Review: Sleep Token – Take Me Back to Eden


Happy New Music Friday, or as everyone in my life has come to call it, “Sleep Token Day.” The absolutely wildest card of wild cards in my music discovery and journey this year have finally released their long awaited third album, Take Me Back to Eden. As I listened, I just started typing thoughts and really digging deep into what is presented to us. Here is a love story about a breakup album.

If you’ve been on alt TikTok for any length of time recently, you know all about “The Summoning”. This was the first track that I heard from the band, and even though it’s a great representation of what is so cool about this band and their ability to eschew genre, I have actually spent a lot less time with this track since listening to other songs. It’s also super lame to downgrade it to just “that metal song with the cool funk breakdown” because there’s a lot more to get. Like, brush up on your lore guys.

You can buy or stream Take Me Back to Eden on Apple Music

I fell hard for “Granite” when it released, but the “Acqua Regia” line, “When I’m done dancing to alarm bells / No wonder my ears are still ringing”, cut me like a knife and has stuck with me the most of any of the tracks. How many times do we live in a state of chaos and get used to it? It’s so tough to have that chaos either relieved or taken care of without always having that echo in the back of our mind.

“Chokehold” was a great taste of the album as a lead single. Releasing so many tracks as singles these past few months makes what could be a weighty, convoluted album easy to digest. There are still six completely new tracks, and what floored me most about the album is that you truly could not say for sure that you knew what to expect from the remaining six tracks based on the singles. I feel like this is more of an approachable album than their last two, which lean more heavily into the hardcore inclinations of the band. I like all three albums, but Sundowning in particular has taken up space in my mind for the past few months since I started getting into their back catalogue.

The parallels we see between “Are You Really Okay” and “The Apparition” are staggering, not only because of the real obstacle that declining mental health can be between two people, but the idea that there’s a alternate world where both of them can be free and happy. Sickening – Give me that dream world. “DYWTYLM” is about self-love and wanting to be better for the people around us and wanting to do the hard work of taking care of ourselves. The whispered “smile back at me” at the end after having to hear, “My reflection just won’t smile back at me like I know it should” is such a hard concept to come to terms with, and Sleep Token handles it eloquently.

“Rain” brings the “Acqua Regia” continuation of saturation, and nod to “Atlantic” from 2021’s This Place Will Become Your Tomb, full circle with, “Flood me like the Atlantic / Weather me to nothing / Wash away the blood on my hands”.  Sometimes we wait for someone to care about us as much as we care about them, but in the end it’s not the other person’s love that washes over us but something different that WE have to choose to get covered in. “The salt from my hands” being tears from the past that we want someone else to clean up for us but it turns out it’s only us that can truly do the cleansing by being subjected to “rain” or hard truths.

“Take Me Back to Eden” is symbolic of inner peace and a place where redemption can happen. The entire album is watching a journey of someone who lost find their way back into themselves and finding out what they needed there was always inside. With lines like, “Two days since the mainframe went down”, Sleep Token often gets so close to literal biblical allusions but know how to either twist them or be just shy, two days instead of three in reference to biblical resurrection. The third verse kind of lets go of the idea of returning to Eden, or perfection, because “No amount of self-sought fury / Will bring back the glory of innocence”.

All this time, maybe Sleep isn’t some deity to be worshiped and revered, but someone who had an intense control over us. It could’ve been a romantic relationship like so many of the Sleep Token songs allude to, but in real life it can be anyone who sends us through the emotional wringer. I know I’ve had people in my past who have caused such turmoil it affects my sleep. The dreams and the nightmares aren’t always just there when the lights are off and the moon is out. “Euclid” seems to be more about Vessel wishing he could get away from the influence of Sleep and just be who he wants to be again with no strings attached. Don’t we all kind of want that? See, Sleep Token isn’t as inaccessible as people think.

The final track also uses piano and layered vocals to “The Night Does Not Belong to God” from Sundowning. Ending the album with the second verse of the latter track brings the past two albums together with TMBTE in a way no one but the band could have seen coming. Yes, there are artists who love a self-reference, but an entire trilogy of albums spread out through four years is not only ambitious, but the cherry on top is that Take Me Back to Eden realises it’s ambition with flawless execution.

by Nadia Alves

kiel_hauckNadia Alves has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.


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