Of Mice & Men are back. The band has defied all of the odds and released their second full-length album titled, “The Flood”.
You can’t help but be shocked and amazed when you read up on OF&M’s massive history in the short 15 or so months they’ve been around. Band member changes & additions, Austin leaving the band in 2010, and then returning early 2011.
The question is does The Flood live up to the hype surrounding Of Mice & Men? In many ways it surpasses it.
The Flood starts where the last self-titled album ended. The intense breakdowns, Austin’s throat tearing, ear splitting, child scaring vocals and of course Shayley Bourget’s moving clean vocals. Musically both Of Mice & Men have grown & evolved, but at the same time fall into the metalcore trap of heavily using generic song structures.
The album is full of catchy hooks, violent breakdowns, soothing vocal melodies and some really awesome guitar riffs. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying that The Flood is genre defining, or even brings anything substantially new to the table, the mixture of Shayley’s melodic singing with Austin’s screaming creates something unique.
The opening track “O.G Loko” is definitely going to be a crowd favourite. It’s fast, in your face and slightly gives you the urge to drive up onto the pavement when blasting through your car speakers. The bass lines on this album are epic, moving Shayley to bass guitar duties was definitely the right thing to do, he’s a boss on the bass guitar.
One of the most heaviest tracks on the album is definitely “Ohioisonfire”. I have no doubt such a song will be responsible for some serious devastation in mosh pits when played live.
Production wise, The Flood sounds awesome. Shayley’s bass lines are very prominent, the snare drum is nice and loud and the cymbals don’t wash out the mix like some other albums in the same genre.
The production and mixing on The Flood heavily reminds me of the album Deceiver by The Word Alive (that’s a compliment). Although production quality comes down to opinion and no doubt there will be haters, haters gonna hate.
Even though The Flood tries to veer into a new direction it does suffer from over familiarity at the best of times. Austin although undoubtedly a unique screamer, his limited vocal range when it comes to screams makes the album feel a little like b-sides from their first album at times. Although you have to commend the guys for not putting out the same cookie cutter shit some other artists in the genre seem to be putting out, that alone gives them credibility.
Although, from listening you can’t help but appreciate Austin for putting what sounds like more effort into his screams on The Flood. Sure there are no 25 second screams, but I appreciate the fact that he’s at least tried even though his vocal range is limited, Austin even sings on Ben Threw something I bet you thought you would never hear and incorporates breathing, speaking and whipsering into a few of the tracks which breaks things up.
Repetitiveness nitpicking aside, The Flood is a solid album and definitely will have other bands in the genre scrounging up Of Mice & Men inspired material for their next releases. It’s heavy, it’s loud and you can really hear the effort the guys have put into making The Flood the best album it can be.
If they manage to keep it together to see their third release, it’ll no doubt yet again be another massive step in the right direction.
Find some high ground, The Flood is coming: June 14th, 2011.