Of Mice And Men - Restoring Force (Full Circle) - (8/10)
Published on February 26, 2015
Restoring Force (and then some).
In the roughly 12 months since its release (and as predicted in my original review) Restoring Force has propelled Of Mice And Men to the top of the alternative metal crowd. I personally have found myself revisiting the record far more often that predicted and have never found myself dissatisfied. In that period I have also witnessed a crowd of (mostly male) hardcore, European, heavy metal fans throw down to the band at Hellfest in France and a crowd of (mostly female) adolescents cling to their every word at Soundwave in Melbourne. So yeah, it’s safe to call Restoring Force a bona fide success at this point.
As with 2011-then-2012’s The Flood, Restoring Force has undergone the deluxe edition, re-release treatment. The Full Circle edition sees four new tracks added to the album, consisting of three new songs and an acoustic version of “Feels Like Forever.” Unlike those tracks added onto The Flood, which immediately eclipsed and stood apart from the original record by being about ten-times as heavy and forceful, those added to Restoring Force seem well-suited to the original release and it would have been interesting to see them integrated into the running order rather than simply tacked onto the end of the record.
If there’s a unifying theme to be found among the new additions it’s an even further accentuation of the band’s nu- and melodic, post-hardcore elements. The three new tracks feel like a logical continuation of “Would You Still Be There” and the runaway hit “You’re Not Alone,” particularly “Something To Hide” and “Never Giving Up,” the later of which has a sort of Incubus (ugh) feel to it, but they are each successful in also being insanely catchy and instantly memorable. Only the new take on “Feels Like Forever” seems like a superfluous addition. While it’s a fine rendition, the band make no effort to rearrange or reinterpret the song within the acoustic setting, and it does seem like a bit of a cheap, cop-out when compared to the coherent and contained tracks of the Flood re-release.
The Full Circle tracks don’t add nearly as much to the record as their predecessors. However, neither do they take away from the experience, and Restoring Force is an album that has (surprisingly) only grown better with age. If you missed it the first time around or need a crash course in what’s hot (and worthwhile) on the popular metal scene at the moment then now’s as good a time as ever.