While She Sleeps
(Razor & Tie)
Metalcore is a bit of a dirty word for any self-respecting metalhead, which I find utterly hysterical and hypocritical. To shut out an entire subgenre blindly is just silly, especially when bands like Architects, August Burns Red, and Killswitch Engage are still kicking strong. Sheffield, UK group While She Sleeps offered up a rather rousing debut three years ago with This Is the Six, which was a furiously fun album that showcased a band on the rise. Theirs is a sound that is one part Comeback Kid-style fury and one-part Architects-style melodic chaos. I should say was because the band’s sophomore record shows off the band’s maturation in nearly every way possible. Brainwashed will end up as one of the best metalcore records of 2015 in large part because no one makes albums like this anymore.
While She Sleeps isn’t particularly trendy. There are no shiny clean choruses here, only live-show-ready gang vocals. The music is impressive and heavy, but it’s devoid of useless breakdowns or showy technicality that’s all the rage. The lyrics touch on personal and global issues that aren’t the type that look good in large letters on kids’ black t-shirts. The lyrics are uplifting in spite of all of the turmoil surrounding them. Mainly, though, these tracks are seriously killer. The title track is a wonderful banger, with blistering riffs, and a shout-a-long breakdown that will incite crowds in a hurry. “Our Legacy” is the closest the band gets to catchy, with a passionate plea to live life to the fullest. “Four Walls” might be the most uplifting anti-religion song I’ve heard maybe ever. Again, I can’t stress how enjoyable these songs are. Without sacrificing musicianship or integrity, almost every song has a particular earworm working its way deep into your cranium.
Of course, Brainwashed isn’t quite perfect; there are a couple less than stellar tracks that, while perfectly fine, mark what could be a fantastic album. That said, fans of riffy metal and hardcore should hop on the While She Sleeps train, as these British lads are the real deal.