Restoring Force, the third full-length offering from California nu-metallers Of Mice & Men, could be considered as the five piece trying to “forge a new path” in their genre. It’s a drastic change for the Rise Records group, be it a wrong or right turn down a new path. However, after repeatedly listening to the album over the last week, one thing has become clear; this album is what is going to be the making of the band on a much grander scale, one outside the realms of their fanbase online and the “hardcore” scene. Restoring Force is most definitely that; providing Of Mice & Men with the force they need to truly dominate their genre.

Since the release of the first track from the record, ‘You’re Not Alone’, in December, opinions of fans and critics alike have been divided over the slight change in sound for the group. Sure, it’s not at the same level of angst of their first two releases, with there being a lot more focus on softer melodies, but there’s no denying that there are some tracks on Restoring Force that could kick off a mosh pit from the first chord. ‘You Make Me Sick’ and ‘Bones Exposed’ are two great examples, keeping that same OM&M essence that fans have come to adore, but also delving into new depths for the band in a slight change of sound. It’s undoubtedly a record that’ll please their faithful fans, while also enticing new listeners into experiencing their continually developing sound.

The 11-track album defines the Orange County outfit in every aspect of their sound and what they’ve come to be. They’re still the angsty young adults they were throughout The Flood, but they’re mellowing out a little in sound while retaining the seething and powerful lyrics they’ve come to be adored for. There’s a Linkin Park/Slipknot-esque sound to the album, but it’s delivered in the band’s own way. ‘Would You Still Be There’ and ‘Feels Like Forever’ embody a more rock-ish feel, the choruses perfectly delivered by new vocalist Aaron Pauley’s smooth vocal and holding a sing-a-long vibe, while album opener ‘Public Service Announcement’ and ‘Bones Exposed’ hold down the pit commencing end of things.

With a loyal fanbase and a hardworking label behind them, as well as their unadulterated talent, there’s no reason why Of Mice & Men shouldn’t be a band dominating arenas at home in the States, or even globally, in the next two years. Restoring Force is a reminder that the five piece don’t want to fit into the status quo or just blend in with every other band in their genre. They don’t want to be “the next” anyone, and they make it clear on this album that standing out and defining themselves is their aim. They want to be Of Mice & Men, restoring the force needed to a somewhat dying scene.

[rating:4.5]

Restoring Force is out now on Rise Records and available via iTunes. Check out the video for ‘Bones Exposed’ below.