Songwriter(s): Oliver Sykes, Lee Malia, Jordan Fish
Original Release Date: March 4, 2013 (Sempiternal, RCA Records worldwide/Epitaph US & Canada)
How do you transform a tantalizing metalcore song into an eerie lullaby without losing an ounce of the emotion or the intensity? If we’re talking “Sleepwalking” by the scene-dominating British band Bring Me The Horizon, the only way is to have This Wild Life cover it. The acoustic duo’s delicate cover has reached nearly 4 million views on YouTube, almost rivaling the original song’s count and proving that This Wild Life are far more than your average acoustic band. They quickly gained popularity opening for hardcore artists on tour and have now signed to Epitaph Records (which is coincidentally Bring Me The Horizon’s record label in America). This Wild Life also released their debut full length this May.
The two versions lie on entirely different sides of the spectrum, but remarkably they come together over the vivid lyrics. Bring Me The Horizon created an amplified, chilling song that crawls under your skin right from the grim start. Oli Sykes screams in his unmistakably coarse vocals over a forceful and entrancing melody, backed by ethereal keys that fortify the chorus. The band provide a frustrating emotional tug of war on “Sleepwalking.” They truly give listeners the feeling of suffocation that the expressive lyrics describe. For me at least, there’s a strong sensation of underlying panic carried through the anxious rhythm. The drums alone beat like an unsteady pulse, and when coupled with the raw vocals–that bleed anger and passion–it becomes even more unnerving, but in a good way. Despite the creepy tingles I get when I listen too carefully, it’s a song I can’t get enough of.
On the other side, This Wild Life deliver a different kind of intensity on their cover, completely transforming the energy without sacrificing any of it. Though theirs is softer and sweeter, it possesses a tender quality that walks the line between addicting and unsettling. It draws you in steadily through gentle harmonies, where the original drags you in by force. Anthony Del Grosso picks the guitar with a grace and ease that probably isn’t easy at all. Vocalist Kevin Jordan sings softly with a warm, inviting voice that seems to contrast the dark lyrics–but that’s all part of what makes their cover beautifully haunting.
Where Bring Me The Horizon’s original is a scream of a song, This Wild Life present a whisper. It’s a mumble of heartfelt words versus a passionate cry of poetic paranoia and it’s impossible to pick a winner. Both versions of the song do just fine at giving me goosebumps. The hushed sound of This Wild life may appeal to more audiences and in that regard, their cover is certainly more accessible (and probably contributes to the view count on YouTube), but Bring Me The Horizon’s high intensity is still a difficult force to rival.