"The Anti-Mother" (Solid State; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Post-hardcore and mathcore is what this band is all about. You get plenty of music and all the screams of hardcore you can handle. Although I like mathcore (because there are more time changes and the music doesn't just amble along at a boring 4/4 count) Norma Jean have way too much going on during a song. The vocals are annoying. You know me and vocals -- I need a singer, not a screamer. Even with Christian bands, I tend to pass on the yellers but Norma Jean must appeal to somebody out there.

The music is quite weird in spots but it's so different you just have to listen to hear what's going to happen. When Cory Brandan does his thing he's got power. The thing about this CD is that they had a few guest vocalists stand in and I've listed who did what on what track (below) just so you could see if it's worth your time. Chino Moreno from Deftones and Team Sleep, Page Hamilton from Helmet, and Cove Reber from Saosin help out with vocal duties and those are the most notable names.

If you don't know what the Anti-Mother is, here it is in lead vocalist Cory Branda's words: "The Anti Mother is a character we created which represents anything that is deceptive, and yet possesses an outwardly beautiful nature. This record is the most melodic album we’ve ever created, but it’s definitely the heaviest record Norma Jean has done as well -- and furious at that."

Norma Jean: Cory Brandan – lead vocals, guitars; Scottie Henry – guitars; Jake Schultz – bass; Chris Day – guitars; Chris Raines – drums, percussion.

Guest vocalists, guitar players, writers: Chino Moreno – writing, guitars, vocals (tracks 4, 6, 7); Page Hamilton – guitars, vocals (track 8); Cove Reber – writing vocals (tracks 4, 6, 7, 10); Holly Rae – vocals (tracks 2, 10); Camille Driscoll – vocals (tracks 2, 10); Lainee Gram – vocals (track 10); Ali Pantera Abrishami – vocals (track 10).

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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