While She Sleeps-This Is The Six

Over the past two years While She Sleeps have steadily come from relative obscurity in the clubs of Southern Yorkshire to readying the release of, what wouldn't be a stretch to say, one of the most anticipated metal debuts of recent times and it's come from a hell of a lot of hard work. That hard work has manifested itself, speaking fairly broadly, as two pivotal things; 2010's furious and scintillating debut mini-album The North Stands For Nothing which featured a mixture of fresh bruising metal anthems and calmingly breaking interludes that felt like, in the words of its title-track, "the salt that will seal your sores" and their seemingly inherent ability to lay utter waste to every venue and festival they played around the country, both of these factors building a firm fan base that wasn't going to be leaving any time soon. Working at the respective Chapel and Treehouse Studios with producer Carl Bown for their debut full-length seemed like the perfect path to take following this and sure enough as the quartet began to reveal the fruits of these sessions to the world, more and more people began to sit up and take notice of something extremely exciting happening. That this album is an absolute twelve-track raging monster then comes as no surprise, the band managing to wear their ranging influences on their sleeves while creating a sound that you can't quite put your finger on, it taps into a uniqueness that is perhaps less frequently come by these days.

Kicking off like a sudden and shocking but somehow righteous punch in the face with Dead Behind The Eyes, Sleeps have you by the jugular from the off and don't let go until the calm reflective resolve-of-sorts closer Reunite. Frontman Loz Taylor's razorblade scream treads a fine line between total viciousness, see the opener's "I let the bastards surround me!" conclusion, and a searching poignancy that genuinely yearns at points without falling into conventional melody such as in the lost and savoured memories of Seven Hills or the unwavering devotion to those close in the deep-cutting Our Courage, Our Cancer, his scream of "I'll be there" conveying a refreshing sense of dealing lyrically with issues that really matter, something that can sometimes be forgotten in the agendas of modern bands of a similar ilk. The musicianship is exceptional too, guitarists Sean Long and Mat Welsh step forward on this album, already having hinted at such on the mini-album, as two of British metal's finest guitarists, bringing an interesting and unusual melodic feel to an undeniably heavy slam. In fact that's one of the things that truly makes Sleeps something different, the band crush as heavily as Slipknot at times and, similarly to the Iowan legends, they bring a melody hand in hand with it that feels new and can't really be pigeonholed. And it's wide-ranging as well, Satisfied In Suffering possesses the kind of killer bounce that couldn't come from anywhere but the ghost of nu-metal while the climactic The Plague Of A New Age has the same level of heaviness found on Machine Head's The Blackening and Love At War's lifting gang-vocals lament the modern day lack of care and respect given to those who had to fight in the Second World War with a tangible sense of feeling. It's a diverse affair that feels like it's saying something while feeling invigorating.

This is a great modern metal album that signals the start of something that is and promises to continue to be massively exciting. Sleeps have triumphed and for a debut album this completely smashes any sense of expectation, from here the world's eyes will be firmly upon them.