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LIVE REVIEW: While She Sleeps @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent

On the back of releasing the sensational You Are We to critical acclaim from press and fans alike and driving an independent campaign of musical dominance, WHILE SHE SLEEPS are one of the leading bands in heavy music today. Still reeling in the success of their latest studio effort, the Sheffield mob have wasted no time in taking to the road to bring their explosive sound to the masses. We caught the band perform to a sold out show at The Sugarmill in Stoke-on-Trent to see if WHILE SHE SLEEPS continue to fly the flag for British metal.

Fizzy Blood live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL Photographs
Fizzy Blood live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL Photographs

Tasked with opening proceedings, rising UK alternative rockers FIZZY BLOOD had the perfect opportunity to leave a lasting impression to make to stand out in a rather congested UK rock scene. And for the most part, the UK rockers delivered a steadily consistent live performance. From the consistent rhythm from drummer Jake Greenway that kept a rocking beat to the rather consistent vocal hooks from frontman Benji Inkley, the Leeds outfit boasted confidence throughout their opening set, especially in closing song January Sun. Unfortunately, for all their confidence and ability in their sound, FIZZY BLOOD lacked enough creative prowess to shine and help them truly stand out. Whilst the triple riff display from Benji Inkley, Paul Howells and Tim Malkin created a loud wall of sound, there just seemed to be a lacking spark of creativity within their brand of rock to truly make for an impressive and memorable live performance.

Rating: 7/10

In Hearts Wake live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL Photographs
In Hearts Wake live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL Photographs

Whilst FIZZY BLOOD were commendable in their performance but lacked enough spark to hype up the swelling crowd, Australian metalcore outfit IN HEARTS WAKE delivered a set that oozed energy and adrenaline. Granted, the Aussie five piece tick all the boxes for metalcore and that could be seen as generic but IN HEARTS WAKE own their sound and it made for an explosive live performance. Chugging riffs from guitarist Eaven Dall and Ben Nairne had the crowd bouncing, frontman Jake Taylor’s unclean vocal deliveries packed a punch and Kyle Erich’s clean vocal lines, predominantly utilised in soaring choruses, helped IN HEARTS WAKE deliver a gripping performance in the live environment. And despite a brief buckle in momentum due to the ballad nature of Wildflower, the band ended on an high through closing track Earthwalker. Sure, IN HEARTS WAKE aren’t the most original band in metalcore, in fact they are far from it, but the Australian outfit gave a solid and adrenaline inducing set.

Rating: 8/10

While She Sleeps live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL photographs
While She Sleeps live @ The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent. Photo Credit: APL photographs

A lengthy delay prior to WHILE SHE SLEEPS taking the stage was stirring irritation amongst the ocean of people but once the band took to the stage, WHILE SHE SLEEPS wasted no time in providing a enormous wall of sound that washed over the audience as the swelling crowd moved like waves. Opening track You Are We made for a thunderous opening as Loz Taylor’s iconic vocal blasts roared above the emphatic riffing from guitarists Sean Long and Mat Welsh. From there, the band continued to step up the gears and really started to fire on all cylinders. Civil Isolation’s quick fire approach was utterly destructive whilst Brainwashed led to the entire venue being engulfed into a mosh pit.

With the tour coming right off the back of the release of their latest record, it would therefore make sense for a large portion of the band’s set to be comprised of new material. And rightly so, as seven tracks from You Are We were included in WHILE SHE SLEEPS‘ set and it made for the best moments of the performance. Empire of Silence showcased the band’s melodic edge as the backing vocals from Sean Long led to a hair-raising chorus, Silence Speaks led to a roaring response from the ravenous crowd and Feel showcased the band accurately replicating their studio sound and then some. That, and a scattering of tracks from earlier material to keep the faithful happy, from This Is The Six’s twin guitar assault to New World Torture’s thunderous breakdown, WHILE SHE SLEEPS packed jaw-dropping power.

Consistently throughout their performance WHILE SHE SLEEPS oozed energy and replicated a well-oiled machine as each member of the band delivered in their duties to create an adrenaline pumping environment that was a spectacle to behold which was best experienced in their triumphant encore of Four Walls and Hurricane. Perhaps one of the most exciting bands in our scene today and breaking down the barriers between band and fan, WHILE SHE SLEEPS delivered a performance that backed all the hype, one that demonstrated why the Sheffield outfit have taken the British metal scene by absolute storm.

Rating: 9/10

Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in Stoke from APL Photographs here:

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