Sleep Token – an up-and-coming nu-metal band — has revolutionized the scene by introducing fans to never before heard sounds mixed with classic heavy metal riffs.
As a new member of the metal scene, I’ve found myself looking for bands that suit my tastes. But I was only able to figure out what these “tastes” are after discovering the band that started it all.
Just a few months ago, TikTok got its hands on a relatively hidden nu-metal band that had begun paving its way through the business. Sleep Token – also formally known to carry alternative rock, progressive metal, and alternative pop sounds – got all sorts of reactions from the metal scene: not quite heavy enough to be “accepted”, but also not quite mainstream enough to be considered another pop rock band.
It all started from a single live concert clip of the lead singer Vessel showing off his admittedly attractive vocals in a suggestive manner. The hype for this band spread like wildfire among the alternative music community. Not only were they blatantly indulging loyal followers with fan service, they were also having the most fun bending genres with their latest album: Take Me Back to Eden.
This album is unlike anything I’ve listened to before. As a hardcore alternative music lover, I spend 80% of my day listening to music. What initially draws the listener in is the continuity and fluidity between each track. We experience the jumps between synth-y reverbs, fire hip hop-like beats and headbanging growls in the same songs. Yet what’s surprising is how it just works.
This album’s prominent features come from its artistry and overall aesthetic. There is beautiful concept art that shows these Bloodborne-esque creatures, each representing a track of the album. The visualizers for a few of the songs such as “The Summoning,” “Vore,” and the headliner “Take Me Back to Eden” show these creatures in full 3D glory, with complimentary special effects. A guardian angel with golden halos and spotlights pouring from the darkness, a serpentine horned being with mantis-like claws, and a Nordic god with bio-tech detailing, surrounded by red lasers. New fans were enthralled by the meticulous detailing that went into these character-driven songs.
As I mentioned before, much of the initial hype came from the band members themselves and their recent performances. They are all masked, and keep their real identities hidden, going by names that demonstrate their positions inside the band. Vessel is the lead singer, serving as a sort of “prophet” speaking for these god-like creatures. The other three band members (the drummer, bassist and guitarist) are called II, III and IV respectively. Because of these names, and the way they address their fans through their social media posts and emails, they give off a cultish vibe, as popularized by the band Ghost.
And with every performance, they drip with sexual tension. Thriving off each other’s energies and their lustful lyricism, it enhances the listening experience tenfold. Perfect examples that demonstrate this are “The Summoning,” “Alkaline,” and “Chokehold”. We also have “Ascensionism,” “Rain,” and “The Apparition,” which show a different side of this band: raw, emotional and beautiful. There’s an ever-present longing that is especially prevalent in these last three songs. “Aqua Regia” prevails in its jazz-like piano accompaniment, while Granite brings a slight trap beat.
Overall, Sleep Token should not be slept on. I highly recommend this band for anyone who’s trying to get into the metal genre and wants a soft introduction. It’s an amazing band for music and art lovers, and a hell of a great time for fans who are into hot and talented masked men (like me). “Take Me Back to Eden” is currently out on all streaming services, but I also encourage you to check out their visualizers on YouTube to get the full Sleep Token experience.