While She Sleeps
Brainwashed


4.0
excellent

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
March 21st, 2015 | 303 replies


Release Date: 03/23/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Falls short of its predecessor, but only by the narrowest of margins.

“Our legacy won’t be wasted on me” screams While She Sleeps’ frontman Lawrence “Loz” Taylor on “Our Legacy”. Lines like this really highlight the values behind the Sheffield outfit’s sophomore record Brainwashed. Coming off their well-received debut This Is The Six and leaping to a high position in modern metalcore put them in a decidedly different place than where they began. With this album, Sleeps (as they are affectionately referred to by fans) are making it clear that while they are in a different place now, they remember where they came from and understand the impact they are leaving behind.

This Is The Six had a lot going for it. Outside of simply being a collection of great songs, the album was bursting with hardcore energy and touching melodic flourishes that exemplified abrasion and accessibility in equal measure. Brainwashed doesn’t waste any of that potential. All the energy is still there, and the formula is pretty much the same. In between large swathes of burly power chord riffing and breakneck tempos, Sleeps have a knack for implanting melodic earworms. On the first album, piano was used heavily and gave it much of its unique voice. Here those piano passages have been toned down significantly, and their trademark anthemic gang vocals have been ratcheted up more than a few notches. The band’s sound is generally a pretty even split between metal and hardcore influences. The guitars shift between simplistic hardcore grooves and more precise and metallic fare nicely, and “Our Legacy” even features a full on shred solo. The vocals themselves tend more towards hardcore, with scathing yells and screams in abundance. The performance is particularly impressive when one takes into account the vocal surgeries Loz Taylor undertook prior to this album. If there is any noticeable change, it’s that his voice sounds even gruffer and more vicious than before.

Brainwashed, after a short intro track, opens with three of the heaviest songs Sleeps have ever written. “New World Torture” in particular demolishes as an opener and features an incredibly heavy breakdown in the back half. It isn’t until “We Are Alive At Night” that things really start to change up. The short interlude features gorgeous clean guitar passages that build up nicely into “Our Legacy”, a clear album highlight. Passionate lyrics and melodic guitar work make it very memorable, especially after the aggressive leanings of the early tracks. “Four Walls” continues the melodic trend, at least through its opening minute, before returning to heavier passages. Much of Brainwashed’s back half is business as usual. Tracks like “Life In Tension” tend towards melody, while “Trophies of Violence” and its ilk are more violent in nature, but they all have the bands signature blend stamped on them in some manner. Perhaps it’s a groovier break in one of the softer songs, or a pretty guitar lead in an otherwise crushing song, but the band usually reconciles the two halves to their sound. Best of all, it never sounds pasted together in any way.

If there is a downfall here, it’s that the album isn’t as immediately satisfying as This Is The Six was. There’s a little less memorability overall, and not a lot of experimentation to be found, which holds Brainwashed back from properly topping its predecessor. However, your usual While She Sleeps is still pretty damn good, so it’s hard to complain too loudly. From the runaway train headbanger “New World Torture” to the beautiful climax of “Modern Minds”, any Sleeps fan will find a lot to love here and many a newcomer may find something as well. While She Sleeps is leaving a bright and shining legacy for all to see and only good things seem to be coming their way now.

If you want words to live your life by,
Walk the graves, walk the graves.
It’s written on the head stones,
Time waits for no one




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user ratings (365)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
ryallen (4.5)
This one’s for the pigs at the top....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the proofread by Atari and cryptside. Hoping I really did this justice as this was highly anticipated for me. Feeling odd about my recommended section. Honestly couldn't think of anything that closely resembled this so I resorted to the recommended on the bands sputnik page. Added BMTH just because the vocals reminded me of Oli Sykes when I first heard these guys a little.



Stream: http://wssofficial.com/



Also disclaimer: I reviewed the full deluxe edition with three bonus tracks. I was told that the two versions would likely be merged into one entry, so figured I'd just go ahead.

Tunaboy45
March 21st 2015


16583 Comments


Great review Brett, pos

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks mate

cryptside
March 21st 2015


2397 Comments


Awesome review man, pos'd. Will check this tonight.

bakkermaarten007
March 21st 2015


5285 Comments


It's highly unusual to see these high averages for these types of bands.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah but this band really doesn't bow to tropes and trends though and they aren't generic by any means.

MattTD
March 21st 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

While She Sleeps are definitely above the average American metalcore band. Loving this album, particularly Four Walls.



Nice review, pos'd.

MattTD
March 21st 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess you could say that they're Not The American Average



geddit

iLikeSchlager
March 21st 2015


76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Big lyrical improvement.



And nice review, pos'd

Atari
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


23864 Comments


Loving the way this review turned out! I especially liked that melodic earworms bit, and it's so true (haven't been able to get our legacy out of my head). Anyways, you definitely did the album justice man. Keep up the good work :]

Digging: Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"I guess you could say that they're Not The American Average"



i geddit



thx atari, glad I did. Been waiting on this record since the announcement, and it mostly lived up to the hype.

Snake.
March 21st 2015


21065 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

damn that avg

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

MattTD
March 21st 2015


678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There have only been 30 ratings but yeah it's the tightest metalcore album in a while

Evreaia
March 21st 2015


5028 Comments


So good.

This is how modern metalcore should be done.

Toondude10
March 21st 2015


13389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I remember listening to one song by these guys and it wasn't bad. Probably going to check it out. Good review btw

Digging: Time, The Valuator - How Fleeting, How Fragile

parksungjoon
March 21st 2015


8320 Comments


That average though.

So the band description says "metallic hardcore"... I have to wonder, is this closer to the Botch/Coalesce/Shai Hulud end of the spectrum? Or is it distinctly modern?

Well written review btw, pos'd.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think it sounds modern, but there aren't the generic chug breakdowns and electronics of most modern metalcore bands. It's very hardcore in nature. Not quite botch or shai Hulud but nowhere near asking alexandria.

Toondude10
March 21st 2015


13389 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys are like a more consistent Crown the Empire for me



Instrumentation is great but the vocals are meh, decent album though

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2015


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Really? I wouldn't say they sound like crown the empire at all.

adr
March 21st 2015


12000 Comments


These guys are like a more consistent Crown the Empire for me


don't trust this guy



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