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Unexpect - In A Flesh Aquarium CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.16 | 256 ratings

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4 stars These traveling gypsies have brewed something so dense and alarming, that it may not be fully digested or appreciated for awhile. Suffice to say, Satan would hire this group for his next party. Whether one enjoys the music is a whole other matter, but 'In a Flesh Aquarium' is an undeniably accomplished feat of lust, inspiration and showmanship. It's as if you've stopped your car along the highway to see some little roadside show and end up strapped to a chair, forced to watch a most unnerving display of debauchery and meat-related acts that leave you traumatized but strangely satisfied. It's a real ream up the wazzoo, this one, but leaves no visible damage and will release you mostly unharmed.

The mask of heavy metal is worn but Unexpect is more like musical theater for the damned, led by guitarist/growlers syriaK and Artagoth (no real names given) as well as pianist/electrosampler ExoD, the tipsy quavers of Le bataleur's violin and amazing vocal athletics of mezzo-soprano Leilindel. Cuts as 'Feasting Fools' don't hide the band's thrash foundation but nor does it show any allegiance and 'Desert Urbania' talks back with melodies, chamber breaks, and Metallica-style twin ax assaults. Plenty of good progmetal in 'Summoning Scenes' which even sports a walking jazz aside, rusty avant-classical weeping, more surprisingly delicate piano from ExoD, and the violin shrieks of Bernard Herrmann's Psycho start multi-layered 'Silence 01101070' as it gargles through chugging mechanical works, developing into something that hints at Peter Gabriel's early electro-industrial treatments. 'The Shiver', a 3-part monster, has some impressive guitar phrasing as well as more abrupt movements, invasive procedures, stops and starts, ethnic folk, ritual killings, shastric chants, puppet shows, public sacrifices, and conversations between one person. And it wraps up with the parlour-metal of 'Psychic Jugglers' packed full of thespian staging, salon music, funk, and the inevitable howl of death.

A trip through a constantly changing landscape with so much happening that eventually you just give in and enjoy the ride. Something like the circuses of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or Mr. Bungle but with sharper edges and higher performance. Weird wild stuff.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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