The lineup for the 2023 Blue Ridge Rock Festival is now official.
Festival organizers announced the full lineup for the festival Thursday. This year’s festival, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 7-10 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VA, includes a number of established and up-and-coming acts.
Among the most notable of the acts set to perform at this year’s festival are the likes of Slipknot, Machine Head, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, Dope, Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Of Mice & Men, and Shinedown. Also on the bill for this year’s festival are the likes of Finger Eleven, Danzig, Megdeth, and I Prevail.
Among the most notable of the up-and-coming acts on the festival’s schedule this year are the likes of Psychostick, Heartsick, and Spiritbox.
Nonpoint, 10 Years, Scott Stapp, Tantric and others will perform as part of the festival’s pre-party.
Single-day passes, 3-day general admission, 4-day General Admission and VIP packages are all available now here. Audiences can also purchase weekend or single-day passes now for 25% down as part of the festival’s 3-month payment plan.
More information on the 2023 Blue Ridge Rock Festival is available at:
Early this month, veteran metalcore band Miss May I unveiled its latest album through SharpTone Records. The band’s seventh album, Curse of Existence is an interesting new presentation from the band that is likely to find the majority of its appeal among the band’s most devoted audiences. That is proven in part through its musical content, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content will also appeal to that targeted audience. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation. Collectively, they make Curse of Existence a record that metalcore fans and Miss May I’s established audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once.
Curse of Existence, the latest album from Miss May I, is a presentation that will appeal largely to the most devoted metalcore masses and of the band’s established audiences. That targeted appeal comes in part through the album’s featured musical content. The content in question is the band’s familiar blend of metalcore and death metal influences is just as present here as in the band’s existing albums. From one song to the next, audiences can clearly once again make comparisons to works from the likes of As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, and to a slightly lesser degree, the band’s label mates, Of Mice & Men. The heavy, crunching down-tuned guitars that rip through each song with the sharpness of a chainsaw pair with the equally tight drums and low-end from the bass to make each song powerful in its own right. Given, the overall musical content does not necessarily break any new ground for the band, but it is still such that it will appeal to said audiences what with its wall of sound effect from one song to the next. The addition of front man Levi Benton’s powerhouse screams makes that even clearer. To that end, the record’s musical arrangements are, again, a safe choice for the band this time out but still play well into the album’s overall presentation.
The musical arrangements featured throughout the course of Curse of Existence are collectively, just one part of what makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once. The record’s overall lyrical body does its own share to make the album engaging. That is because said content largely presents themes of facing and overcoming adversity in life. That includes facing it internally and externally.
As Benton stated in an interview about the album, “Curse of Existence is exactly what it reads, the curse we have in our existence. This doesn’t mean anything strictly negative, but it covers all existence that is the good and the bad, the highs and the lows; the sorrow and the joy. Everything that comes with life comes with a lesson and a price that is what we have put into this album.”
Those highs and lows are present throughout the album’s lyrical content. The album’s single, ‘Unconquered’ is a prime example of this. Benton sings/screams in this song of that personal/inner strength. He states right from the song’s introductory lines, “If it’s us versus the world/Then I will remain/The last man standing/SO bring on the pain” before continuing in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “I walk alone through a crowd of eyes/I see a vision of red/terrified/It goes from bad to worse/If every blessing is a curse/Then how will I survive/The walls are closing in/What’s on the other side/It’s been so long/Since I’ve felt alive/Maybe I’m the only one who can save me/From the monster I’ve become lately/All these ghosts still chase me/And there’s nowhere left to run.” This is that message of realization of one’s self, that realization that a person is at a certain breaking point and it is up to that person to change himself/herself. Again, it centers on that inner strength to overcome that personal adversity. The message continues in the chorus tied to the second verse, which states, “So heavy/The world around me/Can’t let it crush me…The only way out is through/And the sun that stops the flood is still inside you.” He is saying that said inner strength is there and that people must remember they have that power to stop the bad. It is a message that is certain to resonate with so many audiences.
