Review Summary: Somehow, they've done even better.
Of Mice & Men had humble beginnings. It was born after Austin Carlile, former unclean vocalist for ‘Attack! Attack!’ realised the monstrosity he had bestowed upon the ‘scene’ community, and immediately left them for dead (although he was technically kicked out of the band). Many knew, however, that he would be back. After a while, a demo called ‘Seven Thousand Miles For What?’ appeared, featuring members of ‘Though She Wrote’ and Jaxin Hall , a friend of Austin's, on bass, and Austin himself on unclean vocals. It created a buzz on the band’s Myspace, and soon they went searching for members. After getting a band together, they released a self-titled LP, which showed that Austin could move away from the ‘Attack! Attack!’ origins and create something that was listenable, with lost of fun involved. After a couple of years of recuperating, and the two leaving and Austin re-joining the band, we have ‘The Flood’.
Although Shayley was good in the previous album, he’s even better here, with the structuring of the songs allowing him to prove that he has a truly unique and unmistakeable voice. Whatever the song may be, he uses his whole voice range to leave an impression on the listener. Austin is still Austin; although you won’t hear a ‘This One’s For You’ scream, he incorporates his signature mid to high range screams to add a punch to each song, adding in a couple of low screams every now and then. But although he is stellar, he never really tries to leave his comfort zone, never trying to incorporate a growl or two, although that can be put down to trying to be different.
Breakdowns are aplenty in this album, although they’re always used effectively, and not used because they ran out of things to sing and scream about. Songs like ‘Still YDG’n’ and ‘O.G Loko’ incorporate the breakdown well, with the latter having a great build-up, and a heavy breakdown rewards the listener. The breakdowns themselves aren’t anything special, but will have you head-banging to at least a couple.
Although the guitar and bass never really seem too out of place, and just stick to what sounds good with the song, the drums are masterfully performed, with Valentino Arteaga showing the world that his drumming is better than it ever was. His double bass and his use of ALL of the equipment he has at his disposal results in an excellently-done performance, regardless of the song.
The album starts to drop off towards the end, with songs coming after ‘Purified’ not being as good as the first half of songs, but then, out of the blue, comes the last masterpiece off the album, ‘When You Can’t Sleep At Night’, rewards the listener for going through the album’s length. ‘Masterpiece’ is no typo. The song completely blows the listener away, giving Shayley a chance to show the listener why he is one of the best in the business. He sings his heart out, not being afraid to hit high notes when needed, and the acoustic guitar in the background just makes it perfect.
Even though Of Mice & Men could have stepped off the pedal, and just released the same album again, they gave it their all, and released an album worth listening to. With a genre full of mediocre bands releasing whatever is cool and 'hip' with the scene kids (see 'Asking Alexandria'), OM&M have released an album that shows them looking back at their debut, taking what was great from there, and incorporating new and exciting things to get Metalcore fans excited.
• Different from their debut
• Shayley has more space to show his potential as a vocalist
• Drums are magnificently done
• Production is perfect
• 'When You Can't Sleep At Night' is truly beautiful
• Austin never really leaves his comfort zone
• Guitar and Bass do what they have to do
• Album drops off towards the end, but is saved by the last song