Of Mice & Men’s ‘Echo’ Will Resonate With Any Of The Band’s Fans

Courtesy: SharpTone Records

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:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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 Gets Existential In New Single, Visualizer

Courtesy: Sharptone Records

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.

The album’s full track listing is noted below.

ECHO TRACK LISTING:
“Timeless”
“Obsolete”
“Anchor”
“Levee”
“Bloom”
“Pulling Teeth”
“Mosaic”
“Fighting Gravity”
“Echo”
“Helplessly Hoping”

More information on Of Mice & Men’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

BFMV Is Sure To Shake Up Many Hard Rock/Metal Critics’ Year-End Charts With Its Latest LP

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy Records

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:

Website: https://bulletformyvalentine.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BulletForMyValentine

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfmvofficial

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

Of Mice & Men Releases Latest Single To All Digital Outlets

Photo Credit: Derek Hess

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:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Bullet For My Valentine Announces New Album Details; Premieres Album’s Lead Single, Video

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records/Search & Destroy

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:

Website: https://bulletformyvalentine.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BulletForMyValentine

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfmvofficial

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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 Continues Its Success In The Second Of Its Three Planned New EPs

Courtesy: Sharptone Records

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:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Execution Day Takes On Pandemic’s Mental, Emotional Toll In New Single, Video

Courtesy: The Heart Riot Agency

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.

More information on Execution Day’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/ExecutionDay.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

‘Timeless’ Is A Strong Start To Of Mice & Men’s Busy 2021 Schedule

Courtesy: Sharptone Records

Veteran metalcore band Of Mice & Men has quite the schedule planned for 2021.  The band, which released its most recent album in 2019 in the form of EARTHANDSKY, will release three EPs and a new album all in this year.  The band will kick off its busy schedule of new records Feb. 26 with the first of those new EPs, Timeless.  The three-song record is a strong start to the band’s schedule.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical content, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements add their own touch to the EP’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  The EP’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the record’s musical and lyrical content, the whole makes the EP a strong start to a very busy year for Of Mice & Men.

OF Mice & Men’s forthcoming EP Timeless is a strong start for the band’s apparently very busy 2021 schedule.  The first of what will apparently be four new releases this year, the three-song record proves its success in part through its musical arrangements.  According to guitarist Alan Ashby, much of the music that the band has planned for release this year “began on the keyboard as opposed to the guitar.”  If in fact that is the case, then it does not show.  That is because the songs featured in this EP are very much guitar-centric works.  They are just as heavy as anything that the band has ever crafted.  At the same time, the arrangements also produce some variety for listeners to appreciate.  Case in point is the variance in the arrangements for the EP’s singles ‘Timeless’ and ‘Obsolete’ even through their similarities.  Each song’s arrangement is distinctly metalcore at its base.  There is no denying that.  Even with that in mind, the two arrangements do present some subtle differences.  ‘Obsolete,’ the EP’s lead single, exhibits more of a melodic metalcore approach while the EP’s title track – its second single – is a much sharper, more edgy composition.  That more melodic approach to ‘Obsolete’ lends that song’s arrangement to comparison to works from the likes of Killswitch Engage while ‘Timeless’ noted more defined sound likens it more to works from the likes of As I Lay Dying.  ‘Anchor,’ which closes out the EP, is the most unique of the record’s arrangements.  That is because it is so much unlike the arrangements  featured in ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Timeless.’  Rather, it is the EP’s most marketable and radio ready arrangement, blending elements of  Sevendust and Tool for its whole.  Its guitars, bass, and drums work with the keyboard line here to give the song a distinct melodic hard rock approach and sound that makes it a perfect fir for any active rock radio station’s current play list.  Front man Aaron Pauley’s vocals add to the impact, even showing influence from Tool front man Maynard James Keenan in the song’s more contemplative moments.  That against the more fiery moments in the song and Pauley’s delivery therein makes the song overall that much more enjoyable.  All things considered here, the musical arrangements that are featured in Timeless collectively for a solid foundation for the record.  That is because of the variance that they exhibit from one to the next.  For all that Timeless’ musical content does for its presentation, that content is just a portion of what makes the record stand out.  Its lyrical content builds on the foundation formed by its music.

The lyrical content that is featured in Timeless follows a central theme of existentialism.  Pauley himself has already pointed that out without doing so as he talked about the lyrical themes in ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Timeless.’  He noted of ‘Obsolete’ that the song’s lyrical content ruminates on our own obsolescence and our place in the world as time passes.  In  talking about the song’s theme he said, “It’s a song about questioning how future-proof one is in the grand scheme of things, and acknowledging that maybe we aren’t at all. I think we all wonder, to a certain extent, whether or not we’ll fit into the future, or how we would, or what that would look like,” he said. “Obsolescence is very prevalent in our lives. We see how quickly old phones become virtually useless, how quickly fads and trends come and go. It’s all too easy to ponder about when you’ll become a covered wagon, or a flip phone, or Myspace.”

