A Force to be Reckoned With

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features - of mice and men 2Of Mice & Men at Warped Tour 2014by Darryl Warren

From “Second and Sebring” to The Flood, metalcore quintet, Of Mice & Men has restored the force for 2014.

These guys are no amateurs in the current music scene having released two albums under the label, Rise Records (Restoring Force is their third album). Although they’re at the top of their game at this point, the band has been through some trials and tribulations.

In a video statement released in 2012, bassist/vocalist, Shayley Bourget, announced that he was leaving the band due to a severe back injury, which led him to alcoholism. “There’s a bus of twelve people that are depending on me and all I’m doing is letting them down every day,” says Bourget.

This led many fans to believe that Of Mice & Men weren’t going to be the same considering the departure of their primary lyricist. However, in this blistering blade of an album, they were all proven wrong.

Lead vocalist, Austin Carlile announced on YouTube in October 2013 that “When we first went into the studio, my first mindset for the album as to be something uplifting, something hopeful, something inspiring,” and in my opinion, it was nothing short of that.

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The album was produced by the legendary David Bendeth, who has worked with bands such as Paramore, Chiodos, Breaking Benjamin, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and several others. Restoring Force opens up with the track “Public Service Announcement”. Right away, there’s a feel of rage that has never been present on any of their past releases.

One notable aspect on this record is the vocal chemistry between Carlile and Aaron Pauley.  Tracks such as “Bones Exposed” & “Feels Like Forever” present a phenomenal unity between the two vocalists.

In the song, “Break Free,” the band shows off their new defined metal sound. It almost sounds similar to bands like Slipknot and III Niño. This record also emphasizes the band’s slight departure from metalcore into a more mainstream radio sound.

Despite the band’s new approach on this record, I felt there were a few weak moments such as the song “You’re Not Alone.” The structure of the song feels very simple and fails to present any progression within the band.

At first, I was very reluctant to buy the album when the first single was released, but after a few listens it started to grow on me. Pauley’s vocals and the band’s new sound is revolutionary. I would recommend this album to anyone looking for that perfect sound and I definitely look forward to their next release.

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