In the shadow of their show-stopping appearance on the main stage at Download last year, and just in time for their co-headlining European tour with Cancer Bats, Sleeps’ third studio offering smashes every high standard ‘This Is The Six’ produced. This time around, screeching electrics conjure a beautiful chaos with rousing gang vocals and destroying rhythms – the bar just got a hell of a lot higher.
The record opens to a cacophony of crowd noise, but only one voice holds the floor – Loz Taylor. “This is a system declining on us,” Loz screams through the rousing ‘New World Torture’. Through their trademark jaw-dropping solos and contagious scream-alongs, a voice of damnation cries its lungs out.
The disdainful disorder of ‘Brainwashed’ complements the reflective perfection of ‘Our Legacy’, speaking from bitter experience and core defiance. Captivating riffs and enrapturing battle cries herald a stark reminder of their flawless harmony, while ‘Four Walls’ demonstrates their versatility to morph into a contemplative chant.
A veritable spectrum of tempos and emotions, ‘Torment’’s thrashing riffs and infectious chorus soon pave the way for deadly whispers and a storming breakdown. Cries of “still I’m no better off than I was” will no doubt be ringing through venues across Europe next month. Metalcore’s now-compulsory piano interlude ‘Kangaezu Ni’ transitions smoothly into the haunting opening notes of record highlight ‘Life In Tension’, where rapturous congratulations are owed to Sean Long for his mastery of such a defiant riff that tells its own story.
Shapeshifting into the characteristically brutal ‘Trophies Of Violence’, Sleeps have by no means forgotten their roots in punchy vengeance anthems. With leading lines echoing iconic Metallica and inspiring gang vocals forged by their own design, ‘No Sides No Enemies’, on the other hand, condemns through solidarity rather than violence. Closing on the reflective chant of ‘Modern Minds’ and a sneakily hidden and distinctly raw acoustic, the multi-tonal ‘Brainwashed’ signals the end of the band’s agonising silence with an unmistakeable roar.
Embracing melody alongside chaos would be a challenge to anyone else, but While She Sleeps take the challenge in their stride. The only uncertainty is how ‘Brainwashed’ could ever be topped.
’Brainwashed’ by While She Sleeps is out now on Search And Destroy/Sony.
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Words by Ali Cooper (AliZombie_)