Breaking News: Of Mice and Men Release New Single and Perform Live For the First Time Since Austin Carlile’s Departure

of mice and men 2017

In case you missed it, in the last few days of 2016 iconic frontman, Austin Carlile, of the successful metalcore act, Of Mice & Men, departed the group due to ongoing medical concerns that prevented him from being a full time member of the band.  The shocking news that the beloved singer would be leaving behind the group he started quickly spread across the metalcore community.  We covered the story here at Erik’s Album Reviews, and if you haven’t had a chance to read our post about it, you can do so now!

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/breaking-news-austin-carlile-leaves-of-mice-and-men/

Shortly after this departure of Carlile, the band was bombarded with questions about how they would continue, and if they would at all.  For those who don’t remember, there was a short period in time, between 2010 and 2011, when Austin Carlile was also not apart of the group and Jerry Roush (Sky Eats Airplane and Glass Cloud) was the main vocalist of the band.  This Roush fronted OM&M only released one cover track of “Blame It”, originally recorded by Jamie Foxx, however it still stood as proof that the group can continue their successes without Carlile as a member of the band.

So, because of this, Of Mice & Men announced early this year that they would continue on as a band and still proceed to write new music.  What is most interesting, however, is that the group decided not to hire a new vocalist and instead promote Aaron Pauley, who previously played bass and sung “clean” vocals for the band, to the frontman, who would perform all vocals while playing bass.  This conversion to a four piece was very interesting to say the least, and despite not following the band as attentively as I used to years ago, I was extremely intrigued to see how the band would do with this new structure.

After a long wait, on April 23rd, with the help of Rise Records, Of Mice & Men released their latest single, “Unbreakable”, featuring the new setup to their lineup.  To be completely honest, this is the first Of Mice & Men track I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in years.  It sounds a lot like the material heard on “Restoring Force”, yet there is a slightly more aggressive and heavier influence heard in this track that was absent, for the most part, on the more recent material.  I’m also shocked at how well Pauley has been handling the harsh vocals for Of Mice & Men on this track.  Not only is his delivery similar to that of Austin Carlile, but I wasn’t even aware that he was capable of this performance, as his harsh vocals for his previous band, Jamie’s Elsewhere, aren’t exactly proficient to say the least.  The lyricism definitely is not stunning, but I can’t remember a time in Of Mice & Men’s history where their lyricism was stellar, so this aspect really does not hurt the band at all.

After hearing the new track I was pleasantly surprised, however, the question of would their live performance live up to such high standards was something I was dying to find an answer to.  Of Mice & Men have been known to put on intense shows that not only are entertaining, but feature a lot of movement and fan interaction, especially since Carlile, who was just a vocalist, was able to move freely across the stage/venue and was absolutely worshipped by fans, allowing his performance to be flawless through the eyes of Of Mice & Men fans.  Because of this, I was uncertain as to how the band would be able to maintain this level of adrenaline and excitement at their shows.  Luckily, one of Of Mice & Men’s first performances without Austin Carlile took place, on April 22nd, the day before the “Unbreakable” music video was released and live footage from fans almost instantly emerged on Youtube.  One of the first Carlile-less appearances from the band occurred at the outdoor festival, Las Rageous, which as you can imagine, takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The two tracks I saw performed live, through these live videos, were “Bones Exposed” and “The Depths”, which are two high energy, fan favorite songs that would serve as good examples as to whether or not the band can still be entertaining live.  After watching both videos, even though there was clearly a lack of movement and fan interaction, I can conclude that the performance, especially when evaluating Aaron Pauley and Alan Ashby’s vocal deliveries, was nearly perfect and the intensity and high energy aspects of Of Mice and Men’s live performance were still very prominent, despite not having a vocalist who is free to move around.  Unfortunately, the Las Rageous crowd was pretty dull, but the band themselves were very entertaining.

The new single, “Unbreakable”, and both live videos I watched are attached below.  Check them out and let us know what you think of them and this new era of Of Mice & Men.  We’ll keep you up to date on any updates about OM&M, so stay tuned for more metalcore content and other extreme music content due out very soon!

 

“Unbreakable”:

“Bones Exposed (live)”:

“The Depths (live)”:

Breaking News: The Acacia Strain Announce New Album “Gravebloom”

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Massachusetts’ own The Acacia Strain are back with a new record to follow up their monumental 2014 release, “Coma Witch”.  Their 8th full length album will be titled “Gravebloom” and will be the first album in the band’s history that will not be released 2 years after the previous full length record in their discography.  Prior to “Gravebloom”, The Acacia Strain albums were released in two year intervals, starting with “…And Life Is Very Long” in 2002 all the way until 2014’s “Coma Witch”.  While it may be frustrating to have to wait an extra 6 months than usual for a new TAS release, I am fairly sure it will be worth the wait (not to mention that having an extra long album cycle for “Coma Witch” was something I personally was very happy to see).  However, we are now months away from yet another TAS album, and the first single released, “Bitter Pill”, already showcases how the legendary metal band will continue their profound legacy in the extreme music scene.

