Of Mice & Men – Defy (Rise Records)
Of Mice & Men might not want to talk about it and their press release leaves a massive elephant in the room, but Defy was always going to be shaped by one thing.
Ever since Austin Carlile announced that he could no longer continue in the band due to Marfan syndrome, fans have been keeping an ear out for new OM&M tunes with a mixture of fear and excitement.
Whether you want to admit it or not, it was a huge leap for bassist Aaron Pauley to step up and take over the lead vocals – and it’s a step that’s paid off.
This isn’t a band who are going to produce songs with the screaming intensity of Pain, Bones Exposed or the entire of The Flood, and they’ve had to change slightly to find their way. But they are still titans of the genre and Defy confirms that.
Look past the slightly cliche self-motivational song names and there’s a group making serious music. The self-titled album opener is a bruising tune that comes close to replication Carlile’s style, while Warzone is a raucous, thundering, hammer of the Gods song that’ll inspire circle pits until the end of time.
There is even room for a metalcore re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s Money, something that you’ll never think you’ll like until you try it. Like sauerkraut. Or Twilight.
Fittingly, Defy ends with their biggest middle-finger-to-the-world rallying cry yet on Forever YDG’n – a song that is written as a message to the haters that the band don’t give a fuck about you.
“YDG’ has been in our ethos since Day One,” said drummer Tino Arteaga. “It’s short for ‘Ya Dig,’ which asks the question, ‘Are you with it, or are you not?'”
With it’s pounding rhythm and inescapable aggression, Forever YDG’n is a microcosm about what this album is all about: taking inspiration from the past, but putting it firmly behind. Of Mice & Men are different now, but change is constant and change is good.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 I defy anyone who doesn’t like this