It’s only been 2 years since we last had a studio album from Of Mice & Men but it feels like so much longer. Since then, metalcore has lost some of it’s biggest acts to other genres (*sob* BMTH *sob*) and has been rocked by the tragedy of Architects’ Tom Searle’s passing. So the title for the Californian heavyweights’ fourth record Cold World feels somewhat apt to the scene at the moment.
Kicking off with the skulking, brooding ‘Game of War‘, this is the calm before the storm. A sublime and intelligently crafted number that swirls in melancholy and showcases the delicacy OM&M are capable of. We have had glimpses of it in the past, but this is a serene masterpiece.
It’s business as usual before long though with the distorted opening of ‘The Lie‘ giving way to Austin Carlile’s perfectly intimidating vocals. “How could you do this to the ones you love?” he screams, ahead of a catchy chorus that will have audiences bouncing en masse on future tours. “Why do some have it all and others, they have none?” he asks as the track swells to its shotgun shell of a finish.
By the time the restrained opening of ‘Like A Ghost‘ gives way to an aural riot, you know that this is arguably Of Mice & Men’s finest work to date. The aforementioned track is a 4:47 masterclass of modern metalcore, incorporating clean vocals, vicious breakdowns, gang vocals and just a complete experience that culminates with a guitar burst that will invoke havoc. This will continue into the start of ‘Havoc‘ – in fact there are parts of this album that are just a complete moshpit. If you see someone thrashing about and headbanging until their eyes are about to fall out, chances are they are listening to Cold World.
The production value of this record is simply perfect. There are no uncomfortable jumps between the aesthetics of each track; they all flow and create one of the most cohesive and easy-to-play records of the year. Of Mice & Men haven’t created a collection of individual songs, more a 43:33 experience that is not to be missed.
‘Pain‘ is a bonafide bomb of a song, capable of the annihilation of a small village, ‘Down The Road‘ will lead the singalongs whilst smarting of InMe-style influences, and ‘+’ is an orchestral gem towards the backend of the record.
It is unspeakably good to have Of Mice & Men back. Welcome back, sirs. Don’t leave it so long next time.