‘EARTHANDSKY’ Shows Positive Growth From Of Mice & Men

Courtesy: Rise Records

Hard rock band Of Mice & Men is apparently a band that does not rest easily on its own laurels.  A little more than a year and a half has passed since the Orange County ,CA-based band released its fifth full-length studio recording Defy.  Instead of waiting the standard three years or so between albums, the band’s members – Aaron Pauley (bass/vocals), Valentino Arteaga (drums), Philip Manansala (guitar) and Alan Ashby (guitar) – decided instead to strike while the iron was still hot and release album number six this year in the form of EARTHANDSKY.  Released Sept. 27 through Rise Records, the 11-song 43 minute album shows the band’s decision to not wait was a wide choice.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike, as is evidenced in part through the album’s opener, ‘Gravedancer.’  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Taste of Regret,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another of the album’s featured works that serves to support the noted statement.  It will be discussed a little later.  The album’s title track, which comes just past the album’s midway point, can be cited in supporting the noted statement, too.  When it is considered alongside ‘Taste of Regret,’ ‘Gravedancer’ and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album proves itself in whole, a powerful return from OM&M that is well-deserving of its own praise.

Of Mice & Men’s sixth full-length studio recording EARTHANDSKY is a solid follow-up to its predecessor, 2018’s Defy.  As a matter of fact, one could argue that it is a step up from that album in that it shows more comfort from front man Aaron Pauley — who took over vocal duties for the band from former front man Austin Carlile in 2017 – and his band mates ever since Carlile’s departure from the band due to his ongoing battle with Marfan syndrome.  That comfort among the band has resulted in a record that presents any number of engaging and entertaining songs in this outing, not the least of which being the album’s opener, ‘Gravedancer.’  Gravedancer stands out in part because of its musical arrangement. The song’s arrangement opens with a brief Middle Eastern introduction before launching into a heavy, blistering, almost thrash-style composition that holds most of the song.  There are also some decidedly doom rock style moments, including early on in the song, that add their own touch to the arrangement.  The combination of those slower, heavy moments and the more prominent upbeat moments makes the song’s arrangement in whole, a work that will appeal to a wide range of listeners in its own right.  The song’s musical arrangement is just part of what makes it so notable.  Its lyrical content adds even more to that notoriety.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Gravedancer’ is important to note because it comes across almost as a warning of sorts.  It comes across as a warning to the world of where things are headed.  Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “Slowly sinking/Headed for disaster/Filling our lungs while we’re circling the drain/Over and over/Around and around we go/Standing at the precipice of calamity/Just one step from the edge/In the end it makes no difference/’Cause we’re all hypnotized by the siren’s call/Then the song begins to play/As we dance around the grave.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Slowly sinking/headed for disaster/A sacrifice of self destruction/Around and around again/To celebrate the end/Then the song begins to play/As we dance around the grave/Knowing we will never change/We keep on dancing ‘round the grave.”  That cry of ‘We’re all hypnotized by the siren’s call’ is a brief statement, but so strong.  It is as if Pauley is saying, we’re letting ourselves be controlled by another force, which we as humans, are in fact doing.  The note of us “dancing around the grave” is a dark statement that strengthens the song’s overall statement even more.  For those who might not know their mythological history, sirens led sailors to their deaths.  We as a people are being led to our own demise because of the proverbial sirens that control society.  Pauley and company have presented an unmistakable message here, and one that will always be relatable.  When it is coupled with the song’s equally engaging and entertaining musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a clear example of why EARTHANDSKY is such a strong new effort from Of Mice & Men.  It is just one of the ways in which the album proves itself such a strong return for the band.  ‘Taste of Regret,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.

Much as is the case with ‘Gravedancer,’ ‘Taste of Regret’ stands out in part because of its own musical arrangement.  This song’s musical arrangement is another powerful thrash-style composition that once again incorporates the band’s familiar metalcore sound for another enjoyable, original work.  That metalcore sound includes the song’s more melodic moments, which create even more balance for the song, and in turn more engagement and entertainment.  As much as the song’s musical arrangement does for its overall presentation, it is just one part of what makes the song appealing.  The song’s insightful lyrical content adds its own share of interest and engagement to its whole.

Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “You’re wretched/Spewing venom/In every single lie that you tell/Feigning all emotion/When facing the consequences/Of your own personal hell/And there’s no angel left to blame/When the devil on your shoulder/Who made you bolder/Is the one laughing in your face/What goes around comes around someday/And every time I think about the words you’ve said/I’m reminded just to bite my tongue instead/Until every last lyric’s left covered in red/Because the taste of blood is better than the taste of regret.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “So while you’re spitting into the hurricane/Trying to get rid of the bitterness/The acid from your tongue/Begins to erode again/While you sit and reminisce/So deep inside your own abyss/There is no feeling of misery/Like living in history/When you’ve been so poisonous/Karma comes back to sink its fangs right in your neck.”  This is a straight-forward, no nonsense indictment of one of those people who has tried to make others’ lives miserable, but got theirs in the end.  It is a statement from someone to that noted individual, letting them know that despicable figure will  not bring others down.  When it couples with the fire in the song’s arrangement, it gains even more power, as does the arrangement, with the two complimenting one another expertly and making the song stand out even more as one more example of why EARTHANDSKY is another positive offering from Of Mice & Men.  While it is another clear example of what makes EARTHANDSKY stand out, it is not the last of the album’s most notable songs.  The album’s title track is deserving of its own attention, too.

‘Earth And Sky’ stands out in part because its musical arrangement is such a start contrast to that of the album’s other arrangements.  The song opens with something akin to a power metal work, with its airy chord-filled opening riffs.  From there, it moves into the band’s more familiar metalcore sound once again.  Those moments couple with the song’s more melodic moments – which easily lend themselves to comparisons to works from The Veer Union — to make the arrangement in whole, a work that bears its own identity separate from that of the album’s other arrangements.  While the song’s arrangement presents its own unique point of interest for its presentation, that element is just one point of interest in this case.  The song’s lyrical content adds presents its own engagement and entertainment.

Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “I felt you dragging me into a shallow grave/The dirt became a place to rest/But it betrays/You’ll never stop me/Your reign has ended/You’ll never hold down that which has ascended/I won’t run/I won’t turn away/I won’t let you get the best of me/I won’t fall in your gravity/open your eyes/You’re the earth and I’m the sky.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “You are the single stone amongst infinity/I am the wind that blows/I am the voice inside the rain/Can you feel the cold wind blowing/unrelenting, everlasting/Do you feel it in your bones/Do you feel it in your soul/I won’t run/I won’t turn away/I won’t let you get the best of me/I won’t fall in your gravity/Open your eyes.”  This is another relatively straight forward message.  This is a proud, defiant stance against one who might try to make another’s life miserable; a message that even as much as said person might try, that person will not succeed in making him/her miserable and ruining another’s life.  Once again, the energy in the song’s arrangement comes into play in examining the lyrics alongside this lyrical message.  It helps to drive home the frustration of dealing with that negative influence and the defiance by the person standing up to that negative person.  The whole of it all makes the song that much more powerful.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, they make the album in whole one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Of Mice & Men’s sixth full-length studio recording, EARTHANDSKY is a positive new offering from the veteran metalcore outfit.  That is due to the album’s collective musical and lyrical content.  The album’s musical side continues to show growth from the band while the lyrical content is just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained with its sometimes relatable and other times thought provoking material.  The songs examined here are just the slightest way in which the noted statements are supported.  The rest of the album’s songs can just as easily be cited to support the statements.  Keeping all of this in mind, the record in whole provides plenty for audiences to appreciate.  In turn, they make the album in whole easily one more of this year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  It is available now.  More information on EARTHANDSKY is available online now along with all of the band’s news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

 

 

 

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Of Mice & Men Debuts Title Track From New LP, ‘EARTHANDSKY’

Courtesy: Rise Records

Of Mice & Men debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new song ‘Earth & Sky‘ Thursday.  The song is the title track from the band’s forthcoming album EARTHANDSKY, which is due out Sept. 27 through Rise Records.

