While She Sleeps

Sleeps Society

Written by: KW on 19/09/2021 19:38:48

UK metalcore-force While She Sleeps returns with “Sleeps Society”, an album I had hoped would swing the band back into the forefront of the genre after a previous record that just did not excite me very much in 2019’s “So What?”. The Brits have been masters of the hook for quite some time now, yet “So What?” lacked a lot of the oomph and intensity that made me fall in love with the band in the first place. So is the fire back with this new offering “Sleeps Society”?

At first glance everything seems to check the right boxes. “Enlightenment(?)”, annoying parentheses-play in the title aside, is classic While She Sleeps back in force: big choruses, tasty lead guitar licks from Sean Long, which is basically one of the main attractions of While She Sleeps for me, and a groovy breakdown to rattle the teeth of the listener. “You Are All You Need” continues along this familiar ground, but with more success in the flashy metalcore riffing and memorable screamed hooks. “Systematic” is the first track to really shake the walls though. Introduced by acid-rave synths straight out of a Blade movie, the track smashes its way through everything with down-tuned guitars and ferocity, and is an excellent, pissed-off metalcore banger that is bound to be insane amounts of fun in the live setting. I would call the title track the twin-track to “Systematic”, as it utilizes the same tricks but in a groovier setting - and to great effect. If you decide to listen to only a couple of tracks from this record, make it these two for sure.

“Nervous” does include a somewhat annoying hook with “I’m neeeeeeervoooouuuus!” but in the end it ends up being a nice core-ballad with a good message, and sees none other than Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro show up in a cool little feature (for some reason, he appears a lot in the metalcore-sphere at the moment). It is blatantly obvious, however, that While She Sleeps only really shine on this record when firing on all cylinders. There are simply too many forgettable ballads and mid-tempo, melodic anthems on this record to make it very consistent, like the clumsy “Call of the Void” or the aggravating “Division Street”, which sounds like the band sat drunk around a piano at the pub, singing a melancholic protest song. It just does not sound very good and kills all momentum on the record at this point.

“Sleeps Society” does succeed in one regard, and that is making the most confusing ending track with “DN3 3HT”. Nothing else this year has made me stare in disbelief at how such an idea even made it through to the record. When I first saw the track length, I was quite excited to get to it since I thought they might have tried to step over their boundaries and created some kind of prog-metalcore mammoth as a closer. So you can imagine my disappointment when it turns out that it’s just the band with distorted vocals spouting what sounds like motivational poster quotes and thanking their fans over the same boring piano riff over and over and over again for seven minutes straight. What in the actual fuck? No thanks.

Is “Sleeps Society” better than “So What?”, then? Well, slightly I’ll say. The album definitely reaches higher highs generally for me, but some of the material on it is also a straight up snooze fest and the conclusion to the record is just baffling, to say the least. To me, While She Sleeps are still yet to capture the same magic they did with their first three records and “Sleeps Society” unfortunately doesn’t come close. Third time’s a charm I hope?

Download: You Are All You Need, Nervous, Systematic, Sleeps Society
For the fans of: Architects, Bury Tomorrow, Fit For A King, Polaris
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.04.2021
Spinefarm Records

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