A phrase that has been almost unanimously used to describe 'This Is The Six' is "the most highly anticipated album of the year". If the hype was anything to go by, it was going to be a game changer not only for While She Sleeps, but for hardcore infused Metal itself. And the album is now sure to be described as a modern day classic.
The Sheffield five piece had a strong start with 'The North Stands For Nothing' mini album in 2010, but have soared above expectations with their second release. The first sign of great things to come was with the release of 'Dead Behind The Eyes', which is the first track on the album. It gives no time to prepare for the frenzy that hits you, being heavier than anything on their previous release and the most ferocious on 'This Is The Six'. It pounds with anger and frustration as well as an honesty that can be seen throughout.
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The concept behind the 'Six' is that there are six members of the band, the extra member is the people that have helped them to get to where they are, and in a live situation this member would be assumed to be the audience. Although it cannot be said that one track stands out as much better than the rest, it is undeniable that no other song will unite the crowd and the band as much as the title track. It has the best of both things that While She Sleeps are masters of: catchy melodic lines and assaulting heaviness.
'False Freedom' has an effortlessly flowing riff that leads into the song. Defiant in their message, they deliver it convincingly with one of the most memorable choruses. The simplicity of the piano and gang vocals in a temporary calmness gives the song more emotion and is something that plays a bigger part in this album.
Although 'Be(lie)ve' was released in early 2011, the track on the album has been re-recorded, sounding much clearer and some slight variations show that you can't second guess what While She Sleeps are going to do next. The riff at the beginning is more prominent and punchy, grabbing your attention straight away, while an extended passage towards the end throws you off guard.
'Love At War' leads you into a false sense of security with a piano led intro and clean singing, before the drums lead into an explosion of riffing and bass heavy verses. Finishing in the same way it started, it is set apart from the bordering songs. The party vibe of 'The Plague Of A New Age' that follows brings a bounce that is impossible not to move to, while still being unbelievably heavy.
It is clear that WSS have not forgotten about 'The North Stands For Nothing' as they have moved forward, with 'This Is The Six' echoing the structure of the previous release. Instrumental 'The Chapel' allows a softer, but still as inspiring side of WSS to come through, as did songs such as 'Lost Above The Arches' on the mini album, something that was a highlight of 'The North Stands For Nothing'. The chorus of the title track to the mini album is sang during the emotionally charged 'Our Courage, Our Cancer', as well as the album being referred to in closer 'Reunite', which feels as though it sums up their two releases so far.
'This Is The Six' has set the bar even higher for hardcore/Metal bands and this will be the standard for which all others are compared to. You should catch them on their UK headline tour starting in September, as this will probably be the last time you will have the chance to see them in such small venues.