Of Mice & Men is an American metal band from California, and one of the most popular modern metal bands to emerge in the 2010s. Originally founded by Austin Carlile, who was the original vocalist of Attack! Attack!, and Jaxin Hall, a New Zealand expat, in 2009. Initially formed in Columbus, Ohio, the band has since been based in Costa Mesa, California. They've gone through multiple lineup shifts, with Jaxin leaving the same year they released their debut album. Austin left at one point as well, but then returned, only to leave again for good in 2016 due to extreme complications with his health. After multiple lineup shifts, the band eventually came to be as follows:
- Aaron Pauley - Lead vocals (2017-present), bass (2012-present); clean vocals (2012-2017)
- Phil Manansala - Lead guitar (2009-present)
- Alan Ashby - Rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2011-present)
- Valentino Arteaga - Drums (2009-present)
- Jon Kintz - Rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2009)
- Jaxin Hall - Bass, backing vocals (2009-2010)
- Shayley Bourget - Clean vocals (2009-2012), bass (2011-2012), rhythm guitar (2009-2011)
- Jerry Roush - Vocals (2010-2011)
- Austin Carlile - Vocals (2009-2010, 2011-2016)
At the beginning, they were a run-of-the-mill straight-forward Metalcore band. However, by the release of their sophomore album The Flood, they had taken a turn and began to come into their own by increasing their production value and increasing their focus on rhythmic melodies and bass presence — becoming bigger, louder, and more hard-hitting in the process. This proved to be a successful formula as The Flood quickly rose to become the best-selling album released on Rise Records at that time.
After their rise to success, the band seperated with former clean vocalist Shayley Bourget (who would later go on to form the band Dayshell) and welcomed newcomer Aaron Pauley to fill in his shoes. As work began on their highly anticipated follow-up album, the band decided to integrate more Nu Metal elements into their sound, releasing their divisive album Restoring Force in 2014, which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 100. This album marked a shift as the band moved in a more commercially viable and accessible direction; despite this, the majority of the songs on the album consisted of downtuned riffs, angsty lyrics, psuedo-rapped vocals, and use of electronica, while keeping recognizable elements from their previous albums.
However, with their fourth album, Cold World the band had made a complete transition into nu metal territory, with the aforementioned elements becoming even more prominent and the metalcore aspects being almost completely removed outside of the occasional use of breakdowns and screaming. This shift in style has been the cause for a great divide within the fanbase, but also opened them up to new fans as well as radio airplay for their songs, something that had alluded them before. With the departure of lead vocalist Austin Carlile in 2017 and the release of their sixth album Defy with Aaron now helming the mantle of frontman, the band seem to be moving back towards the style of Restoring Force with a style not dissimilar to many successful modern metal acts.
- Alternative Metal: Along with the Nu Metal elements, this became extremely prominent in Restoring Force and Cold World.
- Angst: A lot of their lyrics in their later Austin-era material involves this.
- Cold World has it in spades due to Austin's circumstances at the time, which would eventually cause him to leave the band.
- Averted completely with the much more positive post-Austin material.
- Genre Shift: They shifted from straight-up Metalcore to a hybrid of Nu Metal and Metalcore on Restoring Force, then almost completely to Nu Metal with Cold World. Their two post-Austin songs are more akin to Force, with the Nu Metal being toned down and the Metalcore brought back into prominence.
- Grief Song: "Would You Still Be There" is about rekindling ones relationship with a lover.
- Large Ham: Austin, almost all the time.
- Lead Bassist: Aaron is the current lead singer.
- Metal Scream: Austin was Type 3. Aaron uses Types 1 and 2.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Can vary from anywhere between 1-9. Their usual range is around 5-7.
- "The Flood", "I Am A Monster" and "The Depths" are the band at their peak in terms of unrestrained heaviness at 9.
- The majority of the bands first two albums, as well as "Pain" and "Warzone" take things up a notch and range at about 8.
- "The Calm" and "Space Enough to Grow" are the only two 1s in their back catalogue and so different from the rest of their material they may well be considered an Out-of-Genre Experience.
- New Sound Album: After two straight-forward Metalcore albums, Restoring Force made them into a hybrid of their previous metalcore style and Nu Metal. Often called "nu-metalcore" by fans. Cold World could be considered a total Genre Shift, as the metalcore aspects were almost completely abandoned in favor of becoming straight-up nu metal. Their post-Austin material seems to be taking a shift back to the sound of Restoring Force, further reflected by the band only playing the heavily promoted tracks from Cold World live in the post-Austin era.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: They've had a few of these.
- "The Calm", "Space Enough to Grow", and "Game of War" are more like post-rock tracks with their focus on ambience and reverb.
- "The Flood" and "The Depths" — both songs released on the reissue of their sophomore album, were recorded and released in the gap between Shayley's departure and Aaron's tenure, as such these songs do not feature any clean vocals (singing) at all — and to add fuel to the fire, the songs are much, much heavier than anything the band had written before or since (with the track The Flood being written in Drop A), to the point of being borderline deathcore at times with their use of grinding breakdowns and Carlile's screams at front, center, and full throttle.
- "Pain" is easily the heaviest song on "Cold World" and has them going neck deep into the darker Slipknot/Ko Rn side of nu metal, as opposed to the more Linkin Park/Limp Bizkit style that is prominent on the rest of the album.
- Soprano and Gravel: With Austin as the gravel and Shayley/Aaron as the soprano. Aaron now plays both roles by himself.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Aaron became the band's sole vocalist after Austin left.
- It's worth noting that the same thing happened in a previous band Austin left; Caleb Shomo became the unclean vocalist and then eventually the sole vocalist of Attack Attack! before their inevitable breakup.
- Shayley not only stepped up to the microphone when he created Dayshell, he pretty much IS the band.
- Vocal Tag Team: Between Austin and Shayley/Aaron, before Austin left.