‘A Smile That Does Not Exist,’ the album’s opener, is another song that is certain to resonate with audiences, what with what comes across as a message of overcoming one’s own mental health struggles. This is inferred as Benton screams in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “The world has kept the chosen ones free/Safe from the storms that rain down on me/The coming winds of catastrophe/Face the beast or find no peace/Descend into madness/Shattering glass into fragments/Locked eyes watch me writhe across the floor/Pick up the pieces/Come back for more/In the mirror/A blank stare/No one’s there/No one cares/I pretend that we share/A smile that does not exist/My obsession with the darkness in my reflections/I always see the worst in me/Breathe in, Breathe out/Drown in self-doubt/It’s always in your head/But it’s only in your head.” That final statement that “It’s only in your head” is so important. It is a reminder that all of those negative thoughts that so many of us fight daily are just that. They are in our head. That self-doubt is there, but it can be overcome. This reminder is so simple, but so important. Benton adds a statement in the song’s second verse of memories fading away, “devouring brighter days.” Again, this is that emotional darkness that countless millions the world over feel every day. The reminder that follows once again, that it is all in one’s head is sure to motivate so many listeners. Once again, it shows the importance of the lyrical content featured in this album.
‘Bleed Together’ is yet another example of that importance. In the case of this song, it comes across as a commentary about someone coming to terms with a troubled childhood. This is inferred most clearly in the song’s second verse, which states, “I only sang a silent lullaby/You let a part of me die/A broken God through a child’s eyes/I’ve walked these hells before/But now I’m re-writing history/Please let the apple fall far from the tree.” That mention of the apple falling far from the tree is typically used to talk about connections between children and their parents, so to that end, this really does point toward some emotional conflict and disconnect between a child and parent. Later in the song, he adds, “I will not stand in the shadow of your demons/No/Bury the past in the dirt/I refuse to relive the hurt/There’s only one thing in this short life/I won’t give to you, my dear/The key to all the pain I’ve locked inside.” Again, this comes across as a discussion from someone facing a past that involved a troubled childhood relationship with a parent. If in fact this is the case, then it is certain to resonate with audiences in its own right, too. That is because there are so many people who had those stormy relationships with their parents. It is another topic that is all too familiar in the rock realm, but one that is still just as relevant today as it has ever been. To that end, it is yet another clear example of the importance of this album’s lyrical content. When it and the other themes addressed here are considered alongside the rest of the album’s lyrical themes and with the album’s musical content, the whole creates a solid foundation for the album.
As much as the content featured in Curse of Existence does to make the album worth hearing, there is still one more item to address here. That item is the album’s production. The production is important because of its role in the album’s general effect. Each song featured in this record is so intense, musically. Thanks to the attention paid to each musician’s part in each song results in each work having so much impact. No one part overpowers its counterparts at any point in the record. The result is that the album’s general effect is positive in its own right, too. Keeping that in mind, the production that went into this record does just as much to make the album worth hearing as the album’s content. The whole makes Curse of Existence worth hearing at least once.
Curse of Existence, the latest album from veteran metalcore outfit Miss May I, is another work that the most devoted of the band’s audiences and the most devoted metalcore fans will find engaging and entertaining. This is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which is fully familiar to those audiences. The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements is important, too. That is because of its accessibility. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation, creating a positive general effect that does its own share to keep audiences engaged. Each item noted is important in its own way to the album’s presentation. All things considered they make Curse of Existence anything but a cursed record.
Curse of Existence is available now through SharpTone Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Miss May I’s latest news at:
The band premiered the new song and video Wednesday. The premieres come more than two months after the debut of the band’s then latest single, ‘Unconquered’ and its video. ‘Bleed Together’ will feature in Miss May I’s forthcoming album, Curse of Existence, which is scheduled for release Sept. 2 through Sharp Tone Records. It is unknown if ‘Unconquered’ will also be part of the record’s body.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Bleed Together’ is just as intense as that featured in ‘Unconquered.’ Audiences can easily make a comparison here to works from Miss May I’s Sharp Tone Records label mates Of Mice & Men, as well as again to works from We Came As Romans and to those from Wage War.
