It’s been a bit since we’ve heard anything out of the Norma Jean camp since the release of All Hail back in 2019. There was some light touring and then the pandemic hit in early 2020 followed by some controversy involving Cory [Brandan]. Things went silent and some were even unsure of the fate of Norma Jean moving forward. However, Norma Jean popped back up and played some shows in late 2021 with some dates slated for mid 2022.
However, this is not the return of The Almighty Norma Jean.
orphantwin is a side project involving members of Norma Jean that has been somewhat dormant since 2009 (according to Facebook) as there had been no posts since late 2009 until March of this year stating they would be releasing their debut Future Classic via Solid State Records.
Immediately, it is easy to draw comparisons to Norma Jean simply due to Cory’s vocals. Tonally, everything fits well within the scope of what we saw on All Hail from NJ, but there is something about Future Classic that sets it apart. For being only 6 tracks and clocking in at just under 17 minutes Future Classic hits hard, fast and doesn’t pull any punches.
Things open with “Negative Threads” followed by “Deathsurf”. Both tracks are quick and relentless, but they carry a contrast to one another. Where “Negative Threads” seems to be more sludgy “Deathsurf” comes across more clean even if it does utilize the distortion. “Headphones or Die” probably carries the most Norma Jean-esque sound musically, but plays it to full advantage making it a remarkable track.
“The Glimpse” is an aggressive and fast paced, no holds barred track that is a musical assault on the senses and paves the way for “llovvlless” which is a quick downshift. “llovvlless” is a bit of a droning track and the longest on the album, but it’s pieced together beautifully both musically and lyrically. The album comes to a close with “Hominy” which is a poignant yet well composed closer. The instrumentation is extravagant in comparison to the rest of the album as it includes piano and french horn. Neither instrument feel out of place on the track even if they may seem out of place on the album as a whole making this final track truly stand out against the rest of the album.
Overall, Future Classic is a solid release that stands out in the second quarter of the year and is hopefully a glimpse of more to come. Future Classic is sure to become an instant classic.
Future Classic is available now on all major streaming platforms or you can purchase a digital download via the band’s Bandcamp (physical release is forthcoming).