Of Mice and Men are back with a new single called Unbreakable which is released through Rise Records. It is the American metalcore outfits first release since 2016’s Cold World. More importantly it is the band’s first release since founding vocalist Austin Carlile stepped down from the band to focus on his health.
Carlile suffers from Marfan Syndrome which is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue. The band vowed to continue on as a four piece so bassist and backing vocalist, Aaron Pauley, stepped up to main vocals. Unbreakable is the outcome. Valentino Arteaga is still on drums and percussion with Phil Manansala on lead guitar, but now with added backing vocals. Finally, on rhythm guitar we have Alan Ashby who also adds backing vocals too.
Unbreakable is obviously a big moment for the band and the title is poignant. Unfortunately when you strip away the touching story and focus just on what you hear, there is very little to be excited about.
Unbreakable is just over 4 minutes long and follows a really familiar formula. A pretty standard riff and drum beat starts the song. Clean verses end with a few bars of shouting before we go back to cleans again. Clean vocals make up the chorus with a finish of shouts. Vocally, both the backing and lead vocals in the heavier moments sound pretty good. I am not really a fan of the high toned cleans though.
The drum beat in the heavier sections speeds up and is enjoyable. The bridge between the verses is better with a nice guitar line and quick drum blasts but the interest fades quickly as we hit the second verse and the cleans again. A whispered/spoken section over a guitar line is pretty cool and leads into a huge roar and breakdown. That is my favourite part of Unbreakable and gets the blood pumping before it jumps disappointingly back into the cleans.
That is really how the song went for me. I like the heavier bits but every time I am getting into it, they disappear and turned to cleans that lacked power and left me a little underwhelmed. Not all bad, just not all good either.
Aaron Pauley released the following statement – “We’re incredibly excited for the world to hear our brand new song, Unbreakable, which is all about staring fear in the face, overcoming fear’s ability to keep you stagnant, and telling it where it stands. Through this transitional time, we’ve felt the tremendous outpouring of love, encouragement, and support from our fans around the world, and we can’t wait to see you all soon. None of this would be possible without you, and we thank you all, endlessly.”
I admire the fact that Of Mice and Men have passion, drive and believe in themselves enough to continue with just four. They have a big fan base and I am sure those fans will be delighted to have them back. It’s always nice to see a band overcoming a period of difficulty but it always has to come back to the music. That is the problem for me. There are metalcore bands out there now pushing the genre into bigger and better places.
When you compare this to bands like, for example, While She Sleeps, Of Mice and Men are way behind.
Check it out for yourself here. If you like it, you can add it to your music collection on Apple Music and Spotify. Check out the band’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get more information on them and their future releases.
Unbreakable by Of Mice and Men
- The Final Score - 5/105/10