Memphis May Fire Debuts Linkin Park Cover; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Rise Records

Memphis May Fire is paying tribute to Linkin Park and its late front man Chester Bennington.

The band debuted its cover of the band’s hit song ‘Fade‘ Friday.  The song stays very close to its source material with the lyrics staying the same and the musical arrangement giving Linkin Park’s original a slight change in its presentation.  Even with the variance in the musical arrangement, the song still stays very close to its source material.

MMF front may Matty Mullins talked about covering the song in a recent interview.

“A lot of times, when covering a song, you’re doing it for fun or to showcase your skills as an artist,” Mullins said.  “But this specific opportunity was a chance for us to honor a band that has had a profound impact on us.  There will never be another Linkin Park and there will never be another Chester Bennington.  We are forever grateful for the music they made and we hope this will encourage our younger fans to dive into the Linkin Park discography and discover the same inspiration that we did years ago.”

In other news, Memphis May Fire will tour this summer on the inaugural Disrupt Festival.  The band’s tour, which is in support of its latest album Broken (2018) is scheduled to launch June 21 in Dallas, TX and to run through July 28 in Albuquerque, NM.  It features performances in cities, such as Noblesville, IN; Mansfield, MA and Tinly Park, IL.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.  Broken spawned the singles ‘The Old Me,’ ‘Heavy is the Weight (ft. Andy Mineo)‘ and ‘You and Me.’


6/21 — Dallas, TX — Dos Equis Pavilion
6/22 — Austin, TX — Austin 360 Amphitheater
6/23 — The Woodlands, TX — Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman
6/25 — West Palm Beach, FL — Coral Sky Amphitheatre
6/28 —Atlanta, GA — Lakewood Amphitheater
6/30 — Atlantic City, NJ — The Beach at Atlantic City*
7/2 — Syracuse, NY — Lakeview Amphitheater — Syracuse
7/3 — Toronto, ON — Budweiser Stage
7/5 — Mansfield, MA — Xfinity Center
7/6 — Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts Center
7/7 — Hartford, CT — The XFINITY Theatre
7/9 — Bristow, VA — Jiffy Lube Live
7/12 — Tinley Park, IL — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/14 — Noblesville, IN — Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
7/15 — Maryland Heights, MO — Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
7/17 — Denver, CO — Pepsi Center
7/20 — Irvine, CA — Five Point Amphitheater
7/21 — Mountain View, CA — Shoreline Amphitheater*
7/23 — Auburn, WA — White River Amphitheatre
7/24 — Nampa (Boise), ID — Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater
7/26 — Chula Vista, CA — North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
7/27 — Phoenix, AZ — Ak-Chin Pavilion
7/28 — Albuquerque, NM — Isleta Amphitheater
*Warped Tour Weekend Date

More information on Memphis May Fire’s upcoming tour is available online now at:





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Of Mice & Men Debuts ‘How To Survive’ Video

Courtesy: Atom Splitter PR

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

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

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

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

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



Courtesy: Rise Records/Atom Splitter PR

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

The tour’s current schedule is noted below.


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

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

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






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‘All I See Is War’ Is A Welcome Return To Form For Sevendust

Courtesy: Rise Records

Veteran hard rock band Sevendust officially returned this summer with its 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War.  Having been released May 11 via Rise Records, its release came almost three years since the release of the band’s 11th album, 2015’s Kill The Flaw.  The 12-song album, also the band’s debut for Rise Records, can be said easily, to be one of the Atlanta, Georgia-based band’s best works to date as it takes audiences back to the band’s early days while also adding in a more up-to-date sound in its arrangements.  The addition of the songs’ equally interesting lyrical themes to those arrangements makes the album that much more interesting.  This is evidenced early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  ‘Risen,’ which comes later in the album’s run, also serves to show what makes this record so interesting.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘The Truth,’ which closes out the album is one more example of what makes All I See Is War such an interesting new offering from a group that is one of the hard rock community’s most respected acts, but is certainly not the last of the songs that proves the album’s interest.  ‘Medicated,’ another early entry to the album, ‘Cheers,’ the album’s midpoint, and ‘Moments,’ which boasts a similarity to the band’s more recent records, all show in their own way what makes this record stand out in Sevendust’s extensive catalog.  Between these songs, the pieces more directly noted and those not noted here, the whole of this 45-minute album proves to be a solid portrait of Sevendust’s past, present and future.  Keeping that in mind, it proves to be not only one of Sevendust’s best works to date, but also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums, too.

