DISCLAIMER: Unlike other publications, we pride ourselves on our transparency. As such, it should be known the author of this piece has pledged to the funding of this album though this has not hindered the critical nature of this review.
By Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)
My first ever experience of While She Sleeps was around the release of their debut album This Is The Six, where I was in a toss up deciding whether to buy the debut or Atlas by Parkway Drive. I decided on This Is The Six and I’ve never made a better choice. Angry, politically charged and head strong, the boys in While She Sleeps have grown a lot since the days of their debut, but haven’t lost any of their spark.
The new album You Are We is special. It’s special because it was crowdfunded by fans (me being one of them, the signed vinyl is gorgeous) on the website PledgeMusic and recorded the album in their own converted barn. With this, they have managed to pour more soul into their music, bearing in mind I didn’t think it was possible to be able to put ANY MORE soul into their projects, but they have floored me. You Are We is rich with riffs, massive breakdowns, meaningful lyrics and more singing from guitarist Mat Welsh which makes this album stand out from the others. Another excellent thing about this album is that it was released independently giving them so much more freedom and space to create something amazing, and they did.
The opening and title track You Are We has won its way into my top 3 While She Sleeps songs. The song starts with the familiar sound of Mat Welsh’s guitar strings leading into one hell of an explosive entrance from Loz Taylor and a breakdown that I’d lose my mind to live. Another highlight of the album is Silence Speaks featuring the infamous Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon. The guitar melody over the gang-style vocals of the chorus make me melt and Oli’s addition to the song isn’t too much or too little and it’s very welcome. On the first listen through I didn’t connect with the songs Wide Awake or Steal the Sun as much as the rest of the album, but after listening again all the songs compliment each other in a way that I personally don’t think they have achieved before. There is fire behind every chord, lyric and scream, much like their second album Brainwashed had, but this album feels more personal. Other songs that have special mentions from me are Feel, the latest single which is massive and also Revolt, also massive.
Being a long time Sleeps fan, this was one of my highly anticipated albums and I’ve not been disappointed. The lead single Civil Isolation filled me with so much hope that this album would be another classic and they have shown the world how metal should be done, how metal should be performed and how it should be presented. I used to associate This Is The Six with the season of winter, as the album was harsh, dark and angry, much like the weather around me and that’s what I think I love about You Are We, because I feel warm.
So far the album has done well, reaching the 6th best selling album on iTunes on the first day of release, which is very impressive for a metal album, let alone an independently released metal album. Like I said earlier, they haven’t lost any of their spark yet have grown and refined their style. If you like metal, you’ll love this album, no doubts about it. (then when you’re done with this album, backtrack and get the rest, you won’t regret it)