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While She SleepsEssigfabrik, Cologne, Germany
23rd February 2019
While She Sleeps - “So What?” EU Album Release Tour 2019 - Special Guests: Stray From The Path, Trash Boat, Landmvrks

The quintet from Sheffield, UK formed as a band among former schoolmates back in 2006. Current singer Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor joined them in 2009, and so far, they have released three studio albums with the fourth ‘So What?’ being released beginning of March 2019.


Trash Boat

Due to an earlier start than announced and because of heavy traffic, I just made it to the start of the third band, STRAY FROM THE PATH. Our photographer was a little luckier and at least caught the second band, TRASH BOAT. So here are at least some pics of their appearance.

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Stray From The Path

The evening’s third band was the American Metalcore band STRAY FROM THE PATH. Originating from Long Island, New York, the quartet was founded in 2001 around guitarist Thomas Williams, the only remaining original band member. In 2005 the current vocalist Andrew Dijorio (aka Drew York) joined the band, and the band became increasingly political in their message. Their latest release ‘Only Death is Real’ from 2017 is their eighth studio album. For more about the band go to www.onlydeathisreal.com or https://www.facebook.com/Strayfromthepath.

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Music & Performance
Already at 8pm, STRAY FROM THE PATH entered the stage, and opened their set with the iconic song ‘Goodnight Alt-Right’ from their latest album. The Essigfabrik was packed to the limit, and the audience picked up the energetic Rap-heavy Metalcore from the New Yorkers very quickly and converted the energy into a boiling mosh pit. Singer Drew relentlessly fired up the people in the front and developed a menacing authority over the crowd. Guitarist Tom Williams delivered artful string work and grooves reminiscent of Tom Morello. However, his instrument suffered from being muddied over by the mighty drum sound mix, which rattled the Essigfabrik in its foundation.

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At the end of the forty-minute set, Drew explained that the whole evening was being recorded for a music video, and he demanded 50 crowd surfers for their final song, and the audience more than delivered, as security had their hands full to catch body after body being carried over the heads of the crowd.

Setlist
01. Goodnight Alt-Right
02. Badge & A Bullet Pt. II
03. The Opening Move
04. Loudest in the Room
05. Outbreak
06. The House Always Wins
07. Snap
08. Plead the Fifth
09. Badge & A Bullet
10. First World Problem Child

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 7
Total: 7 / 10

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While She Sleeps

With three ambitious albums celebrated all over the world, the British quintet WHILE SHE SLEEPS has established itself internationally as a major player of Metalcore. The band from Sheffield defines how modern heavy metal of the present has to sound with skilfully composed, enormously powerful and in moments intricately progressive songs. Their exciting, coherent music is understood all over the world, which is proven by sold out tours from Europe to Japan, from Australia to the USA. WHILE SHE SLEEP’s fans of all kinds of metal play in their homeland as well. Their debut album, ‘This Is the Six’, rose to number 27 in the charts in 2012 immediately after its release and was awarded one Kerrang! and one Metal Hammer Award each. Even more successful proved her third, so far last work ‘You Are We’ from 2017: Top 10 in England and the US-Heatseekers-Charts as well as numerous Top-20 placements from Europe to Asia. In spite of a challenging and extensive world tour, the next brilliant piece of art is already waiting to be released: On March 1st, ‘So What?’, the fourth long player, will be released, once again demonstrating the ambitious musical development of While She Sleeps. Check out www.whileshesleeps.com or https://www.facebook.com/whileshesleeps.

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Music & Performance
The change-over revealed lots of sleek white base and guitar speaker cabinets for the upcoming gig of WHILE SHE SLEEPS. Around 9:15pm, the lights went low, the gloomy first intro notes of ‘ANTI-SOCIAL’ resounded over the speakers, while the band members entered the stage. With a thunderous lightning of strobe lights, WHILE SHE SLEEPS entered the stage to perform this track as the opening song. Together with the excellent sound mix underscoring the band’s versatility, the new song once again ticked off the audience, and almost simultaneously, dozens of half-full beer cups were thrown into the air and a vicious circle pit appeared. The fever pitch was reached when the band played their anthemic ‘You Are We’ from the same titled 2017 album. After this song, guitarist Sean Long instructed the people in the front to pick up those who fell to the ground in the wild pit, and singer Loz grinningly echoed “Yeah, look after each other you fuckers”.

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The set continued without any room to breathe, during which all kinds of seemingly lost garment pieces were thrown in the air, as the intensity of the pit action showed no sign of watering down. For the song ‘Four Walls’, Loz asked everyone to put someone on their shoulders while illuminating their cell phones to create a sea of light houses, and the crowd gladly obliged. Then the band disappeared for a moment, only to return for three more encore songs. The gig culminated after 70 minutes at the end of the epic song ‘Hurricane’, when singer Loz went on a long crowd surf himself, all while singing, raising the adrenaline level among the security guards and the stage hands, as he took his wired microphone with him into the crowd. He directed the crowd to carry him to the sound desk, where he climbed onto a four-meter-high headlight stand, and from which he jumped into the open arms of the crowd underneath, and the evening ended with Sean screaming a heart-felt “Thank you Cologne, you’re fucking unbelievable!”

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Setlist
01. ANTI-SOCIAL
02. You Are We
03. Brainwashed
04. Seven Hills
05. Civil Isolation
06. Empire of Silence
07. HAUNT ME
08. Steal the Sun
09. THE GUILTY PARTY
10. Four Walls
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11. Silence Speaks
12. Our Courage, Our Cancer
13. Hurricane

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

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All Pictures by Markus Hillgärtner
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