The British heavy metal scene has never looked stronger. Some of the biggest metal heavyweights hail from these isles, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Cradle of Filth, Saxon, Diamond Head to name but a few. Bands that are considered to be at the top of their game. When people think of British heavy metal bands these are the guys they think of but there is a vast underground scene steaming from the hardcore & thrash metal genres.
This is where While She Sleeps comes in. A band adored by many but lumped within a genre that is often off-putting (I can speak for this, I despise most hardcore music) to a vast majority of heavy metal fans. That’s the problem with genres…they pigeon-hole a band & restrict who might listen to them.
While She Sleeps might be a hardcore band at their base but their use of melody, gang-vocals, piano & just incredible musicianship puts them miles ahead of their peers.
What I’m saying is…give them a chance. You might find you really like them & supporting our home-grown metal bands is so important.
Leo’s Red Lion is a tiny venue on a tour that is all about playing the small, local venues that are slowly disappearing up & down the country. This entire tour is sold out & inside the sweaty venue die-hard Sleeps fans wait in feverish anticipation. This is a packed room of people who all see While She Sleeps as one of the most important bands in metal. It’s why their arrival is greeted with roars of approval & the place explodes in a sea of circle pitting metallers with opener, Brainwashed.
It’s the perfect song to begin with, getting the energy flowing & hammering your senses into the ground early on.
Every song played is met with screams & roars of excitement, some of these songs are only a year old but are given such love as if they’ve been part of the bands set since day 1. The band are incredibly tight & other than losing the backing vocals on occasion there can be no complaints regarding sound quality.
Many times the crowd take over vocal duties with Our Courage, Our Cancer being an incredibly moment for everyone involved.
The band seem to be enjoying themselves & their intense energy keeps the crowd moving non-stop. Circle pits, a wall of death, state-diving etc. You name it, it happened here. I do want to add that some of the stage diving got a bit silly here with one guy in particular jumping knee first into the crowd & promptly knocking a far smaller woman out cold.
As unfortunate as that incident was the rest of the time the crowd is in huge voice & high spirits. The band acknowledging their roots explaining why playing venues like this for people like us is so important….and it feels important especially during an incredible rendition of Seven Hills where the crowd is invited on stage. At least half the room manages to squeeze onto the tiny platform resulting in one of the more intense moments of the entire night.
An epic rendition of Four Walls finishes a blistering set that lasts around about an hour. The walls are dripping with the heat & the sweaty crowd are exhausted but satisfied. The band leave the stage as conquering heroes.
Intensity is the word that best describes this show. You feel like you’re part of something, that this is a family & it is a great reminder as to why heavy metal is so important, why bands like While She Sleeps are so important & why venues like Leo’s Red Lion are so important.
While She Sleeps @ Leo's Red Lion, Gravesend (22/03/16)