There have been a lot of mixed feelings about Of Mice & Men's newest album Restoring Force. Being one of the biggest bands in the post-hardcore scene and having it been 2-3 years since their last album, the expectations have been high. Their sound takes a turn on this album, but overall it was a small step in the right direction. The band branches out a bit and experiments with hints of different styles in their songs shown in their vocals, guitar parts and song structure.
While some of the songs on Restoring Force prove to fall short, there are a few that make their way to the front. The two songs that were released by the label were “You're Not Alone” and “Bones Exposed”. These songs are perfect examples of the band's altered sound and the results from it. “You're Not Alone” seems to give off the feeling that maybe the band was trying too hard to be different and it seems that the vocals/lyrics especially were lacking. The lyrics of the song strongly resemble those of The Color Morale's very successful album Know Hope and the vocal styling is similar to those on the even more successful Sempiternal by Bring Me The Horizon. While there is respect for Of Mice & Men experimenting, in this particular track, they fall short. Too much of this song seemed like a graceful rip off than an original sound. It makes sense that the band would be heavily influenced by these two monumental albums, but maybe they were influenced a bit too much on this track.
Where “You're Not Alone” fell short, “Bones Exposed” picked up most of the slack. This song brings a great example of the creativity that went into the new album. If every song had followed the model in “Bones Exposed”, then Restoring Force might have been as significant as Know Hope and Sempiternal. This particular track shines light on the sound that Of Mice & Men was going for, sporting a more original and distinct sound that the band has. Although inconsistent, this track represents the efforts of the band and the fact they it seems like they put a lot of effort into their style for this record.
Although this album fell short in my eyes, it was incredibly encouraging to see one of the biggest bands in the post-hardcore genre trying their best to become more distinct and original. A lot of bands at the stage in their career somewhat give up by just half-assing their songs and delivering a mediocre product. It is clear that a lot of passion when into this record by diversifying with softer tracks like “Space Enough To Grow”. This album is another one of those love/hate types, but the passion and sparks that Restoring Force has created in fans is enough for me to tip my hat to. Definitely see what all the hype is about!