Hailing from Sheffield means it’s almost inescapable While She Sleeps are going to face comparisons with the Steel City’s biggest contribution to modern metal, Bring Me The Horizon. However, ‘This Is The Six’ gives the five-piece the perfect opportunity to, if not eclipse their opinion-dividing peers, at least come close to matching them. Having already built a burgeoning reputation with some pretty impressive touring – they’ve already clocked up over 300 shows, a well-received debut EP – 2010’s ‘The North Stands For Nothing’ – and a slick web presence, all the ingredients are there for some pretty major success, but that groundwork would count for nought if ‘This Is The Six’ didn’t deliver the goods. Luckily, it’s more than up to the task.
Right from the minute opener ‘Dead Behind The Eyes’ blasts out of the speakers with massive rollicking riffs, throat-shredding vocals from singer Lawrence Taylor and no small amount of metallic muscle, it’s obvious WSS mean business and the energy and power displayed on that opening track are in evidence throughout this 44-minute effort. This is a big sounding record, with every instrument sounding crisp, clear and powerful, but the band haven’t made the mistake of over-producing proceedings, meaning that the occasional use of piano and pseudo-choral vocals add to, rather than detract from the underlying intensity that drives the record forward. Basically, it’s slick, but not too slick, and the fact that the band obviously know their way around a chorus – as stand-out numbers like ‘Seven Hills’ and ‘Believe’ show – merely ensures that ‘This Is The Six’ doesn’t slip into the aggressive bluster that less-than-inspiring metallic hardcore succumbs to.
Given their relative youth as a band, it’s perhaps not that surprising that sections of ‘This Is The Six’ do sound just a little bit over-familiar, as the band occasionally fail to truly escape their influences. The shadow of As I Lay Dying stands ominously above ‘Satisfied Is Suffering’ while the album’s title track has more than a hint of BMTH to it, but the energy and sheer balls WSS bring to the table makes their sound distinct and also compensates for the occasional uninspiring number like ‘Until The Death’.
Being entirely honest, ‘This Is The Six’ won’t find much of an audience among die-hard metal-heads or hardcore kids who will no doubt see the band as just a bit too ‘mainstream’ for their tastes. But for anyone finding their way into heavy music, ‘This Is The Six’ is the perfect gateway drug, performed by five lads with energy, enthusiasm and a real hunger to succeed. A serious statement of intent that should see While She Sleeps leave a lasting mark on the UK scene.