Sevendust’s latest full-length studio recording All I See Is War is one of the veteran hard rock band’s best albums to date and also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums.  That is because its musical and lyrical content overall takes listeners from the band’s early days right through to its present and future.  What’s more it does this in convincing fashion throughout the course of the album’s dozen total songs, too.  This is evidenced early on in the form of the album’s second song, ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  Musically speaking, this song’s arrangement takes listeners back to the band’s sophomore 1999 album Home, with its heavy, crunching guitars, equally heavy low-end from bassist Vince Hornsby, front man Lajon Witherspoon’s familiar powerhouse melodic vocals and drummer Morgan Rose’s time keeping and familiar backing screams.  What is really interesting here is that while the song’s musical arrangement echoes the songs included in Home, it doesn’t try to just re-hash them, but rather show that the band’s members haven’t lost the edge presented in that album.  While the song’s arrangement builds a strong foundation for itself, the music alone only takes the song so far.  Its lyrical theme strengthens that foundation even more with its deeply philosophical nature.  Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Face down/Feeding into you/Find the weakness/Holding it down till we kill it/Every once in a while, I get caught in the silver lining/No one ever lives it (what’s the meaning? What’s the meaning?)/Somewhere, we all lost the spirit (Lost it all)/So save us/Just so we know/That the bitter taste/We need it/And we forgive ourselves and leave it all.”  He goes on later to sing, “We forgive ourselves in the space that’s between right and wrong/The better days deceived us/And we let ourselves believe it all/And God just bites his tongue.”  It’s almost as if the song’s lyrical theme centers somewhat on mankind’s attempts to make himself feel superior while God meanwhile simply observes, letting humankind take its own course, consequences or not.  This is, of course, just this critic’s own interpretation of these words.  It could easily be wholly off the mark.  Hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Right or wrong, it is obvious in listening to the song’s lyrical content, that this song is quite the contemplative work.  When the depth in the song’s lyrical theme are coupled with the strength of the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song clearly shows by itself why All I See Is War is another standout offering from Sevendust.  It is of course just one of the songs included in the album that serves to prove the album’s strength.  ‘Risen’ which comes later in the album’s 45-minute run, serves just as much to show the album’s strength.

Where ‘God Bit His Tongue’ lends itself to comparisons to Sevendust’s early works, ‘Risen,’ musically speaking, is more akin to the band’s more recent works.  More specifically, the heavy, crunching arrangement in this song is more akin to works from Alpha and Next than the melodic hard rock sounds of, say Home, Animosity and Seasons.  The song’s musical arrangement gains even more importance and strength and importance as Witherspoon sings here seemingly about someone’s personal relationship with another, and the issues that come with that troubled relationship.  That subject is inferred as he sings, “Turn round/Come down/Been stealing feeling from me/Burned down/No sound/Been killing the life within me/Step down/Last round/Live hating/Loving memory/Break down/We drown/To turn around is everything/It all comes down to what it takes to love/If I fall, would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out And help me rise again?”  This leaves a little room for interpretation, but also less room than the room left in ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It comes across as someone who has been anything but that supportive friend.  This is inferred even more in the second verse as Witherspoon sings, “Not long, so gone/We shame your useless pity/You failed us all/Keep spewing the s*** you tell me/Fall down/So proud/Love hating, living memory/Erase you now.”  Again, the song’s subject asks this figure, “If I fall/Would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out/And help me rise again?”  Once again, this hints at the matter of a person dealing with someone who isn’t necessarily entirely supportive of others.  The frustration in having to deal with that sort of subject is illustrated powerfully in that aforementioned powerhouse musical arrangement.  When the two elements are set alongside one another, they make the song in whole yet another example of what makes this record one of Sevendust’s best albums to date.  Also as noted previously, it is not the last of the songs that can be cited in supporting that statement.  ‘The Truth’ is one more song that shows the album’s strength.

