Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Sleep Token build a warped dreamscape on Take Me Back To Eden

"Take Me Back To Eden"

Release date: 19 May 2023
Sleep Token - Take Me Back To Eden cover
17 May 2023, 09:00 Written by Elliot Burr

Knowing that getting noticed is about more than music, the enigmatic Sleep Token are rounding off a cinematic album trilogy with Take Me Back To Eden.

A mythologising group worshipping an ancient entity known as Sleep sounds too obscure for most tastes. TikTok fame, top spots on Spotify international charts, Radio 1 airplay and celebrity fandom says otherwise. Like past masked heroes – Slipknot’s boilersuited hoodlums or Ghost’s Satanic Papal figures – certain eras show not so much the want, but the need, for the obscure.

Yet for all the lavish quasi-religious fervour, Sleep Token is grounded in smart modern marketing with an unusual release cycle. After unveiling four quickfire viral singles, the record feels wholly self-aware when the ritualist’s mouthpiece Vessel opens “Chokehold” with “When we were made, it was no accident”, raising the theatre curtain for the entertainment to follow: clinking keys, overlayed harmonies and Vildhjarta-style panic djent levelling euphoric builds.

But if their past catalogue has seen Vessel’s clear annunciation (and remarkably still anonymous voice) shine, here it tends to drag along with bread-and-butter formulas. Take the spotlit whispery vocalist being thrown into a maelstrom of gale force riffs on “Vore”, or sombre post-grunge breathiness in the reflective “Are You Really Okay?”. Nonetheless, “Granite” slots delightfully into alternative pop territory with boom-clap drums and radio play run time, if it weren’t for contrasting sludge that mires in the depths.

There’s similar interspersed doom amongst peppy, chart-worthy production (“DYWTYLM”). Autotuned R&B elevates “Ascensionism'' before diving headfirst into a locked groove for the album’s standout crowd-pleaser and the perfect balance of yin and yang. “The Summoning” instead bolts bits on without warning, including a forced prog solo; experimentation can be either the creatives’ success or demise. Trap beats on “The Apparition” do add more ominous flavour to their particular sinister-versus-holy aspects – “Let’s make trouble in the dream world / Hijack heaven with another memory” – while the Miltonian title track throws out a baffling “room feels like a meat freezer, I’m dangling like cold cuts / missed calls, answerphones from people I just don’t trust”, played out in the same fashion as David Guetta’s “Play Hard”.

Despite a thorough investigation into their decadent lore, Sleep Token’s identities remain unknown. Blowing them wide open could crush the allure, particularly when the group excellently serves to intrigue both metal lovers and non-believers alike with Take Me Back To Eden. It may not be revolutionary in its music or pantomime, with some evident missteps. Still, the secret society is doing a world of good by exposing a gamut of fans to the many genre-bending tricks they possess. It’s got all the confidence, and length, that a world-building act needs to make their worship a cultural phenomenon and put to bed any indication that they’re a shot in the dark.

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