Customer Reviews: Meridional
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on July 14, 2010
What is Norma Jean? Not the same band that released Bless the Martyr, that's for sure. No, in the years since O God, The Aftermath, (and probably more precisely, Redeemer)NJ has worked to augment their chaos with heavy doses of melody and even choruses. Few bands have been able to pull off melodic destruction like Norma Jean, and it all comes to stunningly realized fruition on "Meridional".
One of my main gripes with the "screamo" genre(I'm not referring to Norma Jean, mind you)is that the melodic parts are too distinct from the heavier areas, sounding completely brutal one second and sounding almost like a boy band the next. Apparently that is not the way to do it, if "Meridional" and NJ's last two records were any indication. I'm still not sure how they do it so well, but the melodies are buried underneath the mess of sounds, for the most part. On some songs, such as High Noise Low Output and Falling From the Sky:Day Seven, the melodies come to the forefront, to the point where NJ can sound like a completely different band. Some songs are undoubtedly the most accessible ever written by NJ, especially Falling From the Sky, but I really enjoy these stylistic changes. Also Cory really flexes his vocals on this record, sounding both angrier and more euphoric than previous outings. And for some, this change will probably be unwelcome.
Meridional is receiving terrific reviews, as it deserves to. It is a suprising, inspiring album that I picture most people loving. In my mind itt doesn't have the immediate magnetism of Redeemer, which is my personal favorite by NJ and probably always will be. But "Meridional" is largely unparalleled in heavy music today, and it will easily become regarded as a masterwork. The bottom line of this review is simple: like Norma Jean? Get this record. Which you probably already have.
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on July 13, 2010
I got into Norma Jean late, with the first record I listened to was "Redeemer." However, I have journeyed back to listen to the rest of what they have to offer. This new album is wonderful, and if not, as great than what I think is the best record they have made which would be "Redeemer." They definitely strayed away from the sound you may have heard in "The Anti-Mother" where they leaned more toward having melody shine through their music, or better yet, having Putnam (the singer) actually "sing." He never truly sings (except for "A Media Friendly Turn For The Worse" and "Falling From The Sky")yet his screams become enhanced with the ambient distortion in the background in many of the final songs of the album. The band itself gives wonderful performances from great drumming to creative guitar riffs (What would you expect from Norma Jean, horrible instrumentals? Bah). This record can be best compared to that of what is heard in "Redeemer" only that Norma Jean has expanded that talent significantly, creating wonderful, blood rushing moments in their music. However, they do have very melodic songs towards the end of the album, where the beginning really doesn't have any melody, yet there are some songs that slow the fast pace of the beginning of the album such as the Third Track "Deathbed Atheist." It's definitely a little wave where the pinnacle is at the beginning (First four) and then it settles a little. However, It rises again at the end. The music won't be as heavy as "Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child" and not as erratic as "O' God, The Aftermath" and at times it won't feel heavy at all (some songs such as "Falling From The Sky" and "The People That Surround Us on General Basis" and especially "A Media Friendly Turn For The Worse" enter a very all too familiar realm, along with two instrumentals to fill up space and time) yet it delivers a substantial amount of quality only Norma Jean can execute with such force. With the little bit of actual singing heard is great from Putnam and definitely fabricates a nice touch when mixed with his screams in the songs, in turn adding emotion, and none the less, Attitude to their music.
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on August 26, 2015
The evolution of this band is a beautiful thing. They went from a lack of clean vocals, which were vengeful and beautiful in it's self, to incorporating clean vocals that are simply outstanding. None of those wannabe boyband clean vocals, but this raspy, low toned clean vocal filled with melody and harmony that just hit the spot. If this is your first Norma Jean album and your open to a different type of clean vocal, even if your iffy give it a shot. Now don't count Norma Jean out if your not a fan of clean vocals, just get one of there earlier albums and start from there. When all is said and done this is one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands over all (not just by Norma Jean). I'd like to add that this is a Christian band. I am not a Christian, more or less on the fence with God and religion. Norma Jean is not preachy by any means. They are wonderful story tellers that tell unbelievable stories filled with good morals and faith. Read between the line for a beautiful twist on words or sit back and enjoy a vengeful and harmonious combo that is Norma Jean and this work of art. A must own metalcore album for almost any metalcore fan if I say so myself. In closing I'd like to add that while this review comes 6 years after the albums release I had bought this album upon its release and had it taken from me. In turn I had so much love and respect for this album it was a must replace, and by doing so on amazon it gave me a chance to sing much deserving praise for a long time and still to date much loved band and their album that is both extremely aggressive and melodic.
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on July 14, 2010
Norma Jean has always been known for thinking outside the box. This album is no exception and is perhaps the greatest transition in their music since The Aftermath-to-Redeemer. Norma Jean experiment like they never did before and the music flourishes as a result.

This is, by far, Norma Jean's most melodic album to date. A few songs are particularly old school Norma Jean styled, like Blood Burner, but for the most part we have very light Norma Jean tracks in terms of actual heaviness. Is this a bad thing? Not really, but it may upset some of Norma Jean's faithful. That being said, if you are a Norma Jean faithful, then you know this band never sounds the same. So expect another transition and I think you'll enjoy this album immensely.

