In 2011, metalcore band Of Mice & Men were simply a newer act trying to get off the ground. That mission was accomplished on their sophomore album, The Flood. Still the band’s best album to date, the reissue of the album in 2012 with 4 new bonus tracks made an already solid product that much better. Featuring impressive songwriting and a more nu-metal influenced sound that wasn’t overbearing, The Flood remains a modern metalcore achievement.
While Of Mice and Men’s self-titled debut album suffered from a lack of cohesiveness within the band, as well as a reliance on breakdowns and one-note, repetitive screams from Austin, it also had a repetitive song structure – namely the scream/sing/scream/sing/breakdown combination. But this was, in part, due to the limited time OMAM had to get the band together, practice, and write an entire album – and was still a promising effort with a handful of highlights. So, despite the band’s low usage of Shayley Bourget (who is one of the top clean vocalists in the genre) OMAM’s self-titled album was decent, but with plenty more room to grow.
The Flood is an impressive evolution in their sound, though. First off, the 4 bonus tracks add a bit of depth to the record, as well as foreshadow where the band would eventually go on its follow-up, Restoring Force. It’s such an improvement on their previous work, too. Austin Carlile has never sounded better in his mid-range style, and he takes complete command on tracks like the raucous opener “O.G. Loko” – that is, until Shayley Bourget’s unique vocals are truly unleashed on the listener. It can’t be overstated how much Shayley impacts this album on just about every song – he’s even the primary vocalist on “My Understandings” and “When You Can’t Sleep At Night”, two impressive tracks that often go a bit unnoticed considering how heavy the rest of The Flood is. Underutilized on their self-titled album, Bourget’s unique talent is on full display here.
Do you like breakdowns? You’ll love this record as well, but the difference is, they’re much more well-placed than on the previous record. Take “The Great Hendowski” and “O.G. Loko”, for instance. Both tracks pulse with an almost Southern-metal take on metalcore, bringing to mind quite a few bands that were popular in that era. Those tracks are juxtaposed with more melodic songs like obvious breakout singles “Let Live” and “Purified”, that contain massive hooks in their more straight-ahead, mid-tempo stylings.
Even years after its initial release, The Flood is a very, very good cross between commercial appeal and good songwriting. Containing massive pop/rock hooks but also maintaining a distinct heaviness throughout, what Of Mice & Men achieved on this record dispelled all notions of a sophomore slump.