Norma Jean -- All Hail

Norma JeanAll Hail

★★☆☆ All of the ferocity you’ve come to expect from these glitchy metalcore legends. What makes this album interesting is how the band simultaneously pummel the listener and hold their fire for better pacing throughout the album. The album’s back half is as compelling and brutal as its front half, not an easy feat for anyone in this genre.

Norma Jean -- Polar Similar

Norma JeanPolar Similar

★★★☆ The first half of this album starts out sounding like Norma Jean doing a decent impersonation of Tool. Not that that’s a bad thing (especially when we’re untold years away from another album from Maynard & Co.); it’s just weird for the usually unbridled metalcore impresarios. But keep listening. The Toolisms fade quickly, the metalcore is still here throughout, and there is a pervasively broodingly quality to the music that builds to a satisfyingly lachrymose conclusion.

Norma Jean -- Wrongdoers

Norma JeanWrongdoers

★★☆☆ It takes a while for this album to get warmed up, passing through plenty of sounds familiar to other bands (The Jesus Lizard, Thrice, Dillinger). Halfway through, though, it finds its mellow yet feral footing. Not as strong as Meridional, but a solid rager nonetheless.