Opening with the appropriately titled ‘The Calm’, Of Mice & Men’s re-issue of their hit 2011 album ‘The Flood’ provides fans with four brand new tracks. ‘The Calm’ is the most apt title the metalcore outfit could have thought of; being a steady, instrumental introduction to the new tracks. ‘The Calm’ before ‘The Storm’ has never been a more appropriate saying, as the second track fills the listener’s ears with the beautiful, raw passion of Austin Carlisle’s harsh vocals backed by blistering riffs and it’s clear this has been written to follow on from ‘The Calm’ seamlessly. Many bands would struggle making the transition from a slow, peaceful instrumental to this chaos, but somehow Of Mice & Men pull this off flawlessly.
If there was any doubt as to whether they really needed to re-issue ‘The Flood’ as a deluxe edition with extra tracks, the title track dispels all of it. The most notable thing about these four new tracks is the lack of any clean vocals, which does beg the question of why this is a deluxe re-issue of a former album rather than a separate EP to document the progression in their sound. However, with an album as successful as ‘The Flood,’ their decision is more than justified.
‘The Depths’ is the most energetic of the new material, showcasing the trademark screaming that Carlisle has become well known for. With the transition to the second disc, it’s a reminder of the band’s big progression since ‘The Flood’ was first released. The difference between the new tracks and the older, more familiar tracks such as ‘O.G. Loko’ and ‘Letting You Go’ is that Austin’s voice has matured and their sound has progressed.
It is notable that Bourget’s clean vocals bring a dynamic to the album that not many bands can pull off. It is an admirable feat to have two such talented vocalists confined to one band, and it’s debatable whether the new tracks would have been stronger with the addition of clean vocals or not. It’s difficult to imagine.