Ruminate on that one for a second.
It’s a beautiful word, and not just for what it describes.
A portmanteau is the forcible combination of two words that share lettering at the end of the first word and the beginning of the next one, or the manipulation thereof.
For example, track one on O’ God, the Aftermath is titled “Murderotica” – which, as you may have guessed by now, is the portmanteau of “murder” and “erotica.”
On all 11 of O’ God’s tracks, these portmanteaux create gritty, insightful, and thought-provoking stages for new NJ vocalist Cory Brandan’s lyrics. The track titles expound on their respective portmanteaux with a parenthetical-subtitle. It’s all a bit wordy, but also inventive and unique. Rather than focusing on a few, there are only 11 songs, so here they are in order:
“Murderotica (An Avalanche In D Minor)”
“Vertebraille (Choke That Thief Called Dependence)”
“Bayonetwork (Vultures In Vivid Color)”
“Dilemmachine (Coalition; Hoax)”
“Coffinspire (Multitudes, Multitudes In The Valley Of Decision!)”
“Liarsenic (Creating A Universe Of Discourse)”
“Disconnecktie (The Faithful Vampire)”
“Absentimental (Street Clam)”
“Charactarantula (Talking To You And The Intake Of Glass)”
“Pretendeavor (In Reference To A Sinking Ship)”
“Scientifiction (I. A Clot Of Tragedy; II. A Swarm Of Dedication)”
Some of those tracks names are as long as the lyrics for which they are titled.
It’s also worth noting here that O’ God is Norma Jean’s highly anticipated follow-up to their 2002 debut full length, Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child. After lead vocalist Josh Scogin split to form his next successful endeavor, The Chariot, I wondered what kind of directional change NJ would make.
Brandan’s vocals are different than Scogin’s, yes. But even with a vocalist change, and while the album’s production quality is better (to me, anyway), both the vocals and production manage to capture the same rage and organized chaos as Bless the Martyr did.
Lyrics are cryptic, bleak, and violent at times, but for effect; the sentiment of the imagery is powerful.
Here’s a snippet from “Bayonetwork”:
Disturbing rusty knives in these countless attractive letters
with a directional diagram of a guilty heart.
“Insert Knife Here”
Lack of thought on this subject has attested catastrophic
Come one, come all, introduce knife to heart.
With our eyes rolled back.
Alright then. That’s one way to get at a tired metaphor.
Musically, O’ God is heavy and raw. It takes a step away from the more “straight” metal Bless the Martyr and into metalcore.
O’ God is a clear indicator of what was to come for Norma Jean. Good stuff.
Standout tracks: “Vertabraille” and “Liarsenic” and “Absentimental” – newfound appreciation for “Charactarantula” after today’s listening sesh, too.
Weakest track: “Disconnecktie” – who actually can listen to the whole 10 minutes every time?
RIYL: Hardcore, metal. The Chariot, Every Time I Die, Advent.