The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Burak Cingi
Photo Courtesy of Revolver Magazine

Sleep Token: The Band Innovating Music

From ancient Eurasian hymns to the latest of Taylor Swift and Drake, music has experienced numerous innovations. One band in particular is making one of these major developments to not just music, but how it is viewed. Sleep Token, an anonymous metal band from London, is pushing the envelope of how music is made and what it means to musicians and audience alike.

So, what’s the deal with Sleep Token? This masked group, led and organized by a vocalist called “Vessel,” began in 2016 with their self-released EP, One. The album contained three songs: “Thread the Needle,” “Fields of Elation,” and “When the Bough Breaks.” Though this album is weak compared to Sleep Token’s later work, it does hold its weight in quality. One introduced us to Sleep Token’s ambient, but heavy overtones that they maintain to this day.

What makes their sound so unique begins with the dichotomy that is created by having music that alternates between an aggressive and soft tone. Sleep Token has the rare quality of using almost every element of all sorts of genres to their musical benefit. A great example of this is their hit song “The Summoning” which took the internet by storm earlier this year. Even today, many reaction YouTube channels are sharing their thoughts on the song and its album, “Take Me Back to Eden.”

One reason why “The Summoning” is so popular is because of the band’s use of genre-shifting. The song starts with a basic metal riff, featuring down-tuned guitar riffs. The chorus is epic-sounding too, but that’s not really groundbreaking as far as metal music is concerned. The song breaks away from a lot of musical stereotypes and the first instance of this is having a jazzy guitar solo early in the song, whereas most solos are blues-heavy and show up at the end of the song. Towards the end of the song, there is a complete tonal shift, only synth and soft background piano remain in the song. Finally, there is a 60s-funk breakdown with an addictive bass groove and passionate vocals.

Other Sleep Token songs that share this genre-shifting quality are “Dark Signs,” a trap-inspired song with an epic metal ending, “Blood Sport,” which features beautiful piano playing followed by an absolutely heart-wrenching metal ending, and nearly every song on the “Take Me Back to Eden” album.

If you’re looking for recommendations on getting started with Sleep Token, here’s a list of ten songs and a brief description of each:

“Granite” – An R&B/Pop-influenced song with extremely catchy lyrics.
“Distraction” – A somber, ambient piano-heavy song.
“Hey Ya!” – A beautiful and heartfelt cover of the 2000’s hit by OutKast.
“Calcutta” – A song that feels engrained with nostalgia.
“Dark Signs” – A trap-inspired and overall bass-heavy song.
“Telomeres” – A softer, passionate song, with a style similar to the band Deftones’.
“Ascensionism” – One of the longest Sleep Token songs, this one bounces from soft piano to R&B and even a Hip-Hop sound.
“Is It Really You?” – A cover of the band LOATHE with hauntingly-beautiful piano playing.
“The Summoning” – The song taking the metal community by surprise. It doesn’t pull any musical punches.
“Blood Sport” – One of the most bittersweet Sleep Token songs, featuring John Legend-esque playing with an emotionally-brutal ending.

Don’t just take my word on Sleep Token. Here are some reviews from students and staff in Fluvanna who have expressed appreciation for their music:

“The piano and raw vocals were really good. I also really liked the lyrics as well,” said junior Claire Wishart in reaction to the song “Blood Sport.”

“The harmonies are like, really good. I loved the subtle piano. But it also evokes more emotion. After this first song, I think I could definitely listen to more,” said junior Nicholas Hourihan.

Even some FCHS staff enjoyed what Sleep Token has to offer. “Vessel has a great vocal range and very heartfelt lyrics,” said Jesse Stover, manager of the BEST Lab.

Sleep Token is a band that has a lot to offer, and many are beginning to recognize this. If just a few individuals are able to enjoy this mysterious band upon their first listen, imagine how many others will take a liking towards their music?

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    LisaNov 13, 2023 at 5:39 PM

    Discovered them in January and have loved every second of discovering the lore along with all the songs. Their music helped me through bad times. They really are amazing. Thanks for the positive and informative article ?✌️?