While She Sleeps are an intriguing oddity of a band. They have a legion of dedicated fans, but you’ll never hear one of their songs played at lunchtime on Radio 1. They seamlessly blend uplifting punk melodies and shouted chorus vocals that practically demand crowd sing-alongs with the blistering thud of double-bass metal drumming and downtuned roaring guitars. Their lyrics are powerful and inspiring, but they’re delivered with a brutal, unrelenting scream that sounds less like sandpaper and more like an entire desert scraping against the singer’s vocal chords. At any one of their gigs, you’ll hear the crowd cheering madly for the songs they know and love, despite the fact that the band have yet to release their debut album. They look like a quiet, mellow bunch of lads from Sheffield, until they get on stage and all hell breaks loose.
Vocalist Lawrence Taylor (recently voted the 2nd greatest rockstar in the world by Kerrang magazine, behind only Ozzy Osbourne) thrashes back and forth, whipping his shaggy mane of hair around in a way that Willow Smith can only dream of, somehow managing to maintain his animalistic singing style despite the insane amount of energy he puts into every performance. He engages perfectly with his audience, charging them with the same electricity running through his own body.
The chugging noise of their muted chords is percussion in its own right, bringing to mind the heavy drum sound of a band like Slipknot.
Guitarists Mat Welsh and Sean Long provide an accompaniment to Taylor’s madness. They play fast, complex and melodic passages high up the necks of their instruments, and then slide down to the low strings to pound out a breakdown rhythm for the crowd to mosh along to. The chugging noise of their muted chords is percussion in its own right, bringing to mind the heavy drum sound of a band like Slipknot.
Sleeps’ own drumming is provided by Adam Savage, and his surname couldn’t be more apt. Whether his feet are working overtime to produce a stream of double-bass thuds, or if he’s pounding out an impressive solo reminiscent of Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’ on new single ‘This Is The Six’, his beats always provide a rock-solid bed for the guitarists to thrash over.
Finally, there is bassist Aaran McKenzie. It’s the musical cliché that bassists are the most useless member of the band, but anyone who tries to apply that to McKenzie would probably get a guitar smashed over their head. His basslines are low, loud and rumbling, taking the already deep guitar riffs and dropping them an octave to terrifying levels.
Their music is infused with the industrial grit of their hometown, and every lyric they write is a rousing call to arms, tailor-made to be yelled at the top of your lungs in a sweaty, heaving crowd of others doing the exact same.
Individually, the band members are all extremely talented. But together, they’re a ferocious and wild unit, changing the face of British metalcore through hard work and an unstoppable spirit. Their music is infused with the industrial grit of their hometown, and every lyric they write is a rousing call to arms, tailor-made to be yelled at the top of your lungs in a sweaty, heaving crowd of others doing the exact same. Despite there only being five musicians in the band, While She Sleeps insist that they have six members, the sixth being their fans.
The band’s relative lack of mainstream fame is a blessing in a way, as it allows them to have a closer relationship with their fanbase. Their small handful of songs has the same effect; allowing fans to make greater connections to the tracks on their 2010 mini-album ‘The North Stands for Nothing’ as well as the few singles that have been released, without getting lost in a sea of B-sides or album filler.
While She Sleeps won’t be the band for everyone. Their mix of hardcore punk and extreme metal will be completely unpalatable for some people, but beneath the grinding instrumentals and throat-shredding vocals, there’s a great musical knowledge of melody and harmony (highlighted very well in the acoustic version of ‘Crows’), as well as strong lyrics focusing on a sense of community and brotherhood. If you want to find a new favourite band, and can stomach the abrasive style, then While She Sleeps are definitely worth checking out.
Their debut full-length album ‘This Is The Six’ is released on August 6th, accompanied by a UK tour starting in Birmingham on September 26th.
‘Crows (acoustic version)’
‘This Is The Six’
If you like this, have a go on these…
Click here for more Music stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook