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Norma Jean

Norma Jean

This Or The Apocalypse, Ice Nine Kills

Wed, July 11, 2012

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

The Castle Theatre

Bloomington, IL

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is all ages

Norma Jean
Norma Jean
Not to be confused with either the late-'70s disco diva (who sang with Chic in 1977 before going solo and having a hit with 1978's "Saturday") or the country singer (who had some hits in the '60s), this Norma Jean is a Christian alternative metal/metalcore band that used to go by the name Luti-Kriss. At first, Norma Jean went with a rap-metal approach -- in reviews, the former Luti-Kriss was often described as the Christian equivalent of Limp Bizkit, Korn, (hed) p.e., Methods of Mayhem, or Rage Against the Machine. But as the band evolved, Norma Jean got away from rap-metal and became even heavier. The bandmembers heard on 2002's Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child don't believe in subtlety any more than they believe in taking prisoners; they do, however, believe in having a very harsh, punishing sound and beating listeners into obedience (musically, not literally -- they're a Christian band, after all). And while those who don't care for metalcore's harshness are unlikely to become Norma Jean converts, the Southern band has enjoyed a small but enthusiastic cult following in the alterna-metal underground (where they have appealed to both Christian and non-Christian headbangers).

Norma Jean was formed in Douglasville, GA (a suburb of Atlanta) in 1997. In the early '00s, the band recorded two CDs as Luti-Kriss. The first was the EP 5 (which came out on the Pluto label), and that disc was followed by the full-length album Throwing Myself, which came out on the Seattle-based Solid State label (a subsidiary of Tooth and Nail Records) in 2001. After that album, Luti-Kriss changed its name to Norma Jean because some people were confusing the band with the controversial rapper Ludacris -- who, coincidentally, is also from the Atlanta area. Ludacris is one of the top rappers in the Dirty South school of hip-hop, and he is known for his explicit lyrics (which have been lambasted by conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor). Released by Solid State in 2002, Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child was the former Luti-Kriss' first album as Norma Jean. It was also the band's heaviest, most brutal effort to date. While Norma Jean's first recordings inspired comparisons to Limp Bizkit, Korn, (hed) p.e., and Methods of Mayhem, Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child was often compared to Hatebreed. Norma Jean's members have included lead singer/guitarist Josh, bassist Doolittle, guitarist Derr, guitarist/singer Scottie, and drummer Daniel Davidson.
This Or The Apocalypse
This Or The Apocalypse
Most unfamiliar with Lancaster County, Pennsylvania typically associate it with sprawling rural environments and Amish populations. Those who have spent time in the central PA location can speak of an entirely different portrait of Lancaster. They have experienced the "big city" atmosphere mixed with the earnest hard work ethos of a small town. They know of the thriving and vibrant downtown arts and music scene, which has produced a number of ground breaking local music acts. They can also tell you the benefit of its close proximity to 5 major US cities. It is this blend of circumstances that established the creative approach, broad vision, and DIY principles of This or the Apocalypse. They are a band that exhibits the patience and dedication to step outside the box to create something both heavy and unique. Their craft of song is intelligent, scathing, honest and even uplifting.

With a foundation steadily built from self-released recordings and self-booked tours, This or the Apocalypse signed to LifeForce Records. Their first commercial debut, "Monuments", reached American shelves on September 07 and the rest of the world the following month. The album ripped along at a driving pace, thoughtfully interchanging syncopated polyrhythmic grooves, striking melodies, and a passionate approach unheard in heavy music. With inspiration taken from vintage poetry and classic literature coupled with Armellino's tenacious and honest vocal delivery, the album offered listeners a welcomed change of pace from typical heavy music themes.
"Monuments" blurred the lines between hardcore and metal, dodging the gimmicks of both. The band toured relentlessly performing through North America for 10 months out of 12 months in support of the release during it's debut year. Focused and unwilling to stop writing new material, the band used recording equipment to create pre-production demos while on the road. It provided an opportunity to creatively experiment as a band without the limitations of deadlines. While on stage the band displayed an array of musicianship and energy, which caused them to stand out in distinction amongst others on the bill. At the 2009 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler was in attendance to one of these noted performances. Chris fondly recalls his first impressions of the band:

""I received advance copy of 'Monuments' from my friend Drew at Lifeforce and I flipped on the drummer. I called Drew and asked if this was the real deal or programming; he assured me it was real. I saw they were playing a festival LOG was on months later, very early in the day. I drug my drum tech to come watch with me and about 12 other people stood in awe with jaws dropped. I found the drummer, Grant, later that day and we discussed all things metal over a bottle of vodka in the back of my bus all night. I realized after that hang, specifically, that this was a band that could be and do anything and I was entirely addicted"

Shortly after Chris approached the band about producing their next album. Chris explains, "I knew that if I was going to ever work with another band that it would have to be a very special circumstance. I've had literally thousands of bands ask, but I never felt the connection and belief I felt when I saw and hung with TOTA. I'm happy to be a part of this. I feel like this is an important moment." Chris also brought along with him famed producer/engineer Josh Wilbur (Avenged Sevenfold/Atreyu) to work on the project. The band brought into the session enough material to record three full albums.

