Sound — 8
Of Mice & Men have been through hell and back between full lengths. First came the departure of vocalist Austin due to conflicts with part of the band. He was then replaced by Jerry Roush (formerly of Sky Eats Airplane) took over vocals, leaving a sense of emptiness in the band. It was announced earlier this year that Jerry was out and Austin was back, with a new guitarist and some passionate fuel for the fire that would become OM&M's second effort, "The Flood". This album is so far away from the original in ways, yet sounds like familiar territory with Austin's screams, Jaxin's croony cleans, and the bands southern metalcore vibe. Songs like "Still YDG'N" and "Ben Threw" are laiden with bouncy breakdowns and catchy melody lines, while "Let Live" plays more like a modern rock radio single. "My Understandings" is the biggest surprise this album has to throw at you, with it's laid back, melodic feel that caught me truly off guard. The disk, in my eyes, has no visible musical flaws, and is a very enjoyable instrumental listen for fans of the metalcore/post-hardcore genre.
Lyrics — 7
Vocals are one of OM&M's biggest strengths. Austin has a very unique scream, and can bring all the anger, angst, might, and passion in a line. Since his days in Attack! Attack!, his voice has become more gritty, embittered, and agressive, and the songs on "The Flood" (namely "Ohioisonfire" and "Ben Threw") showcase how great a vocalist he has become. The spotlight isn't just on Austin though. Jaxin, the clean vocalist, has a truly unique clean, reflecting both crooning and southern charm in his lines. "Purified" is one of his best performances out of both of the albums (maybe his best, period), lifting a sweet melody over the bouncing music that's been stuck in my head for quite a while now. Lyrically, there's not much improvement over the last release, but they aren't terrible. Lines like "All night, I dream of water that can wash the weight of the world from my shoulders" ("Purified") come off sincere enough, mostly due to vocal performance. Others, like "You play these games, baby honestly? It's such a shame, you think you control me" ("Still YDG'N") aren't anything new and almost groan worthy. Recap, vocals are really great. Lyrics, meh.
Overall Impression — 9
Of Mice & Men definately beat the odds to make this album. Through all the tribulation the band has come out far stronger, and better than ever. "The Flood" is a prime example of what's good in the modern Metalcore/Post-Hardcore scene, with a large bit of southern flair thrown in. Truly among the best Metalcore releases of 2011. Now if they can just keep their act together to bring us a third album... For fans of: Attack! Attack!, Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Emery.