Overall Score: 8/10 songs: 8/10 vocals: 8/10 consistency: 8/10 Pros: A very strong album from a band that continues to grow Cons: very little
Of Mice & Men have had a somewhat turbulent existence with several ups & downs, but it seems as though things may have finally settled for them. Not that their latest album EARTHANDSKY shows any signs of them living a peaceful life.
In many ways, this feels like the distillation of everything Of Mice & Men have accomplished up to this point. There are moments when EARTHANDSKY is face-meltingly ferocious, on the opener Gravedancer which has a Native American influence and is bolstered by a massive great big chugging riff, giving a listener a kick up the ass from the get-go. Taste of Regret is pure Of Mice & Men through and through and shows they haven’t lost any of their edges over time.
The thing that is really evident on this album is the growth they went through in making it. Defy was a great firing shot for this reconfigured version of the band, but EARTHANDSKY solidifies just how good they have become. Aaron Pauley has really stepped in his role as frontman of the band, and lyrically he is producing some of his best work. Vocally he has also come on leaps and bounds, his melodic vocals have always been one of the band’s best features, but his aggressive vocals and the force behind them are place front and center on here and they sound absolutely brutal.
Musically Of Mice & Men have produced an album that plays to all of their strengths and very few of their weaknesses. They make substantial sounding metalcore anthems that crunch and pop, but also soar when they need to. Tracks like Mushroom Cloud and How to Survive are already new classics, but it’s some of the albums deeper cuts that fans will come to appreciate over time. Whether it’s the groove-laden Pieces, the thrashier more up-tempo Deceiver/Deceived or even more introspective Linger there is enough on this album to satisfy any and all fans of the band while casting the net wide enough to draw in new listeners.
6 albums into their career and Of Mice & Men have only just begun scratching the surface of what they are capable of. EARTHANDSKY is one of the strongest albums in their entire arsenal and proves that no matter what is thrown at them, they are fully prepared to dust themselves off and keep coming back better than they were before.