Even given Sheffiled’s richly metallic heritage, and indeed the teeming number of Yorkshire alumni making waves of recent times (Rolo Tomassi, Marmozets, etc), the scene-stealing impact of While She Sleep‘s 2012 debut LP ‘This Is The Six’ represented something of a game changer. An incendiary live show notwithstanding, the Steel City quintet seized heavy music by the throat with a display of ambition and diversity far outstripping their countless peers, press and fans alike frothing at what was heralded the thunderous sound of a new generation.
And then things all went very quiet. In need of critical throat surgery, frontman Lawrence Taylor‘s pro-longed impairment saw a sudden halt in momentum and, as time progressed, rumours of the band’s demise flourished, online hearsay speculating on a future hung in the balance. Now three years on from their monumental breakthrough, the question as to whether While She Sleeps can remain relevant with new full-length ‘Brainwashed’ is immediately swept away with a gale force sonic storm of a record.
Pitched between bloody knuckled metallic muscle and fist-pumping anthemic bluster, the band’s traditional Northern snarl and claw hammer rhythmic savagery are delivered in abundance, the likes of ‘Method In Madness’ and devastating opener ‘New World Torture’ encapsulating a startling level of flick knife aggression. Brute force tells only half the story, however, and although sitting shy of a legitimate evolution from the Sleeps camp, ‘Brainwashed’ drops ruthlessly crafted metalcore A-bombs which rely equally on sing-along bombast than spine-snapping violence.
Seldom do we meet a song here not espousing an arena sized chorus, and with some sumptuous instrumental touches woven throughout, there remains a widescreen dynamic scope to tracks such as ‘No Sides, No Enemies’, which laudably does little to dampen the banging, spittle flecked clout of what is still an unabashed contemporary metal record.
‘Brainwashed’ is a rallying call, harnessing the intense power of all their past personal pressure and recapturing that thrumming, era defining vitality which sees them remain scene kingpins. We can tell that While She Sleeps have come back from the very brink, and they sound all the more unified for it. A more than welcome return.
Written by Tony Bliss (@TBliss88)