The hardcore revolution has come in the form of this technically and musically astounding offering from Norma Jean. Ever since seeing these guys live in 2000 right after they signed to Solid State as Luti-Kriss, I knew they were special. Their newest project, under new name Norma Jean so not to be confused with the secular rap artist, Bless The Martyr and Kiss the Child, offers gritty production while still managing to rise above the quality of most similar bands.
Bless The Martyr kicks off with the song "The Entire World is Counting on Me...," showing a marked improvement on Josh's vocals, with considerably less usage of vocal effects. The next track, "Face:Face" is a song inspired by Proverbs 30. "Memphis Will be Laid To Waste," features vocals from the lead singer of MeWithoutYou. Its lyrics show the definite Christian foundation of the band, stating Christ is not a fashion or a fleeting fad. Other track highlights include "Creating Something out Of Nothing, Only to Destroy It," and "I Used to Hate Cell Phones, But now I Hate Car Accidents." The only downsides to this album are the fact that the album's sound is slightly repetitious, and that the second half of the record is not as strong as the first.
While the gritty recording style and extreme hardcore vocals and music may not be for everyone, fans of hardcore will find this CD a must-have. With excellent musical performances from all members of the band, including great vocals (both low-end and high), amazing guitar work, and a drum sound that has to be heard to be believed, hardcore just does not get much better than this.- Review date: 2/11/03, written by Andy Kelly
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