On their fifth studio album and first from their new home, NORMA JEAN starts to expand upon their metalcore roots for an experience that moves them into a slightly bigger world.
Released by Razor & Tie last month, MERIDIONAL is a vast improvement upon prior releases from the band, which (like many) was at risk of being lost in a sea of similar sounding acts in the metal/noise/scream-core genres. While their songwriting skills were always a slight step above many of their peers, MERIDIONAL sets them farther ahead as they've crafted bigger tunes this time around.
It's almost wrong to call this an "advance" review, seeing that the bulk of the album was written back in 1997. With leaked versions of unfinished songs floating around the 'net for years, TOADIES will finally see a proper release of their album FEELER via Kirtland Records on August 10th. For those unfamiliar, it's a tale heard time and time again: Band hits big, records sophomore album, label hates it, and onto the shelf it goes.
Thus was the case with FEELER which was recorded to be a followup to the platinum-selling Interscope release, RUBBERNECK.
Early last year I headed up to Kenosha, Wisconsin to cover a record release performance from LAZARUS A.D. for their METAL BLADE debut. Beside the show being held in a surprisingly unconventional venue - an elementary school gym - the real surprise came in the form of a couple of the opening acts. DIRGE WITHIN (then simply "Dirge") who has since hit the national radar with an album out on E1, and a band called I FOR AN I.
Listening to AVENGED SEVENFOLD's NIGHTMARE, I can't help but think of the fabled story regarding AC/DC and their rebound from the death of original vocalist Bon Scott. It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to report the news that A7X drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan had passed (it was last December on a different site), and already the world will get a new album from the band next Tuesday.
It's been a big year for nostalgia all the way around. Between all the reunions and full-album performances happening these days, it's almost getting hard to keep score. The overwhelming certainty among all the rediscovery is that there were some damn fine albums released years ago - albums that truly work best in their entirety as opposed to a couple of singles with a heavy dose of B-side material.