While She Sleeps
Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide SA
July 8th, 2022
Supports: Loathe, Mirrors & Ovtsider
“Seven Days To Think Of What We Could’ve Been” – While She Sleeps, ‘Wide Awake’ 2017.
Less than one year ago, Sheffield’s melodic metalcore maniacs While She Sleeps announced their debut headline tour of Australia while the planet was still immersed in the struggles of the pandemic. There is no doubt that this was a glimmer of hope in the heavy music world for international touring bands to actually grace the shores of the great down under once again, but similar to many other planned events, the looming delays or cancellations we have become so accustomed to hearing were unquestionably a real threat – it was a waiting game.
“Seven Days” equated to seven dates throughout our nation, “To Think Of What We Could’ve Been” connects to whether this tour would transpire. We all now know that it did, and the berries on top of the English Trifle was that every show did in fact sell out.
Local progressive moshcore quartet Ovtsider had the distinct honour of opening the event and attacked the opportunity like a Burmese python on unsuspecting prey – they lunged and grasped the crowd in a stranglehold of breakdown ferocity and ingested the eager onlookers whole. Their recipe which lands somewhere between the genre’s pioneers Bury Your Dead with an influence of newer innovators Knocked Loose had the ninja mosh-dancers swirling and wind-milling with delight, while the remainder were practically forced to observe in a very entertained manner. Featuring songs off their EP Reflection Of You – ‘No Remorse’ was undoubtedly the highlight, adding the “ace” factor to the “menace” elements the song exhibits. Certainly an outfit to keep an eye an ear on if the prior mentioned bands are of one’s liking.
Alternative Nu-Metalcore four-piece Mirrors are finally transcending into the “must see” category that they have earned realistically since they released their stunning debut full-length The Ego’s Weight. The band has been tapping at the window to turn the heavy metal heads of the nation for years, however at this showcase, it was crystal clear they had shattered that glass. Vocalist Patty Goodman’s vocal transitions from melodies to growls are outlandish in the best way possible and this was spotlighted with the single ‘Leave Them Behind’; somehow he makes the transformations effortless. ‘Purple Static’ exhibited an elated ecstasy that Mirrors transport themselves to with their art which pulsates a shock-wave of heroic heaviness when they execute their djent and metalcore moments, this is incredibly escalated by bassist Jack Minchin’s wild deadlock tornadoes where he near dislocates his neck with. To close, arguably the quartet’s heaviest number ‘Rebirth’ which delivered the tornado to the audience who swirled, jumped, and pounced to the intense djentcore hybrid storm (see: Earlier Volumes or Born Of Osiris for a reference). Interestingly the tourist advertisement for the four-piece’s hometown reads as: “GIPPSLAND: A PLACE OF ALL KINDS OF WONDER” and this sentiment could not be more suiting to the band themselves.
A darkness overtook Lion Arts Factory without warning as the backdrop screen emitted a fire like visual that altered the atmosphere of the venue. A huge deafening roar from Adelaide boomed as four figures from Liverpool emerged on stage, these gentlemen are better known as Loathe; the light shone upon frontman Kadeem France who raised his fist in the air signifying unity with the crowd and this became the marker for the starting point of what would be an explosion of a nuclear force. ‘Broken Vision Rhythm’ defied reality, this was monstrous – a breakneck industrial alt-metalcore eruption integrating the sounds of Deftones’ intricate intensity, an influence of Currents’ damaging djentcore and a sprinkling of electronic punk metal comparable to The Prodigy; it was otherworldly. ‘Dance On My Skin’ impossibly furthered all of these components and pushed the entire venue into a new stratosphere only to be brought down by Kadeem’s “arms crossed and nodding pose” that oozed a “cool” factor which unimaginably, and thankfully, lowered the temperature of the volcanic sauna Lion Arts had become. This crisp invigoration was then fast heated by the blast ‘Aggressive Evolution’ that was then amplified more by the next outburst in ‘New Faces Into The Dark’ and a rather necessary “wall of death” demand from Loathe to South Australia who happily obliged. ‘Heavy Is The Head That Falls With The Weight Of A Thousand Thoughts’ brought a modernised black metal aura into the volcano, unleashing a hell-fire bursting with unbridled energy that then needed a calming effect which ‘Two-Way Mirror’ hummed and sedated into a beautiful bliss. ‘Is It Really You?’ was the song Deftones forgot to write which succeeded in settling the molten rock but only for a fragment of time before the magma built up again in the chambers excessively causing another eruption of industrial djentcore with ‘Gored’ and the appropriately titled ‘White Hot’. Loathe could have easily been the headliner on this night, perhaps with their upcoming fourth LP, they will honour Australia with that role very soon.
Taking solace in a true British manner by quenching thirst with libations from the bar or even embracing the wintery conditions outside for relief from the melting pot within, this intermission was rather short-lived. Suddenly background music similar to BombFunk MC’s ‘Freestyler’ crept and stirred in the speakers before a few white flashes and the symbol featuring the letters: WSS appeared. It was game on, While She Sleeps were here for victory and the quintet made that known instantly. “Welcome To The Sleeps Society” was screamed by frontman Lawrence Taylor, backing vocalist and guitarist Sean Long and all present in the Lion Arts Factory – it had been years between visits, but the fortress the Sheffield five-piece had built was constructed with adoration and adrenaline – this wasn’t just a show, it was family. This built incredibly further with ‘Anti-Social’ and then climaxed with ‘You’re All You Need’ reinforcing the Henry Rollins statement: “Questioning anything and everything, to me, is punk rock”. This is what WSS does and they established a foundation doing what they believe in. Even with a “melodic metalcore” genre incorporation, or a derivative of that concept, this quintet is that attitude and it is inspiring. ‘The Guilty Party’ reinforced that notion of doing it: “Your way”, not “their way” – referring to those who instruct instead of accept; ‘I’ve Seen It All’ had a breakdown that broke-down walls and then ‘You Are We’ was a heavy metal hug to their followers.
After Loz Taylor forgot which country he was in, they marched into the unhinged single ‘Eye To Eye’ where he proudly proclaimed “This Is Fuckin Fit”, then capitalised that exact notion with the band firing goals on ‘Know Your Worth (Somebody)’.
Nothing yells family like asking them to catch you, ‘Fakers Plague’ was so animated, it required elevation, as did ‘Silence Speaks’ – so why not defy gravity? Mr Taylor climbed the back bar, to a wooden lattice, to construct a launch pad where the SLEEPS SOCIETY would catch him and live and love the band’s emotion. Describing it in all honesty, short changes the experience, seeing it was a privilege and punk rock.
‘Enlightenment (?)’ and ‘Systematic’ concluded the night’s story – but what could’ve been, became what was genuinely obscene, remarkably. “Just a deeper meaning to the here and now” – thank you While She Sleeps here we ARE.
Gig Review by Will Oakeshott @TeenWolfWill
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