After I’ve been to one of Of Mice & Men’s concerts, I’ve been rather into them. To hear that they were about to release an album was something which was rather exciting to me. I was curious as to what kind of new music they would release, and whether it would be as good as their latest album, which was something I really enjoyed.
‘Game of War’ is a beautiful intro to the album as it’s calm and easy to listen to. It makes me curious for the remainder of the album. It does make me wonder when the rougher music will kick in. Clean vocals fit perfectly with the ambiance the music is trying to create. It could have been a little shorter, knowing that it is mostly used as an intro. It is a bit too soft to be such a long song for a band like Of Mice & Men
‘The Lie’ starts out slow and soft again, almost to stay in line with the first song, but it picks up after a short intro. Still, it is not as heavy as I am used to with the band. After the intro, the first screaming of the album is heard, and slowly it’s turning into the heavy stuff I am used to again. It is easily likable, with great riffs and deep screams. The chorus is filled with beautiful clean vocals once again, a perfect mixture which never seems to fail for these guys
Once again a softer intro to the next song, ‘Real’. This song seems to consist of mostly clean vocals once again. I miss the rough vocals and the heavier guitar tunes in this song. Not that they shouldn’t, or aren’t allowed to, make calmer songs, but the build-up made me expect something more than just this. Nonetheless it is a nice song to listen to, though I would not place it among their best songs ever created.
The softer intros seem to be something which is consistent on this album, as ‘Like A Ghost’ once again it starts of softer. However, this build up truly leads up to heavier stuff, as screaming is soon heard. The song isn’t fast or too heavy, but it does fit perfectly together (the screams, the riffs, the pace). The chorus has a bit of clean vocals mixed in it too, and with it all combined, it makes it all complete. The spoken words, the screaming, the clean vocals – it all fits together very nicely.
The softer intro to ‘Contagious’ shouldn’t come as a surprise, but shortly after we’re met by a rougher guitar riff, something which (in my opinion) they could have started with already. This track is filled with screams as well, and rough deep vocals. The lyrics are great as well, as well as the breakdown we’re met by. However, I still have to witness a song which is to blow my mind.
‘–‘ is not really a song, but more like an intro to ‘Pain’ which is the next tune on the album. It does give an eerie feel to it though, like you’re truly expecting something big. And once ‘Pain’ begins, you truly are getting what you’re expecting. You will be greeted by screams and screeching guitars. This is also the first song which doesn’t really start off soft, if we don’t count the intro.
‘The Hunger’ starts off differently than the others, as we are greeted by high pitched clean vocals before the music kicks in. When the music kicks in, though, it is heavier than I expected, but it’s not an unwelcome surprise. The vocals and the music do have a nice ambiance to it, something I have been used to when it comes to songs by Of Mice & Men, but overall the music is just a little too slow to me.
The next track is ‘Relentless’. The intro to this song quickly sets the pace, and the vocals we’re greeted by are quite nice as well. Certainly, judging by just the intro, this is already my favorite song on the album, simply because it starts off quickly, and the tone is quite nice too. The chorus is once again filled with clean vocals, mixed with screaming near the end of it. Certainly, not only just the intro has decided for me that this is my favorite song of the album.
‘Down the Road’ is the next song on the album, and it’s a softer song among the others. There is no screaming, only clean vocals. The music is a lot softer as well. It’s not like the first song on the album, where everything seems to be held back, but it’s simply a lot less heavy. The song is beautiful, though, and the lyrics are rather fitting. The ambiance is nice to get into, after all the heavy stuff.
‘+’ is once again an intro to another song. This intro is however less cheery, and softer and more calm. It’s beautiful, as the violin truly sets the ambiance. It’s almost like it’s the opposite of the other intro we’ve heard, which is also why they have decided for the titles. Whereas ‘–‘ was a lot darker, ‘+’ seems to be more uplifting.
‘+’ leads up to ‘Away’, where, during the beginning of the track, the violin is heard softly as well. We’re greeted by beautiful music, which isn’t quite heavy, but not too soft either – it’s not to be called a ballad. Yet, it’s like ‘Down the Road’, where the music isn’t too heavy, and the vocals are clean as well. I must say that I had expected something differently, hearing ‘+’ before this. Still, it is a nice song to listen to.
The last song of the album, ‘Transfigured’, concludes it all. It starts off with the same ambiance as the first song, though the pace picks up later in the song. It reminds me of the precious couple of songs, and with that, it doesn’t really seem to differ itself from the remainder of the album. Yet, it is a nice song to listen to nonetheless.
All with all, I am not too impressed with this album. Of Mice & Men seems to have gone a lot softer, and though it is not always a bad thing for bands to do so, I am missing the spark that I used to feel with their older stuff. While I do not mind softer songs, which doesn’t have any heavy guitar riffs or screaming, the softer songs on this album all seem to sound alike. The one song that stood out for me the most is the song ‘Relentless’, as well as the small intro ‘+’. I have to say these are my favorite tracks on the album. If I had to rate this album, I would give it a 6,5 out of 10, simply because it’s okay, but it could have been a lot better.