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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Anti Mother
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I'm a heavily biased Jean fan but except for a few jems on The Anti-Mother, I think the well is starting to run dry. That's not to say that the band shouldn't be damn proud of this album. The journey this band has taken production wise is night and day, I almost wish they would go back and re-record "O' God The Aftermath" with this sound !! Vipers, Snakes and Actors is brutal classic Jean and if Robots 3 Humans 0 doesn't get stuck in your head I'd suggest to check if you are still breathing. I respect the fact that they aren't afraid to journey to new places but some places they aren't meant to go. This album is definitely worth a listen but overall will only end up adding a few great tracks to their live show.

Notable tracks:

Vipers, Snakes and Actors
Birth Of The Anti-Mother
Robots 3 Humans 0
Surrender Your Sons
And There Will Be A Swarm Of Hornets
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
A lot of people said that this band would fall by the wayside after Josh Scogin, Daniel Davison and a couple of other members decided to move along and pursue other interests. Still Cory Branden and co. managed to bring about a very strong release in 'Norma Jean vs. The Anti-Mother.' Fueled by a loose concept and collaborations (not just guest appearances), strong lyrics and a newly-discovered experimental edge, it's easy to see why most scene kids would bad mouth NJ's latest release: Norma Jean finally stepped out of their comfort zone... but not without taking some of their tried-and-true formulas with them and concocting some insane, new material.

What surprises me the most is not how Norma Jean has matured musically but how MUCH they've matured and how open-minded they've become. Their decisions to not only work with Chino Moreno, Cove Reber and Page Hamilton but to make it appear that they temporarily joined the band. The outcome is superb, best seen over the track 'Opposite of Left and Wrong,' where Page and Cory trade lyrical punches back and forth like two prizefighters going twelve rounds.

On their own, their just as unrelenting. The band continues to make clean transitions in time signatures and seamlessly bring you from clear skies to violent storm clouds; Cory's decision to sing may be considered a stretch or controversial by some NJ fans, but in my mind, it picks up where Redeemer and O God, The Aftermath left off. You could hear him lightly experiment with singing in The Aftermath and Redeemer, and now he has finally found some melodic confidence without saturating his guttural screaming presence. Clearly, it works and it's not overdone, which is what makes it so inviting to listen to.

'The Anti Mother' will almost certainly be the album that redefines and revisits Norma Jean's musical style. While most will continue to try and pigeon hole bands like Norma Jean for doing something different, it shouldn't detract from the fact that 'The Anti Mother' is a breath of fresh air compared to the 80s revival garbage that most people are listening to these days; the same ol' same that most bands just can't tear away from or even the tired 'we idolize our favourite bands by trying to be just like them but were our own separate entity' charade.

'Anti Mother' is all killer, no filler. Each of the ten tracks brings about another facet of Norma Jean's visceral and cunning personality and, quite frankly, if kids can't understand why 'The Anti Mother' is what it is, they're better off listening to Cobra Starship.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Melodic? Yes. Hardcore... you bet. Norma Jean (a.k.a. pattern of God's grace and mercy) has crafted a truly stunning album I can only call epic. Unlike "O God, The Aftermath" the band is focusing more on melodies, messages and sounding REALLY REALLY GOOD. I can't say this album is better than "O God," as that is probably the best mathcore metal album I've ever heard. Still, if you're looking for a VERY enjoyable hardcore rock CD with great melodies, some punk/chaos riffs and a whole lot of replay value, this is your album.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Norma Jean is amazing. I can't believe the heaviness and the stuff they play in wierd time signatures. This album keeps up the good work on the tracks that feature scream vocals. Birth of Anti Mother and Death of Anti Mother are great. But there is also a lot of singing on this album which is out of character for these boys. I wouldn't mind if the singing was good, but good grief, this is terrible. Think emo. This is one of the first things Chino of the Deftones has contributed to that I didn't care for. And this is the only Norma Jean album so far that I wouldn't give 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I come from the position of liking everything that Norma has put out including my favorite, O God The Aftermath. Redeemer is also a nearly flawless album. The Anti-Mother is a LOT like Redeemer, but with less good tracks. Redeemer went 11 for 11, but The Anti-Mother has 5/11 good songs. They include:

Vipers, Snakes, and Actors
Self Employed Chemist
Birth of the Anti-Mother
(Especially)Robots 3 Humans 0
(And My Favorite)Murphy Was an Optimist

All the rest of the songs simply fail to get repeats from me. It's really sad because the song with Chino from Deftones is just not catchy. The chorus just doesn't hook. "Opposite of Left and Wrong" is just not Norma Jean. It digresses to far from the original material. And two ending songs have good pieces here and there, but nothing sticks to the brain.

