In the event you instructed us ten years in the past that there could be a brand new masked band on the scene that have been efficiently changing metalheads into followers of catchy, pop-friendly music, we’d have both scoffed at you or just reminded you of the existence of Ghost. Sleep Token, whereas sounding nothing just like the Satanic Swedes, have definitely planted their flag into an identical thought of defiant metallic that finds its energy in essentially the most unlikely of locations.
Though heavy music with pop hooks is definitely not a brand new factor, Sleep Token are dissolving the boundaries of the style divide with a higher power than anybody earlier than. And, as they welcomed within the new 12 months with a shock smattering of immediately-loved singles that embraced all the pieces from hip-hop to prog-metal, Vessel and his band as soon as once more proved that their radical formulation works. When these songs are debuted in a reside setting tonight at Hammersmith’s Apollo, they spotlight precisely what trendy metallic has been ready for.
On the ultimate date of this sold-out UK tour, supporting band Northlane kick off the night as a becoming (and blood-pumping) segue into a night of genre-flipping curveballs. Firing out a meticulous mish-mash of thumping electronica, nu metallic and rigorous metalcore, the Aussies guarantee this packed-out, 5,000-capacity venue has its vitality metre firmly within the lofts.
As they glide out onto the stage dripping in black velvet, Sleep Token materialise like a bunch of disconcerting apparitions, opening with new singles Chokehold and The Summoning. Instantly, followers latch onto each lyric of the days-old songs like they’re welcome classics. In the meantime, frontman Vessel creeps, skitters and jolts across the stage, half like a panicked cockroach, half like an unconfident teenager dancing round their bed room, conscious of watching eyes.
It’s a relentless criss-cross of energies: Vessel’s enigmatic hyperactivity, his backing singers standing nonetheless like frozen statues, backed by flickering, disorientating strobes of sunshine that plummet into black towards the sudden romantic hues of fluorescent pinks. It’s bewildering, however completely fascinating.
Sleep Token’s highly effective versatility seems most prominently throughout Hypnosis, with its pummelling riffs that seethe and pull towards the bubblegum, shiny pop of its radio-friendly refrain. Alkaline conjures the identical feeling, its crooning choruses and sickly-sweet lyrics set towards smacking riffs that sound like they’re ripping by means of the Earth’s crust with each thrust.
All through the evening, Vessel’s vocals function an anchor amidst the storm, his Rag ‘N Bone Man-twang frequently hovering into angelic falsetto peaks earlier than diving into heat, emotional-filled warbles. In between breaks of every spectacular notice, equivalent to throughout the atmospheric Atlantic, some followers set free dizzied squeals, calling to thoughts the manic, ecstatic state that’s normally spurred on by the heartthrob chief of a boy-band.
In the direction of the top of the set, feelings run excessive as Vessel lets out staggered sobs throughout the lovely The Evening Does Not Belong to God. At this level, his response is unsurprising; if ‘worship’ (Sleep Token’s long-cemented mantra) is what they’ve been searching for, then worship is strictly what has taken place tonight.
With the whole lot of the venue standing on its ft with arms outstretched for a closing efficiency of The Offering, the congregation involves its finish, and the room is left spellbound by this completely new, hybrid type of metallic. Whereas it’s unclear whether or not Sleep Token will handle to get the extra illiberal metalheads on board, particularly throughout their long-winded wanders into pop and hip-hop, it is apparent their various abilities may take them wherever from the mainstream phases of Glastonbury to the heaviest of metallic festivals. No matter they do, and nevertheless they do it, we’ll be watching (and worshipping).
Sleep Token Hammersmith Apollo setlist January 22, 2023
2. The Summoning
5. Darkish Indicators
7. Like That
8. Aqua Regia
13. The Love You Need
14. The Evening Does Not Belong To God
15. The Providing
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