Wholly accessible whilst maintaining a niche offbeat undertone
Harrison Smith
17:28 22nd September 2021

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Shrouded in mystery and oddity, the progressive metal collective Sleep Token return with their sophomore album This Place Will Become Your Tomb this Friday. The project of a mysterious masked individual known only as Vessel, Sleep Token’s second album scores high for eccentricity and originality. 

A mix of ambience, distorted metal and pop, ‘TPWBYT’ sees the London collective explore and delve deeper into their unconventional sound and persona. Dodging regimented patterns for song structure and format, Sleep Token works hard to enforce a fresh take on the traditional expected metal arrangement. Whether it be the slow-burn piano of the opening track ‘Atlantic’ or the intense immediacy of ‘The Love You Want’, there is a bounty of bright ideas and musical anomalies which reveal further intricacies with each listen. 

Lyrically, ‘TPWBYT’ tackles a wide range of issues, predominantly love. Ranging from the relationship complexities of ‘Alkaline’ ("She’s perfectly misaligned / I’m caught up by her design") to the devout, almost religious, determination of ‘Mine’ ("You and I are crashing course / driven by a holy force"), ‘TPWBYT’s elegant portrayal of romance is pure poetry. 

Avid to steer clear of any fabricated publicity, band leader Vessel regularly chooses to speak solely about the audible output rather than the collective’s image — “what matters is the music and the message.” Whilst this ardent drive for ghostly mystery may seem a little pompous, ‘TPWBYT’ chiefly operates within a positive, mainstream, pop-centric territory. The electronic groove of ‘Hypnosis’ echoes the crowd-pleasing melodies of chart-toppers ‘Bastille’ and the sentimental ‘Fall For Me’ reverberates the experimental areas fellow Brits The 1975 often favour. And where Sleep Token especially excel is within their dependable ability to be wholly accessible whilst maintaining a niche offbeat undertone. 

However, what detracts from the album’s genre-blurring flow is the often lack of distinction between tracks. Whilst the melodies are memorable, a certain unique frisson is absent in the procession of trashing guitar riffs and electronica. Forgivable and rectifiable problems, indeed, for a collective whose unique-selling point resides in the unorthodox. 

It’s near impossible to decipher what may come next for them. Still, predictability certainly isn’t a word within Sleep Token’s vernacular and This Place Will Become Your Tomb is a fine example of the atypical nature they so significantly embody. 

This Place Will Become Your Tomb arrives 24 September.

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Photo: Press