When most people hear the words "Norma Jean," the blonde bombshell known as Marilyn Monroe usually comes to mind. But for someone in the modern hardcore or metal scene, thoughts of five dirty dudes from Atlanta pop into the head.
"We like everything that's associated with our band to be dirty," admits Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison. "The music is dirty, the recordings are dirty, all the photos that we did of us for this new record, Redeemer, are dirty, the stuff that we play at our shows is really gritty."
But the members of Norma Jean — Davison, Cory Brandan (vocals), Chris Day (guitar), Scottie Henry (guitar), and Jake Schultz (bass) — can't be all that dirty, seeing as how they've has been tagged a "Christian band" (which they are). Labels aside, Norma Jean's music speaks for itself. Redeemer is an amalgamation of hardcore, metal, and noise — so chaotic and yet so well controlled that it makes the record one of the best "heavy" albums of the year.
Having just released O' God, the Aftermath in 2005, many were surprised to learn Norma Jean were inspired enough to pen another full-length. The guys hit the studio last year with legendary studio engineer Ross Robinson (Korn, Limp Bizkit, Sepultura, Deftones, Slipknot, etc.). The opportunity to record with Robinson was a dream come true — but also scary as hell.
"He came to Atlanta to do preproduction with us, which was really intimidating because we didn't know him that well," Davison recalls. "We had heard all kinds of stories about him, but he turned out to be one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met in my life and just really encouraging. He loves our band and just wanted to bring everything that we had into it." —Leah Weinberg
Norma Jean headline at the Music Farm on Sat. April 14 with The Chariot, A Life Once Lost, and Hand Shake Murders. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16 ($14 adv.). See www.musicfarm.com and www.normajeannoise.com for more.