The video finds the band performing its new song inside a studio made to look like the inside of a spaceship.  The spaceship in question, is a pyramid-shaped vehicle that eventually shoots a giant laser beam onto Earth from outer space.  It is not known what the ray does to Earth, though what looks like shockwaves are visible blowing across a nondescript deserted highway as the spaceship sits in front of the sun.

The song’s musical arrangement is pure metalcore that is certain to appeal to fans of the band’s older material.  Bassist Aaron Pauley said in a recent interview, the song’s lyrical theme is meant to present a positive message.

“‘Earth & Sky‘ is a song about resilience,” Pauley said.  “It’s about understanding you can rise above whatever it is that keeps trying to drag you down, no matter what.  For me, a lot of the time, I’m writing about battling with my own mind.  For you, it may be a person or an obstacle or a circumstance.  Regardless of whatever it is is that’s trying relentlessly to drag you down, I hope I hope this song empowers you to rise above it with authority, like it does me every time I sing it.”

Earth & Sky‘ is just the latest song and video to come from EARTHANDSKY.  of Mice and Men most recently debuted the video for another of the album’s songs, ‘Mushroom Cloud‘ on May 2.  It was preceded by the debut of the video for the song ‘How To Survive‘ on March 6.  The audio-only stream of the song debuted Feb. 14.

All three songs are featured as part of EARTHANDSKY.  The album’s full track listing is noted below.

earthandsky TRACK LISTING:
“Gravedancer”
“As We Suffocate”
“Taste Of Regret”
“Mushroom Cloud”
“Pieces”
“Deceiver/Deceived”
“Earth & Sky”
“The Mountain”
“Meltdown”
“Linger”
“How To Survive”

Of Mice And Men will launch a tour in support of EARTHANDSKY on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles, CA.  The three-week tour is scheduled to run through Oct. 19 in Mesa, AZ and to feature performances in cities, such as Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC and Houston, TX.  The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR:
EARTH TOUR:
WITH FOR THE FALLEN DREAMS, THOUSAND BELOW, + BLOODBATHER:

9/23 — Los Angeles, CA — Teragram
9/24 — San Diego, CA — Soma
9/25 — Flagstaff, AZ — The Green Room
9/27 — Salt Lake City — Complex
9/28 — Denver, CO — Marquis
9/29 — Lawrence, KS — Granada
10/3 — Columbus, OH — Basement
10/5 — Ottawa, ON — Brass Monkey
10/6 — Toronto, ON — Lee’s
10/7 — Montreal, QC — Fairmont Theatre
10/9 — Philadelphia, PA — Volatage Lounge
10/11 — Virginia Beach, VA — Elevation 27
10/12 — Greensboro, NC — The Blind Tiger
10/13 — Manchester, TN — Exit 111 Festival*
10/15 — Houston, TX — Warehouse Live
10/16 — Austin, TX — Come And Take It Live
10/17 — Dallas, TX — Cub Dada
10/19 — Mesa, AZ — The Underground
*Festival Date

Pre-orders for EARTHANDSKY are open now.  More information on EARTHANDSKY is available now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Of Mice & Men Debuts ‘How To Survive’ Video

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Of Mice and Men premiered the video for its new single on Wednesday.

The video is the companion for its new single, ‘How To Survive,’ which it debuted Feb. 14.  Directed by Zev Deans, the video is a mock “how to” video which “instructs” people how to survive, apparently, a situation of seeming anarchy.  The video finds various people reading and following directions of “How to Survive,” and those instructions apparently include an intriguing range of situations.

OM&M front man/bassist Aaron Pauley explained the song’s lyrical concept in a recent interview when the single itself debuted.

“‘How To Survive’ is an anthem for those who have been the receiving end of unmerited unmerited and targeted hatred and abuse,” Pauley said.  “It’s for the kid who was bullied, beat up and ignored in school.  It’s for the teenager who was told they’ll never amount to anything and that their thoughts, feelings and opinions don’t matter to the world.  It’s for the person who has been told that they’re worthless, useless or not good enough time and again.  It’s for the person who has been repeatedly targeted by those who only seek to tear others around them down.”

