Album Review: Norma Jean – Deathrattle Sing For Me

4/5

Norma Jean purged their creative guts to produce their new album Deathrattle Sing For Me. This 13-track catharsis showcases their eclectic style–blending post-metal, sludge, hardcore, and emo–being complemented by demented samples and a plethora of cameo instruments. This release bleeds hearts dry through the down-tuned romanticism of late-Deftones meeting Neurosis.

The record begins with “1994” (beast of a year in music), parading guitars in its intro and bridge that couldn’t sound grungier if they were played through a BOSS Grunge pedal. Cory Brandan’s vocals are unhinged off the bat, starting at max energy wails. His delivery throughout the full-length is coming from a place of pent-up rage. He follows up with suspenseful, monotone clean vocals over a droning beat in “Call For the Blood”, sending a warning via lyrics “Ones and zeroes incoming…”. Guitarists Grayson Stewart and Clay Crenshaw enhance the urgent tone by dueling with slithery riffs.

“Spearmint Revolt” hits hard with a jarring chorus featuring a riff strummed with disdain and peaks of anguish by Brandan. The song gradually metamorphoses into a brain-cringing fuzz and broken speaker fest. However, we’re mercifully put at ease by “Memorial Hoard’s” ambient guitar and emo-vocal intro, and also by its synth-wave outro.

A nifty sitar plucks at the start of “Aria Obscura,” and then jolting guitars participate in whammy-pedal-mania during beatdowns. “Any%” is the sole track that rides any speed as far as drums go, with up-tempo snare hits and a two-step chorus with vitriolic vocals.

The most menacing breakdowns on the LP are littered in “W W A V V E,” accompanying a pair of victorious guitar leads and a triumphant chorus. “Penny Margs” assumes the position of a ballad, with an all-around tender first half. Following its transition into heaviness, it kisses goodbye with the guitars fighting wah-pedal wars. Bringing it home is “Heartache,” the longest track, running at 8:13, and devastating us with melancholic soundscapes.

Make no mistake, you will absolutely get your money’s worth from Deathrattle Sing For Me. The layers of instrumentation alone provide an ever-giving gift. These Georgian tormentors recorded this new composition with Jeremy SH Griffith in Tampa and Fort Walton Beach, FL, along with some tracks being recorded independently.

Witness the dark and wrenching agony that is Deathrattle Sing For Me when it releases on August 12 via Solid State Records.

Buy the album here.

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