Of Mice and Men: Restoring Force

Immediately after leaving the band Attack Attack, Austin Carlile formed Of Mice and Men, and have reached new heights that I don’t believe he could have reached with Attack Attack. With every album, we see the band growing as musicians and as a band, whereas I don’t think the same could be said for Attack Attack.

It’s been quite some time since the consecutive releases of Of Mice and Men (2010) and The Flood (2011), but I think it has all been worth the wait. Restoring Force is proving to be their most ambitious and most mature sounding record to date. The album kicks off strong with “Public Service Announcement,” which was an absolute ripper of a track and certainly started the album on a high note. I also immediately noticed a change in Carlile’s vocals. His approach is not as dare-I-say, whiney and has some balls behind it. His lyrics have also improved as well as his whole melodic structure. I found this apparent on the second track “Feels Like Forever,” which opens with a classic nu-metal styled riff. Another thing to be said about this album is its apparent return to a more turn-of-the-century nu-metal style and I think this departure from the two previous albums makes this album that much better.

The first single, “Bones Exposed,” is something you’ll most likely have heard before, but in case you didn’t, it’s an absolute stormer of a track, as is the other single, “You’re Not Alone.” Both of these songs have huge drums, great riffs and killer vocals throughout. I also thought that “Would You Still Be There” and “Break Free” were great tracks on the album too. I think switching producers on this record was a huge strategic move. They worked with David Benedith, famous for his work with Breaking Benjamin, Paramore, A Day to Remember, Papa Roach, and Bring Me the Horizon. Benedith masterfully captures the band’s full live excitement and energy on this record and sonically, the album is massive.

By taking this step back in the songwriting and full approach to the Of Mice and Men sound, I think the band have been able to take a few well deserved strides forward and as a result, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them as a headliner for Warped Tour this year as well as being on some other sizable bills. Restoring Force is an appropriate title for this album because not only is it a nod to the previous album, The Flood, but it also shows that the band themselves have regained their footing and sound like a totally different band on this album.

Luke Helker

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