The highly anticipated third record from the masked group, Sleep Token, has seen the band take a massive rise in the alternative world. Going from around some 200k listeners to around 2 million since the release of the singles ‘Chokehold’ and ‘The Summoning’ is nothing short of remarkable. The masked British collective rolled out half of the album, Take Me Back To Eden, over the early part of 2023 which gave fans a glimpse into what was to come, and yet, there is almost a new universe waiting to be discovered.
Chokehold-Vore- 8.2/10 (collective rating)
With the exception of ‘DYWTYLM’, the entire first half of the record were singles which could be heard in order as the album plays them, hearing them in the context of the complete work opens the door for a journey rather than individual pieces of songs or a small collection, much like an EP. While this small window gives fans the moments they at least know of Sleep Token being their poppiest, ‘Granite’, or heaviest, ‘Vore’, the rest of the album has these moments layered throughout and if you were more into songs like the latter or ‘The Summoning’, well, you have your sprinkles but no more cake.
This song is the PERFECT segue into the second part of the record. Clocking in just over 7mins, it by no way is an interlude, but rather a portal from the earlier songs, summarizing their individual sounds, into one long form while also having this guiding sense of taking you to the next part. The song itself is very building from a piano intro to an auto-tuned layered modern trap/pop section. This is by far what caught my ear and I loved it the most as I feel Vessel is at his best tapping into the pop side more so than the heavier. The song then pushes into a heavier low tuned guitar section much like on ‘Granite’ then ends with a heavy moment in the vein of ‘Vore’. Lyrically there are lots of metaphors and vague messages as Vessel is known for in his writing, so a write-up for an album review trying to break it down isn’t possible.
Are You Really Ok?- 6/10
It seems impossible to find a fault to Sleep Token, unfortunately, after a few spins this is the one track where I find myself losing it a little bit. It tends to be pretty simple and the same throughout. I also get those old Contemporary Christian music vibes from when I was in high school hearing those songs on the radio as my mom would be driving around. The standout moment is when the lyric “I raised you in the dark” comes up as it’s alluding to ‘Dark Signs’ off of 2019’s Sundowning, which is foreshadowing.
The Apparition- 9/10
This song is more of what I was mentioning previously about the pop trap vibes. The song takes a turn once it hurts the chorus with a Breaking Benjamin-esque chorus in the best way possible. It is by far one of the best songs on the record as it showcases everything Vessel and drummer, II, do best when they write the music for these albums. The song keeps the pop elements after the chorus while the guitars join in before exiting with another trap beat,
Another of the singles but released not as part of the first group of the album. This song was instant ear candy when it was released and is one of the other stronger songs on the record in my opinion. It exudes what modern synth-pop should be and could be the future foundation for other artists wanting to try this style.
Another modern pop/rock song that could potentially be built for the radio. It is the exact perfect mix of the pop side of the band with just enough edge to please the heavier crowd. It is one of the standout tracks on this record as we hear Vessel play with different octaves and vocal patterns in the song. This is a quintessential Sleep Token track that should be in their starter pack of songs should they ever have one. For those also wanting more of the ‘absolute unit’ that is II on drums, he has some pretty tasty fills on this track as well.
Take Me Back To Eden- 10/10
From a composition standpoint, this song, the title track, is absolutely perfect. Much like Acensionism takes you on a journey, this one takes you deep into the concept of the title, it also alludes back to some of the earlier songs on the album, almost like a pre-reprise before the final song. This song also features some moments of Vessel’s higher register which you only hear a good bit of earlier on ‘The Summoning’. There is more of the pop/trap moments through the song which we hear a modern rap flow during this portion of the song. This is followed by a slower-paced piano-led section with guitars in the background giving it a bit of low end before it builds into one of the heaviest moments of the band’s entire discography.
This song is a reprise if the previous was a pre-reprise. This one will get listeners more choked up because it is the conclusion of this journey they have been on with Vessel and everything he’s poured his soul over for people to hear. The trilogy of albums ends with this song and an evolution of Vessel begins, yet it is hopeful. The song concludes with a beautiful moment for any fan, but if you were there early on, it will hit you differently. It certainly made men reflect on those years ago and felt things back then.
Overall, Take Me Back To Eden is a journey to a conclusion of a chapter in the lore that is Sleep Token, and hopefully a more peaceful journey ahead for Vessel. We pray Sleep accepts these offerings and allows some rest.
Songs Rating: 8.5
Production Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 8.75