WHILE SHE SLEEPS is a group that, since their debut full length, they got very big, very fast. They were the ideal combination of catchy enough to appeal to a wide audience, and heavy enough to target the metal scene. So around 4 years since their debut full length, they reached a point in their career in which they felt they could do without a record label, resulting in the launch of a crowdfunding campaign, which of course was successful, that would give them their own recording studio, and their fans the third WHILE SHE SLEEPS album “You Are We”.
Before I get into details, and although I usually avoid talking about specific tracks, I have to pause and give a standing ovation to the title track, and album opener “You Are We”, as I think it’s the best most complete song they’ve ever written. Bravo.
As for the rest of the album, the band stick to their guns, doing a style they know they do best. Borderline hardcore riffs (but metalcore really), abundance in groove and energy, songs full of singalong chants, as well as catchy choruses and vocal lines that are masterfully executed by all three lead and backing vocalists. The lyrics that accompany them are trademark sociopolitical WSS lyrics, a lyrical style I’m personally a fan of. In all honesty, if you liked this group before this release, you’re probably gonna like “You Are We” as well. For the most part, the band walks in paths familiar to both them, and their fanbase. Nevertheless, if you sense there is a “but” coming, you’ve got a good hunch.
“The band stick to their guns, doing a style they know they do best.”
To quote a friend’s comment about the first single the band released for this album, “the best thing about it, it’s classic WHILE SHE SLEEPS. The worst thing about it, it’s classic WHILE SHE SLEEPS”. This quote eventually summed up the whole album. My main issue with WHILE SHE SLEEPS has always been their reluctance to put their undoubtedly huge talent to the test, not in terms of technicality but in terms of compositions. They’re like seasoned swimmers that only dwell In shallow waters in fear they’ll drown if they actually have to swim. And what saddens me in “You Are We” is that they watered down the compositions even more. This is not necessarily bad, as the wider audience probably prefers a more easily digested experience, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably get tired of the same choruses after 3-4 listens. Also, I feel like the whole, political-social justice warrior- thing, which otherwise I would be a fan of, has become more of a gimmick and a selling point than a message they want to spread with their music. I dunno, maybe that’s just me. This whole paragraph was some stuff I’ve had revolving in my mind regarding WSS for a while now, but they’re 100% personal opinions and nothing more.
When it comes to the mix, it’s truly state-of-the-art. They used the same producer they’ve always used (Carl Bown) and co-produced the album with him. Guess their newly built studio paid off, and that’s apparent by how absolutely amazing this album sounds.
WHILE SHE SLEEPS are not my go-to band in my spare time, but I respect them immensely for their work ethic and actually like some of their songs a lot. When it comes to “You Are We”, some tracks I loved, some left me indifferent but never did I feel bored and wanted to actually skip a track. I’m pretty sure, if you’re a bigger fan of WHILE SHE SLEEPS than I am, you’ll enjoy it even more. If you’re looking to get into them, I’d recommend checking out “Brainwashed” as I feel it’s their most complete work to date. If you’re already a fan, you should 100% check out “You Are We” as I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it.