ALBUM REVIEW – “Restoring Force” by Of Mice & Men

Well, music lovers all around, we’ve got ourselves a good one today and one I’ve been waiting for quite some time now. The highly anticipated third studio album from Rise Records band Of Mice & Men, titled “Restoring Force”. The band has described the album as the middle ground after “The Flood”, which was their second studio release.

1)    Public Service Announcement – Wow, I’m surprised as to how strong of an opening this is to the album. This right here is Of Mice & Men as everyone knows them. I was banging my head up and down to this as the guitar dropped into an infectious breakdown as Austin Carlile’s growl builds up in the background and then taking center stage.

2)    Feels Like Forever – Pretty solid track here. The chugging in the beginning slowly envelops into a steady arsenal, bringing power with the help of the vocals provided by bassist Aaron Pauley, whose clean vocals are finally seen to shine in the studio with the band.  The track feels like it’s more along the lines of a rock ballad, which you can never go wrong with. I am really digging the diversity and direction that the band has decided to take here.

3)    Bones Exposed – As one of the first two singles released with “You’re Not Alone”, this track helped me see the heavier aspect that wasn’t seen as much in the other. I believe that this song experiments with both the old and the new, both holding to their roots musically and incorporating new vocals, specifically that of Pauley’s, at the same time. This one will sure be a fan favorite at concerts, as the riffs will keep pounding at the ears, which should not be a complaint when everyone will find themselves moshing and bringing about pure insanity.

4)    Would You Still Be There – Most fans might find this track more mainstream in comparison to their other work as it has more of a hard rock feel to it. This track is more radio-friendly as Aaron Pauley takes the center stage here with his clean vocals; nonetheless, it is nothing short of infectious. The chorus may ring in my head let alone those of many fans and music lovers as I continue to listen to it many times to come This is not a bad track whether or not people consider it Of Mice & Men or not.

5)    Glass Hearts – The subtle opening quickly develops into the chugging machine-gun barrage of guitar strumming, picking up on Austin Carlile’s vocals but it is Aaron Pauley here again who shines as it hits some pretty nice high notes during the chorus.

6)    Another You – We’ve got ourselves a steady ballad here with soothing drums and Aaron Pauley shining on his own before Austin Carlile joins him with radiant energy all around.  This is an ideal lounge track in my opinion while emotions are heard in both of their voices. It’s nice to hear their voices synced and relying on each other to put their performance at their best. The screaming in the verses and cleans work perfectly together here.

7)    Break Free – This track feels works more around the likes of a nu-metal track from the patterns in between the verses, however, the chanting works and it will be a tune stuck in the heads of many fans and listeners alike. I recommend everyone to give it a listen.

8)    You Make Me Sick – The industrial riff in the beginning takes the band into a whole new direction, sounding like a nu-metal track in a sense, which will have fans going completely insane. The breakdowns in this song are Of Mice & Men material, and the angst-like vocals only add to the aggression of the song along with the guitar work and drumming. This is a pretty good track here that has a hint of Slipknot in it.

9)    Identity Disorder – There is a Bring Me the Horizon feel here, which I am not complaining about let alone making any comparisons between the two bands. The slow beats and Pauley’s accompanying vocals take the stage during the melodic verses, which are soothing to the ears while Carlile backs him up during the chorus, fueling the track with energy.  The instrumentation in this song really stuck out to me as I found myself enchanted by the riffs in the chorus in addition to the melody.

10) You’re Not Alone – This is the first released track and hint we had of the album. It starts off with a memorable and catchy guitar riff as the instruments build up in the background. Carlile takes over the verses, motivating his listeners with the theme of togetherness. This was the first glimpse of Pauley’s vocals with the band, which blew me away during the first run of this song. The chant “Don’t let the world bring you down” rings through my head and gets stuck there for a while every time I listen to this track so I give it points for being insanely catchy and an all-around great rock jam.

11) Space Enough to Grow – The final track off of the new album. Another slow song we have here to conclude the restoring force of this album as opposed to the strong and heavy opening. Pauley’s melodic voice evokes so much emotion here along with the light instrumentation that backs him up during the entire course of the song. This is not a very long track but a great one that finishes the album off appropriately.

After listening to “Restoring Force”, I, like many fans, will first notice the significant difference in theme and composition from the band’s previous album, “The Flood”, which is distinctively heavier. This has been debated by listeners prior to the release and can either be warmly accepted with open arms or shunned away in the loss of fans. However, the band has experimented with their sound, which is always commended and reveals the level of diversity they can bring to the table. It is clearly evident that they are directly speaking to their fans at a very personal level and all of the emotions in this album can be related to, which is undoubtedly an amazing feeling and I’m glad to see that they have taken this step.  It can be debated whether or not this is an Of Mice & Men album, but it is a great rock album nonetheless. Newly recruited bassist Aaron Pauley, formerly of Jamie’s Elsewhere fame, fit right into the glove of the band and has really out shined all expectations. Like the name of the last track, there is always “space enough to grow” and the band are just doing that. Of Mice & Men have grown significantly and gained notoriety, showing that they are here to stay.

Rating: 8.5/10

You’re Not Alone

Bones Exposed

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