When I heard the name While She Sleeps, it sounded unfamiliar. I’d heard of the name before, but no songs came to mind. That was until I heard their previous album ‘You Are We’. That title track alone takes you places. It changes paces, it has power, it has emotion, it hits you in the hart. Obviously, I was not the only one amazed by the album. It got an award for best album. That album was crowdfunded and released on the bands own label called Sleeps Brothers. With their new album called ‘So What’? they’re sort of in a dangerous situation now: The bar is set so high. Do they top it? Or do they fall to pieces? Let’s give it a listen.
You can hear a sound in the distance, dogs are barking, mystery is around the corner… Then guitarist Sean Long breaks the mystery. ‘Anti-Social’ blasts in with a mix of heavy metal, hardcore and metalcore. The video for this song gives a perfect visual picture of what the message is. Society takes over, we follow like cattle, like blind moles… “I’m not anti social, I’m anti bullshit”.
‘I’ve Seen it All’, I’ve seen nothing yet. The second song starts of with fast guitar picking. Flowing over into a more melodic pre chorus and a screamed, full of energy chorus. Title song ‘So What’ starts off like a song you could hear on your local tv channel. Then it fades out and gives you full on While She Sleeps: Solid guitar riffs by Mat Welsh and Sean Long and scream and clear vocals by Lawrence Taylor. ‘The Guilty Party’ is yet again a powerful song. Like somebody who comes into your room unannounced while you’re minding your own business. “I don’t need to feel like I can’t do this all on my own”. Turn the volume to 11 man.
This whole album is simply full of powerful riffs and a ‘mind your own business’ attitude. It makes you want to throw stuff around and just move on the music in whatever way possible. Then after you’ve listened to the album, when you calm down, it makes you think about the album. What did you just listen to? What is the meaning of this album?
“We’ve let our hair down and we’ve got our bollocks out. I’m not fucking about. I’m not cutting corners. I’ve been writing like this will be my last album.”
One thing that catches the eye is the albumcover. It’s a plain white cover with 4 round speaker grills on it and in black letters with a red question mark it says ‘So What?’ Pretty empty. Not a cover where you get a clue about the album’s message.
“‘So What?’ is about how easily we all judge everything before we actually know anything about it. If we put a really elaborate title on a record with a really elaborate cover, that could give you the option of deciding what you think of it before you’ve listened to anything on it. The one thing we’re putting every bit of our creative juice into is the music.”
– says lead singer Mat Welsh.
After reading this, in one way the album cover does explain the album title, but after listening to the record. While She Sleeps got what they wanted. Only for newcomers though. I started the review with a high expectation because I heard the previous album, so I guess I kinda judged this album as well. Anyway, I listened to it with an open mind and I think that’s the main point of view here.
So, conclusion, … wow. This album is yet again amazing. They have their own original sound. When you hear the music, you know it’s While She Sleeps. It’s the combination between the different styles that got mentioned before and the perfect balance between those. The clear sounds and the heavier parts are both equal as amazing. And also the execution of it. If you don’t like this album… So What? But I’ll doubt that that’s the case.
Release date: March 1, 2019.
Label: Spinefarm Records/Sleeps Brothers
02 I’ve Seen it All
04 So What
05 The Guilty Party
06 Haunt Me
08 Set You Free
09 Good Grief
10 Back of My Mind
11 Gates of Paradise