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  Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child
Artist: Norma Jean
Label: Solidstate records
Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child is the most original Christian or positive hardcore music.  Norma Jeans work as Luti-Kriss on "Throwing Myself" was a wow, but this CD blows the top off the entire genre.  All of the effects on the album are done with guitars, not computers. WOW. 

The musical progress of this band has gone forward between albums, doubtlessly helped along by their relentless tour schedule.  (Their link on the Solidstate site greets you with, "'Norma Jean' is on tour for life!")  Their concert antics have been notorious since their Luti-Kriss days, a huge plus on the underground/indie hardcore scene.  

This is a very talented band with a new name, a new vocalist and a new CD suddenly making a buzz you can cut with a butter knife.  The first taste you get is blistering vocals, raucous guitars, and eye-popping drums; the music maintains it's ferocity throughout the CD.  Unlike Throwing Myself, which had one slow song, (the hidden track at the end,) Bless the Martyr..... shows no vestige of letting up its terrific hardcore onslaught.  

The brightest spot on the album is track three, which starts off well, goes light, is followed by the vocalist audibly clearing his throat, then the song goes crazy.  It finishes with a long, unique part-screaming, part-talking, part-singing portion that is totally mind-blowing.  The only downside to the album is the lack of readable lyrics.  While they are present in some form, they were not legible.  Were it not for that, I would give it five stars; because the lyrical impenetrability of the musical style makes written and understandable lyrics a big plus.  But all in all, this is an album for any fan of hard music.

Ryan Little 5/8/2003


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