If you were hoping for a raging beast of an album stacked with guttural fury and headswimming riffs, sorry, but you’re gonna have to look elsewhere. ‘Cold World is instead a classy record showcasing the continued evolution of a top alternative rock band, which despite being jam packed with killer material, doesn’t slam the metalcore pedal to the floor to deliver the titanic opus the faithful are expecting.
Nevertheless, Of Mice and Men have taken another firm stride in the direction of mainstream success, having clearly incorporated a heavy nu-metal influence to deliver a high quality, slickly produced album with a more measured approach. It still packs the occasional punch, but it won’t leave you floored with blood pouring out your ears.
An atmospheric bass leads into opener, ‘Game of War’, which is pristine clean and plays out like a lengthy prelude. You’d expect to hear some full on metalcore fury straight after, and although ‘The Lie’ and ‘Contagious’ both tease in that direction and ‘Like a Ghost’ is on the abrasive side, they are playing it safe with distinctly melodic choruses and a definite nu-metal vibe bubbling away underneath. Even so, there’s a serious tone to the top quality songs as they deal with heavy personal issues like isolation, deception and cruelty.
After the dark atmosphere interlude of ’-’, things finally take a truly attacking turn on the blistering single ‘Pain’; now that’s a winning tune that will be enormous on stage. Although there is very little else that is equally aggressive, there are plenty of other high points, like the brooding ‘The Hunger’, which slowly eats into your brain, the epically melodic ‘Away’ and complex closing track ‘Transfigured’.
To be frank, the album is pretty much all killer and in its own right should stand up as a top notch alternative rock album, capable of pushing OM&M further up the ladder. However, there are sure to be dissenting voices frustrated by its highly polished veneer and the heavy reliance on clean vocals.
‘Cold World’ by Of Mice and Men is released on September 9th on Rise Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)