On January 19th, Orange County, California metalcore giants Of Mice & Men has released their first album since the departure of vocalist Austin Carlile entitled “Defy” via Rise Records.  In large part, the fans are in for a real treat with this offering.

Now Of Mice & Men are a four piece band composed of Aaron Pauley on vocals/bass, Alan Ashby on rhythm guitar/backup vocals, Phil Manansala on lead guitar/background vocals, and David Valentino Arteaga on drums.  Since their inception in 2010, they have shared the stage with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Aerosmith, Five Finger Death Punch, Linkin Park, and Slipknot and their previous offering “Cold World” peaked in the Top 20 in the Billboard 200 charts.  Now, Of Mice & Men are taking an extra step towards dominance and significant prevalence with “Defy”.

Of Mice & Men are quickly becoming one of the elite bands in the metalcore genre due to their strong lyrical content, music that is aesthetically pleasing to the ears of fans of multiple subgenres of metal, and with their heartfelt emotions behind their music.  “Defy” takes the listener to the mountaintop as the song challenges the listener to overcome obstacles and not allowing anyone or anything determine one’s limitations.  “Unbreakable” and “Warzone” offer similar metaphors from an imagery standpoint.

The absolute strength of “Defy” are the mid-tempo emotional rockers “Sunflower” and “Vertigo”.  The guitars thrash, the changes in progression from mid-tempo to more aggressive showcase the talent that Of Mice & Men possesses in their arrangements and musicianship.  The tracks certainly grew on me with each listen.

Old school Of Mice & Men fans will appreciate their fans going back to their roots with metalcore bangers such as “Warzone” and “Forever YDG’n”.  The breakdowns are pretty intense and Aaron Pauley, to his credit, kills it on the vocals in “Warzone”.  Fans will be pleased with his transitions from screaming in the verses to a melodic structure in the vocals during the chorus.

Of Mice & Men are known as well for their fun covers.  I remember seeing them provide direct support for As I Lay Dying a few years ago and they covered “Hard In Tha Paint” by Waka Flocka Flame, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the track.  I feel the same thing with this cover of “Money” by Pink Floyd.  The guitar solo was done well and reminiscent of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd wailing on the guitar however it lacked that punch.  I felt the same thing and felt that this cover, which is track number six on the album completely interrupted the flow of the record.  I appreciate them pushing themselves as musicians and artists, but I’m passing on this cover.

The second half of the album makes up for “Money”, as they have a couple of melodic tracks that really showcases Aaron Pauley’s vocal prowess and quite honestly, I prefer Pauley’s voice to Carlile’s voice.  I’m sure I’m in the minority of the opinions as opposed to the opinions of other Of Mice & Men fans but I really enjoy the blending of the clean, melodic vocal structures and the screaming vocal structures.  They showcase this on the track “On The Inside”.  “Forever YDG’N” is a banger track that offers that anthem feel to it that causes the listener to go ballastic in the moshpit or karate kick, whatever kids in the moshpit do nowadays in the pit.

Overall, if the core fans of Of Mice & Men open their minds, they will appreciate and dig this offering entitled “Defy”.  The question is, will this album stand the test of time and allow the fanbase to gravitate towards Pauley as the vocalist.  If you’re an Of Mice & Men fan, then this album is worth listening to and rocking out to.  Overall, it’s a solid album, and there are parts that stand out to me, especially the mid-tempo rockers such as “Sunflower” and “Vertigo” that portrays their collective talent as a band. I’ll be the first to admit, I was NOT a fan of this band when Austin Carlile was in the band, and especially their last album.  Their last album felt like they threw a bunch of shit against the wall in hopes that it will stick against the wall, and it sounded choppy making it a very difficult listen.  Fast forward to 2018, Of Mice & Men not only survived the lineup changes and challenges they endured as a band, they embody the lyrical content of overcoming those challenges.  Of Mice & Men did a 180 as a band!  Now they freaking rock!    Madness To Creation gives it an 8.5 out of 10 stars for legitimately flooring me with this offering.

