Sheffield, UK’s Metalcore rising stars While She Sleeps are dropping a new album later this week So What?, via the Sleep Brothers, Spinefarm Records and Search and Destroy labels. The band just dropped a killer new Aaran Mckenzie Films created a lyric video for their new song ‘Elephant’ which you can see below. Pre-order the new album as well as the link included and check out the politically charged lyrics to ‘Elephant’ as well. Continue reading →
Shvpes have released a brand-new single ‘’ from their forthcoming album, Greater Than. The album is due for release On November 9th via Search And Destroy/ Spinefarm Records. The band also announced as special guests on tour with Hawthorne Heights UK tour. Continue reading →
UK metalcore outfit While She Sleeps made their big return to North America doing this year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour. While they are here in support of their latest album Brainwashed, they are going through the usual first day chaos of the tour. Aside from working on their long overdue suntans, they are managing to get their adventures started.
“It’s fucking hot though. It’s starting in California. It started in the deep end of the heat. It’s cool though,” says bassist Aaran Mackenzie, about dealing with the Southern California dry heat.
“We’re trying. We’ve got some sunscreen on. Obviously you can’t burn,” he adds, talking about getting a tan while not sunburning at the same time.
Loz of While She Sleeps. Photo Credit: @hennythepooh (via Facebook)
Another minor dilemma was their vocalist Lawrence “Loz” Taylor did not arrive with the rest of the band, due to visa issues on the US embassy’s side. Fortunately the problems were resolved quickly and he only missed one show.
“They said it was a problem with the visa. I think the printing system went down,” said Savage.
“It was worldwide in the US Embassy. We got through it first and then Loz was a little later,” added Mackenzie.
Fortunately this got resolved quickly with friends coming to the rescue. “We have Beartooth’s singer [Caleb Shomo], We Came As Romans’ singer and Capsize [Daniel Wand] filling in. They’re all filling in a song each. Everyone’s supporting us and it’s a good family based thing. It’s cool everyone’s helping us out,” explained Mackenzie.
“The thing is the kids are there and will still enjoy it. It’s something different. Whatever will happen,” added drummer Adam Savage.
This is their second time on this tour and they admit they have learned from their experiences from the first time on how to better prepare themselves to last on this lengthy journey. 52 days is quite a while and they were up for the challenge.
“It either makes you or breaks you. You’ve got to be pretty tough to last the whole thing. It tests you but being British, we rarely get to America and it’s a novelty for us. You see it in movies your whole life. To be here and being in the mountains in Los Angeles is like a dream come true,” explains MacKenzie about what being on this tour means to him as well as the rest of the band.
While She Sleeps on Warped Tour 2015 (via Facebook)
Brainwashed is their latest album (out now via Razor and Tie in North America and Search and Destroy in the UK), and continues their growth process from their debut album.
“It’s kind of the same, like our previous albums. It’s a natural progression in our band really,” said Savage.
“It seems like some concepts like we’re sung about on This is the Six, but we’re not beating around the bush any more. The title Brainwashed, we’re trying to tell people how it is about this stuff. We did the writing in a similar style as we did to our first mini album (2012’s The North Stands For Nothing). We all moved in together and we tried to really clinch the four live parts of the writing than writing the whole album on a computer and then on ProTools. We all moved in together and played stuff live together as much as we could. I think it’s come out really good,” added MacKenzie.
“A lot of things we’ve learned and many things are different learning curves. You learn a lot of things from this session and put it into this one and all sorts of different stuff on the next one,” concluded Savage.
Being that While She Sleeps have began to venture across the globe and reaching new fans everywhere they play, their longtime fans and friends back home have been supportive of their ambitions. Mackenzie summed it best about their longtime supporters: “We’ve been in this band since school. This is all they’ve known us to do and that’s all we’ve known. So they get it.”
Much like some stretched and requiring-a-suspension-of-disbelief set of circumstances in ‘Swords and Sorcery’ Fantasy films that bring about the fulfilment of the prophecy of the chosen one(s), so every now and then in the rock and metal world it is exactly the right time for the right band to make “the right record” and catapult themselves not just several rungs up the ladder, but crashing through the glass ceiling to establish themselves as the major players in the scene. Trivium did it with Ascendancy, Killswitch Engage did it with Alive or Just Breathing (both Roadrunner) and now While She Sleeps have done it with Brainwashed (Search and Destroy).
Not just the album they “needed” to make, like The Black Album (Vertigo) was the culmination and definition of heavy metal and the birth of “new” metal, so Brainwashed is the defining statement of what “modern/metallic hardcore” actually is. Throughout the forty-five minutes on display, While She Sleeps destroy any connotation that the genre is creatively redundant as ‘New World Torture’ seethes and slams before opening up, paving the way for a vibrant title track that ends in savage thrashery before ‘Our Legacy’ and its gang vocals and melodic leads provide an alternative anthem.
And “anthem” is the right word to describe damn near every track on display, as each song takes on that larger than life feel and you can already picture packed festival fields baying, swirling and shouting every word of songs like ‘No Sides, No Enemies’. In an album packed full modern hymns, ‘Four Walls’ manages to stand even taller, a song more than worthy of carrying the band to the next level and heading rock channel playlists for years to come. ‘Life In Tension’ is another highlight, rattling along, before hitting a half-time call to arms; one that will ignite live performances with massive pits and a sea of arms and voices aloft, before its melodic guitar lead spirals and wah’s off into arena filling glory.
Considering the genres have been smooshed together for over a decade, Brainwashed is the perfect combination of metal and hardcore, and the Sleeps deserve credit for not cutting their nose off to spite their faces and actively encouraging catchiness in the right places. Alongside that Brainwashed has all those clever touches the truly great albums have, little guitar licks, drum inflections that enhance grooves and an excellent thick, warm production that captures and reflects the energy of a band on creative fire, rather than stifling (and it’s no surprise to see the name of the legendary Colin Richardson among the credits).
Vocalist “Loz” Taylor has overcome serious throat surgery to produce the ideal modern hardcore performance – aggressive in the shouts, versatile in vocal, and melodic and tuneful when required, without losing intensity, and projecting a credible emotion that you can believe in. These aren’t empty songs; from the rising chatter of opener ‘The Divide’ to the dying strains of ‘Modern Minds’, this is an album that matters both to its protagonists and to its fans.
And ultimately that is key. Not only is Brainwashed a collection of excellent modern heavy songs, but it is dripping with conviction; more than just an assembly of songs, it delivers and is a real album, connecting on a level that so few do. The hardcore attitude that is often missing from the bigger albums these days is vibrantly present as While She Sleeps take their roots from metal, from Machine Head, from hardcore, from artists like Funeral For A Friend, and from the best bands of the last twenty years, to produce an album that stands not just as a genre marker for others to be measured by, but as a statement of intent and a challenge to their peers.
For the bar has now well and truly been raised.
Forget the arguments and discussions about who the next Metallica will be, about who will be the next festival headliner, because right here, right now, is the right band with the right album at the right time to be not just the future, but the now.