Finally, it’s here. Fans of Californian metalcore / post-hardcore band Of Mice & Men have been eagerly awaiting the release of their third studio album Restoring Force, and now after months of arduous torture the time has come for the heaviness and brutality to be unleashed. From the two tracks already released to tease fans You’re Not Alone and Bones Exposed, everybody anticipated that this album was going to be special, and after playing it through in its entirety it seems expectations have well and truly been met.
Kicking things off in an expectedly aggressive fashion, is Public Service Announcement which beholds frontman Austin Carlile growling his way through three minutes of intense double-bass drumming and heavily distorted guitars. The band broke through the metalcore scene with their 2010 debut self-titled album and from this track alone it is clear to see they have retained the essence of what attracted people to their music. After this comes Feels Like Forever which shows off an amazing chorus which utilises the clean vocals of Aaron Pauley. It seems that on this album in particular, the band has focussed on introducing more vocal hooks and choruses instead of having the majority of their songs screamed throughout. Although this decision caused some cynicism it pays off well to create tracks which standout from the first listen and will give fans something to sing along to on the upcoming tour.
The album powers through with a track-listing ready to burst with great material, tracks such as Would You Still Be There and Glass Hearts engage the listener and from start to finish captivate your ears with the intricate drum work of Valentino Arteaga, which is as awe-inspiring as those which appeared on their last record The Flood. The band was very forthright in saying this new album takes inspiration from nu-metal bands such as Linkin Park and there are very distinctive movements where this is evident, especially in the guitars. Carlile’s screams also have a similarity to those of Chester Bennington on this release, emphasising how the band has worked hard to capture the raw energy of nu-metal to the point where they begin to take on the sound of the bands who they are trying to pay homage to.
One of the highlights to appear on this record is Another You. Starting off with the features of one of the band’s lighter tracks, such as the amazing When You Can’t Sleep At Night, and then catapulting into a heavy and insanely powerful chorus which will surely feature on upcoming set lists for its sheer crowd-sing-along factor. In a similar way, the album closer Space Enough To Grow takes a step away from the heaviness to focus more on clean guitars and much more melodic vocals to create a very ambient piece which focuses more on containing empty spaces instead of attacking the listener with a wall of sound. The complex hi-hat rhythms on this track take centre focus along with the vocals and the guitar is played sparingly. Overall this track is perfect to finish off the new album and will leave fans with a sense of satisfaction and on a mellow note.
Of Mice & Men will embark on a European tour later this year which stops off for multiple nights in the UK. However, most of these shows have sold out so fans will have to act quickly to grab the last few tickets left. The band will also play at this year’s Reading & Leeds Festival and are rumoured to possibly make an appearance at Slam Dunk Festival. All in all, from listening to this new album, it appears they are definitely a band worth checking out live in the near future whenever possible.
Restoring Force is out January 28th
Check out the lyric video for Bones Exposed below.
Words > Stephen Morris