Pauley’s comments about the lyrical theme of ‘Obsolete’ are solidified in noting the song’s lyrical content directly.  Pauley sings in the song’s lead verse, “For a thousand days I watched the vultures circle overhead/And I counted the ways the world would be blessed when I finally reached my end/And I felt the weight of the world pushing me into the soil below/And I felt the desert sun above, while I tried to drink water from a stone.”  While this verse is rather brooding, things do turn better, as is evidenced in the song’s chorus, in which the song’s subject states, “But I’m not ready to die alone/So can you wake me from my sleep/And show me now that this is just a dream?/’Cause I’m a whisper, once a scream/And I’m afraid of what’s in store for me/Becoming obsolete.”  He  contemplation continues in the song’s second verse, which states, “Another frozen frame/Another glitch inside my consciousness/So I pick my poison and just choke it down until I start to spin/And while the world just slowly turns, I fade like fog into the sea/While the mighty galleon burns around me, I slowly start to sink.”  The subject finishes the rumination here as states, “Maybe I’m not ready to be set free/Maybe these shackles are what I need/If you find the answers, come rescue me/But I can’t hold my breath” before telling others once more to “Wake me from my sleep/And show me now that this is just a dream/’Cause I’m a whisper, once a scream/And I’m afraid of what’s in store for me/Becoming obsolete.”  Considering the overly brooding nature of all of this lyrical content, it would have been easy for the band to have gone a more goth route here, but it instead opted to go in another direction.  That direction is more along the lines of showing someone who is torn in his thoughts, finding them racing in every direction.  Keeping all of that in mind, the song’s lyrical content does its own share to show what makes Timeless’ lyrical content as important as its musical arrangements.  It is just one of the ways in which the record’s lyrical content shows its importance.  That of the EP’s title track does its own share to show that importance.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Timeless’ is just as existential in its nature as that of ‘Obsolete,’ as explained by Pauley.

“‘Timeless’ is a song about becoming increasingly aware of impermanence, written through somewhat of a somber, yet romantic, lens,” said Pauley.  “At the beginning of the pandemic, I was watching a lot of black and white movies. One of my favorite movies is Casablanca. I wonder if any original copies exist. You know, although that movie is universally regarded as being timeless, the actual celluloid is so fragile. But I think we find a special kind of vibrance in life when we’re aware of our own impermanence.”

His comments here are made even clearer in the song’s lyrical content, which starts off stating, “Is this what it’s like to shed your skin/To be reborn?/Adrift in a sea of noise/Unable to remember what came before/The fragments replay/But they’re out of place/My voice/Distant/Like a stand-in/Just out of frame.”  The song’s second verse adds to the picture as it states, “Is this what it’s like to feel serene and unaware?/Like silhouettes on celluloid/We’re timeless but oh so impermanent/Becoming blurs in the negatives/But I swear to God we’re timeless.”  Simply put, what is being communicated here is a message that we realize the fragility and importance of life as we get older and look back.  So yes, it is more existentialist rumination, but it is a positive statement nonetheless.  It is a statement that is certain to resonate with listeners in its own right. It is just one more way in which the EP’s lyrical content proves so important to the record.  The lyrical content featured in the EP’s closer, ‘Anchor’ does its own share to show that   importance, too.

‘Anchor’ is the only single not yet released from Timeless, so no discussion is available from Pauley on this song, nor are readily accessible lyrics.  However, from what one can interpret without those lyrics, the song’s theme seems to center on its own existential topic.  At one point, the song’s subject notes something “pulling me down.”  At another point, there is mention of “Shifting the blame/Without another place to hide” before the song’s subject asks, “What lies ahead?/Is it another misguided, sad attempt/I’m  searching for anything/But I haven’t seen the sun in days.”  Again, not having lyrics to reference, much of the song’s lyrical content is difficult to translate.  However, from what one can translate, the lyrical content here would seem to be its own existential piece, which allegedly focuses on the subject’s attempt to find his place in the world and where he is headed.  That is just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.  That aside, it still seems that the lyrical theme here is its own existentialist discussion, so it still follows that overarching lyrical theme, just in its own unique fashion, too.  Keeping this in mind along with the other ways in which the EP’s lyrical content follows that theme, no doubt is left as to the lyrical content featured in Timeless.  It does plenty in itself to make the EP engaging and entertaining, but still is not the last of the EP’s most important elements.  The record’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation.

