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8/10

Of Mice & Men - Defy

Will Cross
Will Cross 11 January 2018 at 15.32

Of Mice & Men - Defy Cover

The Of Mice & Men we once knew are gone. ‘Defy’ is the sound of a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Following ex-frontman Austin Carlile’s departure from the band in late 2016, co-vocalist / bassist Aaron Pauley has refused to let this project crumble - stepping up as frontman alongside his equally driven bandmates. These 12 songs are the sonic representation of their refusal to be beaten.

Shifting their focus from Warped Tour metalcore to arena-sized heavy metal, they’ve produced a lean beast of a record that gets right to the point; with huge choruses, monstrous riffs and plenty of opportunities to headbang. ‘Instincts’ feels like a celebration of the band’s entire legacy, blending circle-pit annihilation with stratospheric choruses. ‘Vertigo’ roars out of the traps with an unbeatable hook and moving closer ‘If We Were Ghosts’ - dedicated to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington - feels like the band laying everything tenderly to rest with the promise of a new future ahead.

As for Aaron himself, he does a sterling job of taking the vocal reins, flitting seamlessly and commandingly between creative melodies, screams and growls. Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t always have to defeat you. ‘Defy’ is the ultimate representation of that.

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