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Norma Jean: What's in a Name?

Norma Jean: What's in a Name?

Dr. Tony Shore
Saturday, December 02, 2006

When Norma Jean’s new album, Redeemer (Solid State), was released The Christian music community took notice. How could it not—Redeemer was its No. 1-selling record.

How many names can possibly be associated with a band or a band’s sound and style? Southern hardcore giant Norma Jean has had more than its fair share. The band started out as an extremely hard and brutally intense outfit called Luti-Kriss, but then the rapper with essentially the same name became immensely popular. So it was time to come up with something new. The guys liked the idea of a hard metal band using the real name of famous screen actress Marilyn Monroe, so they settled on Norma Jean.

Since then, the band has put out three critically acclaimed metalcore albums, Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child; O God, the Aftermath; and Redeemer, all of which brutally assault your senses. During this period, Norma Jean had name changes within the band line-up as well. Original vocalist Josh Scogin left in 2002 to start the Christian metalcore band The Chariot. Brad Norris then took over vocal duties on tour. In 2004, Norma Jean hit its stride, however, when Cory Brandan (Living Sacrifice, Eso-Charis) joined on as the permanent vocalist. The current line-up also includes Scottie Henry (guitar), Chris Day (guitar), Jake Schultz (bass) and Daniel Davison (drums). They all hail from the state of Georgia and share a love for Christ, diverse musical styles and, of course, barbeque.

People always want to label bands and place them in a certain niche. These guys refuse to be put in that box. But fans and critics keep trying to define their sound with more names—just do a search for “Norma Jean the band” online and you’ll find they’ve been called “metal,” “metalcore,” “hardcore,” “math metal,” “straight edge,” “brutal,” “disturbing,” “chaotic,” “dissonant” and on and on and on. Their sound has definitely changed over the past three albums, and that’s caused some heated debate among the fans and press. Responds Davison, who is also Norma Jean’s principal songwriter, “We don’t really care about all the different titles and subgenres people try to put on us. We would probably call ourselves ‘hardcore’ if pressed.”

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