Earlier this month, Sleep Token — Revolver's Artist of the Year — capped their breakthrough 2023 with a massive headline show at London's 12,500-capacity OVO Arena Wembley and kicked off their "new era" with the unveiling of three striking new masks.
The decidedly nu-metal-esque masks belong to the band's instrumental trio, who go by the pseudonyms II, III and IV, and were created by 21-year-old London-based visual artist Lani Hernandez-David. As is seemingly everything in our divisive, polarized times, the masks were met with very extreme love-or-hate opinions among Sleep Token fans and detractors alike, with a common online comment being that they look alot like Mushroomhead's creepy face-coverings.
Metal Hammer recently tracked down Hernandez-David, who has been sharing behind-the-scenes images of his internet-breaking creations, for his first interview on the new Sleep Token masks and asked him if Mushroomhead's getups were, in fact, an influence. He said no.
"I'd always heard of Mushroomhead, but never really looked at them," the mask-maker explained. "To me they look wildly different. Mushroomhead aren't the first band to wear masks with a ponytail and eyebrows, and neither are Slipknot. You can say Sleep Token are copying Mushroomhead, but then you can say Mushroomhead were copying Slipknot, Slipknot were copying whoever — no one invented these things."
While neither Mushroomhead nor Slipknot's masks served as direct inspiration for Hernandez-David's Sleep Token creations, the artist did say that he would love to work with the latter in the future. "The next goal is to make a mask for Slipknot," he said. "That would be the end goal, because that's what started it for me. When I got serious into mask-making, it was definitely with Slipknot."
For a deep dive into Sleep Token's just-past era, order Revolver's new collector's issue devoted to the band — featuring rare photos, a breakdown of their album trilogy, famous fan tributes, and more — at our shop.