While She Sleeps
Sleeps Society


2.7
average

Review

by While She Sleeps: [in the back] STAFF
April 16th, 2021 | 108 replies


Release Date: 04/16/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Half awake, half asleep

While She Sleeps, ex-quintessential-core outfit and recent converts to the cult of inoffensive self-parody (a la 2017’s You Are We) and full-blown trend-chasing (a la 2019’s SO WHAT?), are back for more with their 5th LP, Sleeps Society. Having already fallen from the lofty heights of This Is the Six and Brainwashed, slipping over the course of a few years from the group that set the bar for British metalcore to one hurriedly playing catch up, the band’s latest effort was their opportunity to prove to their fans that their roots and ambitions remain intact. Unfortunately, whilst far from an unmitigated disaster, While She Sleeps' return to the fore is by no means a return to form.

Rather than incorporating electronic flourishes and the occasional (unwanted) rap-metal stanza into a straightforward riffy release, it’s the metalcore that feels out of place on Sleeps Society. I’m exaggerating, probably, yet the band’s focus certainly seems to have shifted from the passion-fueled basement moshpits that they once frequented to limelight-lit, stadium-sized pastures. “Nervous” and “Know Your Worth (Somebody)” place one foot firmly outside of the realm of m/, flirting with radio-friendly pop-tendencies with a relative degree of taste, but in such a way as to dilute the otherwise invigorating experience. Slowburners “Division Street” and “Call of the Void” feel similarly compromised, both lacking the emotive, metallic umpth to take them beyond their genetic pop-core leanings towards a satisfying synthesis of styles. It’s not that this drift towards a more accessible sound is in and of itself objectionable, though the argument could be made, but more that the uninspired execution leaves a lot to be desired. The emphasis has shifted sharply towards the shinier, softer side of their sound rather than maintaining their fervent, firey foundation of old, making for a fairly fun ride but relinquishing that which made While She Sleeps such an integral part of the scene to begin with.

That’s not to say that Sleeps Society doesn’t have its moments, scattered though they may be. The closing breakdown of opener “Enlightenment(_)” is as satisfying as those found on the band’s best material, as can be said of the ferocious, kinetic riffage on the record’s title track. Heart-pounding, hell-raising cuts “Systematic” and “No Defeat for the Brave” are similarly scintillating, still delivering gargantuan hooks and breakneck riffs, even if they eventually succumb to pop-punk-esque refrains and staccato slam-poetry stammering. Such moments (slam-poetry aside) contain a reassuring shadow of the While She Sleeps of yesteryear (see also Sean Long’s typically excellent lead work weaved throughout “You Are All You Need” and frontman Lawrence Taylor’s consistently animalistic vocals), yet ultimately Sleeps Society suffers when viewed within the context of the band’s previous achievements - as less impassioned, engaging and endearing.

That being said, I'd be loath to lump While She Sleeps in with the current crisis of authenticity sweeping the realm of modern metalcore (yes, Architects, I'm looking at you), given that the Sheffield 5-piece sound anything but insincere on Sleeps Society. For a group fluent in the language of revolution, it’s frustrating that their latest incarnation sounds as regressive as it does, yet there doesn't appear to be anything underhanded in their escalating accessibility. That the record’s features include actual fans of the band speaks volumes as to the guys' motives, as does the heartfelt (albeit overwrought) closer “DN3 3HT”, such that it’s difficult to outright dismiss Sleeps Society, despite its shortcomings. It's the band genuinely attempting to expand their artistic perview, even if it doesn't quite hit the mark. Shifting in and out of comatose they may be, but their hearts appear to be in the right place. Here's to hoping they wake up, eventually.



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user ratings (93)
2.8
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2021


2951 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

my god that first sentence is perfect/brutal. wonderful review, seems like a.. snoozer

edit: fixy

Digging: Porter Robinson - Nurture

Ectier
April 16th 2021


309 Comments


Nevermind jesper beat me to it. Good review though Pos

Digging: Mother (BE) - I

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2021


7832 Comments


you explain quite prettily why i wont listen to this

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
April 16th 2021


2951 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i am listening to this and the main word coming to mind is 'metalbore'

the 'i'm nervuzzzzz' chorus is so fucking insufferable, straight up sounds like a 6 year old kid at the dentist jesus

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


7132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

ta Jesper/Ectier, good catch



yeee its a bit dull but i have a soft spot for these guys but also jeez i wish they didn't (kinda) suck

parksungjoon
April 16th 2021


31241 Comments


Good review bro sounds like it would be a 1 for me

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


7132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Oh hey thanks bro ye for sure you would 1 this



Also forgot to mention that this launched with an associated Patreon platform, which seems pretty extortionate, though I've not looked into it properly.

parksungjoon
April 16th 2021


31241 Comments


interesting, i feel like services of that nature could be pretty good for artists

Ectier
April 16th 2021


309 Comments


Wait this had a patreon attachment? The hell, will they make up their mind if they want to be independant or not. They made a big fuss on heing label free for You Are We, the for memory went back to a label on the next one. Stop floating between things and settle on something also stop shitting out records every 2 years, take some time to write material.

Sorry for the rant

Edit: Patreon is great for artists look at Ne Obliviscaris they got that sorted out and working

Mort.
April 16th 2021


16399 Comments


band sucks and has done for years. even when they were apparently great they just seemed like by the numbers metalcore to me. i dont get it.


anyway, for some dumb reason i decided to look at r/metalcore to see what people thought of this and they fucking love it lol.

Digging: Meat Puppets - Up on the Sun

parksungjoon
April 16th 2021


31241 Comments


>even when they were apparently great they just seemed like by the numbers metalcore to me. i dont get it.

me with like 99% of bands

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


7132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Re Patreon, I agree it can be a great solution for bands to keep themselves going given how the traditional route seems to be working less and less these days, I guess it just depends on cost vs. value actually provided to patreons. My experience is that the former usually outweighs the latter, but I'm sure its not always the case.



@Mort idk their old stuff was always great to me, nothing groundbreaking but had hella passion behind it, especially when I saw them live at Leeds fest way way back. Bizarre that reddit is going for this, though tbf this is no You're Welcome, there's actual good shit here mixed in with the bad.

Mort.
April 16th 2021


16399 Comments


thats entirely fair, im aware im the outsider for not getting their early stuff. a lot of people genuinely rate these guys early material so fair enough.

i dont think its that bizarre reddit is going for this. that sub just eats up shitty metalcore tbh.

parksungjoon
April 16th 2021


31241 Comments


reddit as a whole is trash and their taste is gash

Mort.
April 16th 2021


16399 Comments


or as me and my friends used to say, 'wastegash'

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


16907 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

never understood the hype with these guys to start with, but from the singles i've heard, this thing is absolutely hideous.



great rev though

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


14076 Comments


That reviewer handle/name change omg

Digging: ACAUSAL INTRUSION - Nulitas

butt.
April 16th 2021


8765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Can’t wait to see how much this sucks ass

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


7132 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Cheers gonzo



I don't know what you're talking about nocte, this has always been my name *shhhush*

SteakByrnes
April 16th 2021


23513 Comments


Solid review my man, band has been on a slippery descent since the very beginning so I bet this is like a 1.5 at most

Digging: Hail the Sun - New Age Filth



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