Sleep Token: The Mysterious Band Blending Metal With Mainstream Music

The Members of Sleep Token are known only as Vessel (Vocals), II (Drums) III (Bass), and IV (Guitar). All member's identities are anonymous and they play live shows with dark cloaks and handcrafted masks.

Sleep Token: The Mysterious Band Blending Metal With Mainstream Music
The Story of Sleep Token - Cover


Sleep Token is a band that originates from London, England. The band has blown up and taken the internet and metal scene by storm recently, but many listeners are surprised to hear that the band has been around since 2016.

Sleep Token is an anonymous band that some have drawn comparisons to the anonymity of Ghost, although the two sound pretty much nothing alike. The band is surrounded by mystery often featuring runes and deep lore/backstories in their artwork and music that adds levels of depth, that is typically not common. Having only done one interview to date in written format, little is known about the band except that they prefer to remain unidentified so that listeners focus on the artistry of the music instead of on the personal lives of the members.

What Genre is Sleep Token

Sleep Token has become wildly successful recently due to the unique sound of their music. Sleep Token's genre is a mix of progressive and alternative metal with elements of pop, R&B, and even old gospel music. Their songs are typically quite long and feature drastic changes in sound between sections.

The Basics of Sleep Token's Lore

In a 2017 interview with Metal Hammer, lead singer who goes by the stage name, Vessel, states that he encountered a deity called "Sleep" in a dream and that he would receive "glory and magnificence" if they spread his message through their music. With many theories circulating and whole communities being built around interpreting the lyrics and mysterious runes depicted in the band's artwork, there's a lot more to delve into if you feel so inclined.

The band incorporates these ideas into their music videos and live performances, using dark and cult-like aesthetics to create a distinct image and theatrics that leave a lasting imprint on listeners.

Sleep Token Members

The Members of Sleep Token are known only as Vessel (Vocals), II (Drums) III (Bass), and IV (Guitar). All member's identities are anonymous and they play live shows with dark cloaks and handcrafted masks.

Sleep Token's New Masks at Wembley Stadium - Photo by Adamross Williams

Sleep Token's History

Sleep Token debuted their first song, "Thread the Needle" in 2016. The track is over 6 minutes long and has a heavy focus on impressive vocals and piano composition that unexpectedly explodes into drop-tuned, ominous guitar and drums.

In December of that year, the band released their debut EP "One" which contained "Thread the Needle" and 2 new songs. The 3 songs total at slightly over 18 minutes, showing how experimental and different Sleep Token was, with their mix of classic/ballad instrumentals with heavy metal.

By 2017 Sleep Token had signed with indie record label, Basick Records and announced that their 2nd EP "Two" would be released in late July. Their 2nd EP was another 3-track release featuring ambient atmospheres, beautiful vocals and piano melodies, and brutal low-tuned chugging.

In 2018 Sleep Token released three singles including a cover of "Hey Ya" by Outkast.

Record Deal

In 2019 Sleep Token landed a record deal with Spinefarm Records alongside bands such as Bullet For My Valentine, Dayseeker, and Atreyu. Sleep Token also announced that their very first full-length album would be out in late November.

Studio Album, "Sundowning" released November 21st, 2019, giving fans a 12-song 54-minute album to listen to. "The Offering" garnered the most attention from the record with 30 million streams (Spotify) to date.

By 2021 Sleep Token released their 2nd Album, "This Place Will Be Your Tomb" and debuted the band on their first charts, coming in at 39 on the UK Albums Chart and 13 on the Scottish Album Charts. The band was even featured on the cover of a 2022 issue of Metal Hammer.

Sleep Token's Vessel on the Cover of Metal Hammer Magazine

The Rise of Sleep Token

On January 5th, 2023 Sleep Token released their single "Chokehold" which was followed 1 day later by "The Summoning", and on January 19th and 20th they released "Granite" and "Aqua Regia". Up until this point their Spotify had been hovering at around 280,000 monthly listeners but by mid-February when another single, "Vore" was released, the band had gathered over 2 MILLION monthly listeners. Since its release 4 months ago, Sleep Tokens hit track, "The Summoning" has racked up nearly 33 million plays on Spotify alone.

On May 19th of 2023, Sleep Token released their album "Take Me Back To Eden" which even further cemented their popularity and brought the band to mainstream attention. "Take Me Back To Eden" was the most streamed metal album in 2023 beating out the well-established metal giants like Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold. Sitting at well over 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, Sleep Token seems to have done the impossible, reaching unparalleled levels of popularity all with 1 album's worth of releases.

Sleep Token Signs to RCA Records

In February of 2024, Sleep Token signed to RCA Records, departing from their previous label, Spinefarm Records. RCA Records is home to artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Doja Cat, and Tool, featuring huge bands from every genre. Sleep Token's RCA deal gives hope for some exciting opportunities for the band like tours with mega-pop artists that could grow Sleep Token's reach to an unimaginable audience. The future is certainly bright for the UK-based act.

Refining Their Sound

With 6 minute song "The Summoning" being one of the band's most unique tracks, it mixes so many genres seamlessly. Throughout their newest music, Sleep Token blends metal, pop, indie/alternative rock, jazz, R&B, progressive metal, ambient music, and even ballads. Sleep Token truly is one of the most unique and innovative modern bands that doesn't limit themselves to any genre and creates music that fans of many types of music can appreciate and enjoy.

Sleep Token creates an attractive blend of powerful vocal hooks, aggressive and technical metal instrumentals, and genre-bending influences that set them apart from much of the music scene. If you haven't listened to Sleep Token and would like to get into them, we recommend starting with "The Summoning".

YouTube: The Summoning (Sleep Token)

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