OF MICE & MEN
ATMOSPHERIC METALCORE: Of all the metalcore bands that rose to prominence in the early 2000s, few have achieved the acclaim or emotional endurance as Of Mice & Men. Their music continues to grow from the rush of grueling emotions and struggles that marked Echos (2021), with a rhythmic kick, stunning atmospherics, anthemic bombast, and genuine sincerity behind their words.
While Echos was an intimate record that portrayed the outward struggle of the world during the pandemic, Tether looks inward, focusing on the struggles within ourselves. The Southern California foursome self-produced and engineered all of the tracks on Tether, their eighth album, taking complete creative control. Frontman Aaron Pauley mixed and mastered the album, the artwork of which was created and painted by drummer Valentino Arteaga. Tether is more than just a step forward for the band, but is a record that shows guitarists Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby, Aaron, and Tino putting their hearts and souls into every note and lyric, producing another audio chronicle of their life.
Tether opens with two of the album’s most beautiful songs, “Integration” and “Shiver.” Of Mice & Men delivers an explosive experience bathed in the ultraviolet rays of resurgence, demonstrating that the band has not lost a step when it comes to creating moments that transcend while opening the album up to more captivating moments that continue to unfold.
“Into the Sun” and “Enraptured” manifest another kind of potent energy to the album. Ushering in an intricate blend of progressive and metalcore elements sewn into peerless voltaic environments, Tether continues to morph into more interesting dissonant musical layers impacted by brutal honesty.
Breathtaking moments that leave a mark on Tether are “Castaway,” “Tethered,” and “Indigo.” Exercising a degree of adventurous instrumental and ethereal looseness underpinned by stunning organized percussive chaos in each listening experience, Of Mice & Men has crafted masterpieces that show why the band has lasted this long metalcore industry.
Of Mice & Men close the album with one of the most evocative and supernal experiences on the record, “Zephyros,” a track draped in ethereal beauty and a myriad of mystical musical components brilliantly merging into the other. Tether is more than just a seraphic expression of incensed and symphonic soundscapes. Tether is the continuous pursuit of chasing emotion and the ability to feel that emotion musically. Of Mice & Men thinks outside the lines of what makes a record truly meaningful. It’s not only the narrative backbone of a song, it’s also the musical tension surrounding each experience. Tether is not just the band’s next step, but an album that showcases seasoned veterans who are technical juggernauts at what they continue to give musically. ~ Sammie Star