The lyrical theme featured in the band’s new single addresses the relationship between a parent and child in powerful fashion, according to a statement from front man Levi Benton.
“‘Bleed Together’ describes the connection a parent has with their child and the lengths they are willing to go to be there for them,” he said. “It is a natural instinct for a parent to want to guard their child and for some that still seems to be something that was missing in their life. This song is from my perspective and an emotional follow up to our song ‘Hey Mister,’ which describes the lack of a father figure around in one’s life.”
The video for ‘Bleed Together’ illustrates the noted message as it shows a father holding his child while the world seems to be crumbling around the pair. Meanwhile the band is presented performing its new single on a soundstage to add to the visualization.
More information on Miss May I’s new single, video and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Of Mice & Men has had a busy go of it this year. The band has released three new EPs since the year opened, and now after all of that, everything the band has done will lead up to all of those records coming together Friday in the band’s new album, Echo. The record is set for release through SharpTone Records. That combination of the EPs all in one setting is the most important of the record’s elements, and will be discussed shortly. The record’s production plays its own important part to the whole and will be discussed shortly. The record’s pricing is relatively affordable, even taking shipping and handling into account. It will also be examined later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make Echo a work that any fan of OMAM will appreciate.
Of Mice & Men is closing out 2021 with a special early holiday present for its fans in the form of its new album, Echo. The record is a presentation that any of the band’s fans will appreciate. That is due in part to the record’s general presentation. In regards to the general presentation, it features all three of the EPs that the band has released this year – Timeless, Bloom, and Ad Infinitum – in one complete package. On one hand, those who already own the EPs might look at this and ask why they should own the record. The answer is the same for those who maybe own one of the EPs or none. It is what has been noted. It places all of that music into one setting. This way, audiences need not go hunting for the separate EPs when they want to listen to them, whether digitally or physically. Rather, they can just go to one place and have all of that music in the one album. What’s more, all of the songs from the EPs are presented here in the exact same order in which they were presented in the separate EPs. That means whether audiences own the existing EPs in their standalone formats, all audiences will get the same music in the exact same order as in the EPs. It is a general effect item, but overall, this general presentation makes for a strong foundation for Echo. It is just one of the items that makes the record enjoyable. The record’s production puts its own touch to the record that is worth noting.
The production that went into Echo is important because of the fire presented in each of its 10 total songs. Between the intensity in front man Aaron Pauley’s screams and clean vocals, the virtual wall of sound generated through the instrumentations, and the added electronics and other nuanced musical seasoning that is peppered throughout the record, there is a lot going on. There is a lot of energy in everything going on, too. For all that is going on and the power in each arrangement, those responsible for bringing it all together are to be highly commended. Everything is so well balanced throughout. Even in the band’s cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s ‘Helplessly Hoping,’ the record’s lone calm moment, the production brings out the full emotion of the band’s performance and of the song itself. All things considered, the record’s production is just one more item that makes it appealing for audiences. The album’s pricing rounds out its most important items.
Using prices listed at Amazon and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – it was not listed through Walmart, Target, Best Buy, or even Books-A-Million at the time of this review’s posting – the album’s average price point is $18.24. Amazon is listing the album at the less expensive price of $11.49, well below that average. Barnes & Noble Booksellers meanwhile lists the album at $24.99, well above the noted number. One cannot help but wonder how much the other noted retailers will list the album at when and if they finally do. That aside, having a price through Amazon that barely breaks the $10 mark is relatively affordable. Add in shipping and handling, and that price will come close to $15, but even then, that number will still prove relatively affordable, right on par with the average price of most albums. It would still be less than the noted average for this record, too. To that end, the pricing at this point proves to be quite the positive in its own right. When this is considered along with the record’s body and the production thereof, the whole makes Echo a strong new offering from Of Mice & Men.
