Review | On Brainwashed (2015) and You Are We (2017), Sheffield rockers WHILE SHE SLEEPS demonstrated how technically adept metalcore works. Without lodging themselves in a niche of the scene, they now stand there with crossed arms and a new album, saying “So What?”.
Opener Anti-Social immediately contributes to the worldbuilding, making it clear to listeners where they will be in the next 48 minutes. Not in the cosy living room, but in abandoned factory halls and ominous side streets. Textually, the band uses the crowbar to crack open today’s superficiality on social media.
“You’re gonna follow like a freelance sucker of the next biggest trend. We are pissing into the wind to be heard by the indifferent.” (Anti-Social)
New influences meet the habitual style
Again, a re-invention has taken place. Skillfully, the band has woven new ideas into the album concept while considering threads that haven’t been used before. The result can be disconcerting, yet everything is arranged for a purpose. Like the pop vocal sample in Inspire, which was ripped out of mainstream and exhibited in a new context for the laughter of the masses. Or the pop guitar lick in the verse of Good Grief, which could have easily been purposely stolen from the latest hit single on the radio.
Most of the songs are quite catchy, while keeping brutality and melody in suspense. Known from their previous albums, overriding choirs like in I’ve Seen It All, The Guilty Party or Gates of Paradise may weary long-term fans but do no harm to the overall picture.
With all the new influences and good old choirs, the band hasn’t lost its ability to hammer out amazing riffs and fueling them with catchy melodies like in title track So What? or the singles Haunt Me and Elephant.
So What? fits into modern times
The socio-critical attitude from the previous albums is more present than ever, having its finger on the pulse of the time. Dealing with capitalism, society’s profound dissension and money-centeredness, the album is thought-provoking. Despite an allegedly frustration depicted in the songs, a call to get active shines through.
Overall, So What? offers sophisticated metalcore-pop, which can cause ingrained fanciers an upset stomach. Yet the attentive listener realizes that the music adds more to the metalcore scene than it takes away from it. From experimenting, something new has arisen. What appears strange at first maybe just needs some more time to settle. One thing is for sure: While She Sleeps went out of their comfort zone and waited for just the right moment.
Visit WHILE SHE SLEEPS on
Artwork taken from Metalwani.com.