February 22, 2021 Of Mice & Men – Timeless (EP Review)
Over the past five years and two full-lengths, the Of Mice & Men camp has seen quite a few major changes: the most obvious being the amicable departure of Vocalist Austin Carlile in 2016, and Bassist Aaron Pauley’s ensuing move to the frontman slot. With 2018’s Defy, they began anew, in some senses, exploring new sonic terrain with Pauley at the helm. Whereas 2019’s EARTHANDSKY took what had come before, refined the band’s sound, and presented a matured quartet.
On Friday, February 26, 2021, the next step in their evolution arrives with the Timeless EP, their very first release for SharpTone Records. It marks a bold step into the future for these talented men who formed in 2009 in Orange County, California. Delivering their eponymous debut in 2010, they would go forth into Metalcore stardom with discs such as 2011’s The Flood, 2014’s Restoring Force, and 2016’s Cold World.
With the changes that were set into motion in 2016, the past five years has been a time of great strides for the foursome—Vocalist/Bassist Pauley, Guitarists Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby, and Drummer Valentino Arteaga—who has been consistently pushing themselves, in the process, creating some of their finest work. Continuing to be prolific despite the pandemic, Of Mice & Men are ready to tease us with the Timeless EP, three songs that bring with them the promise of Metal greatness.
But don’t expect fluff or filler! The languid drive into opening shredder “Timeless” allows listeners’ anticipation to escalate before banging verses explode into those lofty, clean choruses that have earned the guys their Metalcore designation. But perhaps more so than usual, their Prog Metal-influenced musicianship takes the lead here, cradling the infectious melodies in technical proficiency.
With Of Mice & Men (OM&M, to some) working as the well-oiled machine that they are, they continue the beautiful brutality in “Obsolete,” a track that was released ahead of its brother and sister. Looking at a world where we often times struggle to find meaning, they question the lasting impact of any single life. Then, all too soon, they reach their denouement with the melancholic poetry of “Anchor,” a firm promise that they will not sit idle and grow complacent; these metalheads have only just begun to scratch the surface.
Nothing on the Timeless EP is shocking or left-field for Of Mice & Men, but rather a refinement and honing of their skills that allows the band to shine brighter than ever. The reflection and depth to these lyrics, coupled with Pauley’s vocals running at their peak, sets his bandmates up for a flawless performance that sees the group shimmering in a time when many spirits have dimmed. For this, we say, OM&M fans, rejoice! Whatever comes next is guaranteed to shred. Thus, Cryptic Rock gives the Timeless EP 5 of 5 stars. We need more!