On Norma Jean’s new Wrongdoers album, the midpoint track, “Afterhour Animals,” incorporates what sounds like a woman hypnotizing someone else by speaking calming words, sinking them into a “comfortable silence.” This calm before the storm, however, is immediately followed by “The Lash Whistled Like a Singing Wind,” one minute and seven seconds of the most intense punk-metal you’re likely to hear all year.
And it is the latter that is most emblematic of what Norma Jean does best. Singer Cory Brandon Putman sings like a man on a frantic mission throughout Wrongdoers. Although “Potter Has No Hands” has some intriguing guitar parts and the album’s title track kicks off with a bit of swagger, it is the overall extreme intensity of this music that sticks to your bones when all is said and done. “Triffids” includes the line, “Silence shows nothing but weakness.” Make no mistake, though; there’s no weakness here. This album rings out with a simple warning: wrongdoers beware.