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Unexpect - In a Flesh Aquarium CD (album) cover

IN A FLESH AQUARIUM

Unexpect

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.17 | 229 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Expect the Unexpected.

Is the title of a song from the sole Control Denied ( Death main-man Chuck Shuldiner´s side project) album The Fragile Art Of Existence (1998) and that title fits Unexpect´s second full-length studio album In a Flesh Aquarium like a glove.

This second album by Unexpect is female led avant garde extreme metal with lots of twist and turns, tempo and time signature changes and an integrated use of violin in the music as well as quite a few electronic elements too. While the female vocals are the most dominant vocal style on the album there are also quite a variety of growling and aggressive male vocals on the album. Nice schizophrenic mix that works wonders IMO. The songs are very complex in structure and just when you think you got a hold of where a song is going it unexpectedly changes. The music is very extreme, dissonant and at times almost eerie and unpleasant. A feeling of uncontrollable chaos ( the same feeling I get when I listen to 666 International (1999) and Supervillain Outcast (2007) by Dødheimsgard or DHG if you will). In this case this should be understood as something positive. There´s a kind of freak show/ carnival atmosphere to the music that I find very charming and the classical chamber music elements also gives the music much of it´s identity. There are plenty of heavy and fast guitar riffing and intense drumming on the album too, so even though this is a very progressive and rather avant garde metal album it´s first and foremost an extreme metal album ( there are elements from both black, death and thrash metal in the music).

The album is sort of divided into two parts. The first four songs are intense and challenging progressive/ avant garde extreme metal songs but the fifth song Silence_011010701 is an electronic/ symphonic track that serves as a variation and a breather before the second part of the album begins with the sixth track Megalomaniac Trees and then into the three part suite The Shiver. The album ends with the 11:10 minute long Psychic Jugglers. There´s not a weak moment on the album. It´s overall a very strong album.

The musicianship is excellent. Unexpect is a seven piece band and the interplay between them is outstanding. The vocals are a real highlight among many. Leïlindel is a powerful female vocalist who masters both the angelic and the semi- operatic style to perfection. The male vocals are also really enjoyable. Very aggressive and intense.

The production is really good, but I found that the album didn´t sound too good on my car stereo where the drums kind of drowned. It sounds much better on my home stereo equipment though.

In a Flesh Aquarium is a very challenging listen and some people will probably never find the charm in an album like this. Don´t expect the music to be accessible. It´s taken me many listens to fully appreciate this music. I must admit that I started out being rather skeptical about the whole thing but In a Flesh Aquarium has really grown on me to the point where I´ve begun to view it as one of the most important progressive extreme metal albums in recent years. I had the intention of giving the album a 4 star rating but as I listened to In a Flesh Aquarium a couple of extra times in a row before writing this review it really dawned on me how unique this album is and I think I´m gonna have to give out a deserved 5 star rating here. This is mandatory listening for fans of progressive extreme metal if you ask me. A really essential and highly recommendable album.

UMUR | 5/5 |

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