REVIEW: Of Mice & Men – The Flood

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Artist: Of Mice & Men
Album: The Flood
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Rise

Oh how the world can change in fifteen months.

March 9, 2010 marked the release the Of Mice & Men’s debut album on Rise Records and soon became known as the day that officially turned the online buzz surrounding Austin Carlile’s first outing since Attack Attack! into a full blown craze. What followed was a series of unfortunate events as drama and member changes (including Carlile’s departure and eventual return earlier this year) left many wondering if the band would even survive to record their Sophomore release. Now, following the loss of Jaxin Hall and addition of Alan Ashby, Of Mice & Men are back with an album that’s sure to leave jaws on the floor and wipe slates clean across the planet.

Any fears that the cloud of gossip and drama that has surrounded Of Mice & Men for the past year has affected their musicianship are silenced moments after “O.G. Loko” begins. A driving tempo and Carlile’s signature throat-destroying roars tear through the speakers while the first of many (and I mean many) “bouncy” riffs fuels you with energy for the Flood (pun intended) that is to come. Recurring staff member Justin Proper commented earlier this year that the same “bouncy” riffs that drove nu-metal in the early millennium were beginning to make a comeback and if Emmure’s Speaker Of The Dead didn’t convince you of that, this album definitely will. In fact, Of Mice & Men’s ability to seamlessly blend this sound into their already ferociously heavy world is one of The Flood‘s most redeeming traits.

Building on the momentum of the opener, “Ben Threw” begins as one of the fastest, most in-your-face tracks the band has released to date and grows into a wall of sound that, by the end of the near ballad “My Understandings,” defines the first half of the album. While Carlile continues to straining his vocal chords in classic form, it’s cleans vocalist (And recent bassist) Shayley Bourget that takes the spotlight early on. Don’t get me wrong, there is no denying the bone-rattling, skull-cracking, breakdowns there are to experience, but Bourget’s soulful melody is what sells each and every track. Bourget is the eye of the storm (or should I say Flood) of metal and gives that extra dash of unique-ness to each song that OM&M need to set themselves apart.

Cutting quickly back to the heavy, “Ohioisonfire” (I’m not the only punny one) easily stands out as one of the band’s most devastating tracks to date. Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby’s guitar work takes you on a whirlwind while Valentino Arteaga’s drums help beat Carlile’s each and every wail deeply into your brain. A guaranteed live favorite, much like the unexpected mainstream feel of “Purified,” which stands out from the rest of the record as an undoubtedly different sonic feel for the band. Bourget takes on a vocal role that feels suited for Claudio Sanchez and Carlile takes over support, but don’t let that turn you away. It’s incredibly worth your time and, in my opinion, likely to be the one song everyone goes away from this record talking about.

As with almost any album in this genre anymore, The Flood does suffer from moments of over-familiarity. Anyone that’s followed Carlile’s body of work has probably heard many of the tones and tempos found on this record, as well as solid amount of his screams. However, it is the fact that Of Mice & Men have obviously put so much effort into evolving that somehow manages to leave the biggest impression. Even as the album winds down and the chugs start to feel a bit similar to earlier ones, moments like the heart-stopping bridge of “Repeating Apologies” or circle-pit inducing opening of “The Great Hendowski” hit and erase any negative thoughts you may have had.

Leaving it all ripped out of their chests and recorded to tape, “I’m A Monster” arrives just in time to close The Flood as brutally intense as possible. If you aren’t numb when this song ends, you aren’t listening to it loud enough.

Forget what you’ve read, forget what you’ve heard, and hell, forget what you know about Of Mice & Men. The Flood is a decidedly huge step forward for a band that many didn’t believe would ever have a second album and sets the bar for other genre titles this year. While it has its moments of doubt, there is no denying the amount of hard work, passion, and emotion poured into every second of this record.

Let The Flood consume you, June 14.

Score: 8.5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Rapturews

    Very curious as to how you heard this album. I have been searching everyday for a leak, but to no avail. I will download it if it does leak, but it is only going to be $8 at Target, and I get paid that day :) Great review through and through though! I am excited as ever to hear The Flood!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your interest! We receive our review copies from record labels, publicists, bands, and additional music industry people.

    We weren’t aware of the $8 sale – thanks for the hint!

  • This is slated to be one of the best metalcore releases of the year. Can’t get enough of these guys :)

  • Jkasten

    Its nice to see a band that wants to be artists and grow – and not put out the same cookie cutter stuff that a million other bands in this genre are doing. Cheers to them for having the balls to step forward – and no doubt within a year of this release all the other bands in this genre will be trying to do something similar 

  • I agree with your last statement.  The reason why this album came out soooo damn early is because of the driving passion they have and the endless amount of energy they bring to the table.  They didn’t slack at all on this album.  Despite “Ohioisonfire” being one of the lamer songs lyrically, they drive with feverently with so much force it’s still a great listen.

  • I was so turned off at first by Metalcore bands because they all sounded the same. But Of Mice and Men’s first release introduced me to heavy bands that experiment with new sounds and the wildest guitar riffs.