Metal Hammer (UK)

SLEEP TOKEN

UNDERWORLD, LONDON If there’s a

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Contrary, cult post-black metallers cloak Camden in mystery

deviant Machiavell­ian genius pulling the strings behind the inexorable rise of the masked men and women of Sleep Token, then they’re clearly doing a smart job.

The Underworld is rammed, and the bi-weekly drip-feed of tracks from upcoming album Sundowning is paying off in spectacula­r fashion. Each new song gives fans a new focus to obsess over and a new lyric to learn. And so the audience sings as one, the words bellowed out as if they’re road-worn classics rather than recent additions to the digital ether.

There’s something going on here. Sleep Token might be influenced by the equally mysterious downtempo musician Burial and by post-dubstep warbler James Blake as much as they are by the likes of Meshuggah, but the long stretches of urban shuffle and swing don’t feel like a contrary gimmick. Even the subtle use of autotune, which gives the vocals an otherworld­ly, inhuman feel, feels right. It’s an effect, after all, like a guitarist’s wah-wah pedal, and there’s no doubt that the mysterious­ly named Vessel can sing.

In fact, he can really sing. His voice soars behind the mask, and everyone joins in, and each new song is greeted with gasps of recognitio­n and disbelief. The keyboard intro to The Offering sees the tension rise before an utterly savage riff drops, and the crowd’s commitment to the ‘I miss the man I was’ line on Dark Signs is breathtaki­ng. The ringing climax to Higher is a set of visceral, chestthump­ing punches, while Drag Me Under is its polar opposite, Vessel singing alone at the piano, a hush lingering in the air. And, as if to confound traditiona­lists further, it all ends with a sombre, spellbindi­ng take on Outkast’s Hey Ya. There’s really

something going on here.

FRASER LEWRY

 ??  ?? sleep token: Vessel finds himself in sundae mourning mode
sleep token: Vessel finds himself in sundae mourning mode

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