“Ascensionism” by Sleep Token

Making an attempt to write an analysis of a song like “Ascensionism” can be risky business because first of all, the lyrics are painfully metaphorically. Secondly, they are embedded with religious/spiritual references. And third, they probably weren’t meant to be analyzed like that to begin with, with some songs relying more of a sentiment than a message per se.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Sleep Token's Ascensionism at Lyrics.org.

But what can be ascertained, theoretically, is the featured narrative being premised on the close, likely romantic relationship between the vocalist and addressee being a troubled one. Hypothetically, the vocalist ‘ascending’ is symbolic of him reaching a place internally whereas he is able to walk away from this romance, yet in the right state of mind.

Or, let’s put it like this. It can be gathered, based on the latter half of the song especially (i.e. the everything after the third verse), that both parties involved have concluded by this point, it would perhaps be best for the relationship to end. 

But the onus is on Vessel in terms of making that move. However, as implied by three verses, he doesn’t particularly possess the wherewithal or desire to do so. In other words, it’s as if the vocalist has grown accustomed to the toxicity which has become part and parcel of this relationship.

“And I know what you want from me
You want the same as me
My redemption, eternal ascension
Setting me free
So I’ll take what I want then leave”

But again, both he and the other party know that he needs to go his separate way in the name of personal development. Or put more frankly, he probably needs some space to grow and mature. So Vessel has seemingly come to acknowledge that yes, he will eventually bounce but beforehand is going to use his partner, just as he perceives her taking advantage of him.

That’s the simplest explanation of “Ascensionism” we can come up with. Chances are what’s being said in this song, esoteric references and all, could have been done so a lot easier or in a way that is more generally understandable. But apparently, Sleep Token’s lyrical style revolves around the type of complicated lyrics which causes the listener to think, which is all good if we can actually figure out what’s being said.


It is the aforementioned Vessel, i.e. the masked frontman of Sleep Token, who wrote “Ascensionism”. He also produced the track with Carl Brown, whose presence can be felt throughout the entirety of “Take Me Back to Eden”, the album this song is featured on, which was dropped through Spinefarm Records on 19 May 2023.


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