“Bitter Pill” is the perfect representation of how the sound from “Above/Below” and “Coma Witch” has continued to live on, but slightly evolve, in the recent years of TAS’s history.  Deep, crushing guitar and bass tones and riffs steamroll through the entire track as thunderous percussion and Vincent Bennett’s demonic and instantly recognizable harsh vocal tracks add a punishing, unforgiving heaviness to the track as a whole, resulting in brutal song that is a perfect representation of The Acacia Strain’s signature, near flawless sound they’ve come to embody since 2013.  Personally, “Coma Witch” isn’t just my favorite TAS album, it’s one of my favorite albums of all time and is extremely influential and important to me and the music I enjoy today.  That being said, I’m extremely excited to see “Gravebloom” take on this continuation of the theme and sound heard on “Coma Witch”.  Everything to the artwork, which looks surprisingly similar to that of “Coma Witch” (seen below), to even the unique guitar tones and riffs heard on “Bitter Pill”, appear as if they could easily fit into “Coma Witch” as interchangeable aspects.  This isn’t meant to be interpreted as an insult, as I personally believe that if The Acacia Strain are writing some of the best material of their careers, why should they change anything?  In fact, I’m ecstatic to see that “Gravebloom” will be an even heavier, slightly more evolved (in a positive way) version of “Coma Witch” that might even be able to surpass the 2014 masterpiece as the new greatest release from TAS’s long history.  Of course, it will take a lot more than one phenomenal single to accomplish this, however, they are off to a solid start so far.  I will say, however, I am fairly disappointed to see that a track similar to “Observer” won’t be heard on “Gravebloom”.  Even though TAS or Rise Records haven’t released the official length of each individual track, the fact that pre-orders for the album, which are attached below, feature CDs and vinyl releases with only 1 disc per item means that we won’t be seeing another epic, masterfully written half-hour long track like we did on “Coma Witch”.  However, it might be too redundant if “Gravebloom” practically mimicked “Coma With” in composition, so I can see why the group chose not to write a song similar in structure.  Regardless of similarity to “Coma Witch”, it is a known fact that adding Devin Shidaker to TAS was the greatest move in the band’s history, as the songwriting heard on “Above/Below”, “Coma Witch”, and “Gravebloom” is nothing short of impeccable.

“Gravebloom” artwork vs. “Coma Witch” artwork:

2017 is shaping up to be one of the best years in extreme music in recent memory, and myself and the rest of the staff at Erik’s Album Reviews will constantly keep you updated on all things involving The Acacia Strain this year, so stay tuned as we get closer to the release of “Gravebloom” on June 30th!  Pre-order the new, pretty much guaranteed to be stellar The Acacia Strain album below, listen to “Bitter Pill”, and check out our recent post about Oceano’s new upcoming album, as “Revelation” is very similar to “Gravebloom” as they both appear to be continuation’s of their respective band’s previous and best material to date (not to mention that Devin Shidaker also used to play guitar for Oceano).  Lastly, a review of “Coma Witch” is in the works, which further discusses the vast significance of the superb album and it’s influence on myself and the rest of the modern extreme music community.

“Gravebloom” Pre-orders:

http://merchnow.com/catalogs/the-acacia-strain

Oceano new album post:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/breaking-news-oceano-announce-new-album-revelation/

“Bitter Pill”:

Breaking News: Austin Carlile Leaves Of Mice and Men

omm

Earlier today, Of Mice and Men frontman, Austin Carlile, announced that he will be leaving the prominent metalcore act.  According to the statement he released today, which is attached below, Carlile has been dealing with Marfan syndrome for a significant part of his career, and the constant touring and live performing that Of Mice and Men have taken on over the last few years have only worsened his condition.  In fact, the frontman goes on to say that if he continues to tour and perform with Of Mice and Men, the result would be inevitable “permanent and irrevocable damage to my spinal cord and nervous system”.  This is very upsetting to hear that Austin Carlile will have to step down from the band he started and helped grow into the metalcore titan that it is today.  According to his statement he will be living in Costa Rica from now on where he will be focusing on resting and healing.  Of course I hope he is able to relax and recover in his new home as well as continue to find ways to creatively express himself!

Personally, it has been a long time since I have listened to an Of Mice and Men album from front to back.  I started to stop following the band shortly after Restoring Force was released, but the first two records from Of Mice and Men will always be important releases to me.  They helped me get more involved in various genres in extreme music while also making Of Mice and Men a historic metalcore band that will be the face of the genre for decades to come.  It’s sad to think that I will never get the chance to see Of Mice and Men live with Austin again, but of course, his personal health is much more important than live performances or new albums.  The band has stated that they will continue as a four piece for now, but who knows, maybe they might eventually bring someone in to play older material, or maybe Jerry Roush will rejoin Of Mice and Men and do another metalcore cover of a pop song.  Regardless of what is in store for Of Mice and Men’s future, I hope Austin is able to recover and relax in his new home and he will truly be missed on stage!  We have a few more posts to share before the end of 2016 so stay tuned with us and have a Happy New Year!

Austin Carlile’s Personal Statement:

austin-carlile-leaving