He added, “This song is for them.  This song is for me.  I am them, and I’m still standing.  So, turn it up.  Feel the rage.  If you, too are that person, you will know it well, and it will greet you like an old friend.”

 

 

Courtesy: Rise Records/Atom Splitter PR

Audiences nationwide will get to hear ‘How To Survive’ and much more music from Of Mice & Men during the band’s current North American tour.  The tour started Feb. 21 and runs through May 18, with a short break between March and April to allow Of Mice and Men’s members to rest and recharge.

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.

OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR:
WITH NOTHING MORE:

3/7 — Pittsburgh, PA — Stage AE
3/8 — Philadelphia, PA — The Fillmore
3/10 — New York, NY — Playstation Theater
3/11 — New Haven, CT — Toad’s Place
3/12 — Boston, MA — House of Blues
3/13 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore
3/15 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore
3/16 — Atlanta, GA — Buckhead Theater
3/17 — Tampa, FL — The Ritz
3/19 — New Orleans, LA — The Fillmore
3/20 — Houston, TX — Revention Center
3/22 — Dallas, TX — Southside Ballroom
3/23 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theatre

WITH BEARTOOTH, HANDS LIKE HOUSES, + DEAD AMERICAN:
4/19 — Fargo, ND — Sanctuary Event Center
4/20 — Sioux City, IA — Anthem at Hard Rock Casino
4/21 — Wichita, KS — Cotillion
4/23 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
4/24 — Springfield, MO — The Complex
4/25 — Memphis, TN — Minglewood
4/27 — Houston, TX — So What?! Music Festival
4/28 — New Orleans, LA — Southport Hall
4/30 — Nashville, TN  — Cannery Ballroom
5/1 — Birmingham, AL — Iron City
5/3 — Jacksonville, FL — Welcome to Rockville*
5/— Pensacola, FL — Vinyl Music Hall
5/6 — Knoxville, TN — The Mill & Mine
5/8 — Louisville, KY — Mercury Ballroom
5/9 — Lancaster, PA — Chameleon Club
5/10 — Rockingham, NC — Epicenter Festival*
5/12 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
5/13 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
5/14 — Providence, RI — The Strand
5/15 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
5/17 — Columbus, OH — Sonic Temple Festival*
5/18 — Chicago, IL  — Chicago Open Air+
* No Of Mice & Men, Dead American
+Beartooth Only

More information on Of Mice & Men’s new single, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/OMandM

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.como/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Of Mice & Men Debuts New Single; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

Of Mice & Men is giving audiences their first preview of the band’s next album.

The band premiered its new single ‘How To Survive‘ on Thursday.  The song will appeal musically to fans of the band’s older sound, as this time the band’s members have opted to go for  a more easily accessible arrangement, complete with screams instead of clean vocals.  The song’s lyrical content is just as accessible, as front man/bassist Aaron Pauley explained in a recent interview.

“‘How To Survive’ is an anthem for those who have been the receiving end of unmerited unmerited and targeted hatred and abuse,” Pauley said.  “It’s for the kid who was bullied, beat up and ignored in school.  It’s for the teenager who was told they’ll never amount to anything and that their thoughts, feelings and opinions don’t matter to the world.  It’s for the person who has been told that they’re worthless, useless or not good enough time and again.  It’s for the person who has been repeatedly targeted by those who only seek to tear others around them down.”

He added, “This song is for them.  This song is for me.  I am them, and I’m still standing.  So, turn it up.  Feel the rage.  If you, too are that person, you will know it well, and it will greet you like an old friend.”

Audiences nationwide will get to hear this song and much more music when the band hits the road next week for an extensive North American tour.  The tour is scheduled to start Feb. 21 and run through May 18, with a short break between March and April to allow Of Mice and Men’s members to rest and recharge.  The tour’s full schedule is noted below.