If you have the money, it's a great cd to have. The few songs you will like will be very valuable, but don't expect this to be a perfect score. Norma Jean is just a little mixed up, and the need to solidify their next album into a more focused concept. For example, O God the Aftermath was an album that had a specific style and a format that can never be mimicked. The Anti-Mother is just too all over the place to be a classic metal album.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Anti-Mother isn't as melodic as Redeemer nor as hardcore as The Aftermath. It's not really a mix of the two either. I see it as a harsher Redeemer. You'll get a good feel for how the album sounds from the first few tracks. It opens with Vipers, Snakes, and Actors which is a harder song on the album and then goes into Self Employed Chemist which is a more melodic track. And it trades off like that a bit throughout the album. Self Employed Chemist really shouldn't be on this album though. It doesn't sound like any of the other tracks and it's not a spectacular track to begin with. One thing that really bothered me is none of the tracks are very memorable. Surrender Your Sons.., is the only song that really sticks out because it's different from the other tracks. And I love the opening of it. Other than that, nothing spectacular is displayed. Robots 3 Humans 0 is a good song, and it's no wonder it was the first track streamed on their MySpace, but it really does lose it's touch after a couple of listens.

I was actually struggling to decide whether to give this album 3 or 4 stars. So I gave it another listen, and decided 4 stars was really more suitable. The Birth and Death of the Anti Mother tracks are pure hardcore tracks that sandwich the most melodic track on the album Robots 3 Humans 0. It's an interesting effect listening to them in order.

I did like the guest vocals, which is probably the most interesting thing about the album because they actually co-wrote all the songs with their respective guests. Chino Moreno of Deftones and Cove Reber of Saosin helped out with Surrender Your Sons.. and Helmet's own Page Hamilton wrote Opposite of Left and Wrong. Those particular tracks are enjoyable.

Overall, you'll find some melody and you'll find some hardcore and they sound good where they're at. This is a solid album and it's really exactly what you'd expect from Norma Jean.

Oh, and by the way, the last song is quite deceptive. It's not an epic, though it is 9 minutes long. It's actually more like 4 and a half minutes with half the track actually being just subtle noise. I was disappointed because they've had some great epics in the past and they kind of left me hanging with that one.
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on August 2, 2014
Format: Audio CD
This record has grown on me over time, as I've come to understand it better. It's the most diverse NJ record, and I can listen to tracks 1-7 nonstop every time, and be completely lost in the music. Tracks 8 and 9 are a little weaker to me, but are still good. And track 10 is a solid and brutal finish, although the last 4 minutes of the track are really just soft, atmospheric music repeated over and over - it would have been interesting to complete the track a different way.

Many NJ fans or hardcore fans may have a problem with the highly varied vocals on this record - by Cory Brandan, and the guest vocalists - but I think the vocals are a great strength. More than on any other record, the music varies in tempo, atmosphere, and harshness, which brings the listener on an up and down journey, and the vocals provide a guide and a narrative to the journey. Even though some of the tracks don't seem as heavy as we've come to expect from Norma Jean, it's a bit of an illusion, partly propped up by the varied vocals. I've found myself listening to some of the tracks that don't have the typical NJ brutality, like "Self Employed Chemist" and "Murphy Was An Optimist", and the guitars are still quite heavy - just not throughout the entire track. But when they kick in, they do so to great effect, and there are some cool riffs throughout the record.

As I said, this record grew on me. At first, I thought it was solid, but not outstanding, and I gravitated to the heavier tracks - "Vipers, Snakes and Actors" and "Birth of the Anti-mother" should grab your attention immediately. But I enjoy this record more and more over time when I'm looking for a record that takes me on a varied journey from one track to another. If I'm looking for a constant barrage of brutality, I'll put on "Oh God, The Aftermath". But "Vs. the Anti-Mother" has the strong lyrics and dark themes expected of Norma Jean. However, the listener has got to be willing to follow NJ on a different journey in order to really understand and appreciate this record. If you immerse yourself in it - maybe on a long drive - I think you'll find it's a really intriguing concept record that reveals more and more to the listener with every spin.
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on August 29, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of this band since they released their EP under the name Luti-Kriss. This band has since released four albums under the name we have all come to know and love. This is the album that will cement Norma Jean as one of the greatest hardcore/metal bands of this generation. The biggest complaint I've heard over recent years is that Corey Brandon's vocal style didn't fit Norma Jean. Loyalists to original vocalist Josh (now in the band The Chariot) met Corey with understandable skepticism. This album shows a growth some bands never achieve. The Anti Mother is a ten song masterpiece that just plain rocks. It has enough melody to keep it from sounding monotone, which is rare in the metal scene today. The song writing as always is creative and at time abstract. It's rare that I find an album I can listen to repeatedly all the way through without skipping songs along the way. This is one such album. If you are a long time fan or new to this band, The Antimother is a must for any metal head's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
I really like this album. I liked old NJ, but hardcore is getting so... bleh. Which is why I think this album is so good. It isn't your run of the mill hardcore screaming with little to no song structure (hell, even bands like Veil of Maya and Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, who tend to be chaotic, still make their songs feel tight and complete, most hardcore bands just throw stuff together and scream to it and call it good), which is why scene kiddies will not like it. They've completely matured as song writers and this shows it. NJ isn't hardcore with this release, they're straight up metal, they should be proud of this release.
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on April 13, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
This is their breakthrough album which deserves radio play! Great allbum! This album barely sounds like the same band that was making music before. Their old stuff was very raw and chaotic. Yeah, not melodic. But this album has a crisp, clean sound and is still heavy, but yet not skull-crushing. And it's melodic!
My favorites are Robots 3,Humans 0(5 stars!), Self Employed Chemist, Birth of the AntiMother, and Opposite of Left and Wrong.
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