Written by Emma Wilkes
Release Date: 26th February 2021
For Fans Of: August Burns Red, The Word Alive, Miss May I
Many bands hit crossroads when they reach a certain size. What musical direction do you take when you have enough fans to fill the big academies, or even arenas? Do you keep pushing the thunderous riffs and the guttural vocals that got you there in the first place? Or do you attempt to evolve to suit your size, even if that means getting softer?
Now over ten years into their career, Of Mice & Men have cracked the solution to this dilemma. The three tracks that make up Timeless don’t reach the earth shattering heights of heavy like 2019s ‘Mushroom Cloud’, but their fusion of the gritty metalcore and stratospheric, melody-driven hard rock they’ve trademarked over the years produces exciting results.
The title track and lead single ‘Obsolete’ feel like natural A- sides. The former opens with some quality chugging guitarwork courtesy of Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala, while the latter sees them in a musical duel, one bringing the caveman riffs, the other layering an intricate, melodic guitar line over the top. Frontman Aaron Pauley roars through the verses in as fine a form as ever, but the choruses are where they really shine. The Californian four piece’s knack for a huge chorus tinged with darkness is not to be underestimated, and neither is the lyrical substance to them. “I would paint you a picture of the sky on fire/But the colours escape my mind,” Pauley admits on the title track in a display of some of the strongest songwriting of his band’s career.
If there’s any complaint to be made about these tracks, it is that there is a clear sense of a formula to them and are perhaps a little too similar in places. However, OM&M saves the most interesting song in the form of ‘Anchor’ for last. Pauley sings its verses over muted, slightly synthy instrumentals that we’ve never heard the band use before, which then give way to the traditionally huge chorus. Metal diehards might wrinkle their noses, but this touch of experimentation is surprisingly effective and feels seamless within the overall scope of their sound.
It is said that by trying to please everyone, you please no-one, but Of Mice & Men make that into a myth. The fans of their heavier and softer sides alike will walk away from Timeless feeling satisfied yet eagerly looking forward to the two other EPs that will be released later this year. The biggest complaint of all about Timeless is that it ends too quickly.
Recommended Tracks: Achor