Sleep Token – Take Me Back To Eden [Album Review]

Review: Benjamin Coe

In the last few months, the enigmatic, genre-bending outfit known to the world as Sleep Token have been seeing an almost meteoric rise to fame. They have more than quadrupled their number of monthly listeners on Spotify, they’ve sold out shows across the country and abroad and been added to nearly every single foreign festival you can imagine. And with good reason too! With two solid full-length releases to their name, the masked entourage led by the ever-elusive Vessel are gearing up to release possibly their most stunning effort to date, Take Me Back To Eden.

The band have been drip-feeding singles since the start of the year, giving fans a glimpse of the opening half of the final installment of a trilogy of albums that began in 2019 with the phenomenal Sundowning. But even having had time to consume and digest the first 5 songs on the album, one can’t help but play this beast from the very start and proceed to lose yourself in the beautifully crafted sonic landscapes. It’s an obvious evolution in the bands insane upward trajectory and fits perfectly with what’s already on offer while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of progressive rock and metal.

Lead single Chokehold kicks off proceedings with a slow-burn introduction before kicking things into fifth gear and away we go on this emotional rollercoaster that’s laid out before us. There’s really no other way to describe listening to this album, it rises and falls with intensity, ebbs and flows with sincerity, whiplashes between genres and that’s just within a single song! The Summoning is a great example of this with its twist-ending bordering on a jazzy R&B feel. Granite and Aqua Regia settle things down a bit, giving you a moment or two to catch you breath before Vore comes literally screaming in with an unexpected intensity that will have all of this bands naysayers eating their words that Sleep Token “aren’t a metal band”.

And well, that’s just what they’ve released so far. The second half of this offering (pun intended) is even more schizophrenic in it’s soundscapes (Ascensionism will take you on quite the ride…) and varying levels of intensity (see the last few moments of the epic title track for an outstanding reference). The lyrical content remains much of the same in it’s ambiguous nature dealing with themes of love, loss and uncontrollable desire and the ups and downs of the accompanying music are absolutely perfect for conveying all the emotions that go along with these.

In its well-placed softer moments (Are You Really Okay?DYWTYLM) the album is so damn sincere and honestly bares it soul in a most vulnerable fashion. And despite the mixed pot of genres within Take Me Back To Eden’s run time, nothing here feels out of place. It is truly a masterpiece of musicality. The sheer level of musicianship, the way the songs are written, all the way to the order in which they’re presented here is masterclass in songwriting and album production. If you don’t feel something listening to this release then I fear you may not have a heart…

They’re riding high at the moment and it would appear that the best is yet to come for the masked collective known only as Sleep Token. The hype is not only real but so well deserved it’s not even funny. Do yourselves a favour and check this one out for sure, even if you’re not a fan there’s bound to be something here that will tickle your fancy.