“Real” Represents Of Mice & Men’s Melodic Musical Growth
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On August 5th, Californian metalcore band Of Mice & Men released “Real”, the second single from their fourth studio album Cold World. Set for release on September 9th, Cold World is a record I’ve anticipated for quite some time now. Since their debut album Of Mice & Men, the band have slowly evolved their sound beyond the metalcore genre, a style of music that bands must treat carefully if they don’t want to sound generic or uncreative. On their third studio album Restoring Force, Of Mice & Men adopted a more nu metal approach, so I’m curious to see what else they can craft on Cold World. “Real” gives us yet another sample of the musical evolution that I anticipate.
“Real” begins with some sharp and abrasive guitar chords and a dense yet sturdy drumbeat before clean vocalist Austin Carlile drifts with a smooth but somewhat ominous delivery. The guitar work is impressively produced in the first verse; it feels like there’s three different guitars here, and they all sound excellent. The chorus positions a thick layer of heavy guitar chords as a backdrop to the passionate vocals, and I really like it. The second verse changes it up a bit in terms of instrumentation; the drums still beat solidly, but there’s some new percussive sounds thrown into the mix, and the guitars experiment with new interplays. The prechorus is also longer—it strengthens the impact of the guitars as they thrash with intensity alongside the rugged drums and melodic vocals. The first half of the bridge reduces the vocals slightly in favor of the thick, bulky guitar work, but the second half breaks it down notably, a process that allows the soft vocals to take center stage. The track closes with a return to the chorus that features more harmonious vocal work, a touch that I always appreciate.
I didn’t like “Real” the first time I listened to it, but it’s grown on me after multiple listens. I’ve never been a huge fan of the metalcore genre, mainly because I don’t like to hear screams in music, but you should never let your apprehension of a genre hinder any enjoyment you may gain from a few careful listens. “Real” doesn’t feature any screams, a vocal technique that Of Mice & Men have embraced heavily on their past records, but it still carries a distinctive sound that makes me look forward to the rest of what Cold World has to offer.
Have you listened to “Real” yet? Give the track a listen on YouTube below, and if you’re interested in Of Mice & Men, keep an eye out for Cold World, set for release on September 9th, 2016.