While She Sleeps – So What?
Sheffield metal unit While She Sleeps step it up yet again to produce one of the finest rock releases of 2019 so far
If 2017’s You Are We was anything to go by, then While She Sleeps should be taken very seriously. That release gained great praise as the band continued to grow and succeed in a genre that’s often suffocated by repetition and a lack of originality. Following its triumph, some may have thought WSS would struggle to top it – but they’d be very wrong.
So What? breaks boundaries while fully embracing its obvious metal roots, exploiting them in the most brutal of manners WSS have ever attempted. Twin that with mature songwriting and the end result is a record sublimely crafted with brashness, passion and an absolute, emphatic lack of giving any fucks whatsoever.
For examples of the group’s understated progression, look no further than their now-trademark ability to write arena-friendly hooks as bullish as they are catchy. Anti-Social is a millennial metal anthem; I’ve Seen It All writes its message of ' We won’t give up' in blood; Haunt Me feels almost apocalyptic.
Riff-loaded guitars sound like prime-cut meat-on-strings, Adam Savage’s drums are relentless and ferociously frantic, while Lawrence Taylor’s screams consistently grizzle and snarl fiercely atop all of that madness. Yet, there’s still room for the five-piece to be playfully fresh, chucking in elements of gigantic harmonised vocals on Set You Free and Gates of Paradise, and teasing punk and electronic textures – producer Carl Brown (an unsung hero) wasn’t kidding when he declared: "it's going to blow your mind!"
Make no mistakes, While She Sleeps are one of the finest metal acts the UK have to offer. This record wasn’t necessarily needed to prove that, but boy, does it cement the fact. So What? has all the makings of a modern metal classic, and with any luck, it will be.
Listen to: Anti-Social, I’ve Seen It All, Elephant