OF MICE & MEN ON TOUR:
WITH NOTHING MORE:

2/21 — Phoenix, AZ — The Van Buren
2/22 — Los Angeles, CA — The Belasco
2/23 — Sacramento, CA — Ace of Spades
2/25 — Salt Lake City, UT — The Depot
2/26 — Denver, CO — Ogden Theatre
2/28 — Oklahoma City, OK — Diamond Ballroom
3/1 — Kansas City, MO — The Truman
3/2 — Minneapolis, MN — Skyway Theatre
3/3 — Chicago, IL — The Vic Theatre
3/6 — Grand Rapids. MI — 20 Monroe
3/7 — Pittsburgh, PA — Stage AE
3/8 — Philadelphia, PA — The Fillmore
3/10 — New York, NY — Playstation Theater
3/11 — New Haven, CT — Toad’s Place
3/12 — Boston, MA — House of Blues
3/13 — Silver Spring, MD — The Fillmore
3/15 — Charlotte, NC — The Fillmore
3/16 — Atlanta, GA — Buckhead Theater
3/17 — Tampa, FL — The Ritz
3/19 — New Orleans, LA — The Fillmore
3/20 — Houston, TX — Revention Center
3/22 — Dallas, TX — Southside Ballroom
3/23 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theatre

WITH BEARTOOTH, HANDS LIKE HOUSES, + DEAD AMERICAN:
4/19 — Fargo, ND — Sanctuary Event Center
4/20 — Sioux City, IA — Anthem at Hard Rock Casino
4/21 — Wichita, KS — Cotillion
4/23 — Des Moines, IA — Wooly’s
4/24 — Springfield, MO — The Complex
4/25 — Memphis, TN — Minglewood
4/27 — Houston, TX — So What?! Music Festival
4/28 — New Orleans, LA — Southport Hall
4/30 — Nashville, TN  — Cannery Ballroom
5/1 — Birmingham, AL — Iron City
5/3 — Jacksonville, FL — Welcome to Rockville*
5/— Pensacola, FL — Vinyl Music Hall
5/6 — Knoxville, TN — The Mill & Mine
5/8 — Louisville, KY — Mercury Ballroom
5/9 — Lancaster, PA — Chameleon Club
5/10 — Rockingham, NC — Epicenter Festival*
5/12 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
5/13 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
5/14 — Providence, RI — The Strand
5/15 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
5/17 — Columbus, OH — Sonic Temple Festival*
5/18 — Chicago, IL  — Chicago Open Air+
* No Of Mice & Men, Dead American
+Beartooth Only

More information on Of Mice & Men’s new single, tour dates and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.como/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

2018 Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Festival Lineup, Vendor List Announced

Courtesy: Live Nation/Danny Wimmer Presents

Labor Day is generally known nationwide as the end of summer.  It marks the start of fall, students’ return to school and the end of the summer concert season, but thanks to Live Nation and Danny Wimmer Presents, the summer concert series will extend beyond Labor Day this year thanks to one more concert festival this October.

The annual Monster Energy Rock Allegiance festival comes to BB&T Pavilion & Wiggins Waterfront Park in Camden, New Jersey on Saturday, October 6.  Now in its fourth year, the festival will be headlined this year by Avenged Sevenfold, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach.

Also on this year’s bill are some of today’s and tomorrow’s most notable acts.  They include the likes of Fozzy, Skillet, Of Mice and Men, From Ashes To New, Blacktop Mojo and Stone Broken.  Fozzy’s performance is one of a current string of dates in support of its latest (and seventh) album Judas, which was released just this past October, while Skillet is touring in support of its ninth album, Unleashed (2016).

Of Mice and Men, which released the video for its latest single, ‘Instincts‘ late last month, is touring in support of its recently released fifth album Defy.  That record was released January 19, 2018 and includes the new single.

From Ashes To New’s performance is in support of its latest album, The Future.  The band’s sophomore LP, it was released April 20, 2018 via Better Noise Records.  It can be downloaded and streamed online through various outlets here.  the album’s lead single, ‘Crazy’ is streaming now here.

