‘Gods’ is Sleep Token at their heaviest.
The last two singles from Sleep Token – ‘Take Aim‘ and ‘Give‘ – have been so calm, so romantic, that a violent, eruptive metalcore song like ‘Gods‘ feels like you’re listening to a completely different band. As this is the group at their heaviest, no question about it. Yet it’s that intriguing, contrastive dynamic that’s the most exciting thing about their music. Doubly so with Sleep Token’s fortnightly planned single release schedule up until November in lieu of debut LP, ‘Sundowning,’ and the giddy waiting that comes between each new track, wondering just what the hell you’re going to get in two weeks time. Yet eight songs into their first record and I think I’ve just found one of my favourite Sleep Token compositions.
This is a huge, arresting change-of-pace for the mysterious U.K. group, who up to this point, have rarely strayed into such brutal sonic territory as directly. The angular rhythms, dirty bass tone, the filthy-ass djent riffs, and the wicked sense of groove create a more feral, demented Sleep Token than we’ve ever heard before. With a single snare flam, these powerful instrumentals and distorted, vicious vocal lashings from Vessel detonate, matching the metaphoric rage-bubbling-to-the-surface imagery of the track’s partnered visualizer so well. And it’s damned hard not to get pumped when that kinetic timing between the drums’ snare and hi-hats keeps the pace of the song chugging along as the instrumentation and vocals quickly drop in and out. (These guys have more bounce to their music than you’d ever think possible.) Before ‘Gods,’ and excluding some other gnarly prog-metal breakdowns, we’ve only gotten brief glimpses of a darker, heavier vocal timbre from Vessel, like those “just take a bite” lines from ‘The Offering‘ and the end of ‘Higher.’ But here, he’s skipped past all of the pleasantries and is just outright going for it; screaming away with full confidence and control as his vocal versatility is truly revealed.
Of course, if you’re still craving Sleep Token’s soulful vocal hymns, those delicate synths, and their killer musical dynamism that’s defined their formulae for the last few years outside of a couple of tracks, ‘Gods‘ doesn’t skimp on that aspect of their songwriting either. The tracks stunning mid-section sounds like you’re standing in a bloody, war-torn aftermath, with ash and dust falling around you as the songs gorgeous piano transitions, surging drums, and angelic, mood-setting backing vocals take center stage. ‘Gods‘ takes great care to reveal a heavier, more scathing take on Sleep Token’s metal side, but also carries the warmth and heart in those much-loved jazzier, progressive sections to still create what we know and love about this unit.
Standing up next to ‘Dark Signs,’ ‘Higher‘ and ‘The Night That God Slept‘, this is by far one of the strongest offerings we’ve gotten from Sleep Token yet. There’s no better time to start your worship then right fucking now.