My writing career spanning over the last two years has allowed me to trickle into other areas involving music. Whilst DJ’ing at a small bar for a rock night I spun ‘Brainwashed’ by While She Sleeps. To my surprise I came across a punter telling me with conviction “No one likes this song, or this record”. So here I am, writing this to prove to myself and that d*ckhead why ‘Brainwashed’ is one of the most important records within metalcore.
When one thinks of metalcore the mind wonders to the likes of Parkway Drive and Architects. Yet, one album in particular propelled While She Sleeps career to where they are now; and has helped shape the genre in its entirety. ‘Brainwashed’ became a milestone for While She Sleeps as it allowed them to come to the realisation that beliefs were divided at their previous record label. The pursuit of independence was afoot, which meant cutting ties and trading it all in for DIY.
“The pursuit of independence was afoot, which meant cutting ties and trading it all in for DIY.”
When ‘Brainwashed’ was announced it had a tremendous amount weight riding on it. Following up a debut record is never an easy task, especially with the additional causes for concern. Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor had undergone throat surgery the year before. Yet, diamonds are made under pressure after all; and here we have it ‘Brainwashed’ what a gem.
Looking at the track listing for this album you’ve got ‘Our Legacy’ and ‘Brainwashed’ which are big anthems. The beginning of ‘Four Walls’ sounds like a football chant that acquires a hooligan choir united by revolution. Whilst you do have the aggressive crowd killing songs you have intricate interludes to contrast this. This highlights the crevasses that While She Sleeps explored when creating the record. It allowed the album to flow well with its use on transitioning. If you take ‘No Sides, No Enemies’ which is a uniquely structured metal song that pulls you in, it is then met with ‘The Woods’. This track is used to change the narrative of the album due to its standoffish, relaxing manner. Luring the listener into a full sense of security which they are then quickly snatched out of ‘Method in Madness’. The songs contrast each other making for a better listening experience. Giving more depth than your tradition metalcore record.
“The album came at an important time and coincided with a lot of other albums the year of its release.”
The album came at an important time and coincided with a lot of other albums the year of its release. Their hometown Sheffield hosts one of the biggest metalcore bands the UK has ever seen. Bring Me The Horizon released ‘That’s The Spirit’ that same year which contrasted their back catalogue. Putting While She Sleeps on steel pedestal for metalcore to which they rightfully reside.
“Albums like these ones are unquestionably important, yeah maybe it’s no ‘Nevermind’ but it doesn’t need to be.”
A pet peeve of mine is that most people are in unison that metal, rock and other alternative genres aren’t as popular now as they once were. Because of bands like While She Sleep and many others, it’s alive and well. I live in a world where I can see metalcore bands play and sell out arena shows here in the UK and go on to do world-wide tours. Albums like these ones are unquestionably important, yeah maybe it’s no ‘Nevermind’ but it doesn’t need to be. Brainwashed did more for your musical taste then you would ever know. It helped shaped alternative culture and was a stepping stone for bigger and better things. Or perhaps we’re all just being brainwashed.
WORDS: CHARLIE CONIBEAR