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With expectations high, South Californian metalcore outfit Of Mice & Men released their third studio album, Restoring Force, in late January. Fans of the band hoping for a heavy, rough and melodic album were most certainly not disappointed. Following the release of their second album, The Flood, Of Mice & Men shot to fame, and propelled themselves to the top tier of heavy metalcore bands, solidifying their place within the scene.

The first song to surface – “You’re Not Alone” – was a reassuring pleasure to hear for fans of the band – a very Of Mice & Men-sounding piece, with a slight difference heard in the clean vocals. The second single released was “Bones Exposed”, a much heavier, breakdown-oriented song which has since made supporters hopeful for an impacting record.

The album has arrived, and opens with a riff-heavy, angry piece, entitled “Public Service Announcement”, in which lead vocalist and original band member Austin Carlile focuses on addressing negative comments regarding and towards the band, in addition to overly-inquisitive and hateful members of the audience. The song forces a fast-paced and adrenaline-filled atmosphere on the listener. A crowd-pleaser for sure, containing powerful breakdowns, commanding screaming, and forceful lyrics.

Carlile was quoted as wanting a “more rock, or I guess a nu-metal sound” for this album, and this is definitely plays an evident part in their new music. It’s most noticeable in the songs “Glass Hearts” and “Identity Disorder”, where a very distinct nu-metal – perhaps Linkin Park-influenced – sound is apparent. Fans should not be worried, however, about their slight adaptation to nu-metal, or even rock, as the prevailing sound within this album is most definitely still forceful riffs and breakdowns and, of course, powerful screaming. Bassist Aaron Pauley was introduced in this album as the band’s new ‘clean’ vocalist, and plays a very prevalent role within the music. Pauley is seen most evidently in final song “Space Enough To Grow”, where he is the dominant sound over soft, clean guitar playing.

The only negative of Restoring Force, perhaps, is the similar-sounding natures of the songs. More variety wouldn’t have gone amiss in an album that sometimes comes dangerously close to ‘samey’. However, this is not really an issue – the album is still solid, and everything that can be expected from an Of Mice & Men album.

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