‘The Truth’ shows All I See Is War’s strength in part through its musical arrangement, which — as with ‘Risen’ – can be likened easily to songs from Alpha and Next.  That is proven through its heavy, upbeat, guitar-driven arrangement.  It is a fitting finale for the album that shows once more, that while the band might have had some missteps in the forms of Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, Cold Day Memory and Black out The Sun, this album is Sevendust back on track and running at full steam.  The heavy, driving musical arrangement at the center of the song is just part of what helps its overall presentation.  Its equally scathing lyrical content adds to its power.  There is a lot of fire in this song’s energy – fire that plays once again into the album’s central theme of war in different ways as has been discussed by the band upon the album’s release.  Right from the song’s opening, that fire burns bright with Witherspoon singing so forcefully, “No more time for saving/What the hell did you give/What the hell did you do/Just more numb to waste it/You will men nothing/You will be nothing/One more tragic instant/Lost/Right underneath while you dream/We stay asleep now.”  From there, he asks, “Why does it always rain when I wanna see the sunshine/How come you never wanna play the game/Why does it always seem to fade when I wanna be defined/How come you never wanna try to say my name?”  The tension expressed in the chorus follows again from there, again leaving — while some room for interpretation – not too much room.  This song comes across lyrically as another type of war. A war between two people, one of whom has absolutely caused nothing but anger and frustration for the other, thus the song’s tense musical arrangement.  When the tension in that arrangement joins that in the song’s lyrical content, the whole is a song that is one of the album’s strongest and most notable entries, showing once more why this album is among the band’s best work.  When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and others not directly noted here, the end result is an album that is certain to impress Sevendust fans across the board.

Sevendust’s 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War is a welcome return to form for the veteran hard rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.  After the release of Chapter VII, Cold Day Memory and Black Out The Sun, this record proves to be a welcome breath of fresh, heavy air from the band for fans.  As has been discussed here, that is proven in part through the seeming commentary of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’  It is a work that musically speaking, takes listeners back to Sevendust’s earlier records while its contemplative lyrical content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners.  ‘Risen’ and ‘The Truth’ are more akin to more recent albums such as Alpha and Next.  Their lyrical content, which seems centered on personal “wars” between people adds even more to the record’s foundation.  The inclusion of ‘Medicated,’ Moments’ and ‘Cheers’ to the album strengthens that foundation even more.  Between that trio of compositions, the songs more directly noted here and those not discussed, the whole of All I See Is War is the Sevendust album for which so many fans (this critic included) have waited; An album that is easily one of the year’s top new hard rock albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on All I See Is War is available online now along with all of Sevendust’s latest news and more at:









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The Empire’s Rise Continues Strongly On Its Sophomore Album

Courtesy: Rise Records

Today is May the fourth.  For most of us non-Star Wars fans, that doesn’t really mean much.  However, for those devout (some perhaps a bit overly devout), it means a bit more.  It is a day for those fans to publicly celebrate their love of Star Wars.  Of course, that is just because May the Fourth is a sound-a-like for the noted franchise’s famed quote, “May The Force Be With You.”  A clear vision leaves one wondering why Star Wars fans would make such a big deal over it all.  Either way, Rise Records is celebrating, too with the release of Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II.  The 11-song collection of amped up alternate takes of John Williams’ compositions is a good way for those overly devout fans to celebrate their love of Star Wars not only today, but any day.  That is due in part to the album’s song list.  It will be discussed shortly.  The collected arrangements within those songs are just as important to the record’s whole as the songs, and will be discussed a little later. The album’s sequencing puts the final touch on its presentation.  Between that element and the others noted, all three elements collectively make Episode II a record that any Star Wars fan will welcome into his or her music library.

