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Norma Jean
Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child

Five words: the best metalcore album ever. Topping Anah Aevia, Nodes of Ranvier, Zao, and even their old namesake Luti-Kriss, Norma Jean produced what might be justified as the most hyped album of 2002 (rivaling Demon Hunter), and produced it WELL. VERY WELL. I began anticipating this album on February 13th when I first heard “I Used To Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents” back when it was called “A Dead Man Stood On Air.” It was a much more chaotic twist on Luti-Kriss, then there was of course the name change, and the 7” with mewithoutYou. All these things only fueled my longing for this album. Let me just say, this is nothing short of a masterpiece. I loved Luti-Kriss, and I only love Norma Jean more. This album has everything! Double bass, crazy guitars, elements of mathcore, breakdowns, and one of the best vocalists ever, Joshua Scogin. He will be dearly missed, as his replacement does not really do the band justice. This band has quickly become the most prominent force in Christian metalcore, and I pray they stay that way, for their contributions so far are innumerable. How many young bands have been influenced by Scogin, Henry, Doolittle, Day, and Davison? I know I have. The brilliance of this album can be seen in its short bursts of energy “The Shotgun Message” and “It Was As If The Dead Man Stood Upon The Air” as well as in its 15-minute epic “Pretty Soon, I Don’t Know What, But Something Is Going To Happen.” Other noteworthy tracks include “Face:Face,” a technical and crazy song; “Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste” featuring the incredible Aaron Weiss of mewithoutYou on perfectly executed guest vocals; “I Used To Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents,” a chaotic and captivating track; and “The Human Face, Divine,” an excellent song with a terrific end to top it off. Norma Jean even goes almost rock on a couple of songs, mixing up the action a little. If you like metalcore at all, do not deny yourself the joy of owning and listening to this album. There’s no album more fun to blast out your windows cruising down the highway.

Number 2!