Before it had even been heard, Restoring Force divided. Two very different tasters were release:, bizarre quotations were plucked from interview transcripts, and few understood Of Mice & Men’s well-documented desire to depart the standard metalcore environment. However, one statement printed in Rock Sound barely made the build-up: “this is just Of Mice And Men, expanded”. Yet, paying more attention to those eight words would change the opinion of many – Restoring Force isn’t that different, it doesn’t venture too far from the OM&M template, but has undoubtedly been clouded by pre-determined assumptions.
‘Public Service Announcement’ is the only evidence required. This straight-up metalcore assault fires breakdown after breakdown down unsuspecting throats, repeating the same cold lyrics and riffs to hammer home the personal message. In all honesty, it’s a breath of fresh air. The album’s ferocity isn’t unleashed all in one shot, though, with ‘Bones Exposed’ and ‘You Make Me Sick’ hosting similar dark qualities made familiar on the live favourite, ‘Product Of A Murder’.
So, where have they expanded? ‘Would You Still Be There’ could seal daytime radio waves, and there is nothing like ‘Another You’ on their previous work, but genre followers manage that – they are not characteristics unique of leaders. These stem from the ability to balance past and future expectations. The groovy ‘Feels Like Forever’, shattering ‘Glass Hearts’, and liberating ‘Break Free’ stand firmly as the backbone of the record because they knot together their explosive past and more controlled future, and make Restoring Force work.
Of Mice & Men haven’t deserted the scene like many feared. There’s a touch more singing and they strum a little lower down the fretboard, but their defining aggression still lurks. Metalcore scene, your move.
Reviewer: Matt Borucki