Of Mice & Men
Release Date: Jan. 19, 2018
Southern California quartet Of Mice & Men are back with an impressive fifth full-length album, Defy, out Jan. 19 through Rise Records.
“Life is never going to stay consistent,” Aaron Pauley (vocals, bass) says. “Though, no matter what, you can express who you are through all that. Change doesn’t have to define you. We didn’t let it.”
That statement is certainly true of this album, the first from Of Mice & Men since the departure of former vocalist Austin Carlile. Lineup changes can be difficult to navigate and often leave bands going in a completely different direction. But that’s not the case here.
In addition to Pauley, Of Mice & Men consists of Valentino “Tino” Arteaga (drums), Phil Manansala (lead guitar), and Alan Ashby (rhythm guitar).
“Making this record was so much more about figuring out who we are and developing that, rather than trying to reinvent ourselves and come out with something new,” Pauley says.
Defy, solid from start to finish, is an excellent representation of everything Of Mice & Men does well. Starting off with the eponymous title track, this album gets your heart racing with killer guitar riffs sure to have you headbanging in your car. It doesn’t take long to get into the stadium-sized hooks, and with Pauley’s voice flawlessly belting out those anthems, it’s hard to not join in. Throw in some blazing guitar solos, beautiful melodies, and chugs straight out of 2008 (if that doesn’t make sense to you, just trust me when I say it’s a good thing) and you have yourself a top-tier Of Mice & Men album.
This album was created in tandem with touring, with most of the music being made while on the road. “We had just been in front of tens of thousands playing our music night after night,” says Arteaga. “That inspired us to write more with a live sound that could move the audience.”
It’s easy to hear that influence on this album. As I listened through the songs, I couldn’t help but feel the energy each one carried, and I kept wishing I could experience it live. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that these songs will translate phenomenally to a live setting, and you can bet your boots I’ll be catching their show as soon as it comes into town.
To learn more about Of Mice & Men, and to order their new album, visit ofmiceandmenofficial.com.
DEFY TRACK LISTING
- Back to Me
- How Will You Live
- On the Inside
- Forever YDG’n
- If We Were Ghosts
On tour with Of Mice & Men, and releasing an album on the same day, is Cane Hill. These are some hardcore guys you should really keep an eye on because I’m positive you’ll be seeing a lot more of them very soon. Here’s a brief review of their newest album by fellow post-hardcore junkie Brian.
Too Far Gone
Release date: Jan. 19, 2018
Cane Hill’s second full-length album is billed as “10 unforgettable stories masquerading as hook-heavy metallic swamp grunge.” I was really intrigued by the swamp grunge description, so I gave the album a couple of listens. My first listen I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t sold. However, with each subsequent listen I began to appreciate all the intricacies; the intense, yet catchy, lyrics; and the soul-smashing breakdowns.
Vocalist Elijah Witt describes the theme of this album as accepting that life is incredibly futile and finite. “Too Far Gone is about the realization that death is forever following you and can hit you at any time,” Witt says. “It’s the acceptance that your life has consequence, and your choices can and will haunt you forever. Whether you decide to change or continue living that lifestyle is 100 percent on you.”
This album is incredibly heavy. Heavy in lyrics and heavy in metal. The opening song, “Too Far Gone,” is a look into what transpired while the band was on LSD and how they came to the realization that they were losing themselves. While many of the songs have incredibly hefty subject matter, it’s still enormously fun to listen to. It’s easy to lose yourself in the growling chants, screams, and insane guitar solos.
These guys are incredibly talented, and I can’t even imagine how much fun the Of Mice & Men tour will be to see live. This lineup is going to grab you by the throat and never let go for the entirety of the show. I imagine there will be more than one busted nose in this mosh pit, but no one will be complaining because they’ll be having too much fun.
To learn more about Cane Hill, and to order their new album, visit wearecanehill.com.
OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR
with Blessthefall, Cane Hill, and Fire From the Gods
2/01 — Santa Cruz, California — Catalyst*
2/02 — Portland, Oregon — Wonder Ballroom*2/03 — Seattle, Washington — El Corazon*
2/04 — Boise, Idaho — Knitting Factory*
2/05 — Salt Lake City, Utah — Complex*
2/06 — Denver, Colorado — Summit Music Hall*
2/08 — Minneapolis, Minnesota — Music Hall MPLS*
2/09 — St. Louis, Missouri — Ready Room
2/11 — Chicago, Illinois — House of Blues
2/12 — Detroit, Michigan — Crofoot
2/13 — Toronto, Ontario — Opera House
2/14 — Montreal, Quebec — Corona Theatre
2/16 — Boston, Massachusetts — Paradise Rock Club
2/17 — New York City, New York — Gramercy Theatre
2/18 — Asbury Park, New Jersey — Stone Pony
2/19 — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Trocadero
2/20 — Charlotte, North Carolina — Underground
2/21 — Atlanta, Georgia — Masquerade Heaven
2/23 — Orlando, Florida — Beacham
2/24 — Destin, Florida — Club L.A.
2/25 — New Orleans, Louisiana — House of Blues
2/27 — Houston, Texas — White Oak
2/28 — Dallas, Texas — Canton Hall
3/01 — Albuquerque, New Mexico — Sunshine
3/04 — Las Vegas, Nevada — Vinyl at Hard Rock Live
3/05 — Flagstaff, Arizona — Orpheum
3/06 — Phoenix, Arizona — Nile Theatre
3/07 — San Diego, California — Soma
*No Cane Hill
by Michael Gaudreau and Brian Ledtke