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




Experimental/Post Metal

4.11 | 308 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars 9/10

"Fables Of The Sleepless Empire" is the ultimate Avant-Garde Metal album of the last few years.

Unexpect is one of those bands that become popular because of their controversy, which in the progressive rock and metal world means something that is really, really odd sounding even for an average music lover. This Canadian outfit had received huge acclaim in the prog metal scene back in 2006 with their sophomore album "In The Flesh Aquarium", cited as one of the most avant-garde albums ever. So it was pretty hard for the band to maintain those same levels with the third album released five years later, "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire". Turns out that in quite a few ways it tops everything the band has done so far.

Unexpect, for those who aren't familiar with this band and their sound,is one of the most eclectic bands out there: they mix jazz, classical, cabaret, fusion, funk,electronic, circus music, with incredibly varied Death Metal and Avant-Garde. The result is the essence of what Avant-garde metal is today: a huge melting pot of sounds and styles, with Metal as the distinctive feature. But while in "in A Flesh Aquarium" it seemed more like they were tossing tons and tons of ideas and mixing them all together just to make some nonsense, in "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire" the music gets to a much more mature level, abandoning the few defects that the previous album had. There are definitely less ideas put together, meaning that the wild eclecticism is less highlighted, but these ideas are played so well that it becomes a good thing, if it wasn't so in the first place. Thus the music is more focused on constant time changes, so that a song is more like a continuous, mood alternated shape drifter. But overall the band hasn't changed much, they simply have a considerably more mature sound.

Some people have a problem with this band, and perhaps with the newest wave of Avant- Garde Metal, because of the apparent nonsense. I noticed that most people enjoy their Avant-Garde Metal nice and melodic, with Maudlin Of the Well or even Arcturus. As a matter of fact, this album does require a few listens to click ( personally however, I fell in love with it at my second listen), but when it does, the apparently chaotic and free associated structure of the tracks become a lot more logical, in a way. Also, these few listens will unfold the album's true beauty and fragility, just like if it were an authentic huge diamond.

These 55 minutes are greatly structured, in a way that the chaotic moments won't overwhelm the listener too much and get eventually bored. Amazing songs can be found in this masterpiece, starting from the opening track "Unsolved Ideas Of A Distorted Guest", which, together with the following track "Words" and "Mechanical Phoenix", is one of the hardest songs to follow, but it turns out to be the best of the album. The following track does follow the same structure as the first song, but it uses much more violin, making full of softer moods. But they are easier songs to follow, like "Orange Vigilantes" and "Unfed Pendulum", both of them I consider one of the best Avant-Garde Metal songs out there, together with the first track. Like in "In The Flesh Aquarium" they are shorter songs(fillers?), but all of them are concentrated in the second part of the album, and are alternated with slightly longer tracks such as "Silence This Parasite", the most dense song off the LP. Even these interludes are beautifully executed, and I enjoy listening to them just as much as the other songs.

"Fables Of The Sleepless Empire" is probably going to be my pick for number one prog/metal album of the year. This LP is the ultimate Avant-Garde Metal album of the last few years, changing the definition itself of the genre.

EatThatPhonebook | 5/5 |


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