The UK metal scene has always struggled to find a band to really believe in. Iron Maiden are an obvious band to look to, however they surfaced decades ago and, since then, who has really rocked the UK metal scene and left their mark?
I would argue that Bullet For My Valentine were the greatest thing to happen in British metal since Iron Maiden. When they released The Poison in 2005, fuelled by teen angst and providing anthems for the oppressed, Bullet seemed to hit the mark. They then went on to release the huge Scream Aim Fire. Across two albums, one being their debut, they found arena-crushing songs such as Tears Don’t Fall, 4 Words, Waking The Demon and Scream Aim Fire. However, they went on to break our hearts by releasing the weaker Fever and the, quite frankly, appalling Temper Temper. Alas, their day in the sun was over. Who could next fly the flag for UK metal? Step up Bring Me The Horizon.
With 2013’s Sempiternal, Bring Me The Horizon changed the metal scene. They left behind the ‘deathcore’ genre they had given a name to, and created a masterpiece. Suddenly, the Sheffield crew could play Wembley Arena with huge anthems such as Shadow Moses and Sleepwalking. Such a flawless, raw album, could surely mean that BMTH were the future of UK Metal? Well, that would have been the case if they hadn’t decided to become “the heaviest band in pop” (Oli Sykes). That’s The Spirit crushed any hope of a UK metal renaissance as the screams and breakdowns were dropped in favour of synths and pop-rock anthems. Sure, it’s a great album, but takes Bring Me the Horizon out of the running for being our saviours.
A few bands have created waves in the UK metal scene such as Architects and Bury Tomorrow, however none have quite found the right formula that made Bring Me The Horizon and Bullet for My Valentine so successful, until now.
In 2016, Sheffield metalcore outfit While She Sleeps announced that they would be leaving their record label and using crowd-funding site pledgemusic to fund their new album. They wanted to break away from the chains of labels dictating their future, and wanted to be able to craft it themselves, with a little financial help from their fans. Fans could pledge to support the creation of the new album, and tour cycle, in return for perks such as limited edition vinyl, experiences with the band (such as them tattooing you), or even the chance to sing vocals on the album. This follow up to their breakthrough This is The Six and the under-appreciated masterpiece Brainwashed, would be their most personal album yet. The fact that they put their fans at the heart of the creative process also meant that a powerful bond was created between the band and their audience. With all the dedication and support they received from their fans to create this album, it was clearly going to be something quite special. And it most certainly is.
There are several reasons this new album has come to save the UK scene. Firstly, it’s absolutely huge. This album is quite simply the greatest thing UK metal has produced since Sempiternal, which means it is quite fitting that Oli Sykes features on the hit single Silence Speaks. The album creates powerful anthems that sum-up the feelings of the frustrated youth in a post-brexit Britain. The chorus of Empire of Silence seems to hit the nail of the head; we’re building walls where there should have been bridges // borders in the land that we roam // we pray for war like it’s a f**king religion //when greed is all we know. Anyone who has struggled with the political whirlwind in this country will be able to associate with the lyrics on this album, from the sorrow in Settle Down Society (evil minded corporate war for a lost allegiance // sacrifice all for the cost of innocence) to the resolute defiance of Wide Awake (Why don’t we live like we’re alive? // I’m wide awake, wide awake, wide awake).
You Are We is the perfect album, released at the perfect time. While She Sleeps have stepped up their game, upgraded their sound, and struck right at the heart of everything wrong with our world today. This is an album for the lost, for the defiant, for the angry and for the hopeful. This is the album, the band, that have come to tell the world that the UK metal scene is alive and moshing.
“It's mine but it's probably stolen Paid the price but it's probably free For a life un-prescribed, an escape from the lines I can survive if I know you are we”