“LEADERS AND SELF ENLISTED” DOESN’T QUITE RESTORE THE OLD NORMA JEAN MUSIC
What I really liked about Norma Jean’s Bless the Martyr and O’God, the Aftermath was just how unpredictable the band sounded. I felt like I never knew where the songs were going; it was metalcore as written by a schizophrenic who just went off his meds. The more slickly-produced and highly structured Norma Jean of Redeemer and The Anti-Mother isn’t the same band (in some ways literally); and that might not be a problem if the music they produced kicked major ass, but, at least in my opinion, it did not. Norma Jean very quickly went from feeling kinda dangerous to feeling pretty predictable; the schizo went back on his meds, it seems.
The band has a new song now, “Leaders and Self Enlisted,” which they’re offering as a free download if you sign up for their mailing list (which is a bitch, I know). On the one hand, I like it way more than anything I’ve heard these dudes do in some time; on the other hand, I still don’t like it as much as anything from Martyr. The thinking behind it just seems so traditionalist compared to the crazy NJ of yore.
But this isn’t the same kinda-promising-sounding song as the one that appears in this teaser for the band’s new album, Meridional, so… I will continue to hold out hope.
Of course, this raises all the usual questions about “artistic development vs. changing your sound,” so… yeah, get the song here and then rage on, I guess. Meridional comes out July 13.