Of Mice & Men – Earthandsky (Album Review)
Of Mice & Men – Earthandsky
Released: September 27th, 2019
Aaron Pauley // Bass/Vocals
Valentino Arteaga // Drums
Philip Manansala // Guitar
Alan Ashby // Guitar
Many fans might be still mourning the loss of Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men back in 2016, but life does eventually need to move on and you should too… The metalcore legends released their first album as a four-piece only last January, and now they’re back so soon with their latest full-length, Earthandsky, and the heaviness still reigns supreme in this band and their new offering.
Earthandsky begins with an eerie-sounding intro by way of first track ‘Gravedancer’ leading into fast riffs that feels almost prog metal-like. But as soon as ‘As We Suffocate’ follows on, we hear frontman Aaron Pauley’s all-too-familiar vocals and accompanied by some pretty energetic riffs. ‘Taste of Regret’ is a fine example of how tight Of Mice & Men are today, bringing in their brand of melodic metalcore with a great combination of heavy breakdowns and vocals. While ‘Mushroom Cloud’ is heavy as fuck, and features the sickest breakdown of the entire record. This song will go absolutely mental in a live setting, in my opinion.
Of Mice & Men have definitely found familiar ground as a four-piece on this album. ‘Pieces’ features more intense breakdowns than any other song on the album, complemented by melodic metal guitars and emotional lyrics: “The pieces keep on falling away / Disappearing as I disintegrate”. ‘Deceiver/Deceived’ is fast, heavy and begins with a more melodic verse, but further into the song features a brilliant guitar solo. Title track ‘Earth & Sky’ has one of the most powerful choruses I’ve heard yet. These two tracks alone have to be the most instrumentally sounding of Earthandsky. Both stand out so well against each other.
‘The Mountain’ feels like an experimental version of the band here, beginning with layered vocals and screams sounding almost like a Beartooth song, but then climaxes into a mental breakdown that is definitely Of Mice & Men. ‘Meltdown’ is fast, heavy and anthemic. I feel like this track is very mainstream rock-radio friendly, as it’s definitely nowhere near as heavy as the rest of the album. Of Mice & Men have played around with plenty of layers throughout Earthandsky, switching it up between heavy breakdowns and melodic elements, which distinctly turns down the energy of the band here. ‘Linger’ definitely bounces around a bit here, in an attempt to find the perfect balance between heavy and melodic elements. It brings a new and different vibe to the band, that’s for sure. The perfect finale for this record lies in ‘How To Survive’, a fast, high-energy riff-fuelled anthem, complemented by powerful lyrics and closing out with a fucking epic guitar solo. This track feels like Of Mice & Men in their most present form, and it sounds like fire.
Earthandsky is a representation of past and present day Of Mice & Men. The band aims to find the perfect balance in melodic metalcore right throughout this record, layering screams, vocals and breakdowns in a way that makes for an enjoyable listen. This album was an absolute experience to listen to, for old and new OM&M fans alike, and is a great addition to their legendary catalogue and contribution they’ve brought to metalcore during their entire career as a band.
Of Mice & Men – Earthandsky tracklisting:
- As We Suffocate
- Taste Of Regret
- Mushroom Cloud
- Earth & Sky
- The Mountain
- How To Survive
Earthandsky is out this Friday on Rise Records. Pre-order here
Review by Tamara May (@citylightsTAM)
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