British metalcore band While She Sleeps have released their 3rd single from their highly anticipated new album, So What?. This track is called The Guilty Party.
So What is due to be released on the 1st of March via the band’s own label, Sleeps Bros but also in partnership with Spinefarm Records. We have had two singles so far. The first was Anti-Social and then more recently, Haunt Me. Read our thoughts on those by following the links.
The Sheffield based metalcore band are one we watch intently due to their creative, inspiring albums and punishing live performances. We love their debut full length masterpiece, This is the Six. Their follow up, Brainwashed is brilliant and their crowd funded 3rd album, You Are We isn’t far off either. Live, they are phenomenal too, bringing cracking tunes and high energy to every second of every show. Read more on this by following the links but in short, any new While She Sleeps release raises the excitement levels here.
While She Sleeps are a 5 piece with vocals led by Lawrence Taylor (Loz). Mat Welsh is on rhythm guitar and clean vocals while Sean Long is on lead guitar and backing vocals. On bass and more backing vocals is Aaran McKenzie while Adam Savage is on the drums.
Now, I have already told you how much we all love and respect While She Sleeps here but there is a growing fear, at least on my part too. Bands evolve over time, of course they do, and While She Sleeps are evolving again with this new record. I am just not completely sold on this evolution. On You Are We, but even more so on the singles before The Guilty Party, they have changed to a cleaner, more polished sound. They utilise loads more clean vocals and gang vocals and spend vast amounts of their song time on harmonising. None of these things alone are bad, they are strong singers and I like harmony and gang vocals but within all of that they appear to have lost a little of their fire.
It isn’t disastrous, I mean I gave both singles 8 out 10, but recent songs lack a little of the passion of earlier records. More importantly, they aren’t as catchy or nearly as memorable. They are still very decent songs, they just aren’t as good as I hoped. Maybe expectation was too high? Well, let’s see if they can shut me up with The Guilty Party. And believe me, I would like nothing more than for them to do that.
Unfortunately though, I am still not sold. The Guilty Party, like the prior singles is certainly not a bad song. In fact some parts of it are absolutely banging but there are faults. It starts off with an interesting bit of female choir like vocals, not something I have heard on a While She Sleeps record before. It’s cool to see them still pushing boundaries and adding new elements. It is joined by a pretty decent riff before a shout of “Welcome to the Guilty Party” sees the tempo and aggression jump to new levels.
We drop back into cleans for the verse with a decent drum beat and guitar melody. It builds excitingly as we near the chorus, eventually ending as raw shouted vocals and a slamming riff. As it all feels like it is ready to explode into anarchy, it dies. Instead, once again, opting to go back to clean and harmonised soft vocals. They sound fine, don’t get me wrong, just this dropping into cleans is becoming predictable now. It picks up for sections in the second verse, again dropping back to soft whenever it threatens to go off. The riff at the end sees the female choir come back in which does sound cool but overall it’s a little underwhelming as a song.
While it once again isn’t a bad song, it just doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. Perhaps it is that. Maybe I need to adjust my expectations? I like that they experiment and they have always dropped backing vocals and harmony in to break up the metalcore but this is different. I find it out of balance, too heavily swayed towards meeker choruses and crying out for an explosion.
Despite that negative rhetoric, While She Sleeps are still releasing good music with So What?’s singles so far. They just lack a little of the fire, catchiness and angst of their previous albums. They are angry at the state of the world, politics and corporations still but in a cleaner, harmonised way now. Still, with three singles out there is plenty more to come and I’ll still be listening, still be enjoying them. I’ll wait until I can judge the album as a whole, not just off of three songs. Especially as all three are good songs, just not as good as I had built them up to be in my head.
You can grab The Guilty Party now on all the usual streaming platforms, like Apple Music and Spotify now. Preorder your copy of So What? at the band’s website here. Keep up to date with information on the band and the new album at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The Guilty Party by While She Sleeps (So What?)
The Final Score - 7/10