Everybody loves watching a good, long running series. With every new season the plot continues, new characters get introduced, old characters, who grew close to your heart, develop further and from time to time there are some neat story twists no one saw coming.
However, unfortunately, not all series can hold their level of quality. Cast changes, beloved characters leave/die/get replaced and so, the interest in the series slowly fades until there’s no real motivation to watch it anymore.
Once again the “cast” of the band changed since the last album Polar Similar. Only the singer Cory Brandan and rhythm guitarist Phillip Farris are still here. Soundwise things gotten a little bit rougher, thanks to producer Will Putney. He has done some fine work this year with the most recent Knocked Loose record and last year’s Posthuman by Harms Way.
Another thing that fits to nearly every long-running series, is the “jumping the shark-moment” (just google the full explanation) – “An episode or moment, within a series, that just ruins the whole thing”.
Regarding a long-running band existence like Norma Jean‘s that would be an album that changed the sound so much that the band isn’t recognizable anymore. Norma Jean had that with Redeemer (in a good way) and the follow-up The Anti Mother (in a, in my opinion, not so good way).
Listening to the four songs released prior to the main release (“Mind over Mind“, “Safety Last“, “Landslide Defeater” and “/with_errors“) you could already hear that there was a huge leaning towards great mosh-parts and chaotic, yet melodic verses. Those kind of style Norma Jean perfected since Wrongdoers and they don’t stumble on this record, “Trace Levels of Dystopia” is another prime example of that aforementioned style.
“Careen” and “Anna” are the two last “real” songs on that album and it couldn’t close any better. “Careen” is more moody and calm (in a Norma Jean way) while “Anna” is a brooding song which builds and builds and finally explodes. Beside the more chaotic side, there were always these atmospheric moments that set them apart from the rest of the metalcore peers at that time.
Every season final needs some sort of ciffhanger, some open questions, hindsights or whatever. “The mirror and the second veil” is exactly that kind of song that would accompany this final scene, an acoustic outro to a very good Norma Jean record.
At the end of that “season” called All Hail a fan can’t ask for more and is surely waiting for the next one to arrive.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 / 10
As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.