Restoring Force review by Of Mice & Men

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  • Released: Jan 27, 2014
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 5.2 (54 votes)
Of Mice & Men: Restoring Force
1

Sound — 7
Of Mice & Men was founded in 2009 by Jaxin Hall and Austin Carlile, former member of Attack Attack! and the band that started the whole crab-core debacle. While the band's original sound was pretty much paint-by-numbers metalcore, they've had some changes to their sound since then, incorporating aspects of nu-metal and hard rock. The release of "Restoring Force" is a conscious effort by the band to achieve a more mainstream or straight "rock" sound as well as have more structured songs. This is also the first album to introduce Aaron Pauley on clean vocals. "You're Not Alone" was released as the first single from the album in December 2013, being closely followed by the second single, "Bones Exposed." The album contains 11 tracks with a runtime just short of 40 minutes and is being released via Rise Records. 

The album opens up with the track "Public Service Announcement" which pretty much sets the mood for the whole album, riff heavy playing with some seriously down-tuned guitars. You can definitely hear elements of nu-metal and metalcore both in the sound of this track. "Feels Like Forever" is next up, with a catchy little riff in the intro, they build up a whole song. The band is definitely getting better at using the empty spaces in their sound. "Bones Exposed" is one of the most aggressive songs on the album, and possibly my overall favorite. "Would You Still Be There" is definitely much more "hard rock" than the previous songs on the album, without really any more than a slight hint of metalcore. "Glass Hearts" starts out like a light little melody and builds into a much heavier song which oddly enough reminded me of Slipknot. "Another You" is another track on the album that starts fairly light and clean, and with a female guest vocalist. The song builds into a really strong track. "Break Free" has a strong nu-metal vibe going on with the guitars in the intro. "You Make Me Sick" is an aggressive song from the start, though it starts with a really cliché-like pick scrape that it took me a minute to get over and enjoy the song. "Identity Disorder" stood out to me as having one of the most interesting bass lines and lyrical themes from the album - this is another track that sounds much more like hard rock than either metalcore or nu-metal. "You're Not Alone" has some serious bite, and won me over in pure heaviness, but has possibly my least favorite vocals on the album. The album closes out with the track "Space Enough to Grow," which has a kind of ambient little thing going on in the opening. The song really sounds like the title implies and doesn't sound like anything else from the album. Only clean vocals are used for this entire track, and relatively clean guitar and bass and just light percussion. It is a good track to close the album out with.

Lyrics — 7
Founding member, Austin Carlile, provides unclean/screamed vocals while new member, Aaron Pauley, provides clean vocals on the album. One of the truly strong points of the album is the interplay with Austin and Aaron's vocals, which have enough contrast to make it interesting. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some lyrics from the second single, "Bones Exposed": "It's like loving a lion that cannot be tamed/ I snap at the thought or the sound of your name/ Pulling teeth from my stomach/ You've been eaten alive/ My blood fills your lungs/ My soul, your inside/ My feet they stand on ashes/ From the fires that you've made/ Burning bridges/ Just to save your face/ If I say I wouldn't be hostile/ Could you say you would do the same/ If we're all made just a little bit broken/ Tell me who is to blame?". This is pretty standard fare for Of Mice & Men lyrics. The vocal interplay by Austin and Aaron does make it a little more engaging to listen to, though.

