2021 has been a busy year for Of Mice & Men. They started the year off by severing from their contract with Rise Records and signing with SharpTone, announcing their first EP Timeless that would be released in late February with a single of the same name being released two weeks in advance. They followed that up in the spring with the release of another EP, Bloom, again with the title track being released as a single in advance, then put out two more singles in the fall and their third EP Ad Infinitum a few days ago. All this culminated in the release of their seventh LP Echo, which dropped on the same day as Ad Infinitum and comprised of all the tracks released throughout the course of the year.
The promotional process is creative, but how does the music rack up? We get some standard, solid metalcore out the gate on “Timeless”; nothing out of the ordinary for Of Mice & Men. “Obsolete” gives us another round of melodic goodies while “Anchor” is more like a nexus of Architects and Linkin Park; next is the down-tuned slammer “Levee” and the readymade-for-the-pit “Bloom”. From there we smoothly segue into the wonderfully heavy “Pulling Teeth” and “Mosaic”, then into some pure, (mostly) clean-sung core on “Fighting Gravity”. The title track is another pounding number with some totally zone-out-able moments of floaty bliss wedged in at the right moments, a contrast that becomes the base of the stringy, harmonious closer “Helplessly Hoping”, a nice, vibe-y 3 minutes to end off on.
Echo sonically is pretty much in lockstep with current metal and metalcore conventions; there’s definite tunes and vibes that you can get into and enjoy but the record overall doesn’t stand out that heavily from the current conventions of this genre. It’s not the worst thing for them as it allows them to retain their established musical identity among peers and listeners, but for the next record the moments where they do get a bit more unique they should definitely expand on and see where it goes. Either way it’ll be interesting to see where they go with it.