Of Mice & Men – The Flood – Review

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After Austin Carlile dropped a huge stone into the pond of Attack Attack!, leaving to found the SoCo post-hardcore outfit, Of Mice & Men — choosing an inconspicuous band name for him and co-founder Jaxin Hall (bassist) after their life plans went awry — the band released their self-titled debut album, garnering a fan base from their eccentric live shows and hard-hitting riffs. After a departure for heart surgery in 2010, Austin rejoined the group and recorded their new album “The Flood,” with well known producer Joey Strugis once again — as listeners wait to see if this album can live up to the bands past and present promises.

For those immediately concerned, “The Flood” is a solid sophomore effort and another pummeling mixture of metalcore riffs and barking shouts, as well as soulful singing and melodic guitar arrangements. Like Of Mice & Men‘s peers Attack Attack! and Sleeping With Sirens, the boys have amped up their game with this second record, both in terms of production and additional sheer brutality. Noticed early on are the battering chugs and visceral shouty growls of “O.G. Loko” and “Ben Threw,” both served with a small helping of clean vocal duality and fret harmony. The first few tracks shock and awe the listener, setting a tone that doesn’t lose steam the entire way through, even with the comparing sides dueling it out between verses and choruses — much like the even-handed track “Let Live” and its tranquil bridge, which never loses sight of the cleanly produced paradigm it wishes to follow.

Where normal bands would slide in filler, OM&M fills “The Flood“‘s middle ground with a hodge-podge of musical tastes, such as the echoed peaceful guitars,  soft spoken vocals, and slow-building crescendo of “My Understandings,” and the melodic, up-tempo jungle of the Bullet For My Valentine-esque song “Purified.“ These exceptions to the sturdy chugs and permeating shouts rule are merely accentual additions to the powerful base of the band and never usually stand on their own. This is preferable, because a big flaw some saw in peers Attack Attack!‘s last release was its bipolar switching between trance and metalcore. Beautiful vocals are streamed seamlessly with raw throaty screams, and intricately woven fretwork is melded together with stop-and-go down-tuned chugs, for the best of both worlds. Even the slyly titled closer (on CDs) track “When You Can’t Sleep At Night” opens a new window to the bands talents with a light-footed, radiating, acoustic lullaby, surely for those who love Shayley’s siren-like voice and who “can’t sleep at night.”  Wonderful.

Those who teeter and perch on the post-hardcore/metalcore precipice, may find OM&M jumps too freely from side to side for some fans tastes. But for a genre that is so heavily saturated with cookie-cutter copies, you quickly take notice of genuinely intense music and artists that are talented and earnest, both of which describes Of Mice & Men pretty well. Even with some of the obligatory poorly titled tracks. [Staff]

Score: 4 (out of 5)

Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Record Label: Rise Records
Genre: Metalcore

RIYL: Attack Attack!, Woe, Is Me, Asking Alexandria

Track Listing:
1.O.G. Loko
2. Ben Threw
3. Let Live
4. Still YDG’n
5. My Understandings
7. Purified
8. Product of a Murderer
9. Repeating Apologies
10. The Great Hendowski
11. I’m a Monster
12. When You Can’t Sleep at Night

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