Since their 2011 release of The Flood, Of Mice & Men has been trying to move toward a more heavier and mature sound, similar to what most contemporary “scene” bands have been doing recently. There is no doubt that their latest album, Restoring Force, shows musical growth, with its alternative and nu metal influences; however, after the first five tracks, the album becomes a repetitive blur.
Both heavier and softer than their previous albums, Restoring Force starts off with “Public Service Announcement,” which is reminiscent of previous OM&M works with its pit-inducing potential. OM&M’s metalcore foundation is uprooted with tracks such as “Would You Still Be There” and “Another You,” which feature mostly clean vocals and guitar riffs. “Space Enough to Grow” drags on in the end, giving the album an unexpectedly subtle close.
There seems to be a belief that “diversity is key” in Restoring Force and it is with this “diversity” that the album is supposed to stand out among the recent works of contemporary rock artists and bands. It’s true that the five piece band from California has achieved much despite a change in band members and in musical influences and direction. However, the sudden, strong acceptance of these new influences gives the album an indisputable alternative/nu metal feel, making Restoring Force sound like an early 2000’s rock release (many have accredited and compared OM&M’s new sound to Slipknot’s).
OM&M’s attempt to sound more radio-friendly has made the album bland and repetitive (in fact, the whole album is vaguely reminiscent of Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal). Despite the frequent breakdowns, Restoring Force lacks the energy of OM&M’s previous two EPs. By “Bones Exposed,” which is only the third track, the album starts to repeat itself due to the track’s similarity to “You’re Not Alone,” a previously released single from the album.
Restoring Force is definitely not the best of Of Mice & Men’s career. There is no doubt that the band will continue to grow from their new alternative sound and, hopefully, they will be able to find and settle on a sound that suits them.