They way I listened to this album, it's really a tale of two halves. The first half of this album is absolutely spectacular. Some of the best music you will hear from Norma Jean. They're really mastered and honed their sound for these tracks and if you're like me, you'll absolutely be blown away by it.

The second half of the album, well, it's just not as good as the first. As strong as the first half was, you'd be expecting the quality to build on it's own momentum. It does, and the second half is far from bad, but I wasn't nearly as entertained with some of the tracks towards the end. The melody and lightness of the tracks is almost too prevalent and I don't feel like I'm listening to Norma Jean anymore.

That's not to say all of the tracks in the second half are bad. Falling From the Sky is a masterful song as well as the end of the album, Innocent Bystanders United. So Norma Jean head a new direction and you can get on board with it or not. But if you didn't expect them to change their sound, then you don't know Norma Jean.

If you loved any of Norma Jeans past few albums, then pick this up. The first half alone is just astonishingly good. Norma Jean is truly the master of subtle melodies and then show it in this album.

I would like to point out one little thing however. I was listening to this with a friend of mine when he remarked that one of the tracks sounded very similar to another song by another band. Particularly in the way Cory is singing. I won't say what song and what band it is, but the track is A Media Friendly Turn for the Worse. If you notice a similarity, then you're not the only one. Might be a coincidence, but I just think it's interesting to note.
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on July 16, 2010
Let me start off by saying that this is an AWESOME album! I've always liked Norma Jean, but I don't think that I ever LOVED loved an album they've put out. That is, of course, until now. 'Martyr' was exceptional, but I got in on it kinda late. 'Aftermath' just kinda irked my senses a little too much. Both 'Redeemer' and 'Anti-Mother' took the band from 'Aftermath' and expanded upon it. I feel like 'Meridional takes little bits of every previous album and makes a wholly new, completely epic album. I really liked 'Anti-Mother' but feel like this newest album is more of a labor of love, more of a work of art than their previous effort. My favorite thing about Putnam as vocalist has always been his odd ability to blend screaming with 'singing', and he uses this to the greatest potential advantage with this album. The 'singing' never feels weak or like it's watering down the overall product. With 13 tracks, NJ is allowed to have a couple that don't have much going on, but those are still a good part of the whole. This album is everything that's great about Norma Jean, with a truckload of 'Epic' poured in for good measure.
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on July 30, 2010
I am generally not a fan of metal/metalcore, with the exception of a few key bands and albums. It's just a very watered down genre in general. However, Norma Jean is a band that seemingly gets better with each subsequent release and currently, with this release, owns heavy music at the moment.

It's more experimental musically than any of their prior albums, though that doesn't mean it's their least accessible. In fact, to be so brutal, experimental, and atmospheric -- it still manages to be...dare I say...catchy in places. But not in a bad way. Not by any means.

One aspect that really sets NJ apart from most of Metal/Metalcore is the drum and guitar work. It's not just blast beats and fast riffs and solos and/or breakdowns. There are layers here. There's atmosphere here. There's emotion. There's music, not noise.

Anywho, what it comes down to is that you should give this album a listen. A good, thorough, start-to-finish listen. And if you like it, support good music and buy it.
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on July 17, 2010
this new release by Norma Jean totally rocks! it is a mix of brutality and melody, unlike when they were on Solid State, when they were brutal all the way through. besides the metalcore, they also have a touch of experimental metal as well, as song no. 3, entitled "Deathbed Atheist" can attest. it is slowed down a notch, however speeding back up on song no. 4, entitled "Bastardizer". this album is an interesting listen, even though the last song is 25 minutes long. it makes you wonder if they listen to Nile in their spare time. (some Christian bands listen to secular bands to get an idea for their sound. eg: Extol (RIP?) listens to Darkthrone and Immortal.) if you are a Christian metalcore fan, this belongs in your collection.
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on August 2, 2010
Without a doubt "Meridional" is Norma Jean's masterpiece album. It's more melodic than "Anti-Mother" with about twice the intensity. Nowhere on this album will you hear anything even remotely as chaotic as "O' God, The Aftermath" but there are moments (specifically on tracks like "Anthem of the Angry Brides" where this album gets flat HEAVY. Not only are the riffs thrashy and technical, but they're also very "groove-ish" on this album. I can't help but bang my head and scream along!

Honestly, I can't think of a single bad thing about this album... Buy it... NOW.
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on August 29, 2010
This is probably my favorite Norma Jean album now. I've listened to all of their albums except for "Bless the Martyr," and this one stands above all as their best. The whole thing is filled with hooks from the beginning to end and just keeps getting better as the CD progresses. I bought this CD last Wednesday, and I cannot stop listening to it. The songs are so intricate and technical that you will have to listen several times to hear all of the little things that make this album so great.

It's as if Norma Jean took the best from everything they have done so far and put it in to one solid album. No one song sounds the same or sounds like songs they have written before. Of course, they all have that Norma Jean sound, but are each different in their own way.

It's hard to pick single out one song as my favorite because I like all of them on this album. The are even songs on this album that those who don't like screaming will even like. Other albums have had their weak and strong points, but this one is just amazing. I have no idea how Norma Jean will every be able to top this. This, in my opinion, is their definitive album.
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on January 25, 2013
From beginning to finish this album rocks! This is a must purchase. Amazon delivered as scheduled and I also have the digital download to accompany my CD.
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