“Vore” by Sleep Token
Sleep Token is a rock band from London, one of the capitals of the world as far as said genre is concerned.
Similar to the Swedish outfit Ghost, this is an act with a masked frontman, and the backup musicians for now also opting to keep their identities revealed via masks and anonymity. Said frontman, in this case, is referred to as Vessel. That said, he has been identified as one Leo Faulkner, a singer also down with an act known as Blacklit Canopy.
There are also theories floating around concerning who his bandmates may actually be. But currently, besides Vessel, the other members of Sleep Token are simply known as II, III and IV.
Despite adopting such a motif, Sleep Token has managed to get down with a UMG subsidiary known as Spinefarm Records.
It is Spinefarm that has backed their first two studio albums, 2019’s “Sundowning” and 2021’s “This Place Will Become Your Tomb”. The said label is also behind Sleep Token’s third studio album titled “Take Me Back to Eden”. “Vore” is one of the singles from the latter project. It was released on 16 February 2023, along with the official announcement of the album. Other prominent singles from the album include: “DYWTYLM” and “The Summoning“.
Vessel1, whom we will take as being the aforementioned Vessel, is the credited writer of this track. He wrote it alongside the song’s producer, a “Sleep Token” regular collaborator in Carl Brown.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “VORE”?
It has been reasonably determined that the “vore” this song is named after is a type of sexual fetish. This kind of fetish involves a person actually getting aroused by thoughts of consuming or being consumed by another.
As Science ABC has pointed out, that is actually a theme we commonly come across in fairytales or even, as far as the story of Jonah is concerned, in the Bible, i.e. a person being swallowed whole by some entity. In other words, vore is not the same as cannibalism. This is because first of all, the person is being swallowed in their totality as opposed to being cut apart and eaten.
Secondly, as far as depictions of vore (i.e. in cartoons or what have you) tend to go, the person who has been swallowed remains alive and intact inside of the swallower. But that said, to reiterate yes, some people do get turned on by such imagery.
VORE, A POETIC ‘US-AGAINST-THE WORLD’ LOVE SONG?
But as for the lyrics themselves, despite being based on a vorarephilia motif, it’s pretty obvious that what’s being put forth is metaphorical. Or put differently, the title and some of the lyrics may have an intended shock effect. However, as for the actual message being relayed, it doesn’t read too unconventional.
That said, some liberties must be taken in order to prevent ourselves from venturing into a multiverse of interpretations. For instance, even though it is never specified, we will proceed as if the addressee is a romantic interest of the vocalist since, after all, this is vore.
So in the first verse, yes, the poeticism is quite sanguine. But “metaphors” such as “your flesh and bone welcome me in” clearly point to the notion of the vocalist and addressee becoming one. The statement that comes after finds Vessel asking this person “are you in pain like I am”. This would imply that that something they have in common, which makes them kindred spirits if you will, is a mutual sense of suffering.
CHORUS OF “VORE”
Meanwhile, the pre-chorus is highlighted by two different queries. One is “will we remain stuck in the throat of gods”. This is followed up by “will the pain stop if we go deeper”. It seems that what the vocalist is alluding to is being on some type of life journey, so to speak, with the addressee.
That notion is verified in the chorus that follows. Here, the speaker asserts his desire that they do “get swallowed whole”. He believes that in doing so, they’ll “go where nobody else will”. That sounds a lot like self-encouragement lingo.
Vessel is apparently believing that if he and the addressee were to take the risk of staying faithful on their current path, their payoff will be some type of extraordinary edification.
This is what we would more commonly refer to as an us-against-the-world love song. The vocalist, amidst suffering, perceives some type of great reward if he and the apple of his eye can endure together.
“So let’s get swallowеd whole
I wanna go where nobody else will
Perhaps the biggest clue that this track is romance-based comes in what appears to be the bridge or post-chorus. (Though certain aspects of the second verse, such as the line “walls of flesh so warm again”, can also be interpreted so.)
Therein, the vocalist tells the addressee forthrightly “I want to have you to myself”. That type of terminology may not be conclusively romantic. But again, it sounds awfully similar to the kind of lingo a person would use who is longing to develop a deeper relationship with another.
Until Sleep Token offers an official explanation, our belief that the addressee is the vocalist’s significant other is just a theory anyway. Sometimes songs with these types of ambiguities are actually being relayed to the fandom of a musician. And in this case that’s arguable also, since by the looks of things the defining factor which is connecting the vocalist and addressee, as stated, is something general though mutual, i.e. this “pain” that they share.