Yorkshire rockers deliver on all of the hype that’s been directed their way.
Raziq Rauf 2012
While She Sleeps are all set to be new stars of the British metal scene. Over the past 18 months, the Sheffield/Doncaster band has won every accolade available for a new band playing heavy music, and This Is the Six is exactly the album they needed to make.
After a solid debut set, The North Stands for Nothing, laid the foundations for their success in 2010, this excellent follow-up proves to be as ambitious as it is diverse. It explodes into life with Dead Behind the Eyes, frontman Lawrence Taylor’s atonal vocals pounding across enormous, sludgy riffs that spank at the ears.
The driving post-hardcore undertones of False Freedom follow. The song also features an interlude consisting of reflective gang vocals over mournful piano, before bursting back with a chorus of “Ohs” and “Woahs”. It’s something that so many bands do, but there’s a gravitas about the Yorkshire quintet’s music that allows such candid self-indulgence to work.
Our Courage, Our Cancer begins with such a similarly introspective passage, as tinkling pianos descend into beautiful anarchy. As the same keys are heard throughout the song, though, it’s clear that they’re not just tacked on for the sake of it.
At their best, however, While She Sleeps dispense with the interludes and go straight down the line with ferocious modern fusion of metal and hardcore. With its tumultuous riffs and sinister breakdowns, the delightfully Scandinavian tones of Be(lie)ve stand apart; and The Plague of a New Age has a decade’s worth of fury held inside it.
Its moments of respite mean that This Is the Six isn’t simply an exercise in unrelenting aggression. Considerable thought has been put in to making sure that this album has as big an impact as possible.
There’s not a bad song on this album. Heavy on the riffs with bombast ladled on, This Is the Six is comfortable in its own skin. Unlike so many before them, While She Sleeps just might be able to live up to all the hype that’s been heaped upon them. They’ve done all they can.