Over the past several years, Of Mice & Men has become one of my favorite bands. With their new album, Defy, set to release this Friday, January 19th, I was fortunate enough to get a listen to the full album before it hits the shelves. Like many, I was very saddened to hear that founding member and frontman Austin Carlile was stepping away from the band early last year, moving to Costa Rice to focus on his health. He would be replaced by bassist Aaron Pauley, who shined upon his introduction to the band in their breakout album Restoring Force, adding the clean vocals that meshed so well with Carlile’s heavier style. Carlile’s departure, coupled with the band’s previous album Cold World being a much heavier, deeper sound than the previous record, left me wondering what the next chapter would hold for Of Mice & Men.
The result is something that long-time fans of the band and those who are just catching on are sure to enjoy. The band has found a very strong combination of the last two albums to generate what may be their best sound yet. Defy is the missing link between Restoring Force and Cold World. It is heavy and in your face but it is also highlighted with the clean vocals from Pauley that helped get the band on the charts with early singles like “Feels Like Forever” and “Would You Still Be There?”
There may be no better example than the title track, “Defy”. The record starts out with a scathing riff and then highlights the first look at the heavier, unclean vocals from Pauley. This track serves as such important between the two previous albums and attacks the daunting task of replacing a band member, especially the front man, head on. Another track that stands out heavily is “Back To Me”, which is the most successful single to date from the album and likely to be one of the most memorable tracks, highlighted by a sound that is very true to the band’s discography. The other two singles from the album, “Warzone” and “Unbreakable” are heavier tracks that showcase the gritty, unclean vocals with the edge that sets the band apart from most others in the metalcore genre.
Though the album has had four strong singles in advance of its’ release, there is still a lot to be excited about. The album features several songs that feature catchy hooks that are sure to be big hits with the hard rock community, such as “Vertigo” and “On The Inside”. The album also features some really heavy riffs that bring together that golden blend of heavy and clean vocals on tracks like “Sunflower” and “Forever YDG’n”. Another highlight is the recently released fifth single off of the album, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Money” with a heavy twist. My personal favorite track on the album is “Instincts”, a heavier track that is sure to appeal to fans of the bands edgier side, and has a hook that has been on repeat in my head since the first time I heard it!
Whether you have been a fan of the band for years or are just hearing about them for the first time here, make sure you check out Defy. As I said on Episode 117 with Angelo, this is probably my most anticipated album of the year so far, and was a front runner for 2018 album of the year after only hearing the four singles released in advance of the album. After spending a week with Defy, I can tell you that it lives up to that hype!
Are you stoked for Defy from Of Mice & Men? Are you going to be catching them on tour this winter? Leave it in the comments down below or hit us up on Twitter: @SpinThoughts!
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