In late January of 2014, Of Mice & Men released their third full-length album, Restoring Force. Tuesday February 24th, they released a re-issue of the album, entitled Restoring Force: Full Circle, which included three new tracks, and an acoustic version of the popular, “Feels Like Forever”. The addition of the songs fit with the feel of the rest of the album, making this highly-anticipated reissue successful for all Of Mice & Men Fans.
The album opens with the powerful metal sounding, “Public Service Announcement”, and yes, it is just what you would expect based on the title. The track gives you an insight into frontman Austin Carlile as he addresses his personal experiences from his felonious assault arrest in 2013, to his opinion on what people think of him. The lyrics “I love how you think you know me better than myself” say it all. The next track, “Feels Like Forever.” sets a different mood. We are introduced to clean vocalist Aaron Pauley, and we hear their blend of unclean to clean vocals. This song reminds fans of why Of Mice & Men’s lyrics are so well-appreciated. The hopefulness they deliver to their fans is always eminent in any album they make.
The next track, “Bones Exposed”, is one of the heaviest pieces off the album. With the best and most complex instrumentation off the album, the song easily keeps your attention from Carlile’s vocals, to the brilliant guitar riffs in the background. The next tracks, perhaps a bit weaker off the album, are titled “Would You Still Be There” and “Glass Hearts”. Both are good instrumentally, but their melody and repetitiveness are where it is a bit lacking. The vocals especially in “Glass Hearts” seem a bit out-of-place, and their blending of instruments to vocals seems to not be up to par. But all is forgiven as the rest of the tracks on the album seem to be going in the right direction.
“Another You”, a softer song off the album, has some of the best lyrics on the record. You can feel the pain in both Pauley and Carlile as they spill their guts in this moving track about loss. The next song, “Break Free”, brings back that heavy Of Mice & Men sound. The opening instrumentals are very well-arranged, and seem to get better throughout the song. Though the lyrics can become a bit repetitive, the piece still manages to work in the group’s favor.
The record really starts to pick up towards the last half of the album. “You Make Me Sick”, one of, if not the heaviest track on the record, brings back that feeling of angst and passion the band promises to deliver. With it’s dark and anger-filled lyrics, the heaviness of the instruments and the melody of the song all come together perfectly in this particular song. For early fans of Of Mice & Men circa 2010-2011, this is the track for you. The next song, “Identity Disorder”, shows off more the vocal talents of Aaron Pauley. The instrumentation of the song stick out for being the most well-done from the album; especially the drumming of Valentino Arteaga. “You’re Not Alone”, the next track, is easily a fan favorite for years to come. Relatable to fans of all ages, the song’s message is simple: you’re not alone. The piece’s catchy guitar riff throughout the song, high-energy, and inspiration of hope for anyone who will hear it, make this song a crown jewel off the album.
Anytime a band tries something new, it doesn’t always work. Especially when it means you’re a band known for insane guitar riffs, unclean vocals, and lots of energy. The second type of it’s nature, the song “Space Enough To Grow” goes down as one of the highlights of Of Mice & Men’s career. This slow-paced melodic masterpiece was the last track off the original release of Restoring Force, and was rightly so. It’s very calm and may come off to some as a tad somber, but it is a lyrical gem; with lyrics so in-depth and masterfully crafted, you’re left speechless, and forced to think.
The reissue adds the next four tracks. All of which give the feel like they belong somewhere in this record. The first, “Broken Generation”, you can get the gist of with the title. The band released a music video for this song showing people with plugs attached to them, and them all locked into their mobile devices. When a couple unplugs all the plugs in a master computer at the end, everyone starts to realize what’s around them and they drop their devices. An important message for all of us to consider; “unplugging” ourselves. Probably the best new track released, it’s melody and catchy instrumentation are shown with the addition of a very important message. “Can you pick up all the pieces of this broken generation?”
The next song, “Something To Hide”, is another expected Of Mice & Men track, with angry yet relatable lyrics, and heavy instruments to complement. Another track with perhaps a bit too much repetition when it comes to the bridge, but the song still works for the record. The final new track, “Never Giving Up”, opens with a more uplifting sounding instrumentation. It’s sound separates it from the rest of the other songs, but keeps that hopeful yet relatable lyrical message to fans. They are always happy to reassure their fanbase they are not alone; and the lyrics, “Even though I know you want me to, i’m never giving up on you”, showcase that. The album closes with an acoustic version of the popular, “Feels Like Forever”. Better than the original, the track shows off for the first time the clean vocal sounds of unclean vocalist, Carlile. It shows his rich and round tone, and the harmonies between him and Pauley are even better with his unclean vocals to compliment. After hearing this, fans are sure to be wanting more of Carlile’s clean vocals on future Of Mice & Men releases.
The maturity of this group is very evident with the release of this reissue. With the addition of the new tracks from this reissue, it shines even more. The songs fit and flow well with the tracks from the original record, which can be hard to do. None of the tracks seem out-of-place. After dominating the music scene with Restoring Force‘s original release last year, this reissue is surely to do the same, and assure fans that Of Mice & Men are stopping at nothing to captivate people with their work.
Rated: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Download: “Space Enough to Grow” and “Feels Like Forever (Acoustic)”