Photo from Metalobsession.net
By Rebecca Brooks
Of Mice and Men, the Orange County metalcore band, just released their fourth studio album, “Cold World,” this past Friday. It is the follow-up to their 2014 album, Restoring Force, which became the group’s highest charting album to date.
The band’s signature sound consists of screaming vocals from frontman, Austin Carlile, mixed with the clean tenor voice of the group’s bassist, Aaron Pauley. This has transformed them into becoming one of the most popular bands in the metalcore scene despite being relatively new.
However, it seems that they have chosen to go in a slightly different direction with “Cold World.”
The first single of the album, “Pain,” details the struggles Carlile faces while dealing with Marfan syndrome, a rare tissue disorder. While the song is just as intense as the band’s previous material, the contrast between Carlile’s screaming and “talking” vocals make the song slightly odd and unbalanced. Nonetheless, the song is metalcore through and through and truly showcases Carlile’s screaming abilities.
However, “Pain” proves itself to be the heaviest song on the album and akin to their well-known sound.
There is a lot more clean vocals coming from Pauley, and the songs do not feature as much of the heavy and harsh tones that Carlile’s screams bring. This is especially exemplified in the opening track, “Game of War,” which has more of a ballad feel to it. The instrumentation is light, which does not give the album the strong opening it could have had with other songs. Despite this, it is still soothing and shows a softer side to the band.
“Real,” the band’s latest single, ventures off into a more alternative rock sound with strong guitar riffs. In addition, it provides a nice message about how it is better to be yourself than something you are not. The music video goes along with this message, as it starts out with the question, “What makes you real?”
Other tracks worth mentioning at Like a Ghost and Hunger, which bring a more evolved sound of the band’s heavier roots.
“Cold World” is a decent album that brings more contrast than Of Mice and Men’s previous albums. However, it lacks consistency. Some songs straying far away from their roots while others just walk the line between an old and new sound. Overall, they could have given a much better follow-up to “Restoring Force,” an album which really helped to put them on the map within the metal industry.