Hailing from Sheffield, England, this absolute powerhouse of a metalcore group have become somewhat a household name since their The North Stands for Nothing days, particularly after opening for Bring Me The Horizon, and so probably need no introduction. An introduction will come regardless. While She Sleep’s first two records were politically charged metalcore that brought forth a type of energy that would normally feel at home in a hardcore record. They brought that sound to an absolute boiling point with their third effort, You Are We, which featured stand-out tracks like Silence Speaks, featuring Oli Sykes – further highlighting the success they had reached by that point.
SLEEPS SOCIETY, their fifth release, takes all of the aggression and flourish they established in previous albums and adds an extra layer of technicality by pulling in more influences from sounds just outside of their wheelhouse, crafting an addictive sound that’s sure to push the band to greater heights than before. Not only that, during the writing process, more than ever before, they took the core of their band, being the fans that drive them in everything they do, and utilized it to the fullest.
Enlightenment sets us in the right frame of mind to get us through the record by coming out of the gate with a passionate speech, which serves two functions. One: To be an incredible opener for live performances. Imagine it. Lights still down. Members slowly walk on stage, grabbing their instruments. When, from somewhere off stage, the speech begins its course, and we end it with the face-grabbing “…Together – Right NOW”, before launching us into an insane riff that will inevitably get the crowd roaring. Two, arguably more important: To ease us into listening for these soft-spoken speeches, which will become fundamental to the listening experience of the album.
The band took no time at all to punch you in the face, doing so with just the second track, You Are All You Need, for any fan that needed reassurance that the band were not planning on going soft any time soon. Despite this, no matter how blisteringly heavy they decide to get, it always amazes me how seamlessly they’re able to transition into a smooth, mesmerizing melody, “When the sun burns out, will it all be worth it?”
“This part is broken.” Have you ever wondered what While She Sleeps would sound like if they took a more industrial-grunge approach to nu-metalcore? Look no further than track 3, Systematic. On my first listen, I glazed over this song, dismissing it as a throwaway track. Thankfully, I listen to albums more than once before reviewing them. Loaded to the brim with some of the most interesting sounds and concepts I’ve heard on a metalcore album, it will either, at least, have you nodding your head in intrigue, or, at most, moshing in your living room chanting, “IT GOES LIKE – “ while a Hybrid Theory-era breakdown breaks your speakers.
Their third released single, Nervous (featuring Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro), is as honest as a song can possibly get, putting all of their fears, worries, and stresses out on display for the world to see. On March 15th, the band took to social media to play out a series of messages sharing the idea that we all feel these things, and that instead of turning away from them, or being ashamed of these nervous feelings, we need to embrace them in ourselves and each other. Those ideas culminate in a powerful, open song.
Know Your Worth (Somebody). Sixth song down. The only thing I will mention is that there is a breakdown accompanied by a soul-shattering “SHUT UP”. If that doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what else will.
I was particularly interested in their seventh track, No Defeat for the Brave, considering it features vocalist Deryck Whibley. Sum 41, while always dipping their toes into the metalcore side of things, were always still maintaining their pop-punk status, so I was curious to see how Deryck would put his rough, but catchy, vocals to work in this element. Surprise, surprise, he fit cleanly. While I wouldn’t call it a stand-out track by any means, it was an absolute blast to listen to, and it’d be a missed opportunity to not have a music video to accompany this to see the two vocalists go back and forth.
Taking an interesting departure, Division Street was an incredibly slow paced piece of art, with only a piano and ambience playing while the vocalists perform a form of protest-chant. With an incredible show of lyricism that set up juxtapositions between warring ideologies. “The avalanche doesn’t start until the weight gives out, said the preacher to the protestor’s sound,” is easily the most powerful, and by far my favorite, line of the entire album, and indicates that while the majority of the lyrics on the album are taking a more personal approach, they have not forgotten how powerful political themes are.
Continuing their industrial-nu-metalcore experiment they absolutely BLAST the doors open with a visceral screaming of, “SLEEPS SOCIETY”, on the track – you guessed it – Sleeps Society. Complete with an early 2000s rap-metal verse that propels itself into a crazy synth-lead breakdown, this song lyrically tackles a society that should, ideally, listen to the people that live in it, “You wanna rebuild, create a system where the people exist.”
DN3 3HT. With a title like that, I had no idea what to expect. Rather than going out with a bang, or even going out with a sad song, they decided it wise to conclude their fifth effort with a beautiful serenade of a monologue. They take a long breather, taking seven minutes to take an incredible deep dive on the narrator’s psyche. Where they’re at in the band, where they’ve been in the band. Touching personal cores, talking about what the band means to them, and, more importantly, what the fans mean to the band. Though I had no idea while listening to it, the title is actually a stylized version of The End. The truest, most fitting end to SLEEPS SOCIETY.
Sleeps Society, While She Sleep’s fifth release, as an album seems to be taking the band down an experimental path, messing with sounds in adjacent genres, pulling from both immediate predecessors, like Bring Me The Horizon, and old influences as with Linkin Park, all the while staying true to what makes While She Sleeps. It’s an interesting journey that is sure to not betray old fans’ expectations, while still managing to pull in a good amount of new ones, which is surely all that they hope to accomplish.
While She Sleeps – SLEEPS SOCIETY – Out April 16th, 2021.
YOU ARE ALL YOU NEED
NERVOUS (Ft. Simon Neil)
KNOW YOUR WORTH (SOMEBODY)
NO DEFEAT FOR THE BRAVE (Ft. Deryck Whibley)
CALL OF THE VOID