Thursday, January 30, 2014

Album Review: Of Mice & Men - Restoring Force

Author: Tori

In the years between ‘The Flood” and “Restoring Force,” Of Mice & Men have not lost their momentum. Austin Carlile explained it perfectly when he said, “What happens after a disaster? What happens after The Flood? You return to normal. You find balance again." To me, “Restoring Force” feels like a fresh start for the band thanks to the addition of clean vocalist, Aaron Pauley. Pauley had an intimidating position to fill after Shayley Bourget left the band. He proudly stepped up to the challenge without batting an eye. I don’t view Pauley as Bourget’s replacement anymore; his live performances are phenomenal and he is the star of this album. Although Austin Carlile is considered the face of the band, don’t let that overshadow Pauley’s amazing talent. Carlile’s aggressive screams and Pauley’s passionate vocals balance each other perfectly, making them an unstoppable duo.

For most of the track list, the band strategically alternates between heavy, fast paced songs and soft rock anthems. “Public Service Announcement” sets the tone; the introduction is an explosion of anger, ferocity, and ruthlessness. The next track is one of my favorite songs, “Feels Like Forever,” which demonstrates a mellower, radio friendly side of the band. I love Carlile’s raspy vocals during the verses in contrast to the heart-felt chorus.

Skipping to track four, “Would You Still Be There” is brilliantly catchy – after listening to it twice, I could sing every word of the infectious chorus. I tend to gravitate towards these kinds of songs since I can learn the words quickly. Compared to “The Flood,” I think they embraced this style even more (especially on “Another You,” “Space Enough To Grow,” and “Identity Disorder”). On the other hand, “You Make Me Sick” was Carlile’s time to shine. The lyrics are brutal, clever, and painfully relatable. 

Fans have dubbed Of Mice & Men with the reputation of being an empowering band; they confirmed that title on the track “You’re Not Alone.”  This was the first single released from this album and I’ve had it on repeat since I first heard it. The lyrics are inspirational without seeming insincere (which can be the case when a band tries too hard to pull on our heart strings).

Of Mice & Men is not a generic metal band; their style is versatile and the variety on “Restoring Force” makes that clear; you won’t find a single song with a predictable or formulaic pattern. Usually, an album requires a few listens before it draws my attention, but this one was anything but boring the first time around. I have been a long-time fan of Of Mice & Men and they didn’t let me down! I give this album a 5/5.

Check out our interview with Of Mice & Men:

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