While She Sleeps – You Are We
Released: 21st April, 2017
While She Sleeps Line Up —
Lawrence Taylor // Vocals
Sean Long // Guitar & Vocals
Mat Welsh // Guitar & Vocals
Aaran Mckenzie // Bass
Adam Savage // Drums
While She Sleeps Online —
It’s quite an achievement when a band can create an album so massive and enthralling that it actually makes you feel like you’re surrounded by a crowd of your peers with your face upturned to the blinding lights of a stage when you listen to it, but this is exactly what While She Sleeps have done with You Are We. The Sheffield quintet, whilst releasing two blow-your-balls-off great albums in 2012 and 2015 respectively, have brought into existence something truly special with their latest offering.
The album begins with a strident bellowing message that rumbles from the depths of the frontman’s being; ‘You. Are. We.’ Thematically, this is the thread that runs through the songs, giving each of them a resounding purpose and personality every single time you listen to them. These messages are delivered through a tripartite of voices at times; giving it the the power and force of what feels like the entire world’s anger, confusion, sadness and hope. It really does feel like you’re being bombarded with emotions when you hear the voices of Lawrence Taylor, Sean Long and Mat Welsh shouting at the top of their lungs in ‘Settle Down Society’ or duelling with each other on ‘Hurricane’.
Propelling all this emotion through the airways is, of course, the music. One thing I must say about While She Sleeps is that they find a way to not just BE heavy, but FEEL heavy. Tuning down your guitar is one thing, but writing a riff that immediately jerks you out of a reverie and into a realisation that you’re banging your head is quite another. The latter is the realm of While She Sleeps. ‘Revolt’ is a sparkling example of this, silence punctuated riffs, followed by some of the most primal and heavy sections in any song they’ve ever written. The reason all of this heaviness sounds so damn good though, is all of the melody that’s also present. Unlike a lot of bands, this doesn’t feel shoehorned in, it’s just who they are and it’s fucking glorious. From the scintillating guitar sections in ‘Civil Isolation’ to the soothing seconds within ‘In Another Now’, the melodies are just perfect.
However, all of this wouldn’t be possible without the foundations laid by Aaran Mckenzie and Adam Savage, applying the pressure at just the right times to elevate a great riff to something spectacular. The drumming is artful and smooth beyond belief, ‘Wide Awake’ showing how the optimum amount of skins to hit isn’t always as many as you can. ‘Silence Speaks’ is another instance where sections that allow the guitars to shine or the vocals to drive the melody are supported by Savage’s intuitive skills. If drums are the bedrock of music, the base that everything builds off, there is no one better suited to supporting the world of While She Sleeps than Adam Savage.
This part of the review is where all the negatives would go, but I’m hard pressed to find any at all. After listening to the album for two weeks straight I still find myself being amazed by different aspects of the instrumentation or lyrics that resonate anew. It seems that by wresting their creative control and autonomy back for themselves, While She Sleeps have brought an all new confidence and deeply personal lenses to the process of writing this album; an album that tackles the worlds problems but still feels like it was made specifically for you. This album is by and far the best thing they’ve ever done, and that’s saying something.
While She Sleeps – You Are We Track Listing —
- You Are We
- Steal the Sun
- Empire of Silence
- Wide Awake
- Silence Speaks
- Settle Down Society
- Civil Isolation
- In Another Now
Review by — Dylonov Tomasivich
You Are We is Available April 21st. Pre-Order Here
Revisit our interview with While She Sleeps lead guitarist Sean Long here
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