Live Review: While She Sleeps w/Stray From The Path, Landmvrks & Thrash Boat at The Roundhouse, London

The Roundhouse in the heart of London is the venue for tonight’s album release show and the closing date of a European Tour that has seen a quartet of bands building up to the appearance of “So What?”. The presence of a note that says a live choir will be appearing tonight is an intriguing point… and if the show isn’t sold out, it’s pretty damned close.

Landmvrks [7/10] have the heart of a Hardcore band and are playing as people walk in and tear up cuts from both albums in fine fashion. “Fantasy” might be a condender for worst album artwork but the material on it is pretty damn good and in the live arena the vocals have a raw and edgy quality that is sublime. They will be back and further up the bill than tonight.

Trash Boat [5/10] from St. Alabans have been touring relentlessly since the summer of 2018 when they played Band Warped Tour. They’re a band who work better in the US than Europe with an sound that is better suited to the festival circuit than a sweaty club. Tonight is no different and while after the first couple of bigger and bolder tunes they sound better than on the album, they fade fast. That being said they promise a UK headlining run and drop a couple of new songs into the set which promise better things.

Stray From The Path [9/10] are a risk for While She Sleeps to bring out on a tour like this. The New York Hardcore take on Rage Against The Machine are a phenomenon that defies all the odds. They stand up for everyone’s rights with politically charged lyrics and riffs that have got better with each album release and their hard work has paid off for them. “Only Death Is Real” is a phenomenal album and playing cuts from that like “Goodnight Alt-Right” and it’s predecessor “Subliminal Criminals” from the very start have the crowd going. The appearance of Sam Carter from Architects reprising his part from “First World Problem Child” brings the house down.

While She Sleeps [8/10] play a career spanning set with a trio of new tunes from today’s freshly released album “So What?”. The raw energy that the band are known for that is in abundance on the band previous effort “You Are We” is apparent from the off in their set tonight. It’s strangely absent from the new album but is present in the new songs live so whether they made a mistake with the choice of producer or in the mixing and mastering, what works well live dies a death on the album. The vocals live are phenomenal and everything else has that extra 20% that makes everything so much better and virtually every song a crowd sing-a-long. The twelve piece live choir add a backing vocal rather than getting a full on part like an orchestra would and works well, though other than tonight’s show it’s hard to see them joining the band again. Songs like “The Guilty Party” are so much better that it’s chalk and cheese while in “Hurricane” they save the best until last.

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