i see wearing their tshirts along with bands like: memphis may fire, to write love on her arms, a skylit drive, etc.

elliot (January 20, 2009)

"Obviously, I disagree that it got a score "way higher than it deserves" if I wrote it and posted it."

Well yeah, that's my opinion. But I'm willing to bet I submitted my review before you wrote yours. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

inagreendase (January 20, 2009)

Obviously, I disagree that it got a score "way higher than it deserves" if I wrote it and posted it.

elliot (January 20, 2009)

So...I send you guys a review of this almost a month ago, and instead of posting it you sit on it so a staff reviewer can give it a waaay higher score than it deserves?

I'm pretty bummed. Normally, you guys are pretty top-notch about the stuff I send you. This is a huge disappointment.

chrisafi (January 20, 2009)

I agree with the below.

Bless The...was awesome, since then they've had 2/3 great tracks an album and way too much averageness.

xote (January 20, 2009)

Can not get into this. I wanted too becuse I still love the first album... but oh well. It has some okay parts but thats about it.

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