While She Sleeps’ This is the Six: When You’re Hungry, Hey, Sometimes Chili’s Tastes Good

  • Sammy O'Hagar

Metalcore, at this point, is a bit like Al Bundy: looking for any excuse to pull on its Polk High jacket. Or maybe a more appropriate comparison for a site that covers the kind of music we do would be hair metal in 1993: it still exists, there’s technically still an audience for it, but it’s undeniably been replaced in the minds of most. And like hair metal —  particular Def Leppard, select Poison cuts, and maybe Twisted Sister, depending on your definition of hair metal —metalcore isn’t without its merit or bands or albums with staying power; it’s just waned to has-been status. So theoretically it takes balls to try and break out as a metalcore band in 2012. It could also mean you think you’re trying to find meat in a genre that’s already picked clean the well-picked bones of whatever in the fuck is left of it. It’s simultaneously bold, arrogant, and confusing, which is why more often than not, I’d rather just throw on an old Krisiun album or something.

So that’s why, in the vastly different landscape in which it exists (and not at all because I’m way older than when I actively listened to new metalcore…), I can give While She Sleeps’ This is the Six an admirable rating: hey, it’s not bad or anything. The breakdowns and mosh parts are suitably fun, the clean vocals aren’t objectionable, the production is massive and glossy but the sugary, Swedish melodeath riffery suits it. What more do you expect metalcore to do for you? Broaden your view of the world or change your spirit or self through the power of art? This is the Six is a quite serviceable album. And that’s… fine. Just not necessary or noteworthy.

What does make it different? Well, utilizing what seems to be a new trend in the post-Ox world of metalcore and metallic hardcore, where clean parts are more thoughtfully assembled; the singing is mostly done via many voices in an almost folksy manner. They aren’t the first band that’s not Coalesce to do this, but it’s a trend I like seeing surface in place of another pale Glassjaw knockoff where some kid with crispy hair whines another forgettable vocal line. That being said, the clean parts also include some keyboard that would sound more at home in a late-90s Celine Dion megahit than it would in this context; it may have been wise to shell out for an acoustic piano. Everything else is pretty inoffensive and unobjectionable. The state of metalcore is pretty sorry when the best you can hope for is “it could have been much, much worse.” While She Sleeps don’t fuck anything up that badly on This is the Six, but I’ll be damned if I can remember anything about it by the time the softness of the closing track wraps up. Man, remember Poison the Well’s Tear from the Red? How great was Tear from the Red?

While She Sleeps’ This is the Six is out now. You can listen to the title track here and order the album here.

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