It’s both ridiculous, and emotional as Sleep Token prove that the secret to their success is writing bangers, and nothing more.
Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Patrick Gunning.
For every Sleep Token fan who’s versed on the lore of Sleep and the band’s mysterious frontman Vessel, there’s many more who just like the big, catchy songs that regularly blow up on Spotify. Today at Reading Festival those worlds collide. Despite clashing with both The 1975 and The Killers, Sleep Token pack out the Festival Republic tent, and the crowd are chanting their name long before the masked collective take to the stage in a haze of dry ice and atmospheric rumblings.
Without saying a word, they dive straight into the swaying pop might of ‘Chokehold’ before the silky ‘The Offering’. The songs fearlessly cycle through moods and sonic stylings. Heavy one moment, lush and vulnerable the next, Sleep Token dabble in everything from screamo to R&B-inspired pop, but it never feels jarring. It’s dreamy, confrontational and escapist, with a heavy dose of musical theatre only adding to the ambition. Sleep Token are still impossible to pin down (Bastille meets Slipknot, via The Phantom Of The Opera maybe) and their continued success has inspired more questions about where the lines of pop, rock and metal are actually drawn.
There’s no time for those lofty debates today, though, as the carefully curated set hits hard, then harder. It’s both ridiculous, and emotional as Sleep Token prove that the secret to their success is writing bangers, and nothing more.