Loud, heavy, jam-packed with bangers and enough riffage to make your ears bleed.
If you like what you’ve read so far, you will not be disappointed when you crank up Norma Jean’s new album Polar Similar. This is one to be enjoyed at levels worthy of the aural danger warnings that our listening tech likes to throw at us these days.
American metalcore quintet Norma Jean have released an absolute behemoth of an album with this follow-up to Wrongdoers. The album which took the critical music world by storm back in 2013 and presented the band to the masses. A high bar was set with the aid of music made to sweat to. Whether that be in the house, at the gym or at one of their lively and energetic live sets. However, Polar Similar hasn’t just reached the bar – it’s blown the bar to shit!
Offbeat drums and a rumbling bass growl fills the air with opener ‘1. The Planet’. A track that sets the tone of the album perfectly. It’s the type of track that opens a live performance. A minute in and the music fading before the crescendo begins with Cory Brandan Putman’s intro – “I hope you burn!!”. A wall of noise split apart with shrieking guitars and solemn vocal delivery only departs after a whirlwind three and a half minutes.
There’s no stopping there either, as we are whipped up again onto latest single release ‘Everyone Talking over Everyone Else’, which you can view below in their official video released last week, with its charging guitars and building pace matching up to the dark, vigorous vibes portrayed in the video.
Their fourteen minute epic Wrongdoers closer aside, Norma Jean have a knack for packing as much sound and energy into snack size songs. At a little under two and a half minutes ‘Forever Hurtling Towards Andromeda’ does exactly that. It’s an unrelenting journey of break-neck metal.
One more thing Norma Jean are able to call upon as a speciality is their ability to make the listener a little uncomfortable. There is that feeling that a song could take a number of different turns and it isn’t until the fourth or fifth listen that you know the song enough to tap along to it. I love that unpredictability in metalocore and Norma Jean are one of the pioneering forces of that particular genre.
‘Reaction’ stirs just that, a reaction along the lines of “what does this sound like?” Half-expecting Chino Moreno to pipe up after the building intro we’re treated to one of the strongest tracks of the album.
A diverse, varied but ultimately Norma Jean’ish album from start to finish culminates in the ten minute belter ‘IV. The Nexus’. On their assent to the top of the metalcore pile, Norma Jean are continually pushing up the way and with every iteration they release they’re going beyond all expectation.