Concert Review: Norma Jean

I feel like I can barely count the number of times I’ve seen Norma Jean live in concert. They are an enduring force, with a discography spanning two decades, nine albums, and a lineup that features no original members. There are few metalcore bands from the early 00’s who have prevailed to the current day. Do they boast the same vigor? The same energy? The same raucous cacophony sonic assault? Read on to see my assessment of their August show earlier this year at Red Flag.

Local acts Hard Graves made an early impression with their absolutely unforgiving set of metal. Knowing the band was enjoying themselves made it all the more enjoyable, as their lead singer couldn’t help smiling in between songs and dropping his best Hulk Hogan “Hell yea brother!”

Idle Threat has been a band on my radar since their Tooth and Nail Records EP Nothing is Broken for Good, and their debut full-length blurred visions was one of the few albums that stayed with me throughout the past year. blurred visions is full of anthemic post-hardcore declarations of faith that rouse the spirit, and seeing them live is an extension of this, with the listener now physically immersing themselves fully into an environment of worship that the band was participating in just as equally.

I remember my friend had a Norma Jean shirt growing up that said “The Almighty Norma Jean” on the back, but he duct-taped over the “almighty” because he was a quite pious fellow. That being said, it’s hard to find an adjective more fitting, considering their longevity and consistency. Norma Jean played songs all across their discography, including from their latest release, Deathrattle Sing For Me, with none of them being less relentless than the previous. I should know better by now, “almighty” is a fitting term.

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