||From the Vault...
© Solid State Records
Year of Release: 2006
A Grand Scene
For A Color Film
A Small Spark Vs.
A Great Forest
The End Of All Things
Will Be Televised
Like Swimming Circles
Cemetery Like A Stage
Norma Jean related sites:
1). a person who redeems.
2). Jesus Christ.
Heb. goel; i.e., one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs
(Lev. 25:48, 49; Num. 5:8; Ruth 4:1; Job 19:25; Ps. 19:14; 78:35, etc.). This title is peculiarly applied to
Christ. He redeems us from all evil by the payment of a ransom (q.v.). (See REDEMPTION.)
Norma Jean [metalcore band]
The band's name originated from actress Marilyn Monroe, whose real name was Norma Jeane Baker. It wasn't until
after the band decided upon that name that they found out that "Norma" means "pattern", and "Jean" means "God's
grace and mercy", combined saying "Patterns of grace and mercy".
Norma Jean band website: http://www.normajeannoise.com
metalcore [music genre]
Metalcore is a fusion genre incorporating elements of hardcore punk and extreme metal.
1). sound, esp. of a loud, harsh, or confused kind: deafening noises.
2). a sound of any kind: to hear a noise at the door.
3). loud shouting, outcry, or clamor.
4). a nonharmonious or discordant group of sounds.
5). an electric disturbance in a communications system that interferes with or prevents reception of a signal or of
information, as the buzz on a telephone or snow on a television screen.
6). Informal. extraneous, irrelevant, or meaningless facts, information, statistics, etc.: The noise in the report
obscured its useful information.
7). Obsolete. rumor or gossip, esp. slander.
Norma Jean's 2006 release, Redeemer was one of many albums to reach the #1 position on Billboard's
Christian Albums Chart. Musically, their music is NOISE. Hardcore Punk / Extreme Metal (as the definition of metalcore
provides), the music is loud, the lyrics are screaming. Other bands (to name a few) in comparison: Rage Against The
Machine, System Of A Down, Distubed, Godsmack. They all have one thing in common, loud music, screaming lyrics.
However, Norma Jean's lyrics (if we can understand them while listening), refers to the Christian faith.
The album's lyrics can be found here,
as the band's Christian faith lyrics may not be as easily interpreted as the more popular (and easier to listen to) bands
such as Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Third Day (and the likes) ... Norma Jean projects their Christian faith lyrics to
another level. Such lyrics in "A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest" -- What did you say? Don't
speak. // You nailed down all your words on me // and it felt like a blind guide. // Leading me into
quicksand. // So fight fair, fight fair. // But all you hear is noise. // Fight fair. Fight fair!
[My thoughts ...] Nailing down all your words leads to believe in what Jesus Christ stood for, as being a blind
guide to those who believe in Jesus Christ throughout their livings for Him to follow. But all you hear is noise.
Fight fair. Whether it be good times or bad, througout out lives, the bad times can be referred to as "noise," and we
need to "fight fair" to work through it.
Reading the lyrics to other songs. Interpreting "A Temperamental Widower" [looks at death, in my opinion], and
how death marks the end of one's life, yet to put the thoughts of death (as in the song's "dragons" and "knives") and lead
to Christ ("making progress... that of a dead man") Christ is not dead; His progress lead to believers throughout
their lives, and will continue throughout the beyond. [I myself, still has a lot to learn, in interpreting Christian music
lyrics in general.]
"The End Of All Things Will Be Televised" is a little confusing, in learning its lyrics. As the lyrics begin,
you're sensing how wonderful it will be, when we reach Heaven, but at the very end of this song's lyrics -- "All things
complete // O infamous city, full of turmoil, I'm terrified at your collapse // The kings, they shudder with horror, their
faces distorted with fear // Endless empires gently brushed away in the blink of an eye // All Creation, wilted. //
Captain, the ship is sinking. Have mercy. And how about "Songs Sound Much Sadder" -- throughout its lyrics,
it seems that hurt and sorrow does happen, but the last lyrics Okay, there's hope // Step back with all your friends
can bring a sense of Hope in having Jesus Christ as your friend and savior, and other friends who believe in Christ as well.
Describing this album musically, I found a review from www.absolutepunk.net. What was interesting from this review,
was this paragraph:
Vicious guitars and Brandan’s scream kick off the album’s opener, “A Grand Scene For A Color Film,” in grand fashion.
The minor breakdown following by the emphatic lyric “Let’s break out the shotguns/we’re going to town!” is one of the song’s
highlights. The next track is “Blueprints For Future Homes,” which was the first song that Norma posted on their Myspace
page, which led to a lot of angry responses from “fans.” This song may feature a bit more “singing” than your normal NJ
song, but that doesn’t take away from the track, as it is still a crushing display of metal. “A Small Spark vs. A Great
Forest” begins with a rising riff and Daniel Davison’s tribal drumming which eventually leads into Scottie Henry and Chris
Day’s sonically abusing guitars. The track balances between when to turn it up and when to turn it down well, and the
closing breakdown is especially vibrant. “A Temperamental Widower” picks up the pace and kicks you in the throat repeatedly,
something O` God never did. The beatings continue with “The End Of All Things Will Be Televised,” as Brandan’s unforgiving
vocals rip through this song. The next track, “Songs Sound Much Sadder,” is my favorite on the album; the verses are fast
and in your face, the chorus soars, and the final breakdown with the off-key drumming is awesome. Definitely one of my
favorite Norma Jean tracks ever. “The Longest Lasting Statement” chugs throughout the first verse and then kicks into high
gear. “Amnesty Please” begins with a menacing riff and fuzzed out vocals from Brandan, with a nice breakdown shooting in
and out to balance it out. “Like Swimming Circles” is another barnburner, while “Cemetery Like A Stage” begins with a
haunting intro and a twisting guitar riff and continues on to beat your head in. My major beef with the album, though,
comes in the final track “No Passenger: No Parasite.” It begins slowly, with Brandan repeatedly singing “Wake up.” Now,
this doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is the continuous repeating of said line for the next three or so minutes. Around
the fourth minute, the guitars kick in, but it’s too late to save this song. It should have been used as either an intro
track or interlude in the album, instead of closing it. The first ten songs I really dig, but the final track just kills
it for me, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Other than that hiccup though, Redeemer is quality.
Reviewed by: Drew Beringer (09/13/06)
Metalcore music is not for everyone. Norma Jean's Redeemer is not for all ears. Yet they have their own
Christian messages through their music. As reading the lyrics from the link in this review, yes, the band's messages are
quite different to those of other Christian music performers. Even the album cover of Redeemer is disturbing:
A bird biting the hand of a scared and crying young girl. (Looking through the album's booklet, there is another disturbing
picture, of a bird biting the hand of scared and crying young boy.) Even the song titles from each song on this album
is a little misleading to other obvious Christian song titles. Norma Jean's music does appeal to many, as it sold over 21,000
copies in its first week. This album reached #1 on the Christian Albums Chart, as did a previous album of theirs, O God
The Aftermath. And there were other metalcore Christian bands that would reach #1 on the Christian Albums Chart.
Again, metalcore is one genre of music that is hard to listen to. Having a lyric sheet, or looking up the lyrics online is
best while listening to Norma Jean's Redeemer, especially for those not familiar, or not used to listening to this
loud and brash kind of music. Interpreting their own Christian messages while reading their lyrics, can easily be seen how
the band looks at Christianity, in their own musical ways. My ears' sensitivity has given this album a low review, but as
with many Christian music artists, Norma Jean's lyrics interprets their strong thoughts on the Christian faith.
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