Blacktop Mojo is currently touring in support of its debut album Burn The Ships which is making waves on rock radio stations nationwide.  It was released December 15, 2017 via Cuhmon Records and includes a powerhouse cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On.’  The band is streaming its full album online now here.

British rock outfit Stone Broken just released its sophomore album late last month via Spinefarm Records.  The album’s latest single, ‘Heartbeat Away,’ which addresses the issue of domestic violence, is streaming online now here.  It comes on the heels of the debut of the lyric video for the album’s lead single, ‘Worth Fighting For,’ which is streaming here.

Tickets for this year’s edition of the Rock Allegiance festival go on sale today, May 11, at noon eastern time at the official Rock Allegiance website. Hotel rates are also listed at the website. General admission lawn tickets start at $39.50 while Reserved Pavilion seating starts at $49.50.  VIP packages start at $169.00.  VIP packages include the following amenities.

Monster Energy Rock Allegiance VIP package amenities include:
  • Access to the GA Pit and/or 100 level tickets for the Main Stage / Pavilion for the headlining four band performances
  • Commemorative Rock Allegiance 2018 VIP laminate
  • Dedicated VIP entrance to the festival
  • VIP hang areas on the Battleship New Jersey and BB&T Pavilion lounge (space limited at each area)
  • Exclusive VIP restrooms and special food and beverage offerings (for additional purchase)

Along with lots of music, this year’s festival will also feature lots of food and drink including sweet and savory treats from: Tony Luke’s Cheesecake, Baby Blues BBQ, Chickies & Pete’s, Lil Trent’s Treats, Nico’s Pizza & More! and Sum Pig Food Truck.

A number of craft breweries will be on hand at the festival, providing refreshment.  They include: 21st Amendment (San Francisco, CA), Dogfish Head (Milton, DE), Foudners (Grand Rapids, MI), Neshaminy Creek (Croydon, PA), Oskar Blues (Longmont, CO), Spellbound (Mount Holly, NJ), Troegs Independent Brewing (Hershey, PA), Unibroue (Chambly, QC) and Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA).

The Monster Energy Rock Allegiance festival is fueled by Monster Energy and sponsored by f.y.e., Roadrunner Records, Fxck Cancer and SWFTCharge.  More sponsors will be announced in the coming weeks.  The festival is produced by Live Nation and Danny Wimmer Presents.

More information on this year’s Rock Allegiance festival is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.RockAllegiance.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rockallegiance

Twitter: http://twitter.com/rockallegiance

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

 

‘Defy’ Defies Critics’ Words And Proves To Be A Big Step Forward For Of Mice & Men

Courtesy: Rise Records

Of Mice & Men is back and back at it again. The band released its latest album this past week, and will hit the road in support of the album, Defy, next week. The band’s fifth full-length studio recording, it is a work that lives up to audiences’ expectation. What’s more, it is a work that is certain to earn the band even more audiences considering its overall radio ready sound. This is proven right from the album’s outset in its title track. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Back To Me,’ which comes early in the album’s run, also supports the previously noted statement of Defy‘s reach, and is hardly the last of the album’s most notable tracks. The driving yet contemplative ‘How Will You Live’ is yet another song that serves to show how and why Defy lives up to expectations. Of course the other nine songs that make up the rest of the album could be used to support that statement, too. This critic merely chose to focus on the three noted here as examples. All things considered, this the fifth offering from Of Mice & Men proves to be a strong new effort from the band and easily one of its best efforts to date.