Galactic Empire’s sophomore album Episode II is a compilation that any truly devout Star Wars devotee will welcome in his or her music library regardless of May the Fourth or any other day.  That is due in no small part to the record’s featured songs.  The 11 songs featured in this recording, cover a respectable amount of the Star Wars franchise.  While maybe not as extensive as the representation presented in the band’s self-titled 2017 debut, it still at least makes an effort to not alienate audiences.  The Force Awakens is the most heavily represented of the Star Wars movies in this collection, with a total of four of its songs featured.  The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi each get two nods while Episode I and Episode II each get one nod alongside A New Hope, which also got only one nod.  Considering that so far nine full-length Star Wars movies have been released, and at least a 10th (Solo: A Star Wars Story) is on the way, one cannot deny the importance of the movies covered here.  The only movies not represented in this collection are Episode III, The Last Jedi and Rogue One.  Other than that, this compilation once again reaches back into Star Wars’ original trilogy, its prequel trilogy and even The Force Awakens.  Keeping this in mind, the record’s featured songs prove to be critical to its presentation as they pay homage to such a wide swath of the Star Wars canon.  This is something that any Star Wars devotee will appreciate about this record just as much as Galactic Empire’s 2017 self-titled debut.  It is of course only one of the album’s important elements.  The songs’ collective arrangements are critical in their own right to the album’s presentation.

Much as with Galactic Empire’s debut album, the arrangements featured here stay mostly true to their source material in their own presentations.  However, there are obviously some differences, considering that they are all amped up takes on the original compositions.  Case in point is the band’s take of ‘The Emperor.’  The original, which was included in the soundtrack of Return of the Jedi, is an impressively ominous composition that expertly sets the scene for the really big introduction of Emperor Palpatine to Luke.  Galactic Empire’s take on the song presents its own ominous tone, except in a much different fashion.  The band’s take on the song is a rather, death metal-esque arrangement complete with the blast beats, shredding and ominous overtones.  At the same time that it displays that death metal sound in its arrangement, it also still maintains that power metal sound which made Galactic Empire a fan favorite on the band’s debut album.  ‘Hyperspace’ is another interesting addition to the album.  Originally included in the Empire Strikes Back soundtrack, this take on the song offers an arrangement that is just as energetic as its predecessor.  At the same time, though, there are obviously some elements added to GE’s version not included in the original tune.  Even with that in mind, it is still an interesting addition to the album.  ‘Love Pledge and The Arena’ is yet another example of the importance of the arrangements presented here.  Unlike the original song, this version opens with the arena and never even addresses the Love Theme movement.  Rather, it sticks solely to The Arena.  Considering this, it is somewhat mis-titled.  Even keeping this in mind though, the band does a respectable job of reproducing the energy exhibited in its source material, even if the softer side of the movement is missing.  One could prattle on from here.  Suffice it to say that comparing the arrangements of these songs to their source material overall, the arrangements are still an interesting and important part of the compilation’s whole that don’t disappoint.  Considering this along with the songs themselves, the two elements do plenty to make this compilation another enjoyable collection for any truly devoted Star Wars fan.  Of course, even as important as they are to the album’s whole, they are not its only important elements.  The record’s sequencing puts the final touch to its presentation.

