Norma Jean

Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child

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AllMusic Review by Jason D. Taylor

Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child is the first outing since Luti-Kriss adopted the new name Norma Jean, due to constant confusion from certain venues who believed the band was the hip-hop MC Ludacris. While the band's old material showed great promise, few could have expected such a ferocious follow-up, as this is an album that can be described simply as audio chaos. Norma Jean follows no rhyme or reason, and bludgeons the listener with repeated blasts of macabre hardcore/metal that are as confusing as they are cataclysmic. While few bands could pull off placing a 15-plus-minute track in the center of an album, Norma Jean dares to be different, and manages to place "Pretty Soon, I Don't Know What, but Something Is Going to Happen" effectively without killing the album's momentum. The only real problem that arises on Bless the Martyr is that in all the commotion, Norma Jean tends to get lost amidst the carnage, involuntarily dragging songs on with no end in sight. Regardless of those mishaps, Norma Jean has patched together an intimidating album of gargantuan proportions. Killswitch Engage's Adam Dutkiewicz once again has gone above and beyond with his incredible production capabilities, somehow capturing all the mayhem these five men churn out without ever allowing the songs to appear muddy or noisy. It is a shame that shortly before the album's release half of the band abandoned ship, leaving the group's future in the hands of fate.

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