If this year was a roller coaster for Of Mice & Men, they’re ending 2016 on a big drop. Vocalist Austin Carlile released a statement on his social media that he will be leaving the band due to his health. Carlile has Marfan Syndrome, a genetic connective tissue disorder, and it’s gotten progressively worse over the past few years, climaxing in a rough series of cancelled tours and surgeries to help Carlile as much as possible in his battle.
The remaining four members will continue the band without Carlile, with vocal duties presumably covered by bassist/vocalist Aaron Pauley. Since joining the band in 2012, Pauley has had a large vocal role in the band’s last two albums, Restoring Force and Cold World, perhaps because Carlile’s condition continued to worsen.
Carlile wrote in his statement that he never thought he would achieve his dreams of releasing albums of his music, touring the world, and singing alongside his idols in Linkin Park and Korn. He is currently living in Costa Rica and healing while also continuing to write new music. Although he can no longer scream, Carlile said singing is still an option for him. Whether this is just for himself or a future project is unclear.
This news shocked the rock and metal community and everyone from Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman to members of bands including Miss May I, Paramore and Issues sent positive words to Carlile. Paramore vocalist Hayley Goodman tweeted, “hey man. this was such a brave letter to write & powerful use of your platform. i know we don’t know each other well…”
With these lows came many high points for Of Mice & Men in 2016. The band released their fourth album, Cold World, which reached #20 on the Billboard 200 and opened the band to a wider audience with a more mature sound, mixing nu metal and radio-friendly rock to their signature metalcore style. Carlile was even awarded Best Vocalist at the Revolver Music Awards for his performance on the album. The band also went out on the road over the summer with Slipknot and Marilyn Manson where they were well received.
Carlile started Of Mice & Men in 2009 after parting ways with Attack Attack! and OM&M quickly became one of the bigger bands in the metalcore scene. Carlile had left the band once before in 2010, shortly after releasing their debut album, because of a heart surgery and conflict with the other members. Jerry Roush from Sky Eats Airplanes replaced Carlile until Carlile returned in 2011.
This year may not have gone the way OM&M planned but here’s hopes to a fresh 2017.