Episode II’s sequencing is critical to its presentation because it does just as much as the songs and their arrangements to keep listeners engaged.  From start to end, the album keeps its energy up thanks to the thought and effort put into its sequencing.  From the high-energy opener that is ‘March of the Resistance’ to the tense energy of ‘Hyperspace’ to the authoritative energy of ‘The Droid Invasion and Appearance of Darth Maul’ and beyond, the album’s energy never lets up too much at any given point.  That’s the case even as Rey is first introduced to audiences in ‘Rey’s Theme’ from The Force Awakens.  There’s a certain tense energy there, too, that is certain to keep listeners engaged thanks to the band’s take on the song.  Of course, the death metal approach of ‘The Emperor’ is more proof of the album’s continued energy.  Even if one isn’t a Star Wars devotee, this one will certainly have one’s head banging like the purest, black and death metal fan.  Even as the album comes to a close with its djent style riffs at the end of ‘The Battle of Yavin,’ it still doesn’t let up, only allowing the album to let off in its final few seconds.  Keeping this in mind, it should be clear just how much thought and effort was put into assembling Episode II’s sequence.  That thought and effort, Star Wars fans will agree, paid off just as much as the effort put into assembling the songs’ arrangements and picking the songs themselves.  Keeping all of this in mind, all three elements in whole prove to make Episode II another fan favorite among any Star Wars fan.

Galactic Empire’s sophomore album, aptly titled Episode II in tribute to the Star Wars franchise’s history, is another entry from the musical cosplay collective that is certain to impress the most devoted Star Wars fan.  That is evidenced in part through the songs selected for the record.  They cover a healthy amount of the Star Wars franchise.  The arrangements largely stay true to their source material while giving each original an interestingly amped up new take.  The sequencing of the whole puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own way in showing why this 11-song record will impress Star Wars purists.  All things considered, they make Episode II a record that those purists will happily add to their music libraries.  It is available now in stores and online courtesy of Rise Records.  More information on Episode II is available now along with all of Galactic Empire’s latest news and more at:










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Galactic Empire Debuts Second Single From Forthcoming Album ‘Episode II’

Courtesy: Rise Records

Galactic Empire is giving audiences another preview of its new album.

The band, today, premiered ‘Rey’s Theme.’  The song is the second single from the band’s sophomore album, aptly-titled Episode II, which is due out May 4 via Rise Records.  It follows the recent release of the album’s lead single ‘Scherzo For X-Wing.’

‘Rey’s Theme’ stylistically is very similar to the songs exhibited in Galactic Empire’s self-titled debut and to ‘Scherzo For X-Wing.’  It is a very progressive metal style arrangement that once again bears quite the similarity to works from Powerglove and other similar acts, yet also stays true to its source material.

Pre-orders for Episode II are open now. The album’s full track listing is noted below.  More information on Episode II is available now along with all of Galactic Empire’s latest news and more at:






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Galactic Empire Announces ‘Episode II’ Release Date; Releases Album’s Lead Single

Courtesy: Rise Records

The Empire is rising again!

Galactic Empire announced Friday that it is working on its sophomore album, aptly titled Episode II.  The album is currently scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018 via Rise Records. Pre-orders are open now.

In anticipation of its release, the band has debuted the album’s lead single ‘Scherzo For X-Wing’ via Rise Records’ official YouTube channel. The song takes the band’s familiar Powerglove-esque sound made popular on its debut self-titled album and used it for a familiar sound in a brand new arrangement.

The band said in a collective statement that it is highly anticipating the release of Episode II.

“While our debut allowed us to bring a new perspective to much-loved anthems, our latest technological terror is a darker, heavier and far more epic testament to the true power of the Dark Side of the Force,” the band said.  “We are confident that any rebel strongholds that remain after the last cycle will will soon bow before the empire.  There will be no one to stop us this time.”

The full track listing for Episode II is noted below.

“March of the Resistance”
“Scherzo for X-Wings”
“The Droid Invasion and the Appearance of Darth Maul”
“Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle”
“Love Pledge and The Arena”
“Rey’s Theme”
“The Departure of Boba Fett”
“The Emperor”
“Into The Trap”
“The Battle of Yavin (Launch from the Fourth Moon)”

More information on Galactic Empire’s new album, single and more is available online now at:






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

Courtesy: Rise Records

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

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://www.ofmiceandmenofficial



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