While She Sleeps ‘You Are We’

By Dave Bull

The first thirty seconds of this incredible release not only sets the bar for the rest of the album but also gives credence for the exciting PR campaign that has been their return to the top. As Lawrence Taylor screams “You Are We”, there is a feeling that this album is not only a welcome return for one of Britain’s hottest bands, but also a politically and socially motivated rhetoric and narrative that speaks not only of unison but of sticking the finger up to those promoting hatred and war. There is no better time for this album to be released, both musically and sentimentally.

The pace of the opening track ‘You Are We’ is huge, the gang vocals and Taylor’s lead harmonies nothing short of gargantuan. You expect riffs aplenty with a While She Sleeps record, but right from the get go, there is a new and technically improved layer to their work – the lick after Taylor’s guttural scream in this opening track is drilling, fast and furious. If that wasn’t enough, the chorus of upbeat vocals and scream-along sentiments is huge; just huge. Taylor screams “everything’s alright” as the lick returns to wash you away with sheer, stunned silence.

There are a range of ‘for fans of’ moments in this album, but this is no bad thing and the variety of different influences and sounds is what makes this album something special. ‘Steal The Sun’ sees While She Sleeps experiment with rap-style vocals which really works and shows that splitting from your label and self-releasing a crowd-shared album is no bad thing at all. The end of this track has an incredible gang vocal style sing-along which While She Sleeps are now well known for, but the sheer cinema and level of energy is second to none, before the riff work, once again carries it out on a wave of ecstasy.

There are poppy moments, such as the chorus of ‘Empires of Silence’ where Taylor sings “we’re building walls, when we should build bridges”, and the intro of ‘Wide Awake’ will satisfy those who appreciate his vocal range, and it’s this inclusion of a range of different styles that makes this release so important. ‘Silence’, the band’s latest single, features Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon which should win them more fans. The lyrical palette is totally different again, the style punchy yet choral, and Sykes’ influence adds another layer of style. Lyrics such as “war will cease when we resist to fight” have never been more important than right now. We must stand up to the powers that be, taking us to wars that none of us want. It’s through music that a lot of themes are delivered to the masses and hats off to While She Sleeps for choosing to write about material that is so globally and socially important.

‘Feel’ takes you back to ‘The Artist In The Ambulance’era Thrice and is one of, if not the, stand out track of the album. On an album that has no weak spots, ‘Feel’ has everything that personifies this band – from a blisteringly exciting intro that gets the blooding searing round the head, to Taylor’s huge vocal parts, more mammoth riff work, a beautifully crafted chorus and a round of multi-layered vocals that will destroy live venues up and down the country.

‘Hurricane’, another single, is still as huge as when it was first released and poses more questions about human kind, with Taylor asking “is this the end?” The mellow break before the chorus is now typical of the band, but has a harmonious punch before the chorus which, accompanied by some more frenetic guitar work, supports the claim that While She Sleeps are here to take no prisoners. This really is the sound of them taking over.

The crowd funding saw the band more than double their expected and required amount to make this album a reality and they’ve put in more than twice the effort with this release. If this is what happens when bands remove themselves from major labels, then kudos to them for taking this step; this is an album of intense musical delivery, highly skilled vocal work and a backdrop of lyrical intensity that grabs you by the nuts and makes you pay attention. In a year already so strong with album releases by the likes of Frank Carter and Creeper, it’s no easy task to say this but this is easily one of the strongest releases of 2017 to date. While She Sleeps, your path of destruction lies ahead.

DAVE BULL

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