Here is the track listing below:

  1.  Defy
  2.  Instincts
  3.  Back To Me
  4.  Sunflower
  5.  Unbreakable
  6.  Vertigo
  7.  Money(Pink Floyd cover)
  8.  How Will You Live
  9.  On The Inside
  10.  Warzone
  11.  Forever YDG’n
  12.  If We Were Ghosts

Of Mice & Men are slated to tour in support of “Defy”.  Special guests on the tour include Blessthefall, Fire From The Gods, Cane Hill, and MSCW.  Check out the tour dates below!

Thursday, February 1st- Catalyst in Santa Cruz, California(no Cane Hill)

Friday, February 2nd- Wonder Ballroom in Portland Oregon(no Cane Hill)

Saturday, February 3rd- El Corazon in Seattle, Washington(no Cane Hill)

Sunday, February 4th- Knitting Factory in Boise, Idaho(no Cane Hill)

Monday, February 5th- Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah(no Cane Hill)

Tuesday, February 6th- Summit Music Hall in Denver, Colorado(no Cane Hill)

Thursday, February 8th- Music Hall MPLS in Minneapolis, Minnesota(no Cane Hill)

Friday, February 9th- The Ready Room in St. Louis, Missouri

Sunday, February 11th- House Of Blues in Chicago, Illinois

Monday, February 12th- Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

Tuesday, February 13th- Opera House in Toronto, Canada

Wednesday, February 14th- Corona Theatre in Montreal, Canada

Friday, February 16th- Paradise Rock Club in Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday, February 17th- Gramercy Theatre in New York, New York

Sunday, February 18th- Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Monday, February 19th- Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, February 20th- Underground in Charlotte, North Carolina

Wednesday, February 21st- Masquerade Heaven in Atlanta, Georgia

Friday, February 23rd- Beacham in Orlando, Florida

Saturday, February 24th- Club L.A. in Destin, Florida

Sunday, February 25th- House Of Blues in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tuesday, February 27th- White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas

Wednesday, February 28th- Canton Hall in Dallas, Texas

Thursday, March 1st- Sunshine in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunday, March 4th- Vinyl Hard Rock Live in Las Vegas, Nevada

Monday, March 5th- Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff, Arizona

Tuesday, March 6th- Nile Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona

Wednesday, March 7th- Soma in San Diego, California

Sunday, March 24th- Download Festival in Flemington, Australia

For tickets and further information for any of the shows listed above, click here!

Of Mice & Men will also be headlining overseas!  Check out tour dates below!

Monday, April 2nd- Club Zal in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Tuesday, April 3rd- GlavClub in Moscow, Russia

Thursday, April 5th- Trix in Antwerp, Belgium

Friday, April 6th- Melkweg in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Saturday, April 7th- Markthalle in Hamburg, Germany

Monday, April 9th- Pumphauset in Copenhagen, Denmark

Tuesday, April 10th- Columbia Theater in Berlin, Germany

Wednesday, April 11th- Proxima in Warszawa, Poland

Friday, April 13th- Arena in Wien, Austria

Saturday, April 14th- Kofmehl in Solothurn, Switzerland

Sunday, April 15th- Technikum in Munich, Germany

Tuesday, April 17th- Batschkapp in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Wednesday, April 18th- Essigfabrik in Cologne, Germany

Thursday, April 19th- Trabendo in Paris, France

Saturday, April 21st- O2 Academy in Bristol, United Kingdom

Sunday, April 22nd- O2 ABC in Glasgow, United Kingdom

Monday, April 23rd- O2 Ritz in Manchester, United Kingdom

Wednesday, April 25th- O2 Institute in Birmingham, United Kingdom

Thursday, April 26th- The Nick Rayns LCR in Norwich, United Kingdom

Friday, April 27th- Koko in London, United Kingdom

Sunday, April 29th- Academy in Dublin, Ireland

Monday, April 30th- Mandela Hall in Belfast, United Kingdom

For tickets and further information for any of the shows listed above, click here!

Fans can find Of Mice & Men at the following locations:









2 thoughts on ““Defy” by Of Mice & Men, contagious!!!

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