Of Mice & Men’s forthcoming album, Echo, is a positive new offering from the veteran metalcore band. Its appeal comes in large part through its featured songs. The songs are collected here from each of the EPs that the band has released this year. It allows audiences to enjoy those songs in one setting regardless of whether they own the noted records. That means no having to hunt down the EPs when audiences want to hear those records’ music, but simply find this album. The songs’ production adds its own touch to the foundation formed through the record’s songs. That is because it brings out the best in the songs from one to the next, balancing everything expertly. The record’s pricing rounds out the most important of its elements. Even with shipping and handling in mind, its least expensive listing likely will not even reach $20. That affordability is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Echo’s presentation. All things considered, they make Echo a work that is certain to resonate with fans of Of Mice & Men.
Echo is scheduled for release Friday through SharpTone Records. More information on Of Mice & Men’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Of Mice & Men debuted the latest single and visualizer for its new album this week.
The band premiered its new single, ‘Echo’ and its companion visualizer Wednesday. The song is the title track from the band’s forthcoming album, which is scheduled for release Dec. 3 through Sharptone Records. Pre-orders are open now.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Echo’ is a heavy, yet contemplative composition anchored by the pairing of its slow, crunching guitars, bass, and drums. Front man Aaron Pauley’s reserved vocal delivery style adds its own unique touch to the arrangement, too. The whole is unique from so much of the work that the band has produced but still so engaging and entertaining through this approach.
The sound and approach featured in the song’s musical arrangement pairs well with the song’s lyrical arrangement, which Pauley addressed in a prepared statement.
“‘Echo’ is a song about one’s growing sensitivity to the transient nature of life, and one’s awareness to the similarities between the current human experience and human experiences of the past,” he said.
The song’s visualizer is simple. It features the the cover artwork for Echo as the song plays over the static display.
Echo joins the songs that Of Mice & Men released already this year through its EPs, Bloom and Timeless while also adding the songs for its latest EP, Ad Infinitum.
Bullet For My Valentine returned this weekend with its latest album. The self-titled 10-song album was released Friday through Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy Records. It came `more than three years after the release of the band’s then latest album, Gravity, which the band has openly said played its own part in the development of this latest offering. The band stated that BFMV is a hybrid of that record and its predecessor, 2015’s Venom. That is an interesting comparison because in listening through the record from beginning to end, its musical arrangements are more along the lines of the content featured in Venom than Gravity. This will be discussed shortly. The record’s lyrical themes meanwhile, will appeal to fans of that album, but of all of the band’s albums. This will be discussed a little later. The record’s production brings everything together and rounds out the album’s most important items. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Bullet For My Valentine. All things considered, they make the album a powerful new offering from this veteran metal outfit.
Bullet For My Valentine’s brand new self-titled album, released Friday, is among the band’s best work to date, hands down. The record’s success is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements. As already noted, the band has been cited as saying that the record’s musical arrangements are a blend of the sounds from the band’s two past records. Interestingly enough though, the heaviness that runs through the album’s musical arrangements seem (at least to this critic) more in line with the musical content featured in Venom than Gravity. That is evidenced throughout the record’s 49 minute run time. One of the most notable works featured in this record comes late in the record’s run in ‘Rainbow Veins.’ Where the majority of the arrangements featured in the record are so intense and high-energy, this brooding opus is more of a doom metal style work. At the same time, there is a certain quality in the sound from the guitars (thanks to the production) that really makes that part of the arrangement comparable to certain works from the likes of Killswitch Engage. It sounds like an odd comparison/combination, but those influences are there. The gloomy, brooding approach works especially well here when it is considered along with the song’s lyrical theme, which will be discussed a little later. As the song progresses, it turns more in a heavy, metalcore sound similar to that of the likes of Atreyu and Of Mice & Men.
‘Rainbow Veins’ is just one example of the power of the album’s musical content. ‘No Happy Ever After’ is another way in which the album’s musical side shows its importance. In the case of this song, there is a certain vintage thrash influence in the guitars alongside front man Matthew Tuck’s screams that makes for quite the interesting juxtaposition. It is an approach and sound that is completely unlike that featured in ‘Rainbow Veins’ and the rest of the album’s works, too. Drummer Jason Bowld’s solid time keeping and the richness in the drums’ sound (again thanks to the production) adds its own impact to the arrangement. The whole, along with the work of bassist Jamie Mathias, makes ‘No Happy Ever After’ yet another strong, notable addition to the record’s overall musical body. It is just another way in which the record’s musical arrangements show their importance. ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’ is yet another example of the importance and role of the album’s musical arrangements.
