Review By Kynan Arden
The metal scene in recent years has evolved into many diverse sub genres and in themselves take their own unique styles, with some groups taking this on such as Bad Omens, Thornhill, Spiritbox, and Sleep Token. I had the incredible opportunity to see the latter of this bunch at Northcote Theatre, and if anybody said that you could not mix the filthiest of breakdowns with ethereal electronics that is a lie (try telling that to Pertubator. I dare you)
After fans packed together like tuna and bartenders delivered drinks into mosh pits as if we just invented in-house hospo DoorDash, a thick smog of smoke shielded the stage and within it, Sleep Token’s mysterious, identity-ridden front man Vessel, with his tremendous vocal dynamic, opened the night with Chokehold before the remaining mask-clad members joined him as they quickly flowed into an early fan favourite, The Summoning, to which both myself and half the venue collectively lost our voices to this baby-making anthem, and salivated at the unstoppable drum solo halfway through.
With a thunderous stick-wielded behind the kit, an engaging guitarist and bassist, the highly energetic Vessel and his enthusiastic moves, and the three statue-like, robed backing vocalists, Sleep Token set the scene of a real dark and gothic tone, infused with modern day pop and electronic influences, and the whole design of the entire being clad with villainous outfits and being devoid of any form of identity really adds the theme, in some way being comparable to a melancholic performance rather than your stock metal gig. The fans were enchanted by this phenomenal performance from beginning to end, head banging, moshing, and raving alike to the group’s discography of powerful numbers.
Sleep Token wasted no time for the entire hour and a half they performed, perfecting a flawless performance that kept you engaged every second. From the sultry, seductive undertones of Hypnosis, to the ever so energetic yet angst teeth gritting Granite, carrying over to the oh so behemoth-like Alkaline, every first note or beat of each track sent roars and applause thundering through the theatre, and every lyric was sung loudly as long as there were any, and no amount of makeup of masks could hide the pure energy surging through the members of Sleep Token and clear enjoyment behind the anonymity. It was an experience experiencing such a diversity between heavy, dancey, and mellow/slow songs, an experience which I admire.
Additionally, the band did not spare a cheeky nature as they teased us fans multiple times exiting the stage in short minute long intervals, and truly milked the opportunity to playfully keep us waiting before the conclusive encore, constructing not one but three mosh pits during the finale, The Offering, before the group blessed us with their gratitude upon departing. However, the classic local chant, “One More Song!”, quickly erupted from within the crowd, pleading a final hoorah. To my surprise, this worked, as Vessel took position behind the keys, accompanied by the stunning backing harmonies from the three backing vocalists, and excitingly presented a live debut of their newest single, DYWTYLM.
It’s safe to say that for their first headline tour of Australia, the underground entity that is Sleep Token certainly delivered an unforgettable live experience after shaking the metal industry worldwide with their hits. I have a sneaking suspicion this is only really still the beginning of this powerhouse of a band’s journey, and I’m beyond excited to see what’s next.