Review: While She Sleeps — ‘Brainwashed’

while-she-sleeps-brainwashed

When an album’s opening lines are “We are the underground,” impeccable song structure, high instrumental sophistication, and even a chanting choral ode reminiscent of Viking culture are probably the last things you’d expect. However, the UK-based While She Sleeps was able to deliver the impressively unexpected masterpiece that makes up their sophomore release Brainwashed with all of the above.

About three years from the release of their debut record This Is The Six, While She Sleeps has proven the wait was worth it. While Brainwashed is first and foremost a metalcore album, the stereotypes associated with that genre are as far from this record as possible.  Brainwashed is a pleasant mix of tones and layers reminiscent of both The Poison-era Bullet For My Valentine and Sempiternal-era Bring Me The Horizon. Gone are metalcore’s djenty breakdowns and cliché uses of clean and unclean vocal song structures. In place are thrashy, fast paced hard hitters (“Method In Madness”), rolling guitar melodies with heavy cymbal emphasis (“Torment”), and riffs and solos that round out fuller hooks (“Brainwashed”).

From groove metal back beats (“New World Torture”) to the communal vocals echoed by the entire band (“Your Evolution”) each track off of Brainwashed is more like an extended chapter to a novel than a stand alone song.  Hell, they even include a piano instrumental interlude (“Kangaezu Ni”) to broaden the record’s sound spectrum.

While She Sleeps not only creates a sonically beautiful work, but also transcends the choral and communal nature of their album into their lyrics.  “Our unity is divided” vocalist Lawrence “Loz” Taylor shouts on “New World Torture,” a sentiment followed by lines like “If you want words to live your life by/walk with me/walk with me” (“Our Legacy”) and “You’ll get out what you give in” (“Life In Tension”) .

This is easily the best material put forth by While She Sleeps and shows tremendous promise for any upcoming live shows as well as future recordings.

Go download: “Method In Madness”

4.5/5 stars.

Four and Half Star Rating

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