Of Mice & Men: Restoring Force

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Big, brave, bold. Welcome to the year of the mouse.

In the years following their sophomore album The Flood, metal core outfit Of Mice & Men have been slowly evolving. From member changes to new musical influences, the band has been taking many steps towards something more than just “that metal band” who have only a dedicated string of Hot Topic shoppers behind them.

Although the transition seems subtle, if one traces the band’s original sound back to its earlier demos, it is now very evident that the band has set their eyes on a much higher level of metal glory with their latest album Restoring Force.

Restoring Force is both heavier and softer than previous Of Mice & Men albums, and the band does a fantastic job of transitioning between the two throughout the album.

The album’s first song, “Public Service Announcement” opens up with a reminder of how the band perfectly blends both the heavy and anthemic sound of the band. The song serves as an instant PSA of sorts to skeptics that Of Mice & Men are here to stay. Lead vocalist Austin Carlile’s screaming of the words “You all have something to say” at the song’s intro shows that the band does not care about its critics and what they have to say about them. Combined with the loud guitar and drums that kick in moments later, it is clear that the band’s heaviness is clearly still present.

“Feels Like Forever” follows up with a sound geared towards fans who have a taste for a softer form of rock. The catchy chorus layered over the heavy instrumental elements makes the song something that could easily be a rock hit.

While most metal bands today are trying so desperately to discover new, innovative ways to appear heavier in sound, Of Mice & Men is, in fact, flipping the script and exploring new forms of rock while at the same time retaining their true metal elements that serve as the band’s foundation.

The song “Bones Exposed” displays this by retaining a distinctive heavier sound found on the band’s previous album The Flood, while at the same time incorporating its new softer and cooler sound. Of Mice & Men isn’t the first band to take their metal influenced sound and add to it a dose of alternative flair. But what sets Restoring Force apart from other similar albums is the consistent, quality sound that results from this combination.

Both “Glass Hearts” and “You’re Not Alone” truly take the band’s sound to the next level. They are decisively in line with everything the band has done on prior albums but mixed in with a vast array of new influences that have allowed the band to take control of the world of hard rock that few bands have ever explored.

Of notable sound, the song “Another You” also demonstrates a very clear transition in the band’s overall sound. The heartfelt song about losing someone you care about opens up slowly with the band’s clean vocalist and bassist Aaron Pauley. With light guitar and drums backing Pauley’s high-pitched vocals, the song eventually picks up Carlile briefly joining in. But it’s Pauley’s soft and sentimental vocals carry the song along. The overall hook of the song, which features the lyrics “So I’ll carry you with me / it might change my memory” with simple drum rolls, once again showcases the band’s new softer sound.
As a whole, Restoring Force proves to be Of Mice & Men’s most mature album to date. Though getting in touch with their softer side, the band still retains its metal roots and is sure to please fans that have followed the band for years and bring in new ones. Restoring Force raises the bar for metal core bands everywhere and marks the beginning of a new chapter for Of Mice & Men.

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