It’s finally here! Our first taste of an independent While She Sleeps. You Are We was written, recorded and produced without the shackles of a record label clamped around the lads from Sheffield. I don’t know what you lot were expecting, but it’s While She Sleeps. They could record an album off a portable recorder and an early Macintosh and it would still be incredible.
You Are We could be the bands finest material to date. I have spoken before about the bands ability to riff with the best. The titular track is heavy on atmosphere during the intro but opens up to allow guitarist Sean Long to melodically riff over the build up. Then the While She Sleeps bounce erupts. It is an infectious groove that really gets you moving. Sean and rhythm guitarist Mat Welsh just have this knack for riffing. They can go from these big heavy riffs, to huge sweeping choruses with ease.
While She Sleeps have always had a beautiful ability to make music that sounds technical yet is wonderfully simplistic. There are plenty of tapping fills and speedy licks to split the calm and frantic together nicely. Steal The Sun and Wide Awake are full of chugs but it never gets old or boring. Sean and Mat are great guitarists, they know how to get a riff stuck in your head and when to give you a little bit of a lick.
Of course the choruses are seeping in that catchy gang chanting that we have come to know and love from the band. It wouldn’t be a While She Sleeps album without this aspect. You can really sink your teeth into the meat of Empire of Silence and the united sound of the chorus. You’ll be singing along in absolutely no time. Loz Taylor’s vocals are on point. Less gruff and more clear cut. There is more of melody to his voice. He nails the soft intro to Hurricane but can still incite some serious anger in the likes of Revolt.
Silence Speaks is heavy on the melodic leanings. I wouldn’t call it calming as it is spliced against some pretty aggressive bridges. The appearance of Oli Sykes was a pleasant surprise as well. The Bring Me The Horizon vocalist really sits well with the band. His vocal style compliments While She Sleeps brand of metal as he brings a little bit of Sempiternal and of course his game with him.
All the riffs are boosted by some deep bass lines and jump inducing drums. From the depths of bass thickness comes Aaran McKenzie ready to punch in ear catching twangs. There is definitely a calmer element to the album. The more melodic parts and softer sections means Aaran can really bridge the gap when it is needed. This really shines through in the middle section of Settle Down Society. Oh and how can I miss the breakdown in Civil Isolation. The bass tones beefs up the already ludicrously heavy sound of the song.
Civil Isolation is still the highlight of the album for me. When all the members collide to create this insanely heavy sound that is less of a breakdown and more of musical beating. Drummer Adam “Sav” Savage brings the crashing rhythmical beats down on listeners. True head banging and body moving music. How While She Sleeps managed to cram so much into a single song is unreal.
You Are We is a serious contender for album of the year. While She Sleeps continues to show off the very best of modern metal/metalcore. The album is full to the brim with of the wall riffs, catchy chants and moshing opportunities to cause anyone’s hair to stand on end. It is a masterpiece! Hell, I’m still getting chills listening to it several playthroughs later.