Before Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child, a young metal band from Douglasville, GA set about to record their full-length debut for Solid State. They weren't yet called Norma Jean. They went by the name of Luti-Kriss and, although their name didn't stick (they would later drop it to avoid getting confused with a certain Dirty South rapper), their sound did. Luti-Kriss's debut, Throwing Myself, is the opening salvo that sets the stage for any future mayhem their later incarnation would be known for.
Though the band's name was different, one listen to Throwing Myself is enough to positively identify the musicians behind this offering. Boasting the same lineup as Bless The Martyr-era Norma Jean, this album plays like a younger, more straightforward version of Martyr. Those that consider Norma Jean to be too technical and brutal for their own liking will find that Throwing Myself is actually a slightly more accessible listen than any other Norma Jean release. Mind you, it's by no means a catchy record but the mathy chaos and intimidating technicality that are prevalent on later Norma Jean recordings do not overwhelm the songs on Throwing Myself. Everything here is scaled back just enough and, though it is still rather extreme, the heaviness is delivered in a much more straightforward fashion. It's the sound of a band constantly skirting the line between chaos and restraint, catching its balance at all the right moments and never letting things get too chaotic for its own good.
That being said, Throwing Myself is thoroughly impressive. Crushing guitars abound throughout the record and Josh Scogin's trademark growl guides each track with unmistakable authority. The riffs are spare and muscular, and the guitars interact well within the rhythmic, metallic breakdowns that define each song. Scogin's lyrics deal with themes of desolation, rejection and a longing for God, often coming across as Psalm-like declarations and introspective confessions.
Overall, this is a great debut from a promising young band. Although a solid disc in its own right, Throwing Myself does not in any way prepare its listeners for the unmatched brutality and perfection that Bless The Martyr & Kiss The Child would offer merely one year later. Throwing Myself may only be a stepping stone for this young band, but for curious fans of Scogin-era Norma Jean looking for something more, it doesn't get any better than this.- Review date: 10/7/06, written by Sherwin Frias
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