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.

Austin Carlile Of Mice & Men

Austin Carlile leaves Of Mice & Men

Of Mice & Men frontman Austin Carlile has left the band following advice from medical professionals. The announcement comes after he became too sick to continue with the European tour supporting their latest album Cold World.

Carlile has suffered his whole life with Marfan’s Syndrome – a condition which affects connective tissue throughout the body.

See the statement below:

Carlile has subsequently indicated that this isn’t him out of the game though, with a tweet seeming to confirm he will be involved with another project in 2017:

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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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:

Of Mice & Men announce new record

In addition to the new track they premiered earlier on tonight, Of Mice & Men have just announced the follow-up to Restoring Force will be released later this year.

The record has been well-documented on Twitter and Facebook with their huge number of references to and even photos from the studio throughout the last year.

The track listing is as follows:

  1. Game Of War
  2. The Lie
  3. Real
  4. Like A Ghost
  5. Contagious
  6. Pain
  7. The Hunger
  8. Relentless
  9. Down The Road
  10. +
  11. Away
  12. Transfigured

And the album announcement came in this form on the band’s social media pages:

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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…):

Of Mice & Men to premiere track

 

Orange County’s Of Mice & Men have a well-publicised comeback after about 9 months off the road this year with their mini UK tour before going off to play a run of European festivals, which they used to record their fourth full-length.

The release has been a long time teased but until this point, nothing has been released by the band at all but this seems to indicate the first video/track will be out sooner than some people may have thought.

It has been announced the track will be titled Pain and the video is tipped for a Monday 27th June release. The track will premiere tomorrow at 8pm BST (noon PST) and the video looks grim so far…

Oh, by the way: it looks pretty psychotic…

See the clip and cover below:

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of mice & men eu tour

OM&M Have A Rough Release Timetable

Orange County’s Of Mice & Men have been teasing their studio exploits for a long time now, and despite the supposed finishing of the fourth studio full-length to add to the collection at the end of May before their UK trip, they have given no indication of a release time. Until now, that is.

Frontman Austin Carlile posted a video from their trip to Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park this week, along with a caption that strongly implies to us (if not flatly informs us) that we will be hearing new music from the band before the end of the month when they depart on tour with Slipknot and Marilyn Manson.

 

The band recently played two intimate shows either side of Slam Dunk festival, and we were at the latter so check out our review of it here!