While She Sleeps – SO WHAT?
Released: 1st March 2019
While She Sleeps Lineup:
Lawrence Taylor // Vocals
Sean Long // Guitar & Vocals
Mat Welsh // Guitar & Vocals
Aaran Mckenzie // Bass
Adam Savage // Drums
While She Sleeps Online:
The excitement I felt when I discovered that While She Sleeps are releasing another album only two years after their previous, You Are We is hard to put it into words. This band, unlike any other, is in control of all the skills, determination and creativity to make something unique and enjoyable time and time again.
Politics tumble forth almost immediately; questioning one’s place in society; what is truth; why do we poison ourselves? It’s all there, elevated by a punchy stop start style riff that breaks into a pummelling breakdown section before transitioning into a whispering style bridge. If you think ‘ANTI SOCIAL’ sounds disparate, you wouldn’t be wrong, but you’d be wrong if you think it doesn’t mesh into a fully formed call to awareness for society at large.
The work of Sean Long and Mat Welsh in tandem is layered, complex and addictive. Weaving threads of riffs and breakdowns seamlessly into the song before they all come crashing on each other in a tidal wave of sound. ‘INSPIRE’ and ‘SO WHAT?’ have a main melody that slinks behind the gang vocals before erupting in wonderfully satisfying bridges to bring everything together. It’s a treat when everything meshes together and is cohered around a core idea.
The album is full of varied and versatile ideas that it seems Sean Long has mastered over his musical career. Pop punk inspired riffs blend seamlessly into a poppy, anthemic chorus before a rap verse of all things appears on ‘BACK OF MY MIND.’ On following track and album closer, ‘GATES OF PARADISE’ the ingenuity continues; an infectious blend of nu metal vocals and strained screeches contrast against the (Zion era mind you) Crossfaith-esque riffs, leaving absolute destruction in its wake.
Whilst SO WHAT? may consist of a thousand detailed elements and ideas, a few things remain immutable. While She Sleeps really know how to write a fucking chorus that’ll get you moving. Single ‘GUILTY PARTY’ is a veritable party starter in its own right, but the chorus lifts and soars like a jet plane bound to explode in the stratosphere. Adam Savage’s work cannot be overstated. It’s inventive, intuitive and integral to the entire structure of this song, and the album as a whole. Every time that snare goes off you better believe your neck is snapping at the same time.
The breadth of sounds crammed into this album is astounding – but it may have benefited from a bit of a more focused approach. Each song consists of enough ideas to make three others, and whilst that delivers moment after moment of enjoyability, it’s hard to recall a memory of one great song over a bunch of great moments strung together.
SO WHAT? is undoubtedly an album at the head of the pack for 2019. A creative tour de force that packs the heaviest of punches, the softest of caresses, and the genius that only a band playing at the top of their game can conjure.
While She Sleeps – SO WHAT? tracklist
- ANTI SOCIAL
- I’VE SEEN IT ALL
- SO WHAT?
- THE GUILTY PARTY
- HAUNT ME
- SET YOU FREE
- GOOD GRIEF
- BACK OF MY MIND
- GATES OF PARADISE
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