Of Mice & Men recently released their third studio album “Restoring Force” via Rise Records, which marks what I believe to be an important shift in their musical career. I will be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of Of Mice & Men. I was not expecting that their new record would change my mind about that. I had already heard a couple of their singles (“Break Free” and “Bones Exposed”) when I completely shut my mind off to this upcoming album. Surprisingly, my opinion was swayed and I believe it was for the better.
“Restoring Force” is a unique album that displays what this group of men is capable of. It is also important to note that this is their first musical endeavor without their former bassist, Shayley Bourget. Instead, you will hear this role is filled by ex-frontman of Jaime’s Elsewhere, Aaron Pauley. Now, I had been a huge fan of Jaime’s Elsewhere before learning that Pauley had left to pursue a career with Of Mice & Men, which left me quite dissatisfied. Pauley was the frontman, and left to be a backup singer? This didn’t sit right with me, and I often spoke negatively of this switch. However, after giving “Restoring Force” a second chance, I was glad to hear Pauley in the spotlight.
The album begins with an aptly titled song, “Public Service Announcement” which allows frontman Austin Carlile to get some things off his chest. It is a lyrical confrontation to all of his critics, which puts the listener on his side of the situation.
You all have something to say, or something to ask
I don’t live in a cage, it’s none of your business
Lyrically, this record is pretty solid and touches on subjects such as hope, standing firm in your beliefs, and lost loved ones. Glancing over the lyrics from “Restoring Force,” I believe there is no explicit content, or foul language. So, I feel that everyone should feel comfortable giving this a listen. On the musical side of this album, this is a stark contrast to their previous releases. You will hear some rock influences in songs like “Feels Like Forever” and “Would You Still Be There”, while others still maintain their metal roots. Carlile’s vocals are noticeably different in these songs, adopting the natural sounding screams that one would hear at a live show. Pauley’s vocals are also a great addition of this album, providing a fitting ending to this album in “Space Enough to Grow”.
I gave up on this album before truly giving it a chance, and I learned something from this experience. At times, we turn off our tastes. Whether it be with certain music, types of food, films, or kinds of clothes we wear, I believe we are all guilty of this in some form. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, and set aside your bias to try something new tomorrow. After listening to “Restoring Force” from beginning to end, I feel that I accomplished this goal unexpectedly. This is a great album from Of Mice & Men, and I am excited for future releases.