rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Integration
02. Warpaint
03. Shiver
04. Eternal Pessimist
05. Into The Sun
06. Enraptured
07. Castaway
08. Tether
09. Indigo
10. Zephyros

Worthy of the name pulled from a John Steinbeck novel, California metalcore band, OF MICE & MEN, has maintained a solid fanbase since their founding in 2009 with their mix of heavy and melodic music, even amid a bevy of lineup changes. The band was formed by former lead vocalist Austin Carlile and former bassist Jaxin Hall. Today, neither Carlile nor Hall are in the group, but the fact OF MICE & MEN are still a strong entity is a testament to their strength as both a band and brand.

Their eighth studio album, which follows "Echo", the group's 2021 release, "Tether" was an inside job, and that comes through in the album's organic-sounding music. Frontman Aaron Pauley mixed and mastered the album, and drummer Valentino Arteaga designed and painted the album's artwork. Thematically, OF MICE & MEN don't shy away from personal, difficult themes, such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and the idea of using creative outlets to help improve mental health.

"Integration" sets the listener up for an epic-sounding album, as the opening track starts so softly it's almost undetectable before slowly growing into a mid-tempo rock anthem. This certainly falls under the more melodic section of metalcore, those desiring something screamier may opt to move on quickly to the following track, "Warpaint", a heavier track. Garnering attention straightaway with screams and crushing riffs, the rest of the song contrasts well between Pauley's clean, soaring vocals in the choruses to heavier screaming and guitars. "Warpaint" also features an intense breakdown halfway through the song, conjuring up visions of crowd surfing and moshing at the band's live shows.

"Shiver" has an almost BAD OMENS or SLEEP TOKEN vibe, with heavily processed vocals over strong melodic guitars. It's a very modern sound that shows OF MICE & MEN are evolving with trends. Elsewhere, the record offers an even blend of heavy and melodic, leaning more on the latter. "Into the Sun" and the album's title track are melodic standouts, with gorgeous sonics and Pauley's clear, clean singing. "Indigo" recalls a bit of LINKIN PARK, with Pauley's vocals sounding a bit like the late Chester Bennington, which, of course, is a good thing.

OF MICE & MEN continue to grow and change as a band, and "Tether" is a solid piece of their story. While those who prefer more brutal sounding metalcore might be left a bit cold, others who enjoy the genre's massive hooks and melodies will likely be cranking this record for years to come. Even on record eight, OF MICE & MEN are staying limber enough to evolve and push the envelope, creatively.

Author: Anne Erickson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).