Timeless’ sequencing is just as important to examine as that of any larger record, even being an EP.  The EP’s sequencing is  important in part because it ensures that even at only three songs deep, its musical arrangements change up just enough from one to the next, giving listeners quite the accent in that final number.  Additionally, the sequencing ensures that while all three songs follow the same central lyrical theme, the ways in which they follow that theme change from one to the next, making for even more appeal.  Last but most certainly not least of note is the way in which the sequencing balances the EP’s energy.  ‘Obsolete’ and ‘Timeless’ are each very high energy compositions, in regards to their musical arrangements.  Considering all of the energy that is exuded by those songs, the more deliberate, controlled approach to ‘Anchor’ gives listeners a welcome change of pace and stylistic approach.  Even with the change in style, the song still boasts its own strong energy, closing out the EP just as strongly as it opened.  When this is considered with the role of the EP’s sequencing in regards to its lyrical and musical content’s order, the importance of the EP’s sequencing becomes clearer.  When its importance is considered with that of the record’s overall content, all three elements join to make Timeless a presentation that is a good start to Of Mice & Men’s apparently very   busy 2021 schedule.  They additionally make the record just one more of this year’s top new EPs.  Timeless is scheduled for release Feb. 26 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:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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 New Single, ‘Timeless’

Courtesy: Sharptone Records

Of Mice & Men is giving audiences another preview of its new EP.

The band debuted the record’s second single Wednesday in the form of the EP’s title track, ‘Timeless.’ The song’s premiere comes less than a month after the band debuted the EP’s lead single ‘Obsolete‘ and its video. ‘Timeless’ is scheduled for release Feb. 26 through the band’s new label home, Sharptone Records.

The musical arrangement featured in Of Mice & Men’s new single is stylistically similar to that of ‘Obsolete’ what with its familiar metalcore approach. However the sound in the two songs does show some variance. Each song opens with a slightly brooding nature, but quickly launch into a similar heaviness a la Killswitch Engage. What separates the songs is that ‘Obsolete’ exhibits more of a melodic metalcore approach while ‘Timeless’ introduces more of a djent element into the mix, making it slightly more akin to works from say As I Lay Dying. The difference is subtle, but it is there.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Timeless’ is also similar to that of ‘Obsolete’ thanks to its existential musings, which bassist/front man Aaron Pauley discussed.

“‘Timeless’ is a song about becoming increasingly aware of impermanence, written through somewhat of a somber, yet romantic, lens,” said Pauley.  “At the beginning of the pandemic, I was watching a lot of black and white movies. One of my favorite movies is Casablanca. I wonder if any original copies exist. You know, although that movie is universally regarded as being timeless, the actual celluloid is so fragile. But I think we find a special kind of vibrance in life when we’re aware of our own impermanence.”

By comparison, Pauley’s statement on the lyrical theme in ‘Obsolete’ is as follows, again showing the similarity in the songs’ lyrical themes:

“It’s a song about questioning how future-proof one is in the grand scheme of things, and acknowledging that maybe we aren’t at all. I think we all wonder, to a certain extent, whether or not we’ll fit into the future, or how we would, or what that would look like,” he said. “Obsolescence is very prevalent in our lives. We see how quickly old phones become virtually useless, how quickly fads and trends come and go. It’s all too easy to ponder about when you’ll become a covered wagon, or a flip phone, or Myspace.”

More information on Of Mice and Men’s new single, video, and EP is available now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttps://www.ofmiceandmenofficial

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ofmice

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/OMandM

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Devin Townsend’s ‘Empath’ Gives The Best Feeling For Audiences In This Year’s New Hard Rock/Metal Field

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

This year is one of the strongest in recent memory for metal masses around the world.  This year saw new releases — powerful new releases at that — from some of the most well-known and respected names in the metal community.  Slipknot’s new album We Are Not Your Kind is just one of those important new releases that the metal masses received this year.  Amon Amarth’s new album Berserker gave the masses just as much to appreciate, as did new albums from Dragonforce, Killswitch Engage and The Offering.

Between those records and so many others, it goes without saying that developing a list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums was anything but easy.  That’s especially the case considering the release early this year, of Devin Townsend’s new album Empath, Hyvmine’s new LP Retaliation and up-and-comers Alien Weaponry’s debut album Tu.  This critic took a long time trying to assemble this list.  It was not a chore taken lightly.  As with other lists from this critic, it features the Top 10 New Hard Rock/Metal albums as well as five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 titles.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2019 Top 10 New Hard Rock/Metal Albums.

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK/METAL ALBUMS

  1. Devin Townsend — Empath
  2. Slipknot — We Are Not Your Kind
  3. Amon Amarth — Berserker
  4. Overkill — The Wings of War
  5. The Offering — Home
  6. Bad Blood — Bad Blood
  7. Whitechapel — The Valley
  8. Hyvmine — Retaliation
  9. Dragonforce — Extreme Power Metal
  10. Of Mice & Men — EARTHANDSKY
  11. Dream Theater — Distance Over Time
  12. Killswitch Engage — Atonement
  13. Awake At Last — The Change
  14. Corroded — Bitter
  15. Alien Weaponry — Tu

 

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