I’ve made this sentiment before, but the greatest part of my job at the magical land of Bucketlist Music Reviews (which has no physical punishment for tardiness or breaking the rules at all…ever… send help) is the discoveries. I’ve always had an insatiable appetite for new and exciting sensations in the form of music, no matter how basic bitch or complex the source material is. The greatest discovery I’ve made in years happened mere months ago (and off the clock even) when the ominous ambience of the mysterious and PAINFULLY FUCKING AMBIGIOUS British collective known only as Sleep Token entered my ears for the first time. Sundowning has done such things to me as a person and a wannabe musician that words cannot describe. So imagine my excitement and comparable intimidation when the assignment hits my lap to give a proper review for the deluxe edition (now including an additional four tracks to suck on like mother’s teat).
Sleep Token is easily one of the most unique amalgamation of artistic and cultural components that music today has to offer. Attempting to describe the individual aspects that make this product whole would do it no justice, so I dare not try. What I will say is that every aspect from the electronics, to strings, rhythm, and especially the consuming vocals of Vessel1 (because fuck actual names or any relevant information about the involved artists right?) are done in such a masterful and mesmerizing fashion that I’ve truly been incapable of listening to this record (deluxe or otherwise) ONCE without the immediate and ever sought after reaction of shivers and goosebumps. Listening to this act is euphoria. Sundowning speaks to the human mind in is such a fashion that even the beloved sensations of food and sex hardly compare. It’s moving in emotional ways of all kinds, it grooves in ways that wouldn’t be natural to a band of this overall style, and most importantly of all it inspires to seek further creative horizons that so many attempts before it by other acts have fallen short on. This experience is truly different.
The crack of “The Night Does Not Belong to God” intrigues and captivates interest. “The Offering” eludes the possibility that this is just another progressive metalcore act and quickly crushes those thoughts with such a journey of such seemingly unstable feelings and ideas, only to then wisp away in a wave of emotion with “Levitate.” I could do this with every song on the record over and over again, as they’re all so disturbingly different and set apart from each other, yet somehow belong to the same roots, all the way down to “Bloodsport,” a tome seemingly of love and tragedy but how the fuck could I even assume that? Anonymous or even private doesn’t remotely describe the approach taken by this group, individual OR WHO THE FUCK KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE IT’S FUCKING MADENNIG.
Somehow even more so than the original release, the deluxe adds to the story. As mentioned earlier, four additional tracks have been added, all performed solely by Vessel1 (nobody else has names, just get used to it) via means of voice and bare keys including “Bloodsport,” exclusively new track “Shelter,” and covers of “When the Party’s Over” (originally composed by Billie Eilish), and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (originally composed by Whitney Houston) because how else could we make my sappy ass love this album more. Each tune performed recorded, and presented beautifully, and each little hair on the back of my neck standing at attention like my unimpressive genitalia at the crack of dawn. I can’t tell you in further detail how much every human being alive needs to hear these songs and feel these feelings I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. Just in case it somehow hasn’t been made abundantly apparent, if Sleep Token are a cult, then I’ve drank so much of the fucking Koolaid that the rats are asking for me to leave some of poison for them too.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*Edited by Dominic Abate