Of Mice And Men’s fifth full-length studio recording is easily one of the band’s best records to date. Obviously there are those out there who are going to disagree with such sentiment. Odds are though, those people are upset about the album because of its clear marketability in the mainstream rock realm. From start to finish, this album holds its own with not only its metalcore counterparts, but with its hard rock counterparts in general. The album’s opener/title track is just one of the songs that supports that statement. This is proven in part through the song’s solid, forward-driving musical arrangement, which grabs listeners right from the song’s outset and never lets go. It is especially infectious as it winds its way through its chorus, certain to stick in listeners’ minds. One could honestly almost compare this song’s arrangements to the best works of Drowning Pool, Five Finger Death Punch and other similar acts, again pointing to its mainstream accessibility. Of course the song’s musical arrangement is only a part of what makes it stand out as an example of what makes Defy such a strong new effort. Its equally straight forward lyrical theme does just as much to make it stand out.
Bassist/front man Aaron Pauley sings here a…well…defiant, fist-pumping anthem that seems to take on obstacles both mental and real. This is inferred as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “Life cycles and planned obsolescence/A perfect trap disguised as assistance/It takes the pain away/Control the sentience of the masses/Relief replaced with silent disaster/But I won’t fade away/No, I won’t fade away.” It is one of those lyrical statements that, while not rare, is still certain to energize listeners. The song’s second verse proves this even more as Pauley sings, “A numbing cure for the common existence/Replace security for subsistence/It takes the pain away/Victimize, enable, beguile/A body count without a reprisal/But I won’t fade away/No I won’t fade away.” From there he sings in the song’s chorus in straight forward fashion, “I defy this hopelessness/I defy this callousness/I defy/Irreverent, I will rise/I see through your disguise and all your lies/I defy.” SImply put, it is a song centered on self-confidence and the drive to overcome, regardless of the situation. Of course, that is just this critic’s take on the lyrics, so it should not be taken as gospel. Rather, it should be taken as just one interpretation. It would seem close to the song’s message, though. Either way, the theme of confidence and personal strength is certain to resonate with listeners across the board. When it is joined with the song’s infectious, radio ready musical arrangement, the two elements clearly show why the song stands out as one part of a wholly solid album. It is just one of the songs that serves to show what makes Defy a strong new effort from the band, too. ‘Back To Me’ is another song that proves Defy‘s overall strength.

‘Back To Me’ stands out, as with Defy‘s title track, in part because of its musical arrangement. Whereas ‘Defy’ was a full-throttle, guitar-driven opus, ‘Back To Me’ shows its own identity separate from that of ‘Defy.’ The song’s verses conjure thoughts of LInkin Park (yes, Linkin Park) with its keyboard lines, yet its chorus sections bear more likeness to perhaps Blessthefall, LIke Moths To Flames and other similar acts. The song’s bridge adds even more interest with its full-on djent breakdown. Even as short as it is, it is still a nice fit in the bigger picture of the song. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical, when coupled with its strong musical arrangement, gives the song even more depth. Pauley revealed recently in an interview that the song is a positive work, noting that it is about getting life back to normal after going through a difficult situation. That seems to fit considering the song’s lyrical content. Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “No turning back now/I’m moving ahead toward the way out/Don’t you hate how/We get left behind in the fallout/Take a breath and take heart/Instead of pulling apart/When you find yourself back at the start/Every part of me/Catches on fire underneath/When I ignite, you’ll see/Maybe I can light the way/I can light the way back to me.” It’s pretty straight forward in its explanation, and a clearly positive message, just as Pauley explained. When that positive message is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat arrangement, the whole of those elements shows in full why this song is its own standout work. It also serves in the bigger picture to show even more why Defy is a solid new offering from OMAM. It still is not the last of the album’s entries that serves this purpose, either. ‘How Will You Live’ also serves this purpose.

