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8/10

Norma Jean - Meridional

Richard Cartey
Richard Cartey 3 July 2010 at 14.00

Norma Jean - Meridional Cover

A creative and assertive force...

Though ‘Meridional’ doesn’t test the deep, unending waters of metallic prog or express any defi nite post-rock intent, there are undeniable leanings towards the two that give Norma Jean’s latest significant weight and exhibits taints of hidden complexity. There’s little evidence of blind conformism here, instead ‘Meridional’ displays Norma Jean as a creative and assertive force. Perhaps the former metalcore merchants’ best device is a healthy attitude to melody; blending it throughout with a rhythmic sway that’s both smart and compelling yet never forced. Appealing too is the album’s harnessing of unveiled emotion. Vitriol oozes from ‘Meridional’ both within its harsh riffs and inside the vocal pipes of Cory Brandan, who repeatedly broadcasts a coarse statement of intent startling the listener into taking note. Although the album doesn’t appear to experiment to the same extent as the band’s previous long players, it still demonstrates a fresh, but more importantly, genuine document. Unusually, ‘Meridional’ ends as strongly as it begins – the anthemic hearts of ‘High Noise Low Output’ and ‘The People That Surround You On A Regular Basis’ are perhaps the best tracks of the album and leave a signifi cant impact. If only every moment of ‘Meridional’ could be as powerful.

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