While She Sleeps – ‘SELF HELL’

By Jess Tagliani

While She Sleeps have come racing out of the stalls with ‘SELF HELL’, their sixth studio album to date. An amalgamation of various music genres, from their delicious brand of metal to hardcore to even a more synth rock side, this promises to be a strong offering from these Sheffield-based powerhouses.

‘PEACE OF MIND’ opens this album with a huge punch of power, before segueing into ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’. Bruising guitar work opens this absolute powerhouse of a song – it simply brims with pure, unadulterated rage. Electronic undertones are punctuated with war cries of, “Leave me the fuck alone!” It’s not hard to imagine that one line being screamed with gusto in a sweaty venue, packed with flying bodies and pits.

There’s a visceral energy throughout ‘RAINBOWS’, before kicking off into single and title-track ‘SELF HELL’, which needs no introduction. The first single released from this album in late 2023, it’s a track that’s confident of its strength without being cocky and arrogant. Deep riffs are paired perfectly with fun lyrics of, “Let’s praise the love inside of us.”

‘NO FEELING IS FINAL (feat. Aether)’ is, simply put, an absolutely sublime interlude – it’s ethereal, invoking a curious sense of mystery. It’s a perfect palate cleanser, before the opening chords of ‘DOPESICK’ strike.

The clean vocals on ‘DOPESICK’ are staggering – their power could cut glass; the vocals are that immense. Fin Power lends dynamic and skilled vocals, strengthening an already solid track. It’s the first of two utterly brilliant back-to-back tracks, as ‘DOPE’ follows straight after. The clash of Lawrence Taylor’s guttural screams and the roars from MALEVOLENCE’s Alex Taylor are simply staggering. Layered with bruising riffs and crushing drum work, ‘DOPE’ is yet another highlight and a track that will go down a storm for fans.

Single ‘TO THE FLOWERS’ is incredibly melancholic – there’s an air of despair beneath the lyrics. The guitar work is clever and bold, layered over drumming that’s dynamic and oozing with pure energy. This track reflects a wide spectrum of human emotion; from distress and sorrow to an elation and ecstasy that soars, it’s not hard to understand why this single caused an emotive and loved response from fans.

Another interlude, in the form of ‘OUT OF THE BLUE’ is another haunting instrumental piece, and really showcases just how diverse While She Sleeps are. ‘ENEMY MENTALITY’ is brawny and beefy, full of electric power and clout.

Closing track ‘RADICAL HATRED RADICAL LOVE’ throws even more weight behind what is already an excellent, awe-inspiring album. While She Sleeps don’t seem to miss, and ‘SELF HELL’ is just testament to their maturity as a band over the last few years and is the perfect package to showcase their immense and never-ending talent.

JESS TAGLIANI

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