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Review: Of Mice & Men – Restoring Force

Of Mice & Men
Photo by Kane Hibberd.

Of Mice & Men
Restoring Force
Rise/Warner

4 Score

Few ever expected a project built around a former member of Attack Attack! to truly establish themselves as serious contenders, but here we are in 2013 bearing witness to just that. By the band’s own admission, Of Mice & Men’s earlier work was little more than a collection of breakdowns and, well, more breakdowns, however their willingness to embrace the influences of their past has resulted in one of the year’s freshest – and heaviest – sounding releases. Gone are the tired song dynamics and repetitious chugging passages that have become the calling card of this particularly lifeless metal sub genre, instead, they’re replaced by pounding grooves, disgustingly down-tuned guitars and a career-defining vocal performance from frontman Austin Carlile, in the same way that Oliver Sykes truly found himself on Bring Me The Horizon’s genre-smashing Sempiternal.

From the outset it’s clear that we’re dealing with a very different beast, as the head-turning “Public Service Announcement” recalls nu metal pioneers KoRn at their energised best, with “Feels Like Forever” channeling the sultry, progressive vibes of fellow Californians Tool before bursting into a chorus that’s likely to find a home on US radio in the coming months. The marriage of arena-worthy choruses and frenzied bottom-heavy metallic moments is something Of Mice & Men have been able to perfect throughout Restoring Force’s 11 tracks, somehow fusing Linkin Park’s flair for the dramatic with the crunch of ‘90s hard rock, from the Papa Roach-esque bounce of “Would You Still Be There” and “Break Free” through to the rousing “You Make Me Sick,” a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Family Values tour circa 1998.

Fans may be initially shocked at the metamorphosis that has occurred since we last heard from Of Mice & Men, but Restoring Force is a bold, game-changing release, one that will see Carlile and co. go from Alternative Press cover stars to bona fide commercial sensations.

The Essential Track: “Bones Exposed” – A punked-up thrash exercise in modern metal that culminates with a chorus capable of levelling a small city.

Of Mice & Men
Restoring Force is out now through Rise/Warner.

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