Of Mice & Men

Of Mice & Men – Defy

Many of Of Mice & Men‘s fans were surprised when clean vocalist Aaron Pauley confirmed he would be taking on lead vocal duties alongside the release of first single Unbreakable, but Defy takes on a blend of the sounds of Of Mice & Men‘s older material and Pauley’s former band Jamie’s Elsewhere during his vocal tenure.

Defy is kicked off with the title track which again shocked a large portion of the fanbase when it was released. A return to heavy riffs and crushing vocals is evident as soon as the song kicks in with screams and chugging guitars dominating all of the space on the recording. Come the chorus, these somewhat make way for a wide, sweeping gang vocal that demonstrates the incorporation of Restoring Force ideas for what seems like the first time since it was released. The heaviest breakdown since at least 2011’s The Flood hits around halfway through the track, bookended by the choruses that ground the track safely in the band’s style. A very promising start.

Following up the opener comes what is arguably the best song on the album – titled Instincts. The sheer power of the guitar work is sure to be enough to make many sit in awe of the tone crafted throughout, and backed up by the cymbal-filled drum wrap-around created by Tino and the producers that cuts through the chunky guitar-bass hybrid. The wah-riddled solo from Phil sounds dystopian in sections and is just plain technical in others – this is a lead guitarist who has his confidence and ability on display now more than ever before. It’s not all heavy and crazy though – lighter songs including pre-release single Back To Me are sure to keep fans of the newer eras of the band with the catchy choruses and more middle-of-the-road rock sound they have crafted.

Vocally throughout, Aaron sounds very much in practice as if he never slowed up his screaming at all. Forever YDG’n is written somewhat as a tribute to the first two albums of the band, and the vocal work throughout the tune does it justice entirely. Slightly contrasting the nostalgia is Sunflower which brings a new dual-scream dynamic with Pauley providing harsh growls alongside higher screams to create a wonderful blend that matches the feeling of the instrumentals perfectly.

The elephant in the room must be addressed though: yes, the track titled Money really is a cover of that Pink Floyd song. Was it expected? Not at all. Does it work? Honestly, it does in its own strange way. Taken as a single, the cover seems to be a rather strange rendition and outside the comfort zone of Of Mice & Men as a band, but when woven into the fabric of the album as a whole the placement of the song and the themes within the lyrics work to slot in seamlessly.

Overall, Defy is a fantastic return to form for a band that seemed to lose their way with their last release. Losing the spearhead figure of your band often crushes all morale and demands dramatic reinvention. As Robert Burns said in his poem from which the band’s name originated, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley” – Of Mice & Men had the perfect solution to Defy all expectations.

Modern Ruin frank carter and the rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Modern Ruin

Opening the album is a slow, slightly dark but thoughtful track titled Bluebelle which is performed by Frank alone. It acts as the only track from the band so far for which he has recorded an instrument, and doing so on the opening of the Modern Ruin chapter as many will know it seems like a logical move. At just over a minute long, it would be expected to be the shortest track on the album but no – that is saved for the absolutely savage Jackals later on which has been performed a few times around the country on tour.

Modern Ruin does a fantastic job of contrasting musical styles presented within the new era of The Rattlesnakes and there is no exception through the whole thirty-eight minutes of the album. Bluebelle starts quietly, then Lullaby has a groove and Snake Eyes is darker and gets progressively heavier. Vampires is fuzzy and agressive behind a veil of backing vocals and control, Wild Flowers is almost alt-pop in a very catchy way and Acid Veins is incredibly dark with a confident swaying rhythm. God Is My Friend is quick and loud yet shows a lot of control, Jackals is quicker, louder and shorter with a murderous edge, and Thunder is much slower and more reflective. Real Life is bold with a crashing and punchy rhythm, Modern Ruin is gritty and purely vicious throughout the whole period, and Neon Rust is the epic finale that gives a slow closure to the piece to mirror Bluebelle after a reflective look back at the masterpiece sandwiched between the two.

The standout tracks have to be Acid VeinsLullaby and Modern Ruin. As a trio, they represent what the album is about – exploring different ideas in very different ways that can gel into one big artistic expression. Acid Veins has a swing in the beat that few would have predicted this time last year on the back of Blossom, which gets combined with some of the darkest lyrics on the album to create an imaginative dichotomy within the storytelling. Lullaby holds a groove yet has distinct undertones of fighting against mental darkness as Carter asks “sleep, where have you gone?”. Modern Ruin is the heaviest song on the album in terms of instrumental, and it would have easily fit in on the debut album. It has a huge buildup that waits for the explosion which by no means disappoints – an absolute venue-shredder of a track.

