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Norma Jean

Wrongdoers

Norma Jean
9
Here's the deal: long-suffering metal/hardcore band Norma Jean need to get more respect, now. These guys rule: take one listen of Wrongdoers' title track or "Sword in Mouth, Fire Eyes" to see how they combine raging, ragged metallic hardcore with unhinged "melodic" singing that doesn't sound like the singer is holding flowers and serenading your grandma. There are more feedback-drenched sludge chords than you'd think — this isn't cleaned-up, radio-ready metalcore by any stretch of the imagination. This is raw, from the heart metallic hardcore. Numbers like "Triffids" combine angry, straight-ahead hardcore with melodic choruses, proving that, despite a handful of line-up changes, Norma Jean continue to explore the sweet spot they discovered around album number three: melodies that aren't predictable or cloying. Here, that's best exemplified by the amazing title track, which sends chills down spines, but is ragged enough to make fans of slickster metalcore run to the hills. Check out "Funeral Singer" or closer "Sun Dies, Blood Moon" for an example of how Norma Jean build their songs using dynamics that aren't obvious, but are super-effective. It's a shame: you toss around words like "melodic" or "metalcore," which accurately describe these guys, and they bring to mind such horrible connotations. The unlisted, sludge metal instrumental with crashing, crushing, demo-quality production only adds to the overall awesomeness and crazed attitude behind it all. (Razor & Tie)

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