Sleep Token: “Our identity is represented through the art itself”

That level of invention and mystique has caught the music-loving public’s imagination and sparked wild theories about the identity of those responsible, as well as the possible meanings behind it all. The undeniable talent and creativity fuelling the endeavour has led many to believe that it must be the work of an already established and accomplished artist.

Bastille’s Dan Smith has been considered a potential candidate. There’s some left-field speculation about people like Sam Smith, James Arthur or Hozier possibly being involved. Wannabe online sleuths have noted some stylistic similarities between Vessel’s vocals and those of Don Broco’s Rob Damiani, further highlighting how the two appear to never be booked for live duties at the same time.

The band’s hyper-engaged online communities have debunked most suggestions thus far, only adding to the mystery that surrounds their rise to prominence. In the social media-driven age of TMI oversharing, it’s an impressive feat to have kept things so tightly under wraps all this time.

To that end, rule one of the band’s official Reddit page states that “revealing the real names or providing information that leads to identifying members is strictly forbidden”. That’s a mark of “respect and gratitude” according to user PersimmonOwn2478.

“Vessel has given all of us a gift,” they explain. “Through this magic music that makes us feel. To go against their wishes, to discuss the people behind the masks, or to sully a sincere wish for anonymity, would be a disgrace.

“In giving of himself, his past traumas, his emotions that gave birth to a beautiful catalogue of music,” they summarise. “He asks of us just one thing: to focus on the message behind the music.”

Someone who knows a thing or two about the power of a mask is Corey Taylor, who counts himself among the band’s ever-growing legion of devotees. On his recent visit to the UK, we tried to pin him down on what it is he digs about them so much.

“I love how there’s nothing but the music and what they want to put out there,” the Slipknot frontman says of the band’s unique allure. “I love that people are so into that, too. I mean, I know how fucking hard it is to keep that up. There’s definitely something to be said about the mystique. But if the music wasn’t amazing, it wouldn’t be as cool. The thing that inspires me the most is watching people really come into their own.”

That’s putting it mildly. Earlier this year, Take Me Back To Eden’s lead single Chokehold became a viral sensation, with fans uploading their reactions and interpretations to TikTok. Lorna Shore singer Will Ramos recorded an a cappella cover and raved about the band on his YouTube channel. During his headline performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London in March, American Idol star Chris Daughtry performed an acoustic take of his own. They join Ihsahn from Norwegian black metal legends Emperor, The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, Loathe’s Kadeem France and Architects’ Sam Carter, who’ve all been vocal about their adoration in the past.

With a clutch of show-stealing festival gigs under their cloaks, including Reading & Leeds, an upcoming sell-out U.S. tour, and that crowning headliner in the capital to look forward to, it’s hard to see anyone having a better 2023 than Sleep Token.

How the hell did they pull all this off?