In 2002, Norma Jean, formally known as Luti-Kriss, released Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child to much fan fare. But now, in a post-Josh Scogin world, Norma Jean returns with their sophomore release O' God, the Aftermath. And with it, they introduce to us the future of Norma Jean: vocalist Cory Brandan.
Scogin's shoes are hard ones to fill. He had, and still has via The Chariot, one of the most recognizable voices in Christian hardcore. And Brandan's efforts are valiant. His range may not be in the same league as Scogin, who can screech one moment and growl the next, but Brandan's screams compliment the wild and unpredictable guitar riffs.
"A lot of people think the word ‘aftermath' has a negative connotation, but I look at it as more of a positive thing; a pleasant aftermath, you could say. It's looking at it from a spiritual standpoint; the aftermath of grace or salvation," says drummer Davison on solidstaterecords.com. O' God, the Aftermath is chock full of spiritual context. But, to keep with tradition after the departure of Scogin, the song's titles are unique and somewhat dreary. And in a completely original twist, each song title is actually a combination of two words. It almost works as a sort of "before and after" relationship. "Murderotica," "Dilemmachine," "Disconnecktie," and "Scientifiction" are just a few of the twisted, yet appropriate names for each of the cuts on this disc.
Fans of Norma Jean should rejoice at the release of O' God, the Aftermath. It may not be Bless the Child…, but it is still a very strong hardcore release. Obviously, Josh Scogin was very instrumental in woodwork that is Norma Jean, but Cory Brandan does a fine job of filling the enormous void that Scogin left. Kudos to Norma Jean for overcoming huge odds and releasing the best hardcore release 2005 has seen yet.- Review date: 02/27/05, written by Josh Taylor
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