Veteran metalcore band Of Mice & Men returns this week with the second of its three planned new EPs for this year.
Bloom is scheduled for release Friday through Sharptone Records. The three-song EP picks up right where its predecessor, Timeless left off both musically and lyrically. Speaking of that musical and lyrical content, each does its own part to make this latest offering from Of Mice & Men engaging and entertaining. They will each receive their own attention here. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. Each item noted does its own part to make this latest offering another positive offering from Of Mice & Men. All things considered, they make Bloom a strong follow-up to Timeless that the band’s established audiences will enjoy just as much as metalcore fans in general.
Of Mice & Men has succeeded for the second time this year with its new EP, Bloom. The second of the band’s three planned new EPs for this year, it stands out in part because of its musical arrangements. The arrangements in question seem to show the band…well…blooming and growing. Case in point is the musical arrangement featured in ‘Levee,’ the record’s opener. The song exhibits the band’s familiar heaviness. At the same time though, the stylistic approach in this case also lends itself to comparisons to work from the likes of Unearth (which ironically is more metal than metalcore), Atreyu, and Slipknot (which is also more metal than metalcore). The full, wall of sound approach taken here shows the band as a unit willing to take that chance and grow more in another direction than just continuing on the same path yet again. The risk paid off, too. It ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment throughout its nearly five minute run time. ‘Pulling Teeth,’ which closes out the EP, is another example of the importance of the EP’s musical content. It exhibits the band’s familiar classic metalcore elements even more here alongside a more metal leaning. The djent style added to the mix adds so much to the mix. The whole here makes this song just as solid a closer for the EP as ‘Levee’ is an opener. Much the same can be said of the arrangement featured in the EP’s title track. The more melodic moments, balanced against the heavier choruses makes for another solid musical presentation that will keep listeners engaged and entertained. All three arrangements collectively give listeners more than enough reason to take in this record. It is only a portion of what makes the EP successful. The record’s lyrical themes add their own touch to the EP’s presentation.
The lyrical themes featured in Bloom are notable because of the range of themes featured in the songs. That is even considering that the EP features only three songs. The band takes on the familiar theme of mental health in ‘Levee.’ Front man Aaron Pauley makes that clear as he sings in the song’s chorus, “It’s cold, cloudy, windy and wet/I see the sun inside my head/It’s warmer/And I need the warmth/More than ever.” He adds in the chorus’ refrain, “It keeps raining/Down, down, down/It touches everything we love.” Eventually Pauley screams, “It can only rain for so long/Before it washes us away/The levee’s gonna break before long/I can only swing for so long/So maybe it’s our time to drown.” The song’s verses are difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but the choruses are clear enough that it is easy to make an inference about the topic here. This is a song that takes on the familiar topic of mental health. It is presented in a unique fashion here that will definitely resonate with listeners.
The EP’s title track offers its own deep topic. According to Pauley, the song focuses on the loss of a loved one. “It’s about understanding, through that loss, that grief is not only love in its most visceral and wildest form, but that it’s also the ultimate price we pay to experience such love,” said Pauley in a prepared statement about the song. “To know profound grief is to have known profound love. Nothing and no one lasts forever. Love isn’t a bouquet of plastic flowers; it’s watching the petals fall.” This is a powerful statement both from him and from its delivery within the song. Yes, it is familiar, but is always welcome since loss is something we all have to experience. To that end, the theme here shows even more the diversity in the EP’s lyrical content and the importance thereof.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Pulling Teeth’ is difficult to decipher sans lyrics. However, Pauley’s statement in the song’s closing bars that “I thought I was prepared/That I was up to the task/I said I’ll be okay/But my world collapsed/Piece by piece by piece/Like slowly pulling teeth” infers the matter of dealing with a serious matter. He notes in the song’s opening, “Time stops for no man/The end awaits us all…I tried to fight off/The belly of the beast” builds on the overall statement. Even with this and what little can be deciphered in the chorus, the theme is still somewhat up in the air. It certainly comes across as being somewhat existential. The discussions that will come about from what this song may or may not be about shows in its own unique way, the importance of the EP’s lyrical content. When this is considered along with the impact of the EP’s musical arrangements, the two sides join to make for even more appeal here. Even with that in mind, there is still one more item to address. It comes in the form of the EP’s production.
The production of Bloom is important to discuss because of how much is going on in each song. From the sound of the falling rain in the opening bars of ‘Levee’ and the transition into the much heavier body, there is a lot going on here. The subtlety in the falling rain serves well to set the initial mood of depression. That depression transitions into a much more intense mixture of anger and frustration along with that depression throughout the rest of the song. That combination serves well to translate the wide range of emotion in the speaker’s mind. The fact that those two distinctly different moods are so well balanced along with the full instrumentation here is a prime example of the result of the work that went into the production. Even as heavy as the song is, each musician’s part is well-balanced with the others, and with the vocals and added effects. The overall impact is a song that fully immerses the listener in the song. ‘Bloom’ and ‘Pulling Teeth’ obviously required just as much attention as ‘Levee’ in terms of the songs’ production. ‘Pulling Teeth’ is so heavy and plodding. It is heavier perhaps than anything that Of Mice and Men has ever crafted. Luckily, the painstaking efforts to balance the heavy, crunching guitars, bass, and drums paid off here with each part complimenting the others in its own way. The result is a song that will prove to be a fan favorite if only for this aspect. All things considered, the production of this record required lots of attention in terms of production, and that attention paid off throughout. When the positive impact of the record’s production is considered with the role and importance of the musical and lyrical content, the whole makes Bloom a solid follow-up to Timeless and gives great hope for Of Mice and Men’s third and final EP of the year.
The second of three new EP’s planned for release this year from Of Mice & Men is a strong new offering from the veteran metalcore outfit. That is due in part to the EP’s musical arrangements. The arrangements exhibit just enough of the band’s familiar metalcore leanings while also delving into more pure metal influences than on Timeless. That growth is such that any audience will find it appealing in all three songs featured here. The lyrical themes featured in this record do their own part to show the EP’s strength. That is because where the themes featured in Timeless were all clearly existential, they are more diverse in this case. From dealing with the loss of a loved one, to taking on the equally familiar topic of mental health, to something else, the band opted this time to “bloom” and expand on its lyrical content. The production of the songs rounds out the EP’s most important elements. It shows that even with so much going on in each song, the best of each song is brought out through the attention to every detail in each song. The result is that the EP proves appealing just as much for its sound as for its content. Considering this, the EP overall proves to be just as successful as Timeless and gives hope for the next EP from Of Mice & Men. Bloom is scheduled for release Friday through Sharptone Records.
More information on Of Mice and Men’s new EP is available now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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