It may not be a standard team effort to let a hired gun dominate their promotional giveaway, especially when it’s one of the few accessible tracks on their album, but this is not a stupid team. Loz Taylor, the band’s actual lead vocalist, is allowed to holler on the album’s remaining songs like a guy passing a seven-pound kidney stone, but he was obviously asked to take one for the team.
“Dead Behind the Eyes” is downright dangerous. The first 10 seconds is a hair louder than standing three feet away from a Space Shuttle launch. The loudness wars are officially over and While She Sleeps claims the spoils. As if to celebrate the honor of winning Kerrang!’s Best British Newcomer, they uncork This Is The Six with a cannon blast that certainly will awaken whoever the She is in While She Sleeps.
After scrambling for the volume knob, “Dead Behind the Eyes” allows the listener to get back to their used IKEA chair and soak in the track before realizing that a .45 caliber bullet is heading in super slo-mo for that hairy area right between their eyes. “Dead Behind the Eyes” will make the listener dead between the eyes. It’s quite a feat considering it’s about the weakest song on the album.
This Is The Six isn’t papa’s metalcore. It’s a variation of homeboy hardcore for fans of festival metal where the P.A.is cranked to a trillion decibels, everyone’s drunk on £6 beer and every song sounds the same. While She Sleeps’ This Is The Six is the sonic heat-stroke reproduction of that experience. Blast the CD at a trillion decibels and the festival comes to the living room.
This Is The Six entered high in the UK pop charts for a reason, and songs like the title track, “Seven Hills” and “Satisfied in Suffering” help to explain. Each blare like a rocket ship and benefit from spleen-splitter screaming, while reeling out guitar riffs that aren’t ripped-off from Gary Holt or fellow scenester Steph Carter. The drums and the bass keep it punk, never quite falling into the thunk-thunk-thunk rubber band rhythms of metalcore. It’s an interesting blend of hybrid punk metal with a whisper of pop sensibility, all the while maintaining the fire-for effect misbehavior with cascades of backing tracks that belly out the speaker cones.
Pianos and instrumental preludes pop up, notably on “The Chapel” which is a two-minute teaser into a new, spiffed-up version of “Be(lie)ve,” a golden-oldie from their previous not-quite-an-album The North Stands For Nothing. No one can say While She Sleeps lacks sensitivity, even if they play scrabble with song titles. One annoying aspect of the album is that the festival police did not physically evict the intrusive ‘C’mon everyone, sing along!’ clustered vocals after the third time they appear. The album is littered with them, as though hooligans busted into the session to cheer the boys along after the Sheffield FC match.
This Is The Six is a super debut for Britain’s Best Newcomers. It’s a jet-engine assault on the ears that can be played a dozen times from beginning to end. The songs aren’t forever memorable, but the craftsmanship is superior to the two minute clang and grunts that pass themselves off as songs on the last Pig Destroyer or Dying Fetus epics. While She Sleeps probably won’t enjoy a career as long as those tech-knuckle death metallers, but none of the blokes from the Sheffield FC matches will be singing along to a PD or DF track any time soon.
(released November 6, 2012 on The End Records)