Fusion or confusion? It’s a question that contestants are asked during MasterChef Australia when they present the judges with Vietnamese meets Italian dishes, for example.
Blunt also had that question while listening to the debut album from underground London band Sleep Token. Opening with ‘ATLANTIC,’ This Place Will Become Your Tomb starts things off in epic fashion. Pianos, synths, yearning vocals, and a breakdown that would make any symphonic metal band envious of how perfect the execution is. It’s a phenomenal track that isn’t just metal, isn’t just emotional; it’s a song that doesn’t meet any definitions of what heavy music should be. It’s what the rest of the album should have been.
That’s not saying that anything here is terrible. ‘HYPNOSIS’ is an outstanding take on metalcore, ‘MINE’ melds modern pop music hallmarks with a breakdown, ‘ALKALINE’ and ‘LIKE THAT’ summon the kind of industrial metal we yearn for, ‘MISSING LIMBS’ is a primarily heartfelt acoustic closer that calms listeners down after an unusual journey. The heavier tracks would feel at home on a Disturbed or Rammstein release, while the tracks that incorporate a few too many vocal adjustments and ditch guitars are more like a disappointing take on whatever Bring Me the Horizon is doing now.
For a debut album, This Place Will Become Your Tomb checks the necessary boxes: a memorable hit song here or there, room for potential, and directing energy at creating an enigmatic aesthetic. Sleep Token is masked and anonymous, led by vocalist Vessel, and incorporate “rituals” into their single release model. They bring fun and mystery into metal, alongside delicious riffs and breakdowns. At the end of the day, what else could we ask for in a band? We don’t want perfection; we want extraordinary and unforgettable. Sleep Token delivers on those forefronts in spades.