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Sleep Token - Sundowning Award winner

Sleep Token
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 08 November 2019, 7:54 AM

SLEEP TOKEN apparently prefers to keep anonymous, because there is very little information on their Facebook page or Webpage, including the members of the band. There is any air of mystery to this album titled “Sundowning.”  "Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, is a neurological phenomenon associated with increased confusion and restlessness in patients with delirium or some form of dementia. The term 'sundowning' was coined due to the timing of the patient's confusion. For patients with sundowning syndrome, a multitude of behavioral problems begin to occur in the evening or while the sun is setting…" The album contains twelve tracks.

“The Night does not Belong to God” leads off the album, and what a beautiful opening song it is. It opens with some light electronica, leading to piano notes and absolutely stunning vocals. They drip with emotion, and the pretty melody that results is sublime. The harmonized vocals are very charming. Guitars join in for the second verse and the layering that occurs is perfect. “The Offering” is a bit different. Heavy synth dominates the opening, and Djent guitars hit heavy accents. The vocals are dreamy in their delivery but the music is dark and powerful. “Levitate” has a more positive sound, with soft keys and smooth vocals. The chorus is fill and rich, and they really turn up the emotions here.

“Dark Signs” features some odd and dark keys. But the melody comes pouring out in the chorus…the second time with a heavy guitar presence. “Higher” features some harmonized vocals that are very beautiful. Instrumentation is kept to a minimum here at first to allow the vocals to shine, but then the drums and guitars come in full force, with a dark edge. The chorus is stunning, but it turns very angry at the end. “Take Aim” is a shorter song opening with falsetto notes. When he croons “so take aim,” chills form on my arms. It’s so damn beautiful it could make you cry. “Give” is a mellow song aimed at the perfect marriage between vocals and instrumentation. It’s so accessible that it could be a song that you hear on the radio. “Gods” goes the other direction completely. It’s very hard and angry, with harsh vocals dominating the landscape and with heavy guitar accents. However, once the outburst is finished, it turns to a dreamy sound, complete with piano, before the chaos returns.

“Sugar” features a little keyboard melody in the opening section with calm vocals. Electronica holds down the beat in this positive sound. Some heavy guitars join in before that opening melody returns at the end. “Say that you Will” has a very alluring sound, with emotional peaks, especially in the chorus. It turns a bit heavier towards the end, with guitars carrying the melody. “Drag me Under” opens with slow and steady piano notes, slightly upbeat at first. The vocals go to new heights here and really shine in this pretty little sound with minimal instrumentation. “Blood Sport” closes the album. At first, it’s pretty straightforward, but when the piano picks up the sound begins to expand, with heavy guitar notes, and then they drop off to soft and charming piano notes that take the song to completion.

Besides being very original and defying genre classification, what I liked most about the album was how much of the band’s soul was put into the music. You’re going to experience about as many emotions as you can imagine throughout the listening experience. It’s sad and melancholic in some places, and boasts high hope in others. One thing is for sure, it’s absolutely beautiful overall. Sometimes music doesn’t have to have a genre classification to be enjoyed, and the melodies presented here are done by a careful and skilled songwriter. Bravo!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Night does not Belong to God
2. Offering
3. Levitate
4. Dark Signs
5. Higher
6. Take Aim
7. Give
8. Gods
9. Sugar
10. Say that you Will
11. Drag me Under
12. Blood Sport
Record Label: Spinefarm Records


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