While She Sleeps
Self Hell


1.5
very poor

Review

by SaiseiTunes CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2024 | 131 replies


Release Date: 03/29/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It can't get worse than this

An open letter to While She Sleeps: Could you please not? Albums like this are making it really damn hard to defend my love for metalcore and scene-core. The Sheffield five-piece have joined the long, long list of metalcore bands once revered that have since gone mainstream, and suffered in every possible way because of it. I’ll confess to not being too familiar with their catalog outside of You Are We, but even a cursory listen to that album compared to Sleeps Society is enough to paint a picture of a band on a downward spiral.

And I think Self Hell might be the absolute rock bottom.

To put it bluntly, this feels like a parody of every Octane-pandering modern metalcore trope in the book, except it’s not, and the band wants you to take this entirely seriously. But, like, how am I supposed to take this seriously when it opens up with fucking faux-choir vocals? If that’s not the perfect sign of what you’re in for, then I don’t know what is.

Vocally, Self Hell is inconsistent at best. Lawrence Taylor’s screams sound honestly phoned in, with little power behind them for most of the album’s runtime. His cleans fare slightly better, but it’s practically ruined by his need to shove rap sections into half the fucking songs here, or randomly throwing autotune onto his vocals like in “Rainbows”. Yep, it’s one of those albums, and no, it doesn’t ever approach the level of “good”, especially when Taylor is spitting out some of the most inane lyrics in the history of metalcore.

Oh, yeah, the lyrics, let’s talk about those. While She Sleeps have never been the most revered band lyrically (anyone remember the “countless wars/count less wars” pun from You Are We?), but Self Hell really turns the bad counter up a notch, taking the lyrics from fun cheesy to just painfully cringey. The title track proudly declares “You don’t know my secrets cos I’m not a gemini”, whatever the hell that means, “Leave Me Alone” sees fit to just repeat “Leave me the fuck alone” as its chorus, and even its breakdown callout, and “DOPESICK” rests its entire hook on a cliched “I’m getting high on feeling low”. Even when the lyrics aren’t actively cringey, they’re mostly scattershot and random, like the band tossed a bunch of phrases into a blender and spat them out onto the page. Nothing makes sense here, it’s hard to find any sort of true through-line in a lot of the songs.

Instrumentally, the album only improves a little. Guitarists Sean Long and Matt Welsh at least feel like they’re trying at certain points, but it’s hard to accept that when the album is littered with simplistic breakdowns that even the most caveman metalcore listener would have trouble headbanging to. Not to mention the fact that, for some reason, they feel the need to make so many high notes squealy in tone, which accomplishes little other than piercing your ears. And, outside of a few bright moments, most of the riffs are just background noise. The drumming’s kind of impressive at points, but the bass is so buried that it might as well not be there at all.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that the band tossed two 3-minute interludes in the middle of the tracklist for no discernible reason. They add nothing to the album whatsoever, aside from the unintended positive of giving you a break from the god awful vocals and lyrics. It’s filler, no question about it.

Even the good stuff here comes with a huge caveat attached to it. Like, the opening riff for “Self Hell” is a genuinely fun nu-metal riff... except nothing is done with it, so it’s wasted on the cringe sides of nu-metal worship and an acoustic chorus for some reason? There’s a fun bit of back-and-forth screaming on “Leave Me Alone”, but the rest of the song wallows in mediocrity and the aforementioned repeating chorus. “DOWN” is a pretty nice track, but the best parts of it are provided by Malevolence.

“To the Flowers” is really the only unambiguous highlight of this train wreck, a genuinely well-constructed song that still suffers a little from the aforementioned lyrical problem (“I’m dancing on the edge/Punching at the doorbell”?), but the music and vocal performance are genuinely good enough where it just doesn’t impact the listening experience.

If it wasn’t clear from my paragraphs of ranting, I don’t think very highly of Self Hell. It’s insipid, repetitive, cringey, it’s self-important with nothing to say, it’s sound and fury, except it’s not even that furious. It is everything wrong with modern metalcore, contained within 45 agonizing minutes. I’m almost glad that While She Sleeps has found themselves in Self Hell. It means that there’s nowhere for them to go but up.



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user ratings (63)
1.9
poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


815 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I had to listen to this album more times than I was comfortable with to write this review.



Gonna cleanse my ears with Boundaries now

Pikazilla
April 2nd 2024


29714 Comments


your sacrifice shan't be forgotten, animalforce

hangth3dj
April 2nd 2024


761 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I wasn't expecting to dislike this as much as I did. I might simply have not been in the the mood for some catchy but ultimately banal type of popcore, but this didn't even reach that pretty low bar. Awful lyrics in places, interludes that do nothing and actually void of the required catchiness.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


1709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with a lot of your points and agree that this is by far their worst effort to date but I did find some enjoyment out of a good chunk of the tracks here, cringe and all. It's no Brainwashed, it's not This is the Six, pretty sure that band is dead now which is sad but I feel like there is some good stuff here that will be overlooked because of how different this is from their heyday.

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


815 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, I love some good, brain-off popcore, but this was not that. It's just sort of a hodgepodge that forgets to actually be good save for one song

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


815 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

@mk that's valid, I just could not get past the negatives. There is good stuff, but I have to add "buts" and caveats onto all of them, and I feel like that always reduces the good somewhat

artificialbox
April 2nd 2024


1490 Comments


was kind of excited to check this for some reason but couldn’t make it past the third track.

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


815 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

You're not missing much. The only song I could recommend from here is To the Flowers

Pikazilla
April 2nd 2024


29714 Comments


band's first two albums slapped tho

SteakByrnes
April 2nd 2024


29691 Comments


I don't understand why anybody listens to this band post 2015

Beardog
April 2nd 2024


5168 Comments


It's insane this band has an active fan base

Pikazilla
April 2nd 2024


29714 Comments


nu bmth fans love this band in the uk

they worship them

AnimalForce1
Contributing Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


815 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I love the new BMTH stuff, but this is just asinine

Kusangii
April 2nd 2024


6333 Comments


awful band

KrillBoi
April 2nd 2024


459 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Even worse fall from grace than Architects, wtf is happening to UK metalcore.

Pikazilla
April 2nd 2024


29714 Comments


bmth gaslighting everyone into playing radio poopcore

outliers
April 2nd 2024


4894 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I don't understand why anybody listens to this band post 2015 [2]

outliers
April 2nd 2024


4894 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

wow the album title and tracklist are in all upper case font, so edgy

Manatea
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


1919 Comments


Review is stellar.
Also album is horrific.

outliers
April 2nd 2024


4894 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yeah made it to track 3 and had to turn it off. absolute garbo



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