8 May 2014

While She Sleeps - This Is The Six

Another request which I have been sitting on for a week or so (time, space, wibbly, wobbly - you get the picture), but never the less here we have another release from a British band that has sort of drifted by me.  To be honest, when it comes to lots of new metal bands I sometimes get put off by the way they are presented (i.e. makeup and hair products over the music), so I have stayed away from the metal music press (nothing personal to the magazines, apart from a few they have just lost all meaning to me).  When I see an article which is more photos than words which is supposed to be an exclusive interview, my mind is gone.  So, I really am at a lost for what is going on in the metal world apart from on a local level.  This brings me this band here - While She Sleeps.  Formed in 2006 in Renishaw, near Sheffield in South Yorkshire, UK, this is a band of friends who have been in a few bands together before finding success, with only vocal duties ever being changed.  According to Wikipedia they have been getting lots of good press and in 2012 won a Kerrang award for best newcomers.  There is a deluxe version of this album, but I am reviewing the original twelve track album.  Now I have been asked by a reader to review these guys, so here we go into the unknown.....

Now from the outset you have a feeling that this band is not exactly going to be reaching for the acoustic guitar anytime soon.  Indeed, with opening track "Dead Behind The Eyes" starts with the sort of galloping riff and vocal delivery which I have not heard for a long time coming out of the UK.  It has passion and aggression by the spade load and the blast beats are top drawer as well.  Next is "False Freedom" which comes out with a wall of feedback and begins like a monster created by the corpses of Iron Maiden, Funeral For A Friend and Comeback Kid.  It has an anthemic quality and is another song that makes surprises, even when they have the manly piano lead choir near the end. Brilliant little detour that makes you think that show this band has ideas outside of the normal hardcore metal landscape. "Satisfied In Suffering" (which could ironically be the UK under any Tory government) is a fast paced trashy hardcore song that will make the mosh pit a more interest place. Very powerful in delivery and full of riffs which will have the faithful in rapture, it is another good song that shows why this band has become very popular.

"Seven Hills" is a reference to the seven hills which Sheffield is mean to be built on (a quick check of the internet shows that this is up for debate).  It is another manic starting song, which a harmonic going through the song that reminds me of bands not associated with hardcore anymore - again I am hearing Funeral For A Friend in this - and the more I listen, the depth I keep finding which is something I was not expecting from this band. "Our Courage, Our Cancer" is up next and the beginning reminds me of a band who used to knock around the North East of England call Solus Ispe, then it is like being in a storm; it is the top track of the album and is full of all the elements of the band's musical arsenal and mixes them into a perfect wall of noise. After this is the title track, whilst it is not as good as the last song, make no mistake that it is a great number that is full of menace, venom and anger.

"The Chapel" is an instrumental track which showcases the guitarist abilities, whilst it might come across as something of horror to a lot of hardcore fans I find this track to be a relief and shows that the band think about other things and it makes me believe that there will be a different variety of releases from While She Sleeps over the years to come - also, someone in the band must have grown up listening to Dire Straits somewhere in the background ;-).  Next the metal and hardcore is back with "Be(lie)ve which starts off a little slower than some of the numbers that have gone before, but do not believe it is a more gentle beast; it is monster that wants to get the groove going with the audience and have that circle going wider and wilder with each turn. "Until The Death" goes for the pounding beginning, has the high octave riffs and pulsing bass lines that will make some people feel shivers down their spines.

"Love At War" is another number with a piano beginning, but this time it feels like a football chant that goes into the more polished side of hardcore metal.  It is works quite well, but it is not the best number on the album for me personally.  "The Plague Of A New Age" is next and it is fierce; pure and distilled anger that sweeps the audience along with a avalanche of noise and thunder. Put quite simply, it is an amazing song which should have ended the album.  However, the band end the album is "Reunite" which is a small piano led number which is about the North being left for nothing, it is a feeling that is familiar to anyone who has lived in the North of England and I applaud the sentiment behind the song.

This album is a very good release, a little by the numbers in some places but do not for a second think that this makes it dull.  Sometimes you need something of a standard from which to launch and this record feels like the beginning of something new.  It is much better than a lot of stuff I have heard from the UK metal scene in an awful long time and with other bands that are making waves it could lead to a new generation of metal act that will have the youth filled with the passion that older generations have for acts of their youth.  This is a band I will be keeping an eye out for in the future.

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

Top Track - Our Courage, Our Cancer

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the While She Sleeps website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

And here is the link for our Deezer users

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