Review Summary: This is Hardcore music devoid of all the stigmas that bands like Bring Me The Horizon attached to it over the years- Ironically both bands are from the same hometown.What
do Def Leppard, Bring Me The Horizon and The Arctic Monkeys all have in common? Not much except the fact that they all hail from Sheffield, 'The Steel City' in England; A city well known for its production of steel over a number of years. However, the hardened and passionate reputation of the city's steelworkers does not seem to translate well to the super-famous, and at times over-the-top bands mentioned above. Such a blaring inconsistency does nothing but prevent people from expecting a band like While She Sleeps to come from the same place. But WSS is strikingly representative of the place from which they came, and they have something to say.
While She Sleep’s debut album entitled The North Stands For Nothing is a hard-hitting, relentless hardcore album with a bare bones mindset when it comes to instrumentation (no electronics or overproduction to be found here). In fact, the band only ever lets up for the few piano driven interludes throughout. They provide necessary buildup as well as the just as necessary low points to accompany the aggressive highs of the album. This creates more of an experience as opposed to a mere collection of songs.
When it comes to song structure and instrumentation, WSS proves solid throughout, though with no real standout moments. It is refreshing not to see the overused verse-chorus-breakdown song structure, and in that respect WSS keeps it varied and interesting. Additionally, the arguably copious amount of breakdowns in the album is balanced out by a catchy guitar riff or unexpected shift. The drums however do not stand out whatsoever and don’t add much flavor to the sound of the band. Rarely does the album fall into monotony though, it is kept afloat by the solid instrumentation as well as the fitting vocal delivery.
The vocals prove to be the spark that allows TNSFN to make sense. The potentially lame line “I’m proud of the demon in me” is made absolutely believable when delivered by Lawrence Taylor’s impassioned voice. The fact that he sounds as if he truly means what he’s saying adds to the sincerity of the album as a whole. The lyrics are well written and seem to follow a loose political/geographical theme. Regardless the lyrics are undoubtedly intelligent and inspired.
The North Stands For Nothing by While She Sleeps is able to transcend both the stigmas of genre in which the band is grouped as well as the reputations of fellow bands from Sheffield. WSS is truly representative of the Steel City ethic and accurately turns its history into a sonic assault of sensible anger sans any lame lyrics or unnecessary decisions. The North Stands for Nothing, though with its faults in instrumentation, proves to be a strong album with lasting replay value and a lot of potential for future releases. Give it a spin.