Take Me Back to Eden

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Chokehold
02. The Summoning
03. Granite
04. Aqua Regia
05. Vore
06. Ascensionism
07. Are You Really Okay?
08. The Apparition
10. Rain
11. Take Me Back To Eden
12. Euclid

SLEEP TOKEN are masters of hype. But, as with any band or artist that is publicized as the next big thing, is it all a mirage? That's the question many have going into the band's highly anticipated new album, "Take Me Back To Eden".

Not that SLEEP TOKEN have anything to prove. In just a few years, the band have developed a strong, loyal following who have helped make them globally known. Fronted by Vessel, a masked character called who worships the ancient deity of Sleep, the group's mysterious identity has certainly helped. Their music has helped, too, with its unique combination of post-classical, metal and even pop.

SLEEP TOKEN made noise with their 2019 debut album, "Sundowning", and followed it up with 2021's "This Place Will Become Your Tomb", which charted in the U.K. Now, the group have returned with "Take Me Back To Eden", which is really their most ambitious and complete release yet.

Some early singles off "Take Me Back To Eden""Chokehold", "The Summoning" and "Granite" — have foreshadowed the album's diversity. While "Chokehold" and "The Summoning" both blossom into heavy anthems, "Granite" is pure pop, with highly processed vocals and an electronic backing. Think IMAGINE DRAGONS or AWOLNATION.

"Aqua Regia", follows up the early singles, and is another pop-tinged song not unlike "Granite". Vessel sings alongside soft keys and rhythms, and the song's infectious chorus will likely get stuck in your head. Both "Granite" and "Aqua Regia" are a whiplash from the heavier SLEEP TOKEN material, and that's a good or bad thing, depending on your musical taste.

Just when the album starts to drift too far away from their heavier influences, "Vore" resuscitates the corps with deafening walls of guitars and Vessel's blistering death metal screams. Here, the chorus is a highlight, with Vessel's clean singing soaring over grand riffs, giving the song an almost post-hardcore vibe.

As the set progresses, it's obvious that "Take Me Back To Eden", overall, is going the softer route. "Ascensionism", "Are You Really Okay?" and "The Apparition" are all stripped back, with Vessel's vocals taking center stage and the instrumentation fading into the background. Some songs, such as "Ascensionism" and "DYWTYLM" go a bit crazy with the vocal effects and autotune, which might be jarring to a traditional rock or metal fan. Either way, props to SLEEP TOKEN for remaining extremely experimental and following their creative streak.

The album's title track finally offers some heavier passages, with brooding guitars climaxing mid-song. However, that only lasts so long, before the song takes a turn into a piano-driven ballad. "Euclid" closes out the set, bringing another mid-tempo ballad.

With something for fans of bands as far reaching as LEPROUS to VOLA, "Take Me Back To Eden" isn't the album one would expect from an up-and-coming metal band, but it offers lots of imagination and experimentation. What's more, it takes balls for a band making such a splash in the metal world to release something that flirts with such disparate sounds. But, SLEEP TOKEN really have no musical boundaries, and what's special about "Take Me back to Eden" is how the album takes the listener on a musical journey, through different styles, sounds, instrumentation and stories. Nobody will ever call SLEEP TOKEN shallow, and now, nobody will say they know exactly what SLEEP TOKEN's next release will sound like.

Author: Anne Erickson
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