Of Mice and Men album review

Celeste Welshhons

Metalcore (now nu-metal) band Of Mice and Men released their third studio album, “Restoring Force” under a new inspiration which lead to positive results.

This is the first album to feature bassist and clean vocalist Aaron Pauley, formerly the vocalist of Jamie’s Elsewhere which he even takes over the lead vocal role in three of the better songs on the album.

There are a couple of neat, non-musical aspects to this album. First off, the band chose multi-platinum award winning record producer David Bendeth to work on “Restoring Force.” Bendeth has worked with a massive number of artists over the years including Bring Me the Horizon, Killswitch Engage, and A Day to Remember to name a few. The other cool thing about this album is that “Restoring Force” is the first Of Mice and Men album to have a vinyl edition.

For as young as the band is, they are making waves in the music industry. They have only been around since 2009, but since then, they have played 3 Warped Tours and at least 19 tours in total all while still managing to release three studio albums.

The worst part of the album for me was having to decide which tracks were the best. I thoroughly enjoyed every track on and their more nu-metal sound is a fantastic change. Former clean vocalist Shayley Bourget did a tremendous job during his time with the band, and Aaron Pauley is following suit well along with the sound change.

The first track, “Public Service Announcement,” is a prime example of the nu-metal influence. Right around the one minute mark, there is a rather distinctive Slipknot sound coming through. All throughout the song there is this almost off-sounding accent which stands above everything else, but it was surprisingly complimentary. The accent seems to carry the nu-metal portion all the way through the song even during the more metalcore parts.

As soon as I played this first track, I was in love. They could not have picked a better opener; this one encompasses both the sound that older fans love as well as something different that will draw in fans of bands such as Korn and Limp Bizkit.

Another great track that follows the nu-metal path is “You Make Me Sick.” The beginning is another Slipknot influence, but when we reach the chorus, it is Korn all the way. One of my favorite parts of this song is the very realistic retching sound about two minutes in. Another major characteristic they brought to this track from their new genre of choice is the rapped lyrics. They do not sound out of place, but instead, add a whole new layer to the band’s traditional sound.

If you want something much heavier and more along the metalcore line, “Glass Hearts” is for you. The very beginning hints at more nu-metal, but after 20 seconds, the tone changes dramatically. The harder sounding vocals are a shocking change from the previous Pauley fronted track, “Would You Still be There,” and the clarity of the backing vocals make a great contrast to the growling coming from lead vocalist Austin Carlile.

My favorite track is “Feels Like Forever.” The suppressed sound of Carlile’s voice is very dirty sounding compared to the light almost gentle sound of Aaron Pauley. I also thoroughly enjoyed the slight catch in Pauley’s voice when he finishes words ending with “y.” The song itself is softer in nature, but it does not seem to follow either metalcore or nu-metal closely, it is just an amazing song.

In second place is “Another You.” This is one that Pauley took the lead on, and he did a phenomenal job. The sudden change to Carlile’s yelling is unexpected, but Pauley seems to rebuff his attack and win the round, finishing the first chorus.

Contrast is a big element for this album, whether it be between the two vocalists, or the two genres. This track is yet another example of how well Aaron Pauley’s voice compliments Austin Carlile’s and visa versa. I for one think that Of Mice and Men will survive the departure of their last clean vocalist without any trouble at all.

The first single off the album, “You’re not Alone,” is also impressive. It is not much different from the rest of the album, but the odd-sounding guitar made it for me. This is the most “rock” sounding song on “Restoring Force.” The whole album follows a theme of endurance, and this track seems to be at the heart.