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Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire CD (album) cover

FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE

Unexpect

Experimental/Post Metal


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5 stars Unexpect have done it again. Their last album, "In a flesh Aquarium" from 2006, is well known, also here in the progarchives, as one of the best Avantgarde/Extreme Metal albums of all time. The writing and recording of "Fables of the Sleepless Empire" took them five years, but oh my god was it worth the wait!!! Please note that even though I am writing this at the day of release, I actually have known the largest parts of this album for a while, so this is not a "first impression" review. Giving one of these would be impossible, because Unexpect makes music that takes a bit of time to really understand. This is possibly as Avantgarde as you can get, if you don't believe me read the reviews for their last album, and you will understand what awