The Bottom Line
- Nice mesh of noisecore and post-metal.
- Really heavy.
- Not a sustainable listen.
- Album becomes boring very quickly.
- Released July 13th, 2010 on Razor and Tie.
- This is Norma Jean’s fifth album.
- Produced by Jeremy Griffith.
Guide Review - Norma Jean - 'Meridional'
Sure, bands like Norma Jean are a dime a dozen in today’s mall metal climate, but the real secret lurking here is the band’s urgency, and the energy with which they approach their songwriting. The breakdown sections are furious rather than hackneyed, the vocals vengeful rather than apologetic, and the musicianship—though not dizzyingly technical—intricate enough to lend Meridional a listenability beyond that of its flighty peers.
The unfortunate bottom line here, though, is the sustained enjoyment of a record like Meridional; it’s hampered by the very nature of its metalcore being: i.e. there isn’t enough substantial material to chew on for more than a few songs at a time. Indeed, by the album’s third track, ‘Deathbed Atheist’, the line has already worn thin, and the listener—unless they happen to be a rabid Norma Jean fan—is left really wanting more than what this album has to offer, on a whole.
While there surely has to be a valid market for this sort of material, bands like Norma Jean are simply for the very young, or for whose taste demands just the very basic facts of what heavy music has to offer. In essence, Meridional is good for what it does; it’s just that what it does doesn’t possess much of a shelf life.