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While She Sleeps - Self Hell (Album Review)

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 Written by Will Marshall

While She Sleeps have been undergoing a metamorphosis on their past few releases. Pushing past the metalcore fury of ‘You Are We’ and ‘Brainwashed’, the Sheffield band embraced electronics to greater degrees with ‘So What?’ and ‘Sleeps Society’. Their latest missive ‘Self Hell’ doesn’t just continue in that vein, it does take a sledgehammer to expectations.

It’s immediately obvious that this will be a divisive release. Peace of Mind has an overblown choral opening and rallying-cry spoken word, giving way to Leave Me Alone, which is straight up rap-metal. It’s a bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off for them.

Occasionally, it does. The guitars churn and bludgeon and, overall, the synths are better incorporated here than they were on previous albums.

Rainbows has a big earworm hook that recalls Linkin Park, while Wildfire is piss-and-vinegar arena metal with the attitude to match. But there are several glaring issues with ‘Self Hell’. 

The title track is cringeworthy, its weak chorus almost derailing the entire album a third of the way in, while the inclusion of two filler interludes on a 12 track album adds nothing of value beyond a bit of self-importance. 

There’s plenty to laud While She Sleeps for, such as their dedication to DIY, their relationship with their fans, and their refusal to compromise. In many ways, it’s these values that have taken them from clubs to arenas. Unfortunately, while the creative drive remains strong on ‘Self Hell’ its execution is off in a manner that’s quite unlike them.


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