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Long gone are the days of straightened black hair and breakdowns galore. If you didn’t get the message from Defy and Earthandsky, Of Mice & Men’s latest EP Timeless shows clear as day that the Californian metal outfit have long shed their former post-hardcore label, with this three-track effort just another small taste of the band’s new direction.
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A bite-sized continuation of the more melodic, modern-metal sound captured on the band’s sixth studio album, 2019’s Earthandsky; Timeless is a clear push to a slightly more experimental sound within the band’s proven metal formula, incorporating some unfamiliar elements alongside that classic OM&M sound.
Lead single Obsolete, while being the catchiest, most hook-heavy song on the EP, introduces some moody strings over a funky bass interlude in the song’s bridge, giving listeners just a hint of a new era in between the band’s characteristic anthemic riffs. While still capturing a very classic heavy sound, Obsolete clearly encapsulates the band’s shift away from more breakdown-driven metalcore into the modern metal madness they operate in today.
Timeless is a clear indication of the band’s willingness to grow and change six albums into their career: sacrificing their crabcore-adjacent roots for a more mature touchstone to their sound moving forward.
Title track Timeless has a much more ambient, heavily melodic feeling to it, with some progressive, layered guitar parts peaking into the more pronounced instrumentals of the verse and chorus. Though it shows a new edge to the heavy band, Timeless still manages to show off Of Mice & Men’s talent for hooking in listeners with a catchy metal chorus, paired with a toe-tapping riff to carry the weight of the track. The most interesting and experimental track of the three-track record is the closing song and last to be released, Anchor. Despite opening on the most bone-shaking riff of the EP, this glimpse of the band’s heavier side quickly gives way into a sullener, bass-and-synth driven melody easing listeners into the verse. While they haven’t quite hit radio-rock yet, the track ebbs and flows between the band’s traditional aggression and a more unfamiliar lighter side; perhaps hinting to a greater shift in their sound on the horizon.
Though Timeless is a short and sweet EP, this three-track belter still flows effortlessly as a complete release. The mixing between the three tracks bleeds each one into the next like one complete piece of music, taking listeners on a trip from hard and fast to something more mysterious and atmospheric. Each track is driven by kick-ass riffs and Aaron Pauley’s anthemic lead vocals, who is confidently carrying vocal duties for the band after two full releases on frontman duty. While harsh vocals are still absolutely a part of Timeless, they fall more to the sidelines, while Pauley’s rocking clean vocals take centre stage; proving a strong lyrical driving force from track to track. While there’s no doubt that Of Mice & Men are maintaining their heavy sound, Timeless is a clear indication of the band’s willingness to grow and change six albums into their career: sacrificing their crabcore-adjacent roots for a more mature touchstone to their sound moving forward.
The old Of Mice & Men are dead; and long live the Timeless Of Mice & Men!
STANDOUT TRACKS: Obsolete, Anchor
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