Of Mice and Men are a band who have dominated the metalcore scene since they got together in 2009 and have shown no signs of slowing down. Their new album Cold World is a prime example that the band don’t intend to slow down, but they’ve gone a bit stagnant and are in need of their next release to be outstanding or they could drop off the map.
The album opens with the very slow Game of War. Although the bass sounds incredible (which is pretty much a given, considering David Bendeth produced the album!) the song drones on a bit and feels like it’s two minutes too long. It’s nice to see the band go in a slightly new direction with a new-but-familiar sound but they should have cut the length or added some more dynamics to the song as it got very boring, especially considering the start gets you so pumped for the song to properly hit.
The bass is a much more dominant player in this album then others. It has a huge aspect in the aforementioned Game of War, and Relentless, Real and Transfigured are all very bass driven too. It’s nice to see a bassist getting more of a solo spot as it’s often the case in metalcore that the bassist gets swept under the rug a little bit. But just because it is more of a dominant player, doesn’t mean that it’s exciting. It’s very bland to listen to; the reason a lot of bands push the bassist to the side is that they can’t make the bass lines overly exciting and that is unfortunately the case.
The guitars in this album aren’t imaginative for most of the release either, they’re very chuggy and while yes, the drops are pretty bloody epic, they just lack that extra something that makes them shine. They sound too basic and in the few songs where they are different, they aren’t anything special. Just a distorted rhythm then some clean high end melody played that’s quite frankly, boring.
The album isn’t all bad, and Pain is by far the standout track of Cold World – you can see why they chose it as the single. The guitar riff is exciting and really matches the lyrical content as it could easily put you on edge. The passion is there and you can hear it in every instrument – you can tell the band love this song! It’s well put together, the drops and build ups are so well executed and it just makes you want to move. It’s an anthem; you could sing along to it at the top of your lungs easily whereas a lot of the songs on the album aren’t like this at all.
Cold World is a massive disappointment in terms of growth. The songs sound good but that’s more down to the production of the album and not their song writing. The band have lost their spark and are in desperate need to find it again before they fade into a band that just spit out the same album for the next 10 years – with their next release they need to step up their songwriting game.