While She Sleeps – ‘You Are We’ (Album Review)
We live in a divided world. Conflict is common, and even the smallest things can spark it off. Unity and respect are relatively rare.
With their new album You Are We, While She Sleeps are working to balance things out. Funded by fans via PledgeMusic, You Are We sees While She Sleeps push further in the experimental groove metal direction established on 2015’s Brainwashed. Metalcore remains at the core of While She Sleeps’ sound, but You Are We was recorded in a self-built Sheffield studio – and the resulting sense of newfound independence and freedom permeates every second.
If you reckon you’ve already heard the best beatdowns that metal history has to offer, think again. You Are We is home to the most fucking savage riffs While She Sleeps have come up with to date – the kind of riffs that will stop you, stun you, cause your jaw to drop while ruining your underwear. In a good way.
Go to Primark and buy a special pair of pants. They will be your You Are We pants. You will be fully prepared, the album will play, those beatdowns will drop in, the pants will require changing, and you’ll be so moved that you’ll look this review up again, shake your head in dumbfounded wonder at my future-seeing abilities, and promptly send me an email overflowing with undying gratitude.
All joking aside, this is a serious album not just in terms of heaviness, but also in terms of subject matter. While She Sleeps’ social consciousness is well established, and tracks like the Oli Sykes-enhanced Silence Speaks, title track You Are We, and Civil Isolation (each of which have dropped in advance of You Are We’s release date) continue to fly the flag of justice along with…well…pretty much every song on offer here. More than that, unity is You Are We’s ultimate underlying theme, surfacing strongly on Feel (featuring a standout drumming performance from Adam Savage) and Empire Of Silence, along with nonconformist inertia (Wide Awake, Settle Down Society, Revolt). Lyrically and musically, While She Sleeps are not a band for the faint of heart, mind, and / or soul.
You Are We is a fucking ambitious album. In terms of attracting support from While She Sleeps’ fanbase, it’s already a wild success – at the time of writing, the You Are We PledgeMusic project has raised 251% of its original target – but as an actual product of so much passion, work, and all the blood, sweat, tears, and more that have clearly been poured into it by While She Sleeps themselves, it’s more than merely “successful”.
You Are We is one of the albums of the year.
Nothing less than that.
98% (Essential Listening!)
For updates on While She Sleeps’ PledgeMusic project, click here.