While She Sleeps – Sleeps Society
Released: April 16th, 2021
Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor | vocals
Aaran McKenzie | bass
Adam Savage | drums
Sean Long | guitars
Mat Welsh | guitars
I’d hate to be an English metalcore band releasing an album just over a month after Architects released theirs. Luckily, Sheffield’s While She Sleeps is incredible in their own right, veterans of the scene, and their album Sleeps Society is damn good (spoiler alert). Let’s hope the travel ban ends sometime soon so these incredible English bands can come play for us!
Starting the album is the furious ‘Enlightenment’ that builds up with an impassioned speech under the music- based on the accent, I am going to hazard a guess that it is one of the band members. This song is a fantastic start to the album and sets it up nicely. Adam Savage’s drumming is relentless straight away, the guitars from Sean Long and Mat Welsh weave through the song wildly, and it has one of many epic guitar solos. The vocals from Loz Taylor are simply fantastic from start to finish. This song has an inspiring, anthemic feel and the callout before the breakdown of the chorus says, “If you feel like giving up / then there’s something I need you to know / that I am here for you.” This sets up the theme/feeling of the rest of the album, we will talk about that as we go along.
Next up is ‘You Are All You Need’, which is faster and more furious with heavier vocals. This song is fun and dancey, and I can only imagine the circle pits that will start when it’s played live. Then we hear some of the electronic influence on this album with ‘Systematic’, a fun two and a half minute banger. It’s the most metalcore of all the songs on the album and has one of the best breakdowns. Parts of the song give me a Bring Me The Horizon ‘That’s The Spirit’ feel.
Two huge highlights are up next, the first being ‘Nervous’, which features Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro. I’ve always been someone who breaks into intense goosebumps when a song hits me in the right place, and this song is goosebump city. The contrast between the heavy and melodic parts is so good- every instrument is on point and the vocals are so emotional. It’s just too much in a good way, and Simon’s part only adds to the emotional feel. This song is about guitarist Sean’s mental struggle, and he says the intention is to instil hope in the listener. Hope is a theme that pops up in most of the songs; they all have a “we know how you feel, we know it all sucks sometimes, you aren’t alone, you’ve got this dude,” type lyrics.
‘PYAI’ is a short interlude with the same musical theme as ‘Nervous’ and leads into another highlight, ‘Know Your Worth (Somebody)’. This song is fast and furious with examples of the type of lyrics I mentioned saying, “Stand tall know your worth / they can only put you down / for so long / hold on”. There is another excellent breakdown in this song, a great electronic part, fantastic bassline from Aaran McKenzie and then the drums — MATE — the drums!! Is there something more intense than a double kicker? A triple kicker? I don’t know drum things, so sorry if I am talking absolute shit here drum friends. I am just saying that the drumming is so intense; surely there would be smoke coming from the pedal!
‘No Defeat For the Brave’ starts differently with warmer guitars before kicking into another ferocious song. This song feels a bit more old-school metal-ish, has a fantastic chorus and the best guitar solo of the whole album. ‘Division Street’ is next and a completely different wild card of a song and hugely features Deryck Whibley from Sum 41. Starting with piano, it is slow but intense and emotive, building with more voices and repeating the same few phrases. The vocals on this album from Loz are so good but this song shows the vocal versatility and range of the band and has gorgeous harmonies.
Then we have the title track ‘Sleeps Society’ and look; I hate to say it because almost everyone is being described as sounding like Bring Me The Horizon at the moment, and that’s fair because they are trendsetters in the scene. It’s true, though — you could say this song is While She Sleeps’ BMTH or Architects moment, but Loz’s vocals make this song their own, especially the cleans. It has the feel of BMTH or For Those That Wish To Exist but is very WSS in execution and isn’t a carbon copy. This song is such a heavy/electronic banger.
To finish out the album is ‘Call Of The Void’ and ‘DN3 3HT’. The first is a slower, more soulful song that fans provided parts for. The band have an intimate relationship with their fans, and members of the Sleeps Society subscription service got to be a collaborative part of the recording process. The bass in this song is so funky — definitely my favourite bassline on the album.
Speaking of the close relationship with fans, ‘DN3 3HT’ is a seven-minute epic with each member of the band speaking to their fans, thanking them and pouring their hearts out. Accompanying this is an almost John Lennon ‘Imagine’ type piano part. It’s such a different and intimate moment, and fans would really connect with it and feel like they were being intimately spoken to. Hell, I am only a new fan (I know, I know, I should have gotten onto these guys earlier), and I feel like they are personally talking to and thanking ME, and it makes ME feel emotional, so I can only imagine how long term fans feel. I also love a northern accent, so listening to the band speak is a delight!
Sleeps Society manages to be so many things in 11 songs — it’s inspiring, furious, dark and emotional to name a few. At the same time, it feels like it’s just for you, that the band wrote the album for you and only you. This band is huge, this is their fifth album and it has such a polished sound. But it’s still as intimate and personal as a much smaller — earlier into their career- band would release. I can’t remember the last time an album felt so personal to me, maybe something from a band I have been a massive fan of for a long time, but to feel an album so personally as a new listener of the band is incredible. I could have done with this album last year while struggling with my mental health, but I have it now, and I know it will help me next time I feel like shit.
Anyways, that’s enough from me — if you want to feel some feels intertwined with incredible musicianship, give this album a listen the second it comes out.
While She Sleeps – Sleeps Society tracklisting
2. YOU ARE ALL YOU NEED
4. NERVOUS (feat. Simon Neil)
6. KNOW YOUR WORTH (SOMEBODY)
7. NO DEFEAT FOR THE BRAVE (feat. Deryck Whibley)
8. DIVISION STREET
9. SLEEPS SOCIETY
10. CALL OF THE VOID (feat. Sleeps Society)
11. DN3 3HT