It’s time for Sheffield’s other metalcore band to get their dues
It always feels like While She Sleeps got a little lost in the British metalcore uprising over the last decade. While contemporaries and fellow Sheffield lads Bring Me The Horizon stormed to popularity (likewise Enter Shikari, Asking Alexandria and more recently Bury Tomorrow), WSS seemed to peak and drop off again, despite headline tours, festival bills and decent support slots. In truth, they didn’t have enough to differentiate themselves in a saturated and formulaic genre, and although it’s taken time and crowdfunding to get their third record off the ground, it was worth every hard-won moment – because it totally slays.
The title track is colossal – the kind of life-affirming metalcore you could imagine throwing yourself about to at Download, full of dropped guitars and vocal skirmishes. It sets the tone of the record for urgent riffs with a groove. It’s catchy in the best way too – Loz Taylor’s lead vocals against Mat Welsh’s raspy backing make for a seriously brutal dream team. ‘Steal The Sun’ might have rapping on it, but oddly it’s not offensive. It is, however, nu-metal-esque, in a brilliant way.
The production values on ‘You Are We’ are perfection – too many metalcore records overproduce until notes feel clinical. But ‘Feel’ builds and drops like an avalanche of brilliance, Taylor’s voice firing off a round of vocal ammo with ease. ‘Empire Of Silence’ and ‘Wide Awake’ are a tad forgettable, in the way that metalcore can be. And although having Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes drop a minute of vocals on ‘Silence Speaks’ puts a long-time hostility between the bands to rest (Sykes offered WSS his studio to record from for the album), they really don’t need him. This is the track that’s going to see them lead the charge of the new wave of British metalcore.
As ‘In Another Now’ closes, it rounds off a genuinely thrilling record, and if WSS have always been the bridesmaids, never the bride, this is their time to truly step the f**k up into the limelight.
Words by Anita Bhagwandas