Of Mice & Men Review
When band members leave to start their own bands, usually the result is something completely different than what the originating band was doing. This is why we usually see bands breaking up because of creative differences, and then multiple bands appear from the smoldering wreckage and become hit or miss groupings. Austin Carlisle (formerly of Attack Attack) decided to step out and start another band, going by the name Of Mice & Men, named after the novella. What is not surprising in the least is that Carlisle’s band is not that far off from what Attack Attack is. In fact, some may even venture to say the band takes what Attack Attack does and made it infinitely better. Sticking with the hardcore/screamo style, the debut self-titled album takes a very over-done scene genre and improves it ten-fold.
Songs like “Second & Sebring” and “Westbound & Down” have a certain pop feel to them, but it doesn’t keep them from being some of the catchiest songs on the record. “John Deux Trois” has one of the hardest breakdowns on the record as well, making the band appear to be what they consider light-years ahead of Attack Attack. Many people are bound to compare Carlisle’s band to his previous band, and the biggest differences for Of Mice & Men is the removal of electronic and synth effects. The band as a whole is much more tight when it comes to breakdowns and screaming vocals. In the impending breakdown of “John Deux Trois”, Carlisle’s screams compliment the heavy guitar in the back, making for an impressive way to end the song. Singing vocals abound on many of the tracks, and some tracks go from singing to screaming quickly and on a regular basis, which makes for a much different listening experience than the average hardcore group.
People will find plenty to nitpick on Of Mice & Men’s debut, but it is obvious that Carlisle thought he could do hardcore better than Attack Attack, and from where I’m sitting, he was right. The music is tighter; lyrically, the songs have a deeper edge to them; and the breakdowns are as brutal as some of Attack Attack’s previous stuff. Of Mice & Men can be considered a better, more focused version of Carlisle’s previous band. They’re definitely going places. Don’t miss this release.