Brainwashed is the battle cry to follow the call-to-arms of While She Sleeps’ formidable debut, 2012’s This Is the Six. The band’s second record sees them turning their ire on the world around them, while wearing their nu-metal influence loud and proud. These songs are designed to bounce and groove and do so undeniably. Conversely, Brainwashed also experiments with some more advanced elements you wouldn’t normally expect from a hardcore-based act, especially on the guitar front; such as the wahed-out solo of Torment and the soulful leads of Modern Minds.
Vocalist, Lawrence Taylor sounds no worse for wear since his recent throat surgery, but there’s a heightened melodic aspect to Brainwashed that was only hinted at on their debut. There’s nothing here quite as destructive as Dead Behind The Eyes or Be(lie)ve, but the songs still pack a wallop, especially the final moments of Life In Tension, which is where things really start to pick up.
…Which leads us to Brainwashed’s major downfall; It’s too damn long! Fifteen tracks is too many, especially when While She Sleeps themselves – in an unfortunate carry-over from This Is The Six – seem to have been brainwashed into thinking that sad piano interludes are essential to bestowing their music with emotion, when it’s already stocked full of it (Anger is an emotion you guys). These interludes crop up half-a-dozen times or so, often even book-ending tracks, and are absolutely devastating to the record’s momentum.
Brainwashed is a record full of more great moments than great songs, and it often takes repeated and close listening to really get a grasp of their structural value, but there’s also more than enough going on here to retain While She Sleeps’ position as one of today’s most exciting, up-and-coming metal acts.