A monolith epic of post- rock/metal monstrosity that sees them at their most audacious.
Like many here, once we heard Sleep Token, it seemed we were hooked. The elite musicianship, the anonymity, the honey-ladled voice; everything with Sleep Token’s attachment to it resonated with sacred mystery.
But it didn’t just come overnight. A masked, anonymous conformity have amassed intrigue, vitality and a whole host of seedy post-rock/metal fanatics since their uprising when they appeared with 2018 and Jaws, a song met with genuine love and intrigue. This was met with further traction when they dropped their entire debut, Sundowning, without warning in 2019. While others saw the anonymous masks and cloaks as a mere gimmick, others were bought in by the rich origin story of the band; letting the likes of The Offering and Blood Sport be their music barricade of defence.
The follow-up This Place Will Become Your Tomb in 2021 saw pretty much more of the same, albeit delving into a piano-laden project of heavy pop with the likes of The Love You Want. This was opposed to the spoon-fed filth of cut-throat riffs and tantalising drums that we’ve seen in the past which, to many within their cult-following, was not an album met with the same enthusiasm as we saw from Sundowning.
What followed however, was a path to be alternative music’s most talked about. Without a word, they issued a magnitude of searing singles at the start of 2023. Soon after, the talk of metal folded in on itself, as we were wrapped into Sleep Token again.
Now, we see a third offering of pure unfiltered chaos as it outpours into a melting pot of genres. A sultry selection of epic proportion, Take Me To Eden is certainly the collective at their most boldest, their most brazen as they equip the tools from both albums prior and sprawl it into one big ladle of Sleep Token at their finest. While firmly rooted in metal, that doesn’t stop them from entering the spheres of the likes of furtive R&B ladled with lustful piano quips like we see in Aqua Regia or the black-metal approval-piece from Vore. Euphoric The Summoning tips the scales for a band well and truly in their element – a corrosive power-play dispersed with an interlude as lead frontman Vessel seemingly converses with an angelic entity high in the clouds, “Oh, and my love / Did I mistake you for a sign from God? / Or are you really here just to cut me off?“
Even the collective attempts their own version of an arena-ready alternative-rock ballad with Are You Really Okay? , a pensive remark on the after-effects of mental health and self-harm as it plays out in a beautiful swan-song as Vessel begs to “please don’t hurt yourself again.” For an album swamped in many thick layers to unpack, the moments when everything is drawn back, is often very much welcomed.
The band at their most lavish however, comes in the form of the self-titled, Take Me Back To Eden, a song with staggering proportion that was surprisingly held back until the album release itself.
The 8-minute stalwart encompasses everything this 60-minute album stands for: the starkly contrasting roll-the-dice three-piece sound of Sleep Token. Airy synth-lines; heavy Djent-like stutters; a hazy piano sauntering; euphoric melodies before it rips into a pent-up roar as Vessel shrieks as a jagged riffage dispels this as anything other than a Sleep Token cult-classic. “My, my, those eyes like fire / I’m a winged insect, you’re a funeral pyre / Come now, bite through these wires / I’m in waking hell and the gods grow tired / Reset my patient violence along both lines of a pathway higher.”
Finally, we see things end with Euclid. It’s a joyous epilogue marked as a sheer favourite on the album but above else, it’s a poignant full-circle moment as Vessel warbles, “we tangle endlessly / Like lovers entwined / I know for the last time / You will not be mine / So give me the night, the night, the night,” the very same lyrics we hear him swooning on The Night Does Not Belong To God, the very first track on their debut, Sundowning. An albeit seemless transition to the very start of ST‘s journey – to their last so far.
Despite the album taking up the mantle of encompassing Sleep Token’s sounds from all corners of music, there is never any signs that such a record won’t succeed. It pushes the limits of metalcore and time-stamps Sleep Token as one of UK’s most progressive bands this year.
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