Of Mice and Men
Cold World


2.0
poor

Review

by Shamus248 CONTRIBUTOR (121 Reviews)
September 6th, 2016 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't even care that Of Mice & Men all but completely abandoned their core sound; my issue is it's uninspired and boring.

Of Mice & Men, a metalcore/nu-metal outfit hailing out of Orange County, California, most likely knew criticism would be vehemently thrown their way when Jamie's Elsewhere vocalist Aaron Pauley joined the group to replace Shayley Bourget in December 2013. Fans of the group's music as it was known (which was aggressive metalcore with fry screams galore) held nothing against Pauley as a vocalist; fans were disconcerted that Bourget was gone and the group's sound as it existed was sure to go out the window next. Two and a half years later, I echo those sentiments. Cold World, the fourth full-length outing from Of Mice & Men, had the potential to be a hard hitting, solid album. But it's not, because it essentially abandons all of the hallmarks that the group was known for and that's not even the problem; the problem is the poor execution, the evident lack of effort and sloppy vocals.

I have no problem with the fact that Of Mice & Men has done a stylistic 180 since Pauley joined the group; longtime unclean vocalist Austin Carlile implements much more clean vocals into his work and the instrumentals at times sound eerily reminiscent of Linkin Park. That's not the issue; the issue is that Pauley puts forth the absolute worst vocal performance of his career, sounding lazy and bored and even inaudible at times all throughout this record. Carlile, however and ironically enough, is the highlight of the album. His clean vocals are greatly improved, so credit to him there, his screams aren't inaudible anymore and unlike his all clean counterpart, Carlile actually sounds like he cares. Pauley, though, is just abysmal and I'd be pressed to find even one vocal performance in recent memory as disappointing as his.

Opening track "Game of War" sees Pauley perform while voice distortion pervades over him and it makes his voice inaudible and unlistenable. The lyrics, on this track in particular, are greatly improved ("I'm waiting for the war to end/Are we ending to begin again?/If patience is so virtuous/Then maybe I'll be damned.") These improved lyrics would be enjoyable if I could understand what Pauley is saying. Recently released single "Real" sees Pauley give a performance you can understand, but his bored and contrite performance will make you wish you couldn't after all. Carlile, on the other hand, demonstrates his mentioned improved cleans, so further credit to him. The instrumentals on "Real" are just a non factor, merely thumping along without grasping the listener's attention.

Lead off single "Pain" sees a once again screaming Carlile on his own for the track and it helps make the song one of the album's few bright spots. It's standard metalcore fare in every regard, but Carlile approaches the track with a lot of aggression and longtime fans will find a new favorite with this track. "The Lie" is an outstanding song, arguably the best of the group's career (ironically enough it comes off what is easily the group's worst album). The lyrics are nothing to write home about and the instrumentals are passible, but what helps the track is that Carlile and Pauley both deliver incredible vocal performances, the former no longer using those inaudible fry screams, the latter delivering the only ounce of effort you'll see from him for the entire album.

"Relentless" sees a rapped verse from Carlile to begin the track, and while he's not terrible at it, it feels very forced and unnecessary. I know Of Mice & Men cite Linkin Park as an influence, but they don't need to completely hijack the nu metal/rap metal sensibility bands like Linkin Park made (sans Meteroa and Hybrid Theory of course). Pauley puts forth yet another lazy and uninspired vocal performance, practically lulling the listener to sleep at moments where the listener should be energized. "Down the Road" and album closer "Away" are just average at best, both doing a poor job of trying to close out Cold World strong.

Of Mice & Men, what happened? You never broke any ground to begin with, but the craft you had honed over the years was very aggressive mealcore that appealed heavily to new wave listeners and at least the songs had effort put into them. Cold World isn't the worst album ever by any stretch, even if it is a twelve track Rise Records snoozefest, but it greatly suffers from an abysmal vocal performance from Aaron Pauley and run of the mill execution in almost every other regard. Austin Carlile is the lone source of constant saving grace throughtout this record, so he earns the bulk of the credit for what little creativity and energy is found on this album. Where labelmates Crown the Empire made the right choice to change with Retrograde, Of Mice & Men changes in a way that feels way too forced and unnecessary. I hope Of Mice & Men realize they've quite literally thrust themselves into a "cold world", one that will not be welcoming of what the group has become, which is a metalcore turned nu metal group that has all the tools to knock it out of the park, but don't feel like swinging the bat.



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user ratings (446)
1.8
poor
other reviews of this album
Zachery Cotto (2)
Lacking identity and heart, Cold World is just as its name implies....

Your #1 Most Loved Semiaquatic, Egg-Laying Mammal (1)
'Cold World' is not only Of Mice and Men's worst album to date, but is one of the worst albums of 20...

tom994 (2)
A weak album that smacks of complacency...

EllderSwan (1)
Just, what?...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
September 6th 2016


10318 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

great review man, posd.

Shamus248
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2016


1023 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks man, appreciate it (:

SteakByrnes
September 6th 2016


30136 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Fantastic review, album is still terrible

sempiturtle
September 6th 2016


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Great review, but the terms "unclean vocals" and "clean vocals" have always been cringe to me.

BallsDeep
September 6th 2016


4642 Comments


Strong review although the summary sounds a tad awkward to me

FullOfSounds
September 6th 2016


15821 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Great review. I didn't even notice Aaron on this at all.

sempiturtle
September 6th 2016


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

About 7 tracks in I was thinking this was a solid 3-3.5, but the entire back half after Pain is one of the worst things I've heard all year.

Snide
September 6th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"but the entire back half after Pain is one of the worst things I've heard all year."

But "Away" is the best track on this, and it's on the back half.

sempiturtle
September 6th 2016


1685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I hardly even remember Away and Transfigured they were so forgettable. Meanwhile, The Hunger and Relentless are at a cringe-worthy level of awfulness and Down the Road has no identity at all.



Also The Lie is easily the best on here and is one of their best songs ever tbh.

William21
September 6th 2016


886 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

From a 3.5 average for The Flood to 1.9 for this... 'nuff said

trackbytrackreviews
September 6th 2016


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Doesn't really read like a 2.0 review to me, more like a 2.5-3

BallsDeep
September 6th 2016


4642 Comments


would've been better as a track by track review too ay

trackbytrackreviews
September 7th 2016


3469 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

0-0

sharkmsc
September 7th 2016


448 Comments


I will always love you Black Malachite

Snide
September 7th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"I will always love you Black Malachite"

I don't know who you are

But you're cool my dude

Never stop being cool

LosProfetas
September 7th 2016


74 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I went into this album thinking it was gonna be pretty bad based on Real and what people have been saying about it, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. It's nothing groundbreaking and it's definitely derivative, but it's pretty enjoyable and not nearly as bad as others are making it out to be.

Snide
September 7th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is nowhere near as bad as the 1.9 average suggests.

Futures
September 7th 2016


11247 Comments


yeah it is

William21
September 7th 2016


886 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I mean I've heard worse but this is still pretty lame.

KenboSlice
September 9th 2016


3841 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Yeah, this album is really bad.



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