1. You Are We
2. Steal The Sun
4. Empire Of Silence
5. Wide Awake
6 .Silence Speaks (Ft. Oli Sykes)
7. Settle Down Society
10. Civil Isolation
11. In Another Now
There are a handful of Metal bands that are just crushing it. Bands you may have seen in your dingy northern local "back in't day", now playing major festivals, their tracks being played on big time radio stations, making it onto essential Spotify playlists. If one wants to know where these musical titans are emerging from, one only has to cast their eyes north to the "Steel City" itself, fastly becoming the "Mecca of Modern Metal".
So when them Yorkshire lads in While She Sleeps dropped their new album "You Are We" in April, it's safe to say that it was one of the most anticipated albums in a while, for a variety of reasons. The main reason being that the band released this album independently, a bold move that, judging by the success of their sold out UK tour, has paid off.
The album launches an audible assault with the album title track, "You Are We". An ominous guitar intro gives way to an explosive sound, Loz Taylor's gritty vocals cutting through the powerful chorus. This is a pure set-opener, fans waiting with bated breath throughout those carefully crafted instrumental build-ups, ready to throw down. Guitarists Sean Long, Mat Welsh and Aaran McKenzie creating crunching riffs reminiscent of Parkway's earlier sound. This is definitely my favourite track on the album, it's less of a "welcome, come on in for a brew" and more of a "get in 'ere, you dickhead, grab a beer and throw some fists!".
When "Steal The Sun" kicks in, Adam Savage's tight groove drum technique hits you hard. Savage carries this groove throughout the song, with Taylor's catchy rap-like vocals in the chorus. The following track "Feel" has such a huge guitar sound and coursing beats, it feels harder to find hook but it's definitely one for the pit.
"Empire Of Silence" is the nearest thing you'll get to a ballad from these boys! It's a change of pace, but no less powerful. The lyrics in particular stand out and are a testament to the band and their connection with their fans. Lines such as "We're building walls where there should've been bridges" you can imagine being screamed back to the band at any gig they play.
From this point onwards, the Sleeps boys' writing formula begins to emerge. Tracks such as "Wide Awake", "Settle Down Society" and "Hurricane" are all high energy and beautifully crafted. I wouldn't say that they sound the same, but on the other hand I don't feel like these tracks stand out amongst the others necessarily.
My second favourite track is "Revolt". It's so punchy, with Taylor's harmonising vocals really pushing the chorus riff further. The breakdown in this track will make your head spin, with Savage and the boys on guitar delivering it to you fast and violently. For me, this track is closely followed by "Silence Speaks" with fellow Yorkshire lad and Metalcore legend Oli Sykes making a guest appearance. Sykes compliments the track well, with a vocal style harking back to his "Suicide Season" years.
Overall, this is a solid album. There are parts of each track that make them powerful, a must-see live. In terms of technique and sound, it showcases the Sleeps lads' individual abilities well and it's clear to see why they have taken the scene by storm. However, I do feel that there are certain points in several tracks that didn't quite hit the mark. Some sections feel slightly drawn out or unconventionally structured, which I feel can alienate the average listener. This is especially true, given that their notable use of Taylor's gritty, catchy cleans is potentially widening the fan base, appealing to a younger demographic in particular. One thing is very clear, "You Are We" is a Northern powerhouse that will knock your flatcap clean off!
Website - www.whileshesleeps.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/whileshesleeps/
Review - Cee Gregory