Few bands are capable of building the momentum that While She Sleeps have since their first release. The Sheffield metalcore frontrunners have improved exponentially from ‘The North Stands For Nothing’, to ‘This Is The Six’, to ‘Brainwashed’, and took the plunge to independently release their third full-length record, choosing to fund it through the increasingly popular medium of fan pledging.
By taking full control of ‘You Are We’, WSS have captured the creative beauty of what they do best – play heavy music with riffs big enough to bring buildings down.
The sincerity and integrity that laces the WSS back catalogue meant the band easily reached their funding target and were able to self-produce their record in their newly formed Sleeps HQ in their very own Steel City. ‘You Are We’ oozes DIY ethic as the metal punks grit their way through eleven tracks that maintain their unworldly guitar work, but encompasses more conventional structures to songs and benefiting from a dual vocal approach.
The increase in Mat Welsh‘s vocals allows the trade-off between his and Loz Taylor‘s grating shouts to emphasise the strength in both their abilities; ‘Civil Isolation’ builds and builds with the melodic singing before Taylor hits the mid-track crescendo and breakdown, bellowing out “We’ve gone too far to recognise salvation / This is civil isolation.” ‘Steal The Sun’ slows down for the first verse, and includes what can only be described as a rap, but it fits perfectly in a WSS style and leads into a gang vocal chorus which is complimented with some handy guitar licks.
Some may question a possible attempt at targeting a more palatable sound, like the “woah” refrains on ‘Empire Of Silence’, but the expedition that takes place through ‘Wide Awake’ shows the creative and innovative yet still unpredictable side from WSS that earned the fans’ trust to enable them to make this record on their own.
Perhaps the one thing that has bee missing from the band’s arsenal over the years has been their lack of neatly packaged radio hits, but the emergence of singles ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Silence Speaks’ has destroyed that criticism for good. ‘Hurricane’ has a monster chorus that will have any non-believers hooked forever, and even without the cameo from Oli Sykes (Bring Me The Horizon), ‘Silence Speaks’ could be the best track that WSS have ever written.
‘You Are We’ is a statement by the stand out band in British heavy metal that they’re capable of the best, and they can do it all on their own. Let’s just hope that this is the record that finally has the world standing up and taking serious notice.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.