While She Sleeps @ Electric Ballroom, London

Review by James Meakin

What is metalcore?….Metalcore is exactly what it says on the tin. Call it what it is, it is metal with elements of hardcore or hardcore with elements of metal. It is usually epitomised by influences from the heavier end of the hardcore punk scale with large breakdowns, growling vocals as well as metallic staccato riffs. The form of music has been around for what seems like forever. Many metal heads would scoff at a metalcore band being added to a metal line up in the same way a metal band would not find it comfortable at a punk show. The two genres are actually much closer than either scene realises. The metalcore scene has exploded over the last decade. The vacuum created by the downfall of Nu Metal was quickly filled with what we now know as metalcore and quickly grew with bands like Killswitch Engage and All That Remains.

The problem with a scene that overgrows itself is the negativity that is generated in the wake of runaway popularity. Style over substance is the main point of contention you will hear from long haired stalwarts sat at metal bars. The concept of the fringed metalcore band is out dated and despite the bubble gum pop versions of bands breaking out into main stream success there is an undercurrent of heavy, honest and brutal music out in the world of metalcore which would satisfy even the most discerning punk rock or metallic palettes. Would it be right to throw all 80’s metal bands in with Bon Jovi? No.

Therefore it is not fair to tar all modern metalcore bands with the same brush as bands like Asking Alexandria.

Open up the pit for Polar; five guys from Guilford with guitars and snarling attitudes. First on of four is never easy but the audience pull their socks up for the evenings openers. Frontman Adam Woodford oozes confidence and throws caution to the wind when he incites a wall of death right off the bat, no easy feat as an opening act.

Rave reviews from Hevy festival seem to have filtered down through the masses meaning those who arrive early are ready for a dance. Their sound is down the line British hardcore executed with aplomb. Great showmanship and a fantastic way to get the Camden crowd rowdy in the lead up to the oncoming While She Sleeps storm.

Polar come out with a purpose in a home town show fresh off the back of their debut full length Iron Lungs and show why they are such a hot prospect for British heavy music. [4/5]

What to make of Crossfaith? A substantial amount of praise can be given to any band which sells tickets for the second support band of four regardless of the other bands of the line-up but never the less members of tonight’s sold out Ballroom are here to support their idols. Crossfaith are as far away from home as they could possibly be, hailing from Japan it can be discerned through their broken English and their powerful performance that being on stage in London is a dream come true. Their set is nothing short of mesmerising.

Their metalcore/dance/breakdown sound is balanced perfectly and performed admirably.
The cover of Prodigy’s Omen is outstanding with their incredible songs such as Monolith and Stars Faded in Slow Motion going down a treat. Front man Koie Kenta has a guttural and foul vocal range while electronics maestro Tamano Terufumi adds just the right amount of synth lead and glitch drums to really impress.

Crossfaith inspire the second wall of death of the evening as well as a support band drum solo which is hugely admirable. My advice, go and see Crossfaith as soon as possible. [5/5]

Traversing the lengths of the UK come Glasgow’s Bleed From Within who have been making waves of late with their ever expanding back catalogue.

Bleed From Within
Bleed From Within

Their professionalism is commendable; a tight and visually sumptuous show is presented to the audience. They have a few stand-out tracks such as It Lives in Me and Uprising. But the rest of the sent does not hold much weight between Crossfaith and While She Sleeps. Their brand of metalcore comes off more or less by the numbers and rather flat. They have the riffs, they have the brash young Scottish bravado but one feels there could be so much more they could be presenting. Bleed From Within sit at the more metal end of the metalcore spectrum immediately identifiable are influences such as As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage but there are also more technical goings on in their riffery from what can be assumed to be inspired from a few spins of Meshuggah records in the van.

Bleed From Within
Bleed From Within

The set is positive and enjoyable but as it progresses the riff/chorus/breakdown/riff formula becomes rather monotonous. [2/5]

While She Sleeps are one of the UK’s hottest prospects in the world of alternative music.
While She Sleeps have packed the Ballroom to its rafters and the swelling of the pit in the centre of the room is undeniably exciting.

While She Sleeps
While She Sleeps

Frontman Lawrence Taylor has the audience strapped in for the duration and does not let them draw one second of breath. Taylor is an outstanding performer but his supporting cast of Mat Welsh throwing in fantastic second vocals and a brutal rhythm section of Aaran Mckenzie and Adam Savage really show what can be done with metalcore.

This is the Six draws the pulsating mosh pit into anarchy with Dead Behind the Eye and the North Stands For Nothing has every member of the sold out north London hole screaming along. This band has always been synonymous with a rabid, loyal fan base which seems to be exponentially growing with each show.

While She Sleeps
While She Sleeps

This band is due to be knocking on the door of the big boys sooner rather than later. [4/5]