New Metal Revolution: While She Sleeps - The Young Lions

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There are few bands in recent times that have come as close to blowing their potential as While She Sleeps.

Primed to become the UK’s most important heavy band since Bring Me The Horizon ever since 2011’s The North Stands For Nothing EP was first championed by a Sheffield metal scene still in its relative infancy, the five-piece were set for explosive things last year, until a certain singer found himself out for the count thanks to some serious, surgery-causing vocal issues. In this very magazine’s While She Sleeps special a few months back, we revealed that a second surgery was on the cards for Loz Taylor, once again putting both his band’s and his own future in some serious doubt, but today, we are happy to report that, on the face of it at least, things are still very much still in motion for What Comes Next.

As you’ll soon hear for yourself once the explosive, multi-layered smackdown that is Brainwashed lands next month [see our review on page 82 – Helpful Ed], What Comes Next is another unmistakable signifier that this is a band capable of becoming the lynchpin in the rise of metal’s young guns here in the UK. Heavy enough for diehard metalheads to appreciate (seriously, listen to that death metal drop in newie Freedom Of Lies and tell us this band don’t know how to riff), but with enough of a sheen to get Fearne Cotton hoping they sell Sleeps tees in Topshop (they don’t, FYI), the Sheffield natives remain a particularly prodigious presence in a scene already brimming with great young bands./o:p

As an inevitably bonkers, chaos-causing tour with Cancer Bats beckons and a Stateside stint on Warped Tour also rears its head, Loz – fully recovered from his double-duty throat-tweaking – is excited about both the band’s immediate future and the state of metal itself. “Yeah, this generation of bands is stepping up,” agrees the singer when asked about the upwards trajectory of Sleeps and many of their peers, both at home and abroad. “Because you’re always involved in your own band, you don’t really get much of an outside perspective, but there’s definitely something happening in the UK – especially in the last five years, where it feels like there’s always a great new British band popping up.” One of the key characteristics of the rise of many of the younger bands you’ll see in this issue – indeed, one echoed by Of Mice & Men’s Austin Carlile only a few pages back – is the overwhelming level of support that so many artists are willing to offer each other, and that’s something that is magnified to particularly heartwarming extents on these shores. From Bury Tomorrow to Bleed From Within, Heart In Hand to Heart Of A Coward, there’s a camaraderie across the scene that runs far deeper than mere age or geography. It’s something that has helped many of today’s most exciting bands get a foot up in the first place – not to mention, as Loz’s extracurricular activities have underlined, instilling them with an attitude that can enable tomorrow’s heroes to prosper from the same moral code. “It’s like a community, which is why I like giving back,” explains the Sleeps frontman. “It’s why I run my own festival, Festivile. Bands like Malevolence played last year, and this year we’ve got Trash Talk, Heart Of A Coward, Feed The Rhino… it’s a great lineup. We also do a battle of a bands in my hometown, Doncaster, which is where I first saw Kasabian in a 200-cap room. There was hardly anything going on in Donny when I was growing up, so to have stuff like that is good. It’s important to feed back in[to the scene].” Loz’s dedication to injecting fresh blood into the UK scene’s veins is a reflection of the togetherness that’s seen so many bands make strides in recent years, and he is one of many who feel that the rise of the iTunes generation, and in particular the more open-minded approach to music that typifies many music fans today, has resulted in an era where genres are becoming obsolete. “Going back to when you had MySpace, there were these specific genres you had to put your band into – metalcore, grindcore, pop, punk, whatever – and I think that people were fixated on that for so long,” he observes. “Now, under genre, we put, ‘Decide For Yourselves.’ We don’t have barriers; we have to get rid of this stigma of ‘What [genre] are you?’”

BEST OF BRITISH

The home-grown bands leading the charge in 2015…

BRING ME THE HORIZON

No one can argue that Horizon remain the UK’s most successful metal export since Bullet. Yes, they continue to move away from the deathcore-inflected leanings of their early years, but as Antivist showed, they still know how to kick it off.

BURY TOMORROW

Last year’s solid if divisive Runes took Southampton’s finest on their most successful UK tour yet. Few metal bands in 2015 are as capable of writing a kickass chorus like them. The only way continues to be up.

BLEED FROM WITHIN

With Uprising serving as one of the best British metal albums of 2013, and follow-up EP Deathwalk offering similarly conclusive evidence that BFW are Scotland’s finest metal band, there’s no reason why the quintet won’t do great things this year.

ASKING ALEXANDRIA

Despite Danny Worsnop’s exit, as long as Ben Bruce is still writing those unshakable metalcore earworms, Asking aren’t going anywhere. We have every confidence they’ll soon get on with conquering the globe.

ENTER SHIKARI

Obliterating main stages at festivals, filling the Roundhouse twice and unleashing another politically charged set of dance-rock ragers has made the last six months memorable for a band who seem unstoppable./o:p