LIVE REVIEW: While She Sleeps @ Academy, Manchester (26/01/2020)

Credit: Marcia Richards

Date: January 26th 2020
Venue: Academy, Manchester
Support: Every Time I Die / Vein


Despite making a living in music getting more and more difficult as the years go by, While She Sleeps are proof that not only is it possible, but you can do it all on your own terms.

Indeed, since going label-free 2016, the band have gone independent in a multitude of ways more than most others who want to take the DIY route. They’ve built their own studio, created their own merch, create their own videos, conjure their own viral campaigns – it’s them through and through – and now we come to their final show of their biggest headline UK tour to date.

Boston’s Vein [6] brought plenty of attention their way with 2018’s debut LP, ‘Errorzone’, complete with it’s retro-futuristic mashing of hardcore, nu-metal, and metalcore, and they certainly seem intent on replicating that in a live setting too. Frontman Anthony DiDio spends more time against the barrier than he does onstage, which is just as well with how much the remaining members thrash their bodies around up there. It’s just a shame that the messy mix makes it hard for the feral numbers in their arsenal to land.

As for Every Time I Die [9], they consistently seem to run a class of their own amongst their peers, and tonight’s set proves to be no exception to their as-close-as-flawless-that-you-can-get reputation. Their set sees a collection of cuts from throughout their discography, which evidently never seems to age; ‘Roman Holiday’ sets us off before diving back to 2005 with ‘Bored Stiff’, and in the next moment we’re back to a cut from their latest album in ‘Glitches’.

It’s chaotically brilliant, and frontman Keith Buckley is charismatic yet intimidating as he roars and screams his way through fan favourites like ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ and ‘We’rewolf’, and even manages to take a good stab at Brendan Urie‘s spot on ‘It Remembers’. Guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams still maintain their crown as kings of riffs with the debut of new song ‘Planet Shit’ too, maintaining the band’s delightful anomaly of being consistently fantastic even more than two decades into their career – an unseen feat.

Entering the room to roars and cheers, While She Sleeps [8] explode into life right away with ‘Anti Social’, the lead track from their latest record, ‘So What?’, and understandably their set regularly flirts in and out of that album. ‘The Guilty Party’ brings an anthemic call-to-arms into play, ‘I’ve Seen It All’ keeps the tempo high, and new stand alone single ‘Fakers Plague’ sounds impressively powerful.

Frontman Loz Taylor is regularly pacing around the stage whilst he screams along to the likes of ‘Death Toll’ and ‘Four Walls’, and to tag team vocal work between him and guitarist Mat Welsh seems almost effortless. ‘Trophies Of Violence’ also sounds pretty huge and built for venues of this size thanks to it’s choir-like backing in its chorus, but set closer ‘You Are We’ manages to triumph as the blistering highlight.

With their biggest tour of Europe and the UK concluded, While She Sleeps bow out still hungry to seize the rest of 2020. As they continue to climb through the ranks of metal, they prove that going independent can see you not only survive, but thrive.

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