The album’s closer, ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts’ stands out through its musical arrangements because of its own blend of influences. The familiar metalcore influences of Venom are there once again. There is no question about that. At the same time, there are some moments in the song that show a subtle influence from Slipknot. At the same time, the clean vocals and heavy melodic moments make for their own interesting contrast to the noted mix. All things considered here, the song is its own unique, heavy addition to the song and yet another example of what makes Bullet For My Valentine’s musical arrangements so important to the record’s whole. They are diverse throughout and even within themselves from one to the next. Keeping that in mind, the musical arrangements featured in this album are just a part of what makes the record successful. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content add to the album’s success in their own right.
The lyrical themes that are featured in Bullet For My Valentine are important to note because of their own diversity and their accessibility. From one to the next, the album’s lyrical themes are those of determination, desperation, and defiance. The theme and the manner in which it is delivered changes from one song to the next. The most notable of the themes of desperation comes, as already noted, through ‘Rainbow Veins.’ The desperation in this case comes as the result of what would seem to be drug addition. This is inferred as Tuck sings in the song’s lead verse, “Flying high/I’m still drowning in the chemicals/And now/I just can’t come down/Diving headfirst into a black hole/Becoming unstable mentally/I’m trying hard to ride these tidal waves/Of unfiltered ecstacy.” The declaration in the song’s chorus that, “Another day/But I don’t wanna face it/And I Don’t wanna feel it now/Another day/But I don’t wanna face it” furthers that inference. The theme of the dangers of drug use and addiction is nothing new to the rock realm. It is just as powerful here as in the case of any other song past and present. The sense of desperation that is exhibited through that powerful wording and the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement does so well to move audiences. To that end, it is just one of the songs that serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. The theme of determination is well exhibited in the song’s predecessor, ‘Bastards.’
‘Bastards’ is certain to become a live favorite among the band’s fans. That is proven through its powerful, anthemic arrangement and its equally proud, fist-pumping lyrical content. Tuck delivers a defiant, protest statement against the powers that be here as he sings/half-raps, “Stand with me/We can be an army of minorities/Just believe/Taking on the world with no apologies/Will bring them to their knees/Lies, denial, corruption, criminals/Don’t repeat/See the puppets marching to the beat/No retreat/Fight until the death/In order to proceed/We won’t accept defeat/Waitin’ for our call to arms/F*** ‘em all.” The chorus’ final statement of “Don’t ever put your future in the hands of the devil/Or you’re history” is just as telling. It furthers the message of defiance and determination strong and proud. It is a message of determination and defiance against those in power who would otherwise abuse those below them, especially in the halls of power. It is certain to connect with audiences as it continues to show the noted diversity in the themes and how they are delivered in its own unique way. The themes of defiance and determination comes in ye another unique way in the album’s finale, ‘Death By A Thousand Cuts.’
The noted theme comes as Tuck sings in the song’s chorus, “When hope is all but gone/There’s nothing more to give/Look deep inside yourself/And carry on.” One could argue that this short, simple statement is in fact its own message of hope even despite the mention of hope potentially lacking in a person. The contrast in that brief but powerful statement to the sense of misery and hopelessness strengthen Tuck’s reminder to listeners to not lose hope and to keep on keeping on even when one feels so much negativity is powerful and unique in its own presentation while again, presenting one of the noted theme. When it is considered along with the themes presented in the other examined songs and how those themes are presented – as well as with those of the album’s other songs – the whole leaves no doubt as to the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content. When the musical and lyrical content is considered together, the whole gives audiences more than enough reason to hear the album. It is only a part of what makes the album successful, too. The record’s production rounds out its most important items.
