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Unexpect - Fables Of The Sleepless Empire CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.14 | 311 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars With the legendary In a Flesh Aquarium from 2006, Unexpect proved that they were one of the most unique bands on the extreme metal scene. Finding even one other band that creates a concoction of a death metal, progressive rock, avant-garde, classical, jazz, and theatrical antics with as much finesse as this Canadian outfit is a near-impossible task, and with Fables of the Sleepless Empire the band once again shows their relevance as a force to be reckoned with in the avant-garde metal universe. Fables of the Sleepless Empire is one hell of a weird album, and the extremely difficult compositions can take even the most dedicated listeners quite a few spins to completely grasp. The genre-defying stylistic traits of the album are strange enough, but the seemingly unorganized and frantic compositions can take a long time to unveil themselves. It's all worth it in the end though, and Fables of the Sleepless Empire eventually will come across as one of 2011's shining achievements. If not one of the best albums you'll hear this year, this is surely among one of the most unique.

After the briefly hypnotic intro of "Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest", Unexpect dives head- first into wacky avant-metal craziness, complete with funky basslines, eclectic vocal styles, and frantic arrangements. Fables of the Sleepless Empire continues in a similar fashion throughout its entire 56 minute duration - lots of fast-paced genre hopping, yet it always comes across as coherent and well-done. This may seem like a sporadic and random punch in the face during your first one or two listens, but Fables of the Sleepless Empire slowly unravels its subtle beauty over time, until every song comes across as a well-composed work of art. I'd actually consider that to be Fables of the Sleepless Empire's greatest achievement. Its ability to be frantic, chaotic, and brutal in nature, yet still coherent and beautiful is simply unmatched by anyone else in modern avant-garde metal. The strangely beautiful connotations of a song like "The Quantum Symphony" is exactly what makes Fables of the Sleepless Empire such an indispensably amazing album. Factor in the top-notch musicianship and crystal-clear production, and you have a winner on all fronts.

I'll be completely honest when I say that it's rare to come across an album this weird, technical, and chaotic that actually works. Unexpect's tremendous talent as songwriters makes Fables of the Sleepless Empire work not only as a vehicle for their odd arrangements, but it also lets the album come across as a modern musical masterpiece. Fans of wacky avant-metal should hear this one as soon as possible, and I'd easily consider this one of 2011's standout releases. 4.5 stars are warranted for such a tremendous achievement. This isn't for everybody, to be sure, but those who crave something extremely far-distanced from your average prog metal release should label this as an essential acquisition.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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