Review Summary: Truth be told I would set my whole world on fire, Just to watch it burn in your eyes
With a roar of “I was lost until I found myself inside of you”
on opening track, “OG Loko,” The Flood
begins with the same ingenuity, the same bleeding-heart catharsis, and the same dexterity, that we can come to expect from a new Of Mice & Men release by this point. As Austin Carlile rejoins the band, so does the same driving tour de force behind this generic metalcore must-hear. And if the sound of unabashedly uneventful, derivative, and uninspired generic metalcore turns you off, or you find yourself glaring at track titles like “Still YDG’N” or “OG Loko,” then The Flood
is not for you, for your standards are too high. Yet, Of Mice & Men impress yet again with an album that every neon-tinged scenecore 16 year-old can express unbridled scenethusiasm for (until August Burns Red catches more momentum, of course). Unrelenting in its ferocity, it’s easy to see why the band chose The Flood
as the album’s moniker-- even when compared to the meaningful like of the track titles. Throughout, there’s an uncanny lack of variety or ingenuity whatsoever, giving us the consistency expected from a band who contributed a work as highly-regarded as Punk Goes Pop Vol. 3. Yeah, it’s that
There’s simply not a musical flaw to be found on this album. Like homeless scavengers, Of Mice & Men are outstanding at stealing and revising similar metalcore passages found from past bands’ dumpsters and improvising them to fit the brutal honesty of Austin’s fiery delivery and lyrics. Song titles like “OG Loco” show how hardcore the band is, as breakdown after breakdown filled with riffage and clean vocals in-between for flavor say, “Hey mom! I’m wearing my black The Devil Wears Prada shirt to school again
today, I don’t give a shit
that it’s dirty!” The heaviness of The Flood
makes a stomping statement, and listeners need look no further than the poetry of Of Mice & Men’s songwriting to understand what that statement is.
The modern day group of tight-jeaned Hemingways have finally overtaken the source of their namesake with their mind-bending knack for lyricism, it seems. Nobody writes poetry anymore, but if there’s one band that comes closest (besides Owl City, possibly) it would have to be Of Mice & Men. Refreshingly methods and subjects are bountiful. Not entirely a break-up record, the band also visits previously unheard-of concepts, like wanting reality to be a dream, in “Purified”: “No escape, no escape, please pray this is just a dream. Just a dream”
. Yet, much of The Flood
exists to spite an ex, it seems. Boy, I bet she’s sorry.
For example, there’s the reoccurring motif of fire in the lyrics to over half of the songs. And what’s this fire-ire directed towards? -- A girl, of course, and assumably one with ample makeup, black hair, and a prolific Myspace profile. Of Mice & Men channel some Kanye in “I’m A Monster” in an attempt to terminate relations between themselves and the conniving she-devil once and for all, in the seventh song or so about how Carlile is done with her. Well, to clarify, this track isn’t the last song written about this particular girl on The Flood
, but you can tell Carlile is almost
done screaming about how
done with her he is at this point, and I think he means it this time! Again, the repetition and predictability of the instrumental side brings out the true passion and contempt for the female, displayed best in the part where there’s a machine-gun-guitar-sound, another one of those, another one of those, then he yells “GO!” then there’s a breakdown. The Flood
contains enough artistry to make a certain Mr. Hemingway mosh in his grave.
It’s especially pleasant that the band doesn’t confuse the listener-- a trait of a former Carlile band Attack Attack!, as well. Sometimes, it’s nice to know exactly what’s coming next, and Of Mice & Men treat the listener to the most predictable song structures and breakdown placement as possible throughout. Haunted houses can be exciting and terrifying the first time, but they’re even more brutal and intense the second time when you know what’s going to pop out at you around every corner. Yet, just when you think you have Carlile’s vocals figured out, he changes the volume, displaying the band’s sense of epic dynamism. The Flood
offers many decibels of his and fellow vocalist Shayley Bourget’s dual voices in an effort to exude passion no matter what volume the album is cranked to in whichever Hot Topic you find yourself listening to it. The result may be a bit jarring to some, but the inclusion of whispers and yells into the already-rich mix gives way to a stew that is even more flavorful than Of Mice & Men’s previous album.
All in all, it’s hard not to be impressed with Of Mice & Men’s ability to intertwine and emulate with accuracy styles from the stages of both today’s post-hardcore and metalcore music, making The Flood
an amalgam of true -core music that’s impossible to pass up, even for the latest D.R.U.G.S. album or any August Burns Red or Texas In July or Architects or Emarosa or Chiodos or Blessthefall or A Day To Remember or The Devil Wears Prada or Bring Me The Horizon or Parkway Drive or As I Lay Dying or The Word Alive.