‘How Will You Live’ stands out from its counterpart on this record in part through its musical arrangement. A close listen to this song’s arrangement leads to comparisons to songs from the likes of 36 Crazyfists, The veer Union, Sevendust and others. It might sound, on the surface, like a stretch. The reality, though, is the realization that it’s not such a stretch. What’s more, it’s a rather solid arrangement that is infectious in its own right. The fact that it holds its own musically against the album’s other songs while also continuing to show the album’s musical diversity serves to strengthen the album even more, as it continues to show the band’s reach once more here. Of course, its musical arrangement is only one of its key elements. Its lyrical theme, while somewhat similar in its personal message, also stands out from the album’s other lyrical themes. Pauley sings here, “It’s time for a fight/Now they’re drawing their lines/And you know it’s not right/When you’re stuck picking sides/It’s the invisible enemy/If I can’t see it/Then how can I believe it/Tell me how will you live/If you hide what eats you alive/When no one sees you/Tell me how will you live.” This verse and chorus together seem to hint a Pauley discussing someone dealing with an inner struggle, being forced to make a decision that he or she does not want to have to make and knowing he or she shouldn’t have to make said decision. The song’s subject here is seemingly saying to that person, “how will you live if you hold these feelings inside? Get those feelings out!” The subject even goes on more in the second verse saying, “When fear and pain suffocate/Tell me how will you live/Will you disclose or will you break/Tell me, how will you live?” Once more, this seems to be the song’s subject urging someone to get out what he or she is holding inside by asking, “How will you live when these feelings overcome you?” It’s a strong seeming statement, and hopefully an interpretation that is somewhere in the ballpark of what Pauley was trying to say here. Hopefully it’s somewhere close to being right because it is such a powerful statement from which so many people could benefit when considering its wording. When it is set against the seeming urgency in the song’s musical arrangement, the power in that statement is increased even more, showing how much time and thought were put in here just as much as in other parts of the album. Keeping this in mind, it is obvious not just what makes this song stand out but also even more why this album in whole is such a solid new effort from OMAM. When it is set alongside the other songs noted here and those not directly noted, the whole of the album proves to be a record that is certain to be a big step forward in the life of OMAM no matter what its detractors say.

Of Mice & Men’s latest full-length studio recording Defy is a strong new effort from the Orange County, California-based rock act. It is an album that shows both musically and lyrically a certain growth from the band, especially considering the change in vocalists. The album’s musical arrangement are more commercially viable than those of the arrangements in the band’s previous albums. Its lyrical themes are powerful statements that are just as certain to stick with audiences just as much as its musical arrangements. That hopefully has been explained clearly and thoroughly here. Keeping all of this in mind, Defy is a record that is certain to defy the words of its detractors and become the next big step forward in the band’s life. It is available now in stores and online.

The band will hit the road next week in support of Defy beginning Jan. 31 in Berkeley, CA. The band will also perform live Feb. 20 at The Underground in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of its tour. Tickets for that and the tour’s other dates are available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OMandM

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Rise Against Opening New Year With New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Interscope Records

Courtesy: Interscope Records

Rise Against announced two big pieces of news this week.

The band announced this week that it will kick off the New Year with a whole new slate of tour dates. It also announced the debut of the video for its new single ‘Tragedy + Time.’ Rise Against will join Linkin Park for the North American leg of its “Hunting Party Tour,” which kicks off Thursday, January 15th in Orlando, Florida. Both bands are currently touring in support of their respective new albums The Hunting Party and The Black Market. Of Mice and Men will serve as support act. It is touring in support of its latest full length studio effort Restoring Force. That album was released on January 28th of this year. Rise Against front man/guitarist Tim Mcllrath discussed the bands’ pairing in an interview. He noted that he is looking forward to the tour both for the bands and for their fans. “After crossing paths with these guys at festivals around the world over the past decade, we’re excited to finally share the road with Linkin Park,” he said. “We think this will be a great experience for all our collective fans.” Tickets can be purchased now for the tour via Ticketmaster. The full schedule for the tour is listed below. It includes a performance at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on January 28th.

Rise Against-Linkin Park Hunting Party Tour Schedule

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Along with the announcement of its tour with Linkin Park, Rise Against also announced this week the premiere of the video for its new single ‘Tragedy + Time.’ The video, which can be viewed online now via Vimeo, was co-directed by Wed Kandel and Casey Hupke. The concept behind the video was meant to illustrate the song’s lyrical message of a person moving from a difficult and dark emotional place to a much brighter place; a journey from dark to light so to speak.

Fans can keep up with all of the latest news and more from Rise Against online at

Website: http://www.riseagainst.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/riseagainst

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/riseagainst

Twitter: http://twitter.com/riseagainst

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.