My introduction to While She Sleeps was quite an awesome one. We were at a festival about two or three years back, looking for a particular stage to prepare for an upcoming set. When we got there, what we found was While She Sleeps – destroying the place. They brought a massive level of energy that engaged the entire crowd, whether or not they were familiar with the music. They sparked moshing, crowd surfing, and all the mayhem one might imagine. And, of course, we joined in only to find out who was playing after the set was done.
A few days later, I found myself listening to their 2012 album “This Is The Six” which brought a similar energy from the studio. The band’s merging of Melodic Hardcore and Metalcore came crashing through like a steel wave. Tracks such as “Seven Hills” and “Our Courage, Our Cancer” really stuck home with effective songwriting and an ability to bring about some strong emotion. It was, without a doubt, a good album and a solid effort from the band. A few years later and here we are sitting with While She Sleeps’ latest effort, “Brainwashed”. In some ways, this record takes their past qualities and amplifies them under a new light.
“Brainwashed” largely seems to act as a criticism on the state of the modern world. It is both political and personal in nature, leaving nearly no stones unturned. I’m not usually inclined to give much thought to lyrics, but when it comes to While She Sleeps they’re hard to ignore. There are many important messages unified in the general directions of protest and empowerment while listening to “Brainwashed”. The music itself serves as an effectual catalyst holding them all together.
The album opens with a cacophony of voices growing in volume and anger, likely reflecting the turmoil and conflict found all over the world today. This introduction is appropriately called “The Divide”. This is followed by the sparks and rage from “New World Torture” and “Your Evolution”, which really open the album in an incendiary manner.
The title track, “Brainwashed”, is one of the most intense segments of the album. It really serves as a protest song against the messages we’re bombarded with and the emphasis on our differences that were subjected to on a daily basis. For the most part, it pushes what this album is about serving diligently as the title track. This song also ends with some monstrously intense riffing.
After an intense opening with the first four tracks, the tone mellows out temporarily with the interlude “We Are Alive at Night” which bleeds perfectly into the reflective single “Our Legacy”. This track really gives a retrospective of the our place in the grand scheme of things while giving the listener the means to push forward.
The single “Four Walls” was chosen amongst those to lead the album with good reason. It’s memorable on a number of levels from its melodic structure to the powerful lyrics laid above. It also has some of the most intense riffs on the record. Hell, even the music video is potent.
“Torment” serves as a confessional song leading to growth and the beautiful, piano driven instrumental that is “Kangaezu Ni”. This then explodes into the melodies of “Life In Tension” and then into another single with “Trophies of Violence”, both of which serve as great additions to the record.
“No Sides, No Enemies” asks, “Where is the unity?” after stating that, “There’s a world outside that could be yours.” This is right before the album quite literally sends your ears outside around a campfire in “The Woods”. This serves as a memorable instrumental, bringing beauty and passion together as one before the album absolutely smacks you with “Method In Madness”. This is all before the album ends on a charged and melodic note with “Modern Minds”
It’s rare to find some something so pissed off, yet accessible and uplifting. This becomes more and more true as the album progresses. And there’s no doubt that this was an intentional move from the band. With messages so potent and driving, they probably wanted to reach as many hearts as possible while still delivering the concepts and general heaviness.
This album doesn’t really come strapped with many downsides. The music itself doesn’t exactly break down any walls and remains fairly consistent throughout, but damn is it effective. And every song transitions flawlessly to the next. Not to mention (again) that the lyrics ring true throughout the experience. They work quite well hand in hand with the music, fitting like a glove.
The album is really well done with a lot of heart, making for a great listening experience (Believe me, I just listened to it four times in a row!) All in all, this one safely settles at an 8.5 out of 10 on our scale but it’s 100% worth checking out. Feel free to press those “play” buttons on the videos above and head over to the While She Sleeps Official Website to support the band in one of many ways if you enjoy! They deserve it.