Norma Jean

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Atlanta-based band with an ever-shifting lineup that delivers brutal metalcore.
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Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child
Utilizing Marilyn Monroe's birth name, Georgia-bred Norma Jean is a metalcore band that emerged in the 2000s after the demise of previous outfit Luti-Kriss. In those early years, they adopted a rap-metal approach that offered a Christian-leaning equivalent to nu-metal groups like Korn. As the band evolved, however, they turned away from that scene in favor of a heavier, no-frills sound centered on brutal screams and pounding sonics. With the new approach, the Southern band built an enthusiastic cult following in the alt-metal underground, where they appealed to both Christian and non-Christian headbangers with their debut Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child (2002) and their chart peak, The Anti-Mother (2008).

5
Norma Jean was formed in the Atlanta suburb of Douglasville, Georgia in 1997 by Josh Scogin, Scottie Henry, Chris Day, Josh Swofford, Daniel Davison, and Mick Bailey. By the time the group settled on its hardcore sound, the lineup had shifted, retaining Henry, Day, and Davison while recruiting new vocalist Cory Brandan (who replaced temporary frontman Brad Norris). In the early 2000s, the first iteration of the band recorded two efforts as Luti-Kriss. Their first release was the 5 EP, followed in 2001 by the full-length Throwing Myself on Seattle's Solid State label, a subsidiary of Tooth & Nail. Often mistaken for rapper Ludacris -- who, coincidentally, is also from the Atlanta area -- the members of Luti-Kriss adopted the Norma Jean name. Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child introduced this new moniker in 2002; it was also the band's heaviest, most brutal effort to date. While Norma Jean's first recordings inspired comparisons to Limp Bizkit and Korn, Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child was often compared to Hatebreed. Isis and Mastodon producer Matt Bayles helped out on 2005's O God, The Aftermath, while producer Ross Robinson helmed the epic Redeemer in 2006. Chris Raines, the drummer for Spitfire, joined the band in early 2008, and the new lineup released The Anti-Mother that summer.

Meridional
In 2010, Norma Jean released Meridional on new label Razor & Tie. While the album felt like a creative high point for the band, their return to the studio would be a rough one, with bassist Jake Schultz, guitarist Scottie Henry, and drummer Chris Raines parting ways during the two-year recording process. The remaining members pressed on, though, recruiting guitarist Jeff Hickey, drummer Clayton Holyoak, and bass player John Finnegan to join their ranks. The result of their work, the vital and cohesive Wrongdoers, arrived in 2013. The band re-signed with Solid State for their next outing, releasing the singles "1,000,000 Watts" and "Synthetic Sun" in June 2016. The resulting Polar Similar, their seventh studio long-player, arrived later that August. At this point, further lineup shifts included the departures of Day, Holyoak, and Finnegan; in the lead up to their next album, they also lost Jeff Hickey. Forging ahead under Brandan and guitarist/vocalist Philip Farris, they began recording eighth album All Hail. Issued in 2019, the LP included single "[Mind Over Mind]."