| After waiting three years for O' God, the Aftermath, no one would have expected Norma Jean's third album to come out only a year and a half after the second. I'm assuming this album is a redeemer in that we didn't have to wait three damn years for it. O' God, the Aftermath does not need any redeeming, it was the Atlanta band's combination of chaotic southern rock and mathcore, an album many felt was worth the wait. Although, not every Norma Jean fan was satisfied.
This album fills that void. I think those who liked Bless the Child more will be very pleased. Redeemer is much grungier and straightforward than O' God--that was the band's intention and probably made the early release possible. That's not to say it's hastily produced, the quality is not much muddier than the clean-cut O' God production set.
Basically the album is a bit more like Bless the Martyr in song writing and more like O' God in clarity. Again, that was the intention, to appeal fans of both albums in a unified way. The band also worked towards a more energetic sound. Again, successful--"A Grand Scene for Color Film," the album's catchiest single, is testament to that; it is built off two alternating motifs, each gaining momentum and energy with every time they're repeated.
To sum that up, Redeemer is 1.) straightforward, 2.) encompassing of all their fans, and 3.) more energy-focused. It also has more emotional appeal, with some parts resembling a gruntier version of Underoath's new album. There are a lot of Botch-esque over-driven bass lines. "A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest" and "Cemetery Like Stage" combine thrashy mosh riffs with throaty, anthemic melodies. Many have already expressed their love for this album, including other reviewers and my best friend. I, however, have a bit to add.
While the band has developed its melodic grittiness and structural energy better than ever, I'm a little disappointed that the band did not progress their technical side. The time signatures and rhythm are more standardized; the riffs aren't anywhere as interesting as O' God's. Several songs drag in the middle for lack of innovation, sometimes the chords get boring, and I'd have to say "A Temperamental Widow" is my least favorite Norma Jean song.
This album seems like a winner for the masses. Despite its lack of impressiveness, it is still a solid album. Great songs, especially the three I named earlier in the review, overshadow the weaknesses. I think overall Norma Jean fans will be pleased, though not amazed.
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Solid State Records
1) A Grand Scene For A Color Film
2) Blueprints For Future Homes
3) A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest
4) A Temperamental Widower
5) The End Of All Things Will Be Televised
6) Songs Sound Much Sadder
7) The Longest Lasting Statement
8) Amnesty Please
9) Like Swimming Circles
10) Cemetery Like A Stage
11) No Passenger : No Parasite