While She Sleeps

Vega, Copenhagen - 2014

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

When In Flames came to visit Copenhagen at the start of November, they brought two upcoming bands with them – Wovenwar and While She Sleeps.
The former, I had been informed, would open the night up, whereas the latter would deliver the final support before the main act. I was in for a surprise.

“We’re While She Sleeps from Sheffield, England. Thanks for coming down early to check out our band!”
- Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor (vocals)


Both While She Sleeps and Wovenwar were completely unknown to me, and the fact that there was a large While She Sleeps backdrop showing in the back didn’t necessarily mean that they were the first ones on the stage. Had it not been for the fact that I had just hours before watched their video for the song Crows, and thus recognising some of the faces, I would probably not have noticed that the order of the bands had been switched. Well, at least not until vocalist Taylor introduced the band, but that didn’t happen until a few songs into the set.

From the above mentioned video, I had gathered that we would be dealing with a modern metalcore band of the screamy persuasion, and that was pretty much what the band delivered on stage as well. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but I wasn’t above giving them a chance at winning me over, so with a new, cold beer in hand I found a good spot close to the stage to see what these youngsters were made of.
Straight from the start it was clear to everyone here that While She Sleeps was putting out about the same amount of energy as the Fat Man atom bomb. Everyone was moving, Taylor was frequently down on his knees, Mat Welsh spent about the same amount of time in the air as he did on the ground, and Aaran McKenzie didn’t wait long to visit the security pit where he got close and personal with the fans.

And fans there were – While She Sleeps wasn’t completely unknown to the large crowd in Vega, and several were seen jumping, headbanging, and moshing along to the music already from the start. When the piano intro for Our Courage, Our Cancer began playing, it was accompanied by improvised rhythmic applause by the audience. When the short show was done, loud shouts of appreciation filled the room for a good while, and the band members spent a short moment handing out what few guitar picks and drumsticks that they had brought along.

Musically, While She Sleeps felt as varied and surprising as the ticking of a metronome. Taylor had found his favourite note and stuck to it like glue, Welsh added quite a bit of backing vocals, but stuck to the program by using that same note, and the music was riffy and powerful, but apart from the piano intro mentioned, it could have all been the same song as far as I’m concerned.
Luckily for While She Sleeps, they knew how to play to their strengths, and their strengths lay mainly in their performance, their presence, and their delivery. Taylor wasn’t afraid of getting physical in order to involve everyone – he climbed speakers to high five the people on the balcony, ran out into the middle of the floor to start a mosh, and he stage-dived towards the end of the show, just to round things up. He also convinced the crowd that it was ok to crowd-surf, which is something that is highly unusual to see in Copenhagen, but he got a good response to it for nonetheless, and luckily the guards didn’t mind the extra work.

While She Sleeps is, deemed on their musical style and writing abilities, not a band I will look further into myself, but if you like this genre you can do much worse, and their live performance I can highly recommend if you need to blow off some steam!

Setlist:

New World Torture (intro only)
Death Toll
Dead Behind The Eyes
This Is The Six
Crows
Our Courage, Our Cancer
Seven Hills

While She Sleeps

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