EP REVIEW: Of Mice & Men – Timeless
Of Mice & Men are one of those metalcore bands everyone knows. You simply cannot deny their place in the scene. Their first three albums had everybody talking about them, but after tragedy struck when singer Austin Carlile was forced to leave the band due to health issues in late 2016, the band have struggled to find their feet.
Since his departure, the band have struggled to gain any real momentum, with a lot of fan’s almost describing pre-Austin and post-Austin Of Mice & Men as two completely different bands.
However, after a couple of below-par albums, EARTHANDSKY showed a return to form for the metalcore band. Its combination of chug-heavy riffs and gorgeous melodies make it some of their best work yet. The record was a breath of fresh air for a band who many people had wrote off. Less than 18 months later, the band announced they were releasing a trilogy of EPs, including latest effort Timeless, which would accumulate to make their seventh record – and first on SharpTone Records.
Lead single Obsolete is the best track Of Mice & Men have released in years. Its glitchy start followed by a riff that sounds straight out of a modern While She Sleeps record is a very saucy addition to the EP. Valentino Arteaga’s thunderous drumming is mixed perfectly with the kind of chug you would have expected to hear on EARTHANDSKY.
Aaron Pauley’s melody-heavy chorus compliments the brutal onslaught that is the first minute of this track. Speaking of the verse, lyrics such as “for a thousand days I watched the vultures circle overhead, and I counted the ways the world would be blessed when I finally reached my end” are just one of many examples of some of the best Of Mice & Men lyrics of recent years on this EP. Believe us when we say that Pauley’s delivery more than justifies the message of self-abomination throughout the lyrics.
EP title-track and opener Timeless features a similar starting formula to Obsolete, with Alan Ashby and Phil Manansala’s prowess with six strings being on show yet again. It is a huge riff for all the air guitarists out there. The catchy hook of “Projections in black and white” is echoed throughout the track and culminates in a fantastically emotive breakdown.
The track’s ending is as if Pauley has just let go of his pent-up emotions and the aftermath is an awesome breakdown. The song combines the 2014 Restoring Force-era with the 2019 EARTHANDSKY-era – and the final result is immaculate.
One of the only cons of this EP is its length. Three tracks combining to make a mere 12-minutes is a tad disappointing, and naturally the EP does feel more like three singles rather than an EP in its entirety. It is a strange choice to release their seventh album as a combination of three EPs but from a business standpoint, that is three separate collections of songs to sell. We are in COVID times after all, and it is not easy for artists to make a huge income – so it is hard to blame them.
Nevertheless, the final track Anchor keeps up the momentum gained from the two tracks before. The production takes a forefront in this track with Pauley’s softer sung vocals almost caressing the listener’s eardrums after the ruthless (but welcome) beating they have received after the first two tracks.
The last 40 seconds of the EP see a delightful instrumental piece. A dreamy pitter patter of piano and drums, that slowly fade out of hearing is a lovely delicate way to end what was a merciless EP. Timeless is Of Mice & Men back at their very best, with three tracks which will undoubtedly please current fans and bring plenty of new fans in. We cannot wait to hear the second EP.
Standout Track: Obsolete
For Fans Of: Bury Tomorrow, Fit For A King, While She Sleeps
Written by: Joe Loughran