Californian metalcore band Of Mice & Men’s third album, Restoring Force, seems to aim to reprise the monolithic biblical theme of previous musical statements (2011’s The Flood sold over 125,000 copies). But lead singer Austin Carlile has claimed his musical vision now draws from a strain of nu- metal, courtesy of Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit. So very far from heavy metal’s rough, take-it-or-leave-it charm, this is a tautly constructed set that smacks of studio professionalism. The album is a perfect example of late capitalism’s commodified culture.
Carlile’s main influences were original in the late 1990s, but now seem stale and corporate. The question we must ask is this: how did American rock, from the niche to the mainstream, respond to a post-9/11 world? We have seen how indie rock, so sure of its cynical management of the hype machine, regressed into the comforting sounds of childhood.
One of Of Mice & Men’s members once commented on the band’s name: “The main theme is the American dream…and being self sufficient.” This album is nothing but a new American exceptionalism – another missed opportunity to reclaim rock’s radical power when it is so badly needed.