When the World Gone Cold project was first announced, I was both excited and intrigued. I've been a fan of most of the bands the members have been involved with (including Inhale Exhale, P.O.D., Disciple, Attack Attack!, among others), but couldn't quite anticipate how all the pieces would fit together. Sure, the members' other groups all fit comfortably somewhere in the realms of metal or hard rock, but spanning a massive diversity of subgenres. Would influences from all be clear, or would they create an entirely different sound? The answer I think ends up being somewhere in the middle. Fans of late 2000s/ early 2010s metalcore will be very happy, as the EP ends up spending most of its time playing with those sounds, but each member brings their talents and influences to the project in clear and beneficial ways. It offers little flourishes that make it plain that the quality of musicianship and attention to detail is extremely high for the genre.
I was not expecting the level of experimentation we get here. The foundation of the sound sits comfortably in the extremely saturated alt-metal/post-hardcore realm, but it reaches far beyond simply recreating what's been done before. As could be expected, there's a great focus on riffs to drive the music forward. They rarely do anything too technically ambitious, but there's more than enough creativity and energy to set the instrumentation apart from many others in this space. Vocally, World Gone Cold is excellent in every direction, and can be favorably compared to both modern peers and the slightly earlier state of the genre it seeks to update. I'm absolutely in love with the production on this album. It's extremely crisp and modern, without sounding overproduced.
I'm also very appreciative of the variety between songs, both in stylistically distinguishing them from one another and sprinkling highlight moments across the entire EP. The breakdown on "Burn" is particularly great, really elevating the energy of the entire release. "Again" is very fun, returning to the neglected microgenre of 'electronicore' with bright synths and chunky guitars that evoked strong nostalgic feelings for me, and also features a really great guitar solo. "Apology" is another highlight that showcases the band's versatility. It starts off as another excellent modern metal track, but shifts into an intriguing ambient interlude in the bridge that transitions back into the chorus with yet another incredible guitar solo. It's really advanced songwriting. Closing track "Reality" is the softest track on the album, but even it can hardly be classified as a true ballad. Evoking Vital-era Anberlin, the track provides a satisfying conclusion to the album with big electronic rock riffs and a delightfully controlled vocal performance that hints that what we've been shown on this EP is only the surface.
It's not a flawless release - the chorus on "Attention" feels a bit disjointed at times, and several other moments could use a touch more polishing to maximize their impacts - but I'd much rather have an album with weak points from trying things that don't quite work out than one that takes zero risks. And even these are very minor points on what is otherwise an incredibly enjoyable modern metal release.- Review date: 3/16/23, written by Kevin McGuire of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Rockfest Records
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