Norma Jean – The Anti Mother


Artist

Album

The Anti Mother

Label

Solid State Records

Year

2008

For Fans Of

Underoath, The Bled, Thrice

Summary

Norma Jean take it to another level with this release

Rating

89 / 100

I’ll start by saying that there is something funky going on with the pressing of this album. The first and last tracks are swapped from what it says on the back cover. So rather than having a nine minute epic to finish the CD they’ve got a nine minute epic that opens it. 

Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of what is essentially a great album. Musically the band have evolved from their previous outing ‘Redeemer’, presenting a more polished and melodic sound across the board and whilst it may not be as technically proficient as their earlier stuff, the sound is, if anything, more palatable.  

Lead singer Cory Brandan plays guitar on many of the tracks which adds extra… chunk to the sound. This is most evident at the start of ‘And There Will Be A Swarm Of Hornets’ and ‘Surrender Your Sons’. New drummer Chris Raines has slipped into the line-up nicely as well. 

Guest appearances on the album also add that touch of variety and all come off very well, Chino Moreno of Deftones fame helped write, play guitar and sing on ‘Surrender Your Sons’, ‘Robots 3 Humans 0’ and ‘Murphy Was An Optimist’ adding an undeniable edge with his unique voice. 

Cove Reber from Saosin also played a big part in the creation of this album, helping write and sing ‘And There Will Be A Swarm Of Hornets’ not to mention joining Chino and Cory on ‘Surrender Your Sons’, Robots 3 Humans 0’ and ‘Murphy Was An Optimist’. The other notable guest appearance is Helmet’s Page Hamilton, who co-wrote, played guitar and sang on ‘The Opposite Of Left And Wrong’.

One final issue with the pressing (keeping in mind I bought an official retail copy from a reputable chain of music stores). Many of the tracks suffer from what I would describe as an underlying ‘metallic ring’, the kind you get from music that is downloaded at a low bit-rate. Basically someone’s dropped the ball big-time somewhere along the line and I can guarantee it ain’t the band. 

Oh and I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the vocals of Cory Brandan on this album and early Dustin Kensrue from Thrice. Draw your own conclusions, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing just something I noticed.

Conclusion

All of that is enough to sell me an album without needing to hear anymore but if you’re not convinced, this release propels Norma Jean right into the upper echelon of Post-hardcore/Metal-core acts going around at the moment. In parts up-beat and really rocking with terrific breakdowns, in others sweetly, sometimes hauntingly melodic. This album has something for everyone.

Tracklisting

  1. Vipers, Snakes, And Actors
  2. Self Employed Chemist
  3. Birth Of The Anti Mother
  4. Robots 3 Humans 0
  5. Death Of The Anti Mother
  6. Surrender Your Sons…
  7. Murphy Was An Optimist
  8. Opposite Of Left And Wrong
  9. …Discipline Your Daughters
  10. And There Will Be A Swarm Of Hornets

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