Overall Impression — 7
The album was produced by David Bendeth, who has done an excellent job in the overall production and mixing on the album. My favorite tracks from the album would probably be "Bones Exposed" and "Another You." "You're Not Alone" is another good song from the album. I have to give credit to the band, for a project that was started by the cast off of Attack Attack! I'm really impressed with the new release. Their previous release, "The Flood," wasn't bad, but this is the release to me that has helped define Of Mice & Men as their own unique entity.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    dom.spizzirri
    Personally I found this album to be much better than their previous attempts. Yes it's not the best album and it's far from perfect, but I would say this album is worth a 7/10 at average. But then again I've been listening to core genres for a while and I'm loving all of these bands breaking out of it and doing their influences' sound.
    EpiExplorer
    Sargent D at MetalSucks called them 'Ridethelighteningcore' cuz they sound like a bad mixture of boring 80's speed metal and flaccid modern hardcore. Kind of agree, not fussed about the genre tho.
    Helicopters!
    Does anyone else think that Aaron Pauley's voice has an uncanny resemblance to that of Casey Crescenzo (The Receiving End Of Sirens and now The Dear Hunter)? I seriously had to do a double take at who was doing clean vocals for this band.
    CollinsKChris
    the first thing that crossed my mind when Aaron Pauley started singing was that he sounded like the Atreyu's drummer singing. haha
    intothevoid95
    Personally, I prefer the clean vocals on this album to the ones of their previous releases. They sound more mature and less pop-punk influenced. The best songs on here are the ones that don't try to be heavy.
    Collyn
    Usually when there is a recent lineup change, people would point the blame twords the new member, But im not even sure Aaron Pauley was what made this album meh.
    vppark2
    He did make it somewhat more boring, considering how great Shayley was.
    vguitars3577
    I agree with this. I do believe Shayley's presence would have helped but overall I don't think it would have been that much better...impossible to tell though.
    Zaqq
    Not sure why [b]all metalcore albums get downvoted here, because they are not good or because they're just metalcore? The last OM&M album was pretty good, even though I'm not a fan of this genre.
    Richardbs
    While I enjoy everything Of Mice & Men have done (even this album), there ARE good metalcore bands. Did you check out the latest Asking Alexandria album? Check out ANYTHING by Parkway Drive or August Burns Red you won't be disappointed.
    coledog321
    Asking Alexandria is awful. Some of the most overproduced vocals in the metalcore genre mixed with some of the most boring instrumental parts. His screams on the albums are okay, but I had the unfortunate experience of seeing them live and the dude can't scream to save his life. There's obvious vocal polishing going on in their records.
    SHartsell
    uh there's vocal polishing on every album made in the past 20 years...they're big so they must be doing something right. Then again that can't be said of anything on the radio.
    coledog321
    true, but AA has done it to the point where the vocalist will never be able to sound even similar to the album, which is a bad thing. Sure vocal polishing happens on most records (saying that it happens on every album made in the past 20 years is quite an overstatement) but when the vocals on the album sound nothing like the live vocals, which are shit for AA, then you've gone too far with it.
    Reages
    Because this is not metalcore and bands like this ruin metalcores name.
    vppark2
    Pretty much. Bands like these take all of their influence from bands like Disturbed and the whole nu-metal phase, and think it sounds unique.
    SGofawesome
    Finally got around to listening to the album in full. It's pretty sub-par IMO. Few songs that might stay on rotation for a while, but other than that, a fairly forgettable album.
    rockizzlefoshiz
    I'm very fond of this band and of the genres that they have encompassed. I think they are excellent songwriters and have let their roots show a lot on this record. The songs stand on their own in a way that you don't have to listen to the whole album to get into them...That being said I listen to the whole thing anyways because I'm loving it.
    Aussie_skater
    Feels like they've taken every lyric off of tumblr, very cliche. Not a fan of this band but they are quite popular so gave it a listen, if anything I think it shows that their frontman Austin isn't really adding anything and is probably their weakest link musically. Im sure if he left their fangirl fans would leave as well.
    NarwhalG2G
    He already left once and they stayed. They're pretty legitimate fans of the band, you know.
    Aussie_skater
    I think you might be surprised just how much of their fanbase is made up of fangirls. They'll fade into nothing after another album or two, its very rare to have a long career in this industry, particularly when the majority of your fanbase is made up of young girls who saw them on tummblr.
    xRYANBEARx
    i'm not sure if anybody else has noticed this, but a lot of the riffs seem to be almost exact copies of songs that older "nu-metal" bands have put out. for instance, the main riff to Public Service Announcement sure sounds a lot like the main riff to Right Now by Korn. and then the beginning chord progression to Bones Exposed is the EXACT melody of Inner Vision by System of a Down