The production that went into Bullet For My Valentine is important to note because of the overall impact that it has one the record’s general effect. As noted already at points here, the production gives a richness and fullness to the sound of the instruments from point to point within the songs and from song to song. At the same time, it ensures that the instruments never overpower one another or even the vocals. Considering how heavy this record is from start to end, that is extremely important. Clearly, plenty of time and effort went into balancing the instrumentation of each arrangement. As a result, each song ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment in its own way. When the impact of that work is considered along with that of the content itself, the whole leaves the album that much more successful. All things considered, Bullet For My Valentine proves to be among the band’s best works to date.
Bullet For My Valentine’s brand new self-titled album is a powerful new offering from the band. It is a successful presentation from start to end. That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements. The arrangements are important to note because of their subtle diversity and their heaviness. The lyrical themes that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements are important to its whole, too. That is because of their own diversity and accessibility. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements. That is because of its impact on the album’s general effect. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make Bullet For My Valentine one of the band’s best albums to date.
Bullet For My Valentine is available now through Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy Records. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Of Mice & Men has officially released its latest single, ‘Mosaic,’ to all digital outlets.
The announcement was made in a news release distributed Wednesday. The announcement comes just days after the band premiered the single’s visualizer.
The single is the latest release from the band since the debut of its new EP, Bloom, which was released in May. Its release was preceded by that of the band’s EP, Timeless, which was released in February.
The musical arrangement featured in this song is a stark departure stylistically from the band. Instead of the normal metalcore sound for which the band has come to be known, it opted instead for a distinct Slipknot-esque style approach and sound. That is evidenced through the intense approach taken to the instrumentation. Meanwhile, front man Aaron Pauley’s familiar screams pair well in their own right against the heavy instrumentation.
According to a statement from Pauley, the song’s lyrical theme is somewhat existential and philosophical.
“‘Mosaic’ is about questioning whether or not we, as human beings, can overcome our seemingly primal need for combativeness, because it’s more prevalent than ever in our lives these days,” he said.
More information on Of Mice and Men’s new single is available now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
Bullet For My Valentine kicked off the weekend with some good news.
The band announced through a news release distributed Friday, it is scheduled to release its next album Oct. 22 through Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy. Pre-orders are open now. In anticipation of the self-titled album’s release, the band premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Shatter‘ and its companion video Friday.
The musical arrangement will appeal to the band’s established fan base as well as newer listeners. The heavy, crunching guitars and the blend of clean vocals and screams go back to the sound that made the band a fan favorite early in its life. Those less familiar with the band and its catalog will find the song appealing because of the clear influence from and comparison to works from bands, such as Machine Head, Wage War, and Of Mice & Men.
The lyrical theme featured alongside the single’s heavy, infectious musical arrangement comes across as a familiar matter of dealing with so many heavy, internal thoughts and feelings. That is inferred through the lyrics provided with the video, as no information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the debut of the song and its video.
The ‘Shatter’ video is one part video and one part lyric video. The song’s lyrics are presented over the visualization of front man Matt Tuck sings through a variety of camera angles and effects.
More information on Bullet For My Valentine’s new single, video, and album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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, Timelessleft 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:
Independent metalcore band Execution Day premiered its latest single and its companion video this week.
The band premiered its new single, ‘Escape‘ and its companion video Friday. The band welcomed Ice Nine Kills guitarist Justin Deblick for a guest role in the song. The song’s musical arrangement is fittingly a work that will appeal to fans of Ice Nine Kills, Atreyu, Of Mice & Men, and other similar melodic metalcore acts.
According to a statement from the band, the single focuses on the emotional and mental toll that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on people.
“The song is really about feeling dissociated from the world, and the people around you,” the statement reads. “We wrote the song during covid Quarantine, and it really is about life right now, the world right now. Being basically alone for all those months, you start to think, and let your mind run, and the feeling of dissociation, among other feelings and thoughts really start to overtake your head space.”
The video for ‘Escape’ is meant to help translate that noted lyrical theme. It features the band in a confined studio setting. A variety of video effects is used throughout the song to visualize the thoughts and feelings that people have experienced (and are experiencing) as a result of the lockdowns enforced by local, state, and federal authorities as a result of the pandemic.