Review Summary: A great improvement from their debut album that shines in almost every way.
After so much drama involving Of Mice & Men's scream vocalist Austin Carlile having to take leave from the band during their 2010 tours for heart problems, many wondered what would happen to the band. Vocalist Jerry Roush joined the scene to fill in for Austin and many thought he was a permanent fix. However in the beginning of 2011, the band members of Of Mice & Men have been reunited with Carlile, and Roush is no more. They worked very hard on their sophomore album in the coming months, and it is finally here. Is this a triumphant return for Carlile and the mark of refinement for the band as a whole? Yes and no.
The Flood, Of Mice & Men's sophomore album is definitely an improvement from their already excellent debut album. The choruses, sang outstandingly by clean vocalist Shayley Bourget, are more catchy and provide a greater variety in vocal range. The breakdowns are heavier. Carlile's screams are earshattering and raw. The drums are flawless and keep the songs together nicely. The guitar and bass are also amazing, really breathing life into the album.
The opening song "O.G. Loko" demonstrates right from the start that this band is going to throw you for a loop on this one. Carlile's vocals are instantly catchy and gripping. They are more gritty and louder. I couldn't help but smile when I heard Carlile's voice again since Of Mice & Men's debut album to realize that Carlile still has his touch and triumphant screams. Shayley comes in with a very catchy chorus, and sounds better than ever, more confident. The breakdown is wonderfully heavy and ends the song nicely. The second song "Ben Threw" also follows suit with greatness, with the bass seaming to have a bigger impact.
I could talk all day about every single song on this album and how almost perfect they all are. However I won't ruin any surprises, but I will state that Of Mice & Men have become even more experimental. Their debut album, though excellent, was also very predictable. The Flood introduces totally new aspects not seen before by Of Mice & Men. This is first seen in the song "My Understandings". The first slower song of the album, is sung entirely by Shayley (With light scream vocals in the distant background by Austin). This is a taste of what Shayley can really do. The band really wanted to try something different, and gave Shayley more stardom. "My Understandings" Starts slow with an almost ambient guitar softly in the background. After given a few lines, Shayley let's everything go, and sings triumphantly and perfectly. Most should have their breath taken away by how powerful, yet soothing his voice is. I know I was. This later leads to a very interesting finale. The final song of the album "When You Can't Sleep At Night" is an acoustic ballad sang entirely by Shayley. It is interesting that Of Mice & Men went this direction and ended their album on such a soft note.
Vocally, The Flood is very ambitious. Carlile's tries new screaming techniques that really add to the mix and keeps things interesting, two songs that come to mind when thinking of this are "Still YDG'N" and "Ohioisonfire". Shayley is given many spotlight opportunities and his choruses are amazing and catchy, even Shayley throws in raspy scream vocals more than the debut album. Instrumentally Of Mice & Men got the job done. The breakdowns are heavier and there are more hooks. I honestly can't speak too badly about this album. I was quite impressed. The only iffy parts I came across was the ballad at the end, it just seemed odd to me. Also the partial weakness of the song "Purified". Other than that, Of Mice & Men really out-did themselves on this one, and have improved in many aspects. I look forward to another possible album by this tight and talented band.
-Austin is back, and better than ever
-Shayley is given bigger parts and does them perfectly
-Heavier and catchier
-The ballad at the end was odd. Maybe if it was placed somewhere other than the VERY end it wouldn't have stricken as a con as bad, but this is just how I feel. It was odd to end a heavier album on such a soft note, in contrast to the debut album