Following Of Mice & Men’s previous album, Restoring Force, propelled them firmly into stardom, the Californian five-piece have returned with their latest effort. Promotion for Cold World begun with the release of lead single, Pain, easily the heaviest song they’d released since The Flood era. This raised expectations amongst fans hoping for the band to step away from more electronic influences and return to their hardcore roots. You can watch the slightly freaky music video for Pain below:
Pain was followed by two more tracks, Real and Contagious, which were similar in style and tone to Feels Like Forever, with more clean vocals and less aggressive guitars and drumming. Real included clean vocals from Austin Carlile, which is a new direction for the vocalist, and one I’m not sure I’m a fan of. His voice sounds a little nasal in places, which I don’t really enjoy, so maybe he should leave the clean vocals to Aaron Pauley in future. This mixture of singles led me to believe that Of Mice & Men plan to head further from their hardcore roots, but let’s see how I feel by the end of my first listen, eh?
Cold World opened with the slow atmospheric track Game Of War, which I personally felt dragged on for maybe a minute too long, as it didn’t get me excited to begin listening to the record. However the pace soon picks up with the 8-bit sounding intro to second track The Lie, followed by the emotional single Real, the chorus of which packs a solid punch.
There are some points within Cold World, such as the intro and outro of Contagious and the filler track –, which have electronic influences that remind me a little of Linkin Park’s earlier albums. Others, such as the chugging verses of Like A Ghost, remind me of Slipknot’s latest record, and to me The Hunger shares similarities with Stone Sour’s sound. To me, the band’s homages to their inspirations and favourite artists are apparent.
Lead single Pain sits in the middle of the album, and for me marks its high point. I can understand why Of Mice & Men chose this track as their lead single, as it’s definitely my favourite on the album – and the heaviest. Lyrically the album varies: some tracks are pretty emotional and poignant, others, such as Relentless, have pretty cheesy and overdone sentiments.
I had very high expectations for Cold World, considering how much I loved the band’s previous record Restoring Force, and my first impressions are that I don’t think Of Mice & Men have managed to better their previous effort. Sure, there are some fantastic tracks on this latest record, but there are also a significant number which could have easily slotted into the Restoring Force tracklist. I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of growth in the band, but this doesn’t mean I love the Orange County boys any less, and I’m hoping to see them live in November where I’d enjoy hearing some of their new tracks performed live.
Highlights: Like A Ghost, Pain, The Hunger, Transfigured