Of Mice And Men - Restoring Force - (7.5/10)
Published on January 27, 2014
Not approved by John Steinbeck.
Formed by ex-Attack! Attack! (you know, these guys) vocalist Austin Carlisle following that band’s demise, Of Mice And Men have grown to be one of the most successful and surprisingly exiting exiting bands at the forefront of alternative metal. The band’s third album, Restoring Force, both expands upon and signals a departure from their superb second album; 2011’s The Flood, and its 2012 re-release (which added four new tracks that each individually eclipsed the original album); and is sure to propel Of Mice And Men into the popular metal stratosphere, even if its unclear whether it’s actually all that good or not.
- If anything, this photo should at least inspire you to go rage-listen to some early Sodom or Kreator or something. So there’s that least.
Continuing in the nu metal vein of the re-release tracks, Restoring Force starts off strongly enough with “Public Service Announcement” and the more melodically inclined swooner “Feels Like Forever, which has an almost Tool-ish vibe to its verse. “Best Of both Worlds” marries the best of both worlds, and it seems Of Mice And Men have no intention of deviating from this comfortable and successful blueprint until “Would You Still Be There,” which plays out like a Papa Roach track leftover from circa 2000 – hopefully coming soon to a film where Jet Li fights Jet Li near you – but is no less effective for it, providing a welcome dosage of upbeatitude (if it’s not a word it is now).
The harder, more metallic edge of The Flood has been all but stripped out – the band abandoning much of its metalcore heritage in favor of a more post-hardcore oriented sound. However, it is the heavier moments that remain the standout ones, especially the more varied and slightly “Glass Hearts,” but it s clear that, for as much nu metal as they’ve injected into their sound, Of Mice And Men have clearly been paying attention to the other aspects of Bring Me The Horizon’s winning formula as well – the bouncier, nu metal numbers almost forgotten come the end of Restoring Force, having been whitewashed by the plethora of electronic-infused post hardcore tracks that round out the album’s later half, of which the soaring “Identity Failure” and stomping and perplexingly-oddly-placed, lead single “You’re Not Alone” being clear highlights, the latter being an inspirational alternative rocker interjected with brief Bury Your Dead-style chugging amid its refreshingly unusual yet strikingly simple main riff – “You Make Me Sick” providing a slight nu-refrain that would sit comfortably inserted anywhere into the last Bring Me The Horizon album
Restoring Force is certainly an enjoyable experience – its songs well-crafted and instantly memorable, and, bassist, Aaron Pauley’s clean vocals have never sounded better, having been stripped of the jarring over production that plagued them on previous releases and sounding all together fuller and more pleasant; the merciful inverse of The Amity Affliction’s Ahren Stringer and Evergreen Terrace’s Craig Chaney. There’s no doubt that this album is destined to be a hit with the ample and vocal crowd that have made metal household names of Bring Me The Horizon and, regrettably, Asking Alexandria (who seem to weasel their way into far more of my reviews than I’m comfortable with), yet its songs seem essentially, of the moment and thus of dubious shelf-life and its enjoyment is, I suspect, much accentuated by its brief running time.
It might not set the world afire (or pummel it beneath an unforgiving and unfathomly deep ocean, if you will), the way The Flood did but Restoring Force serves as acceptable testimony to Of Mice And Men’s position at the front lines of the modern, alternative metal / hardcore scene.