While She Sleeps – ‘SLEEPS SOCIETY’

By Dave Stewart

Beyond the creative expression, the hunger to perform and release tension, the indescribable feeling of being able to travel the globe and see everything it has to offer, there is one very important thing that bands and artists cannot live without. One integral component of the machine, the absence of which will grind any semblance of momentum to a definitive halt. The fans.

Bands are nothing without their fan base, and it’s something that Sheffield’s metalcore heroes While She Sleeps are incredibly aware of. They’re displaying their gratitude in the most refreshingly beautiful way, like no other band has expressed it before. They haven’t just made a record for their fans, they’ve made a record BECAUSE of them. If you’re reading this and you already support the band, it’s because of you. The ‘SLEEPS SOCIETY’. They even named the record after you. They must really like you, because the record is quite something, too.

With deep roots in self-belief, personal growth, and conquering hardships when the cards are stacked against you, While She Sleeps make the album’s mission statement known from the off on opener ‘ENLIGHTENMENT (?)’. Gigantic walls of guitars stampede at an infectious pace, with the dual vocal attack of front man Lawrence Taylor and guitarist Mat Welsh declaring “If you feel like giving up, there’s something I need you to know – that I’m here for you.” They’re beginning the record by reaching out their hand to you, and the rest of the record sees them strengthening their grip.

‘KNOW YOUR WORTH’ is a feral anthem of perseverance led by the riffs of Welsh and fellow guitarist Sean Long, providing an aural onslaught that highlights the importance of digging deep and staying strong. ‘YOU ARE ALL YOU NEED’ is a furious pit-hungry beast, driven by the relentless rhythm work of bassist Aaron McKenzie and drummer Adam Savage as they champion self-worth. ‘SYSTEMATIC’ is an industrial-tinged rager, ‘DIVISION STREET’ is a raw and honest ballad that pulls at all your heartstrings, the title track is an ominous and dark entity – there’s a lot of variety here, but it all slots together wonderfully.

There’s some guest spots on offer here too. One is from Biffy Clyro’s ever wonderful front man Simon Neil on ‘NERVOUS’ whose silky and emotive tones add an extra layer of goosebumps to its already spine-tingling atmosphere. Another is from Sum 41’s legendary Deryck Whibley on ‘NO DEFEAT FOR THE BRAVE’, an enormous metalcore gem that harks back to their ‘Brainwashed’ days, and that Whibley’s distinctive voice fits like a glove.

The show stealer, though, is the one that has a guest spot from, well, you guys. ‘CALL OF THE VOID’ features members of While She Sleeps’ very own Sleeps Society, the whole process coming full circle as the band lend their platform to amplify their fans voices. Few bands have this kind of connection with their audience, and even fewer could pull something like this off.

While She Sleeps are in possession of an identity that is wholly, unmistakably theirs. They’re at the point in their career where you can listen to one of their songs for a few seconds and confidently know it’s them, a trait that every band dreams of. ‘SLEEPS SOCIETY’ displays that in troves, the band in total control of each component of their machine and pushing it to perform its optimal level. The riffs are colossal, the melodies even more so, and the vocals have more depth to them than they’ve demonstrated before, flitting between velvety, jagged, and dream-like textures throughout.

On top of all that, the message embedded within the record is truly special. A sincere and genuine recognition of everything their fans enable them to do, interwoven with reminders that, no matter what life throws at you, you are enough and you really are all that you need – something that closing track ‘DN3 3HT’ discusses, as each member of the band details what being able to live their dream means to them as well as saying thank you to everyone that’s helped them keep it alive. About as honest and heartwarming as metalcore can get, executed by one of the Crown Jewels of the UK’s music scene. Did you really expect anything less?

DAVE STEWART

Three more album reviews for you

Emarosa - 'Sting'

New Found Glory - 'Make The Most of It'

LIVE: Clutch / Green Lung / Tigercub @ The Roundhouse, London