|Evolving from Luti-Kriss, the original Norma Jean line-up consisted of the final Luti-Kriss lineup, but with a new bass player. Drummer Daniel Davison (writer of much of the band's material), explained that the band got their name from actress Marilyn Monroe, whose real name is Norma Jeane Baker. It was not until after they decided upon that name that they found out that "Norma" means "pattern", and "Jean" means "God's grace and mercy", combined saying "Patterns of grace and mercy". In 2002 the band released Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child on Solid State Records. Their original vocalist Josh Scogin left the band shortly after the release of Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child, stating that "it was just something that I felt led to do." Scogin has been known to join in with Norma Jean during live performances to sing "Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste" since his departure. Original bassist Joshua Doolittle also left the band around the same time as Scogin. Doolittle was replaced by Jake Schultz. Scogin left the band and later went on to start The Chariot; he was replaced by Brad Norris for about a year and a half.
Brad Norris was later replaced by Cory Brandan Putman, formerly of the bands Eso-Charis, Living Sacrifice, and Uses Fire. In March 2005 they released their second album, titled O God, the Aftermath. The album took on a mathcore direction, heavily influenced by the bands Botch and Isis. It was also Cory Brandan's first album performance for Norma Jean. The artwork for the band's second album, O God, the Aftermath was nominated for Best Recording Package at the Grammy Awards of 2006. The artwork was designed by Ryan Clark.
Redeemer, their third album, was recorded with producer Ross Robinson. On September 21, 2007, original drummer Daniel Davison announced that he would be leaving the band after their current tour ended, via the band's official website. His last show was on November 7, 2007 at Irving Plaza in New York, NY.
On December 17, 2007, Norma Jean announced that they would start writing for their new album, The Anti Mother, in January, record in April, and will be playing the entire 2008 Warped Tour. Writing was officially announced on January 24. On February 13, Norma Jean announced in a MySpace bulletin that they were "about 6 songs deep." They wrote a song with Page Hamilton of Helmet, and collaborated with Deftones' frontman Chino Moreno. The band described the two songs they wrote with Moreno as diverse and anti-traditional. In early to mid February, they announced that their replacement drummer would be Chris Raines, who is also the drummer for the band Spitfire.
On August 5, 2008, Norma Jean released The Anti Mother. Prior to leaving for their headlining tour, Norma Jean shot a music video for "Robots 3 Humans 0", with music video director Daniel Chesnut. The album continued in the same musical direction that they had headed with their two previous albums, but with less of a botch-influenced mathcore approach; rather, the album saw the band incorporating a more atmospheric sound heavily influenced by sludge metal and post-metal bands such as Isis and Neurosis.
On January 3, 2009, Norma Jean announced on their official website that they would be writing songs for their next album. The band's upcoming fifth studio album is said to be a return "back to [their] roots." On April 5, 2009, Norma Jean announced on their website that they had dropped off their current tour due to a myriad of reasons.
On November 3, 2009, Norma Jean announced that they would be parting ways with longtime label Solid State and signing a deal with independent label Razor & Tie with plans to release an album in the summer of 2010. Norma Jean announced that a title for one of their new songs will be "Kill More Presidents" and have encouraged fans to film the live performance of this song. The video was released in early March. Fans could download the first track, titled "Leaderless and Self Enlisted" from Meridional by signing up for the bands email list via the band's website.
Norma Jean released their Jeremy Griffith produced album, Meridional, on July 13, 2010. In an interview with Exclaim! Magazine that was published the day of the Meridional album release, drummer Chris Raines spoke of how the sound of Meridional came to be and what influenced it." The last few records have been doing different things; this one truthfully mixed a lot of those records with what we wanted to do this time. I think we took all the good that we liked from the past records and added the new touch that we wanted to put on it, which was a heavier and darker theme."
Drummer Chris Raines was replaced by Matt Marquez in late 2010 with no formal announcement made for this exchange or if Raines would ever return. On November 23, 2010, Norma Jean's former record label Solid State Records released a retrospective box set collection titled Birds and Microscopes and Bottles of Elixirs and Raw Steak and a Bunch of Songs. The three CD compilation contains the band's first three studio albums (Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child, Redeemer and O God, the Aftermath). In January 2011, founding guitarist Scottie Henry decided to take a temporary break from Norma Jean. He would later be replaced by Jeff Hickey, formerly of The Handshake Murders, for 2011 tour dates.
On October 30, 2012, the band announced that they would be going into the studio from December 2012 - January 2013, with Joshua Barber as the chosen producer. It will be the first album by the band to feature new members Jeff Hickey on guitar, John Finnegan on bass, and Clayton Holyoak on drums. The band revealed on their website that the record will be called Wrongdoers, and will be released on August 6, 2013.