Norma Jean -The Antimother

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Artist: Norma Jean
Album: The Anti-Mother
Label: Solid State
Release Date: August 5, 2008
Review By: Jason B

Track Listing:

1. Vipers, Snakes and Actors
2. Slef Employed Chemist
3. Birth of 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

The self proclaimed “almighty” Norma Jean has returned with their fourth and final studio album on Solid State, “The Anti-Mother” (fifth if you include “Throwing Myself” by Luti-Kriss). Back again on the producing front is Ross Robinson (Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, From First to Last), they’ve got a new drummer, and the cd includes guest spots from the likes of Chino Moreno and that one guy from Helmet. If all systems go then the odds are that it’s pretty good, right? Or is it?

The cd opens with a solid, steady drum-beat before ferociously storming into “Vipers, Snakes and Actors” and the listener is instantly caught inside of the whirlwind of everything that is “The Anti-Mother”. Every track on this record is solid and heavy in a diverse manner that only Norma Jean produce. The overall lyrical tone and musical sound of the record is dark, which is not a bad thing but in fact only helps to better serve what I think is the overall theme of the record: frustration. Words like struggle, violence, and a mad bee-hive come to mind. Everything seems to be focused, natural, angry, and, thus, everything you would expect from this band. The majority of the cd is really good and the tracks that feature Page Hamilton and that one guy from Deftones are both solid songs.

I watched an interview with the band leading up to the release of the new cd and they stated that when they went into the studio they didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas or notions in regards to the songs that would be put on the disc and were quick to point out that what came out in the end was natural. Unfortunately, this record doesn’t really flow all that well. On previous efforts Norma jean would hit the listener in the mouth and not be afraid to do the same thing over and over again throughout the duration of the cd. This record seems lackluster at times. I really sincerely believe that this is what naturally came out. However, it seems like they just didn’t feel like really trying on some songs and, to be honest, those songs are just flat out boring (“Self Employed Chemist”, “Discipline Your Daughters”). This is not to say that there aren’t good songs. I dare anyone to listen to the epic monster that is “Death of The Anti-Mother” and not be impressed.

Despite my gripes, I seriously enjoy the new Norma Jean cd and think you will as well. It’s not perfect, but it also hasn’t left my cd player, nor have I even thought about listening to another cd since it came out a week ago. It definitely has some heavy stuff like you would expect from them, but it’s not chaotic music like they’re known for. It’s a new type of heavy for them and I love that about this band. Every cd that they make has a little bit of a sound from their past efforts, but a ton more of who they are musically in the present. They’re not making music so that they can be pigeon-holed into some scene or genre for the sake of someone else’s tastes. They do what they want. They look at it like they’re artists, because that’s exactly what they are and that’s what they get paid for. This is why other bands wish they were like them, but know that they will always be in their shadow. And when those other bands look up into the darkness hovering over them they’re reminded of why all hail “the almighty Norma Jean”.

7/10

Standout tracks: “Vipers Snakes and Actors”, “Death of The Anti-Mother”, “Surrender Your Sons”, “And There Will Be a Swarm of Hornets”

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