It’s Saturday night in Birmingham and mysterious masked outfit Sleep Token have arrived in Digbeth’s ‘The Mill’ venue. Since the release of their debut full length album ‘Sundowning’, they’ve launched themselves into the spotlight – selling out tonight’s 750 cap venue, which is seriously impressive, you’ll struggle to find many bands that are capable of doing that so early on in their careers nowadays.
Sleep Token are one of the most unique and interesting bands that you will come across. A collective group of four anonymous musicians, led by vocalist only known as ‘Vessel’. They unite and commit themselves to the ancient deity known as Sleep, with their songs being performed as acts of worship to the deity.
Sleep Token refer to their live performances as rituals, and they certainly live up to it. As soon as they take to stage you feel like you are in the presence of a religious cult group. Vessel dons an ancient looking hooded robe, along with his distinct mask of course, instantly making his presence known as he sings the opening lyrics to album opener ‘The Night Does Not Belong To God’ to get things underway. He’s even backed up by a 3 piece choir, also wearing the same hooded robes, who really add to the whole cult vibe.
Next they lead into arguably one of their most popular songs ‘The Offering’, which best displays the contrast between Vessel’s calm soothing vocals and the heavy guitars that follow in the songs closing breakdown, sending the whole venue into chaos – the strobe lights are out of control and the mosh pit has everybody going crazy.
It would be very unfair to say Sleep Tokens quick rise to popularity is because of the mystique around them, they also deserve heaps of credit for how ridiculously talented they are as musicians. Vessel's soulful vocals are truly like no other and manage keep the crowd mesmerised for the whole show. The drumming on display is quite simply phenomenal, it’s not just all about heavy hitting like you might expect at your usual Metal gig, but the technique is also flawless, I keep overhearing members of the crowd comment on the drumming tonight, it’s not often a drummer gets so much love but it’s really refreshing to see it here.
The set comes to another highlight when we are treated to ‘Sugar’, another favourite amongst fans. This one see’s plenty of crowd participation as they sing along in unison to the lyrics such as “I’ve got a taste for you now!” before jumping into the pit at each other’s throats. The main set comes to a close with 'When The Bough Breaks' before they return for the encore with the mellow 'Thread The Needle' and finishing finally with the beautiful 'Blood Sport'.
To say the performance was amazing tonight would be a harsh understatement, Sleep Token are flawless. I've never heard a band sound so much live like they do on record, utterly phenomenal. For a band who are essentially still cutting their teeth, I hope they are here for the long haul - music needs them!
Sleep Token - https://www.facebook.com/sleeptoken/
Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography