ALBUM REVIEW: Sleep Token – Take Me Back to Eden


I don’t want to speak too early or jinx anything, but this Heavy Metal idea has been in a resurgence as of late. Bear in mind that a lot of the old promotional tools have been inactive for years. MTV lost its ass and stopped using the first letter of its acronym long ago and whatever is left of commercial rock radio is perfectly content to spin the same Stone Temple Pilots singles until the sun or Clear Channel finally burn out. Yet here we are in the age of streaming and shortened attention spans with several young acts making headway.


Suddenly Ice Nine Kills and Spiritbox became highly viable with the former notching a nice opening slot on Metallica’s 72 Seasons world tour and the latter launching their own sold-out headlining trek and following that up supporting Shinedown later this year. Not to be outdone, Lorna Shore decided that Deathcore wanted its old spot on the roster and has achieved that, and then some with the addition of feral animal Will Ramos on vocals.


This year we have mysterious London collective Sleep Token and third LP Take Me Back to Eden (Spinefarm) making a loud claim to be breakthrough player of the year.


First things first, Take Me Back to Eden is bound to be divisive. By the end of the year the fickle internet gatekeepers will decry the band as nothing more than a gimmick or not being metal enough. And they will point to tracks like the soothing ‘Are You Really Okay’ or opener ‘Chokehold’ as the damning evidence. And to those folks, I would love to extend a lovely “get bent”. You wouldn’t know catchy songwriting if it hit you over the head with a folding chair, even though ‘Chokehold’ doesn’t need to resort to such tactics to seamlessly take residence in your brain for weeks. The same can be said for the harder-hitting ‘The Apparition.’


Others will attempt a more civilized approach and point that Sleep Token is merely taking R&B and trying to pass it off as metal. And I’ll say… yes and no. Forgive me if I come across as blasphemous, but much like Deftones decided to put in a lot of their chips on The Cure flavored post-punk on the seminal White Pony, Sleep Token is gambling similarly fusing smooth R&B vocals with hard-hitting riffs here on Take Me Back to Eden.


Somehow the combination just works on ragers like ‘The Summoning’ and ‘Vore.’ Oh, and it definitely works on the epic title track, though a verse or two here will certainly have some of the faithful punching poser holes through the wall.


Resurgent? Divisive? Hasn’t that been the story of metal all along?


Buy the album here:


9 / 10