In addition, Jackals adds a short burst of fire to liven up the quieter tracks in the middle of the album. With crashing drums and echoed vocals that climax at around 50 seconds, the quick and beat-heavy track culminates in the slightly terrifying lyric “burn them all like sickened cattle and leave nothing for the jackals”, which indicates that although the band may have seemed to mellow out musically their content is just as dark in other ways.

Overall, a very different and nearly-as-perfect album from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes that contrasts nicely with the 2015 debut Blossom. The tracks only touch on common ground with its older sibling, but it is clear Frank and Dean are exploring their musical range. Whether musically heavy or not, the album aches with sickening danger that characterises the band and there is no doubting this will help them break through on mainstream radio despite them keeping the incredibly dark feeling in their fabrication of material. Some people will adore it, some will hate it but it is sure to make their live set crank up  yet another notch. Modern Ruin hits shelves next Friday (20th Jan) so don’t sleep on it.

parachutes

Frank Iero and the Patience – Parachutes

Following the name change of the band from the cellabration to the Patience, many fans of the band have been a bit stumped as to what the new name for the group will mean for the music. If Parachutes is anything to go by, it means it’s a step up in the punky and downright angsty feel to the tracks.

The record opens with World Destroyer, holding a colossal build-up riff before alternating calm and storm passages before the melodic hardcore chorus comes in. In a sense, it seems like this record may be a mix of Leathermouth with the previous material we know from this band. The emotion seems to be less restrained somehow as the piece seems fuller than most on Stomachaches. The second track, titled Veins! Veins!! Veins!!! seems to have an air of the more theatrical My Chemical Romance days about it especially in the lead vocals, not to mention the screamed or layered backing vocals in different sections.

On the flipside of the delving into more hardcore influences comes They Wanted Darkness which for the first half sits as a well-written, emotional alt rock track before it dissolves into the punky chaos that is coming to characterise this album so well. This is furthered with I’ll Let You Down, which has a similar composition except this time the chaos is more controlled and seems to only be Frank’s vocals that lose the restrained feel until right at the end where it all dissolves again.

As with the musical style, the vocal style varies a lot throughout Parachutes. Often it is at odds with the music in terms of a melodic vocal on a punky instrumental or vice versa, but this builds the feel of the album. A good album has traces of the same vocal style behind all of the varied vocals and Frank Iero has definitely got that covered throughout.

There are so many standout tracks on the record, so much so that it would be impossible to pick a couple to name. The styles are so diverse and The Patience seem to have a pretty perfect mastery over everything they’ve included on the record. The only thing any track has over another is the fact the pre-album releases seem to be more bold than the rest of the songs in terms of lyrics, but that is the only noticeable difference between many of them.

Overall, Parachutes is a pretty stunning album. The Patience seem to have been reborn with the more band-centred writing than the first record, and it suits them perfectly. With a blend of country, hardcore, roots punk and alt rock influences, this release acts as a fusion and indicates a real confidence in where they are now and where they see themselves in the future.

Sidenote: As you’re most likely aware, the band were involved in a pretty serious incident last week involving a lorry crashing into their van. If you enjoy this album when you have a listen on Spotify or YouTube, please spare the few pounds/dollars if you can to support The Patience, they need your support more now than ever.

of mice & men eu tour

Of Mice & Men cancel EU tour

Following Austin Carlile’s trip to hospital after the Portsmouth date of their UK tour and a set cut short in Cardiff, Of Mice & Men have made the decision to cancel the rest of the tour.

The support bands Crown The Empire and Hands Like Houses will still be playing the Paris show tonight.

Our thoughts are with Austin and the band, and we wish him to be in good health soon!

See the full statement below:

Luckily though, Crown The Empire and Hands Like Houses may do something for the rest of the tour…

LIVE: Of Mice & Men – Kentish Town Forum 7/10/16

First support for Of Mice & Men‘s Cold World tour were Australian outfit Hands Like Houses who, along with their latest album Dissonants, have been making waves lately. The band hit the stage with confidence and energy as they opened with the album’s first track I Am and within seconds the crowd were bouncing along. Many did not know the band, but there were murmurs of pleasant surprise and downright fascination throughout the entire track. Then came more tracks from the album including the anthem New Romantics which really blew everyone in hearing distance away, and sadly the band were gone as soon as they had come but not before a crushing rendition of Introduced Species. At this rate, it could be sooner than you think that Hands Like Houses could be headlining venues of Forum’s size because they have the quality live, well-written tracks and just need the fanbase to back it up. Do NOT sleep on this band, they’re going places.

