Many people are going to hate this album. But the people who will love it are some of the hardest to impact through traditional outreach. Norma Jean operate within the ‘Hardcore’ genre – a kind of Heavy Metal on steroids, with singing replaced by atonal screaming and melody replaced by explosive guitars and ear-splintering tempo-changes. Norma Jean are one of the genre’s most popular bands, with Grammy nominations and 15 million plays on Myspace, despite being well-known as Christians.

Meridional, like all their output, is not preachy, not a mere medium for a message, but pure, dissonant, difficult art. And it is by far the best thing they have ever done. Highly recommended for the adventurous of ear.

HIGH: The epic guitar riff on ‘A Media Friendly Turn for the Worse’.

LOW: The fact that they had to go to a major secular label for this to be available in the UK.