Today we woke up thinking, “oh, come on, it’s the weekend- let’s try something new.” So we perused the latest releases across the various aggregators, and finally clicked on an increasingly familiar name – Sleep Token.
Literally, everyone is talking about them right now, and everyone seems to be pretty passionate about it. While this is hardly criteria for our normal coverage, we really mean everyone – heavy blogs, indie blogs, metal blogs, popular music blogs… so we figured why not a math rock blog? You know, just to ‘keep up with the djoneses.’
The thing is, we have yet to hear a second of it. You know how it is – when something becomes effectively marketed, these days it doesn’t exactly translate to ‘listen immediately.’ Moreso the opposite, in fact. But in five minutes, we do the unthinkable – decide for ourselves.
Let’s get this slumber party started.
Take Me Back to Eden starts off all sweet and whispery with “Chokehold.” There are some pretty cool textures on display with the glitchy, glittering bass and guitar, and the lyrical content / vocal delivery is certainly a cut above average. “The Summoning” kicks in with a heavier edge to it, almost immediately resembling some of our favorite moments from Deftones, namely “You’ve Seen the Butcher” – check it out above.
In fact, that era of Deftones is a heavy reference point for the band, but that’s no slight, and it’s certainly not the only one. There’s hints of Loathe, Letlive., Enter Shikari, and… kind of a little bit The Weeknd? It takes us back to 2010, listening to bands like the genre-splattering Structures for the first time that sort of set the trend for djent for the next few years. By the time we get to “Granite,” we’ve even heard a substantial amount of funky, filtered bass grooves before dropping into synth-y 8-string breakdowns, exuding a futuristic post-hardcore that’s made from familiar parts, yet neatly squares up to the challenge of making something original.
And then they hit you with the jazz on “Aqua Regia?” This is probably the closest we are going to get to math rock here, but at this point, we kind of want to see how this thing ends. It’s like a movie you can’t quite figure out, but the imagery is really intriguing, so at this point, we’re invested. Also, the imagery thing is literal – check out the corresponding titan / demon things in the video above, then the one for “Vore” below.
At times, it can feel a little more Code Orange or 12 Foot Ninja than Vildhjarta, so for an album so comfortable sitting with the prog kids, there is a surprising level of accessibility on display here. Regardless, the band unexpectedly has a straight up classic ballad moment with “Are You Really Okay,” and yes, it’s totally okay – it just surprised us when you dropped a 90’s alt rock ballad on us like that after the carnivorous, “Vore,” babe.
Overall, there’s definitely an undercurrent of genuine passion and creativity happening here, no matter how accessible or heavy a given moment is on the record. There’s probably something to be said for the bands clever marketing strategies as well, though – the iconography, the masks, the shimmering, constantly-changing trajectory of the singles, etc. That’s not to say the music isn’t high quality – beyond any doubt, it is, and above that, the passion underneath seems to be the main objective. For all its smoke and mirrors, the tangible core themes of longing, loss, and everything in between lay the foundation for something truly substantial and unique.
The concept of a sleep token is pretty cool, too – we will take a couple if anyone has got them. No seriously, insomnia is no joke. We don’t have it. But it’s no joke. Anyway, check out the rest of their stuff here, and buy us a little something something strong over here sometime. Coming up we’ve got all kinds of goodies, but most importantly, enjoy your weekend, and thanks for reading!