While the core of the songs retain the trademark TOTA sound, each member made a commitment to push their individual arrangements and performances well beyond any previously established boundaries. The synergy between the band and the co producers was the perfect storm of aggressive and creative youth coupled with experience and wisdom. The blistering ensemble of tracks will undoubtedly blaze a new path for the band and turn the world of aggressive music upside down.
Ice Nine Kills
Ice Nine Kills
It is unusual for a band to be equally influenced by hard-hitting groups like He Is Legend and Diecast, as well as the epic balladry of musicals like Les Miserables and Phantom. Yet, on Ice Nine Kills' debut album, Last Chance to Make Amends (Out Now), the sound of earth-shattering double bass drums and lacerating guitar riffs on a song like Last Words, share space with ballads like Chapter Two that gently move the listener with little more than a soft piano and a clean guitar.

Ice Nine Kills, The band, named after the ultimate weapon of mass destruction- the Ice Nine isotope from Kurt Vonneguts novel, Cats Cradle -will, like its namesake, awe you. The group seamlessly weaves the soaring melodies of punk rock and emo with the raw emotion and aggression of post hardcore and metal, creating in the process a refreshing sound that both soothes and knocks-over the listener.

Even in their most aggressive of moments, Ice Nine Kills, unlike many bands in todays scene, does not rely on unnecessary screaming to make up for lack of depth or meaning. The whole screaming thing seems really played out these days, everyone is doing it excessively. We try to only use an aggressive vocal style when it fits the part, and when it truly intensifies the song, says Jeremy.

The band provides the listener with multi textured guitar hooks, a dual vocal attack, and a pummeling rhythm section which takes the listener by the throat, and refuses to let go We try and tell our stories not only with our lyrics but with our music as well, says Jeremy, who pens the lyrics for INK. Every song I write comes from either personal experience or that of a close friend. Of course some of the stories are exaggerated, but they are all based on things that I have been through, I think thats why kids can relate to our band.


THE PAST
Ice Nine Kills was founded by Jeremy and Spencer in 2002, in a small town on the Massachusetts coast. After several member changes, the band got lucky in the winter of 2003 when drummer Grant Newsted, a highly skilled and technical drummer from Petoskey Michigan, responded to a flier the band had posted at Berklee College of music. The line up was finalized in fall 2004 when long-time friend Hobie Boeschenstein, a skilled guitarist, took over bass and back up vocal duties.


THE PRESENT
The self-produced new album explodes from the very first track Last Words, a socially relevant song that deals with the excessive pressure that many parents put on their kids to achieve unreasonable goals, and the consequences that can ensue. The band also showcases its dark sense of humor with the song, Murders and Acquisitions, a tongue-and-cheek tale of a jealous ex boyfriend who takes revenge to a level you dont want to know about, but cant help listening to. This track owes its macabre theme, no doubt, to the bands love of horror movies, which influence not only the musical expression but sometimes, the bands hair color.

As energy charged as their new album is, Ice Nine Kills cannot be fully appreciated until they are seen in a live evironment. The band not only writes enthralling music, but their live show crackles with an explosive energy. Yet, with this band, energy is not an excuse for out of time, unfocused amateurism. They are always playing extremely tight and on time. I think a lot of bands these days either lack energy when they play live in order to concentrate more on playing tight, or some bands just go nuts on stage and dont play competently. With a lot of hard work, I think we have found the perfect middle ground, says Jeremy.

Unlike most groups, the band members try to reply to each and every email they receive, allowing them to forge an unusually strong bond with their fans and create an incredibly loyal following. Our fans are really supportive of what we do, and we consider them as much a part of this band as we are, says Spencer.


THE FUTUREā€¦
Its obvious from their intensity and dedication that these boys are in this for the long haul. As Spencer said in a recent interview, Were not going to stop until every person that might enjoy our music gets a chance to hear us. There are so many great bands out there that never get discovered. We dont believe in just being lucky. We'll make our own luck.
Venue Information:
The Castle Theatre
209 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL, 61701
http://www.thecastletheatre.com/