[9/10]

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As the second band Crown The Empire were preparing to come on, they knew they had a lot to live up to. Without co-frontman and rhythm guitarist David Escamilla this tour due to “personal reasons”, the stage looked rather empty for the performance. Andy Leo made up for the loss of vocals however, as he powered through tracks from all three albums and taking the pick of the vocals with a strong stage presence. The inconsistency and compartmentalised structures of the tracks with breakdowns one second and slower pop choruses the next restricted crowd interaction as many had no idea what to be doing in time with the music, which made some of the tracks mid-set fall slightly flat. The closing track Machines and even those who had scarcely heard of the band were familiar with it, and it got the best reception of the set by a long, long way with a mass singalong. Not a bad set by any means, but the band were clearly not fully on form (though it’s clear why!)

[7/10]

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Headliners Of Mice & Men came out to a crowd who had been suitably warmed up, and greeted them with vicious new track Pain which caused mass hysteria within seconds. This lessened off through The LieFeels Like Forever and Would You Still Be There and the crowd were almost completely inactive during Real. It was apparent the new tracks weren’t going to pick up much of a reaction through the rest of the night.

This sadly was true through the mid-set tracks, as +Away and Relentless received some of the smallest reactions of any Of Mice & Men tracks on any UK tour so far. Luckily (or strategically, who knows), the band had tagged on the three other The Flood bonus tracks from the reissue to make the complete four: The CalmThe StormThe Flood added their setlist staple The Depths. This decision got them some of the fans encouraged by the US support slot on the Slipknot tour earlier in the summer, and even some of the old-school fans (those who hadn’t left) started getting back into it.

They came back on for a charged rendition of You’re Not Alone and finished up with a fantastic version of fan favourite Second & Sebring from the 2010 self-titled debut record. These – in addition to the four Flood tracks and Pain to open – saved an otherwise lacklustre set that seemed to be lacking a lot of energy and conviction, with a stop-start feel due to a lot of pausing between tracks. Perhaps without having Hands Like Houses and Crown The Empire as supports they may have seemed a little more on form…

[6/10]

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modern ruin rattlesnakes

The Rattlesnakes reveal album details

Frank Carter (of The Rattlesnakes) has been on Radio 1 to announce his new album along with debuting the second track from it. The record will be titled Modern Ruin and will be released 27th January 2017.

Preorders available for Modern Ruin at modernru.in for iTunes, vinyl and various CD options, plus another Hyper Deluxe edition!

The tracklisting looks like this:

  1. Bluebelle
  2. Lullaby
  3. Snake Eyes
  4. Vampires
  5. Wild Flowers
  6. Acid Veins
  7. God Is My Friend
  8. Jackals
  9. Thunder
  10. Real Life
  11. Modern Ruin
  12. Neon Rust

And the album cover looks like this:

Modern Ruin (Standard CD)

Hear the latest track from the band titled Lullaby, which was premiered on Radio 1 tonight:

cold world

Of Mice & Men – Cold World

Cold World, the fourth album from California’s Of Mice & Men opens atmospherically with Game of War which shows off the softer side of vocalist Austin Carlisle’s talents. The track could have been half the length and still have had the same effect. The record soon finds OM&M‘s familiar territory with The Lie – a mid-tempo track that builds to a classic breakdown of their previous album styles. Single Real, again, is nothing new for the band. The uninspired lyrics in the chorus ‘It’s taking over me, I don’t know what to believe. Forgetting everything that makes me, makes me real let down the song which had potential but now looks to sit near the bottom of a list of the band’s singles.

The best track on the album Like A Ghost follows. Surely a future single, Like A Ghost features a heavy riff which propels the song through it’s strong, catchy chorus into a breakdown which is sure to please a Download Festival crowd next summer, should they return, but most definitely the crowds on their upcoming UK tour in October.

A brief interlude track titled  just  (meaning negative) precedes the first single Pain, one of the heaviest tracks the band have released to date. The next few tracks HungerRelentless and Down The Road seem to take inspiration from nu-metal heavyweights such as Linkin Park and Korn.

Down the Road provides the listener with one of the best vocal performances on the album, a welcome break from the heavier tracks previously, and also has some of the best lyrics on the album. ‘I feel your spirit pull me, like the moon dancing with the sea. Goodbye for now my friend, I’ll see you in the end’ is accompanied by the catchy backing refrain ‘the road is long, the road is long…’

Another orchestral interlude + follows, and the interludes are beginning to feel unnecessary. Although a first for the band, the interludes bring nothing ground-breaking to the genre. Contemporaries such as Asking Alexandria and Bring Me The Horizon do these better, and it is hard not to draw comparisons.

A huge guitar riff in the closing section of Away is the saving grace for a song that sounds too similar to some of the earlier tracks on Cold World and that could have easily been cut from the album had it not been placed there.

Closing track Transfigured features a drum section from Valentino Arteaga that shows off a very real threat to take this band to the next level, accompanied by a massive chorus. This is a track on the verge of arena-slaying with world class drum skills but it’s over almost as soon as it starts. The album ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Tracks such as Like A Ghost show that they can write a massive metalcore song when they put their minds to it. But can they write a massive metalcore album? On album number four, the band are running out of original ideas and instead of taking inspiration from within their own genre, they need to begin to push boundaries in a scene that is beginning to go stale.

Of Mice & Men announce UK/EU tour support

Of Mice & Men have announced the supports for that huge UK/EU tour later in the year.

It comes in the shape of metalcore-gone-alt-rockers Crown The Empire and pop rockers Hands Like Houses. This is a huge addition to the tour and should make it one to remember!

Check out the dates and poster below:

Lonely The Brave announce EP and UK headline tour

Following the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore release Things Will Matter in May, Lonely The Brave have announced the Dust & Bones EP.

It will be released on the 12th August via Hassle Records. Led by album highlight, the iconic track Dust & Bones, the EP also contains two new original songs in Place Isn’t Lost and Bottled Time and an added cover of legends Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.

The band have previously supported the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Biffy Clyro and Deftones. They will also be playing at this year’s Latitude, Truck and 2000 Trees Festival as well as a newly announced run of headline shows with Tall Ships in support, dotted around their festival appearances.

See the title track below:

And here are all the tour dates:

08/07/16 – 2000 Trees Festival, Cheltenham – United Kingdom
15/07/16 – Truck Festival, Oxford – United Kingdom
16/07/16 – Latitude Festival, Southwold – United Kingdom
31/07/16 – Y Not Festival, Derbyshire – United Kingdom
27/08/16 – Anchored To The Sound Festival, Plymouth – United Kingdom
03/09/16 – Fort Fest, Bedford – United Kingdom

New October UK tour dates * w/Tall Ships:
30/09/16 – Sheffield – The Plug* – BUY TICKETS
03/10/16 – Brighton – The Haunt* – BUY TICKETS
04/10/16 – Southend – Chinnerys* – BUY TICKETS
06/10/16 – London – Camden Electric Ballroom* – BUY TICKETS
07/10/16 – Bristol – Marble Factory* – BUY TICKETS
08/10/16 – Manchester – Neighbourhood Festival – BUY TICKETS
10/10/16 – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms* – BUY TICKETS
11/10/16 – Glasgow – King Tuts* – BUY TICKETS
14/10/16 – Leicester – 02 Academy* – BUY TICKETS
15/10/16 – Leeds – The Key Club* – BUY TICKETS
18/10/16 – Oxford – 02 Academy* – BUY TICKETS
19/10/16 – Hull – Welly* – BUY TICKETS
21/10/16 – Birmingham – 02 Academy* – BUY TICKETS
22/10/16 Cardiff – SWN Festival. The Tramshed – BUY TICKETS

Of Mice & Men debut ‘Pain’

The long-awaited return of metalcore gods Of Mice & Men has officially come, currently in the form of new single Pain.

The track is a shift towards a more roots metal sound from the very distinctive melodic direction they developed with bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley‘s arrival back in 2012. It is presumably taken from their yet-to-be detailed follow up to 2014’s Restoring Force which was recorded after frontman Austin Carlile‘s recovery from his surgery for Marfan’s Syndrome last year.

Watch the video below (warning: it’s stupendously heavy…):