• Charlotte Claber

Of Mice and Men hit back with 'Defy'

‘Defy’ signifies a new chapter for the band Of Mice and Men, a turn away from previous album ‘Cold World’ immediately opening with title track ‘Defy’ the band set the bar from the press of play. The now four piece, comprising of Aaron Pauley, Valentino Arteaga, Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala, create something truly to be proud of. A hard hitting track that screams back “I Defy” comes across as a power anthem for all and shows the bands talents individually before moving into ‘Instincts’. Vocalist, Aaron Pauley’s growls power through again but without cutting off heavy riffs provided by Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby on guitars. The use of two guitars throughout the album gives depth and dimension, however with ‘Defy’ the presence of this is more recognisable.

‘Back To Me’, ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Money’ have all been received well by audiences worldwide with plays on stations like BBC Radio 1 and SiriusXM Octane and so with tracks like ‘Instinct’ and ‘On The Inside’ it’s hard to understand why the band held back with the release as they have everything to be proud of on this album.

Valentino Arteaga, has many shine through moments with the drums taking a harder turn and the pleasant introduction of the cowbell, the band have more comprising elements giving them more depth and feel than ever before.

This album seems to be one for the fans with the return of the band’s phrase YDG, with track “Forever YDG’n” a track that brings all the albums full circle, with nods to ‘Those in Glass Houses’, and ‘When You Can’t Sleep at Night’. Vocalist and bassist Aaron Pauley explains in an interview with Turn It Up Louder that “It’s a nod to the legacy of Of Mice and Men, from the start to where we are now and even in the future. Lyrically it was just kind of cheeky to do I guess. That’s the word I think you guys use”. Drummer Valentino Arteaga adds “In a way the YDG songs are about overcoming an oppressor and someone who’s really trying to hold you back and in a lot of ways continuing with the YDG theme and forever YDG’n just shows this is not the end! This is just the next installment and we just felt it was really important to carry on the sound that is Of Mice and Men and obviously Aaron came up with the really cool lyrical queues that pool from all the albums and brings forth everything from Of Mice and Men into one song. It’s for our original YDGers - they know what’s up!”

Overall as a band, ‘Defy’ provides a new chapter but also puts the band across in a new light, with an arena rock vibe and hard hitting choruses there’s no doubt 2018 is Of Mice and Men’s year.