Having only been a band for the better part of a year and a half, …
In an era where things have been changing a hell of a lot in the music industry worldwide, metalcore mainstays Of Mice & Men have decided to change things up a bit themselves with their latest release.
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The first of three EPs to come out in 2021, Timeless is a short-and-sweet three-track record from the Californian heavyweights. Frontman and bassist Aaron Pauley explains that this new release wasn’t a way of pumping out any less content for fans, but rather a different approach for the changing times.
“It’s a way for us to release it in a more timely manner than it is to sit on an entire record and figure out how to make it all cohesive and whatnot. You can kind of tell for us, writing songs, those are little snapshots in time, and so, to be able to sort of say, ‘This is a little time capsule’, and then, ‘These three are a little time capsule’, it’s kind of cool.
“I feel like you can take more creative risks too, without alienating portions of your fan base that can’t digest a full album’s worth of material. You can kind of push the edges out a little bit more when you’re working with smaller chunks because, if you don’t like this EP, well there’s going to be one coming in a few weeks, you know? So maybe you’ll like that one…
“I could be completely wrong, but if anything, from where I sit, being six albums in now working on a seventh, it’s kind of a refreshing way of just approaching the whole process. So, if anything, it’s exciting for us…We can always go back to what we’ve done six times (laughs), but it’s nice to branch out and try our hand at some EPs.”
Despite a much shorter tracklist, the three songs of Timeless tell a consistent story, much like a full album, and according to Pauley, that story is just the first chapter of what’s to come in the two following EPs.
“[Timeless] deals with feelings of uncertainty about the future, and also how that relates to a growing understanding and relationship with the idea of impermanence, and I think how those sorts of feelings kind of interweave and seem to ebb and flow…Without giving too much away, I think this EP sort of sets the stage. It sort of introduces the backdrop of what the rest of the story, will sort of unfold.”
Even with so few tracks to pick from, it was hard for Pauley to pick a favourite, and by the sounds of it, there’s more great tracks to come in the upcoming EPs.
“I’d say Timeless probably resonates with me the most, and I really love the sort of melodic structures of that. But then again, I love, Obsolete is just a, you know, just what we call a ‘barn burner’, just kind of, just goes and rips. But then I really like Anchor too, I like some of the creative risks. I don’t know, It’s not risky, it’s not like I’m going to get injured, but (laughs) you know what I mean?…
“If anything, we like to start in the centre with what we know, and then we just sort of push the edges of the picture out, until the lines get kind of blurry, and that’s where I think we have a lot of fun. And you’re going to hear a lot more of that on what’s to come for sure.”
One major aspect that Timeless has in common with previous records Earthandsky and Defy is the band’s shift away from their younger, more metalcore roots into a more traditional, modern metal.
You can kind of push the edges out a little bit more when you’re working with smaller chunks because, if you don’t like this EP, well there’s going to be one coming in a few weeks, you know? So maybe you’ll like that one…
[ Aaron Pauley ]
“I think there’s a lot of ‘core’ elements to [Timeless], you know. I think we were just, we kind of wrote music that we felt excited us at the time, and I think a lot of it’s inspired by us listening to a lot of older metal bands as well as a lot of younger, newer metalcore bands and stuff. So, it’s awesome that the genre is still around, you know, given that it’s been around for two decades, even longer than that.”
While that response may spark some hope in the eyes of black and straightened-hair metalcore diehards, a true return to their ‘crabcore’ days are not on the cards for Pauley.
“Maybe. Not for me, but for somebody out there, I’m sure. I’m too old for that. I got grandpa hips; I can’t be squatting down like that on stage anymore.”
Regardless of where it fits in terms of what’s come before and what’s on the horizon, Pauley and the band hope Timeless can offer listeners and Of Mice & Men fans something of value, even if that’s just to feel like they’re not alone in these uncertain times.
“Music and any sort of entertainment is just there to try and alleviate suffering, or to distract, or to comfort. I think if anything, I would hope that somebody out there could listen to [Timeless] and just say, ‘Oh cool, somebody out there feels a little bit like I do’.
“I think in trying times, feeling like you’re not alone is a horribly underestimated and undervalued resource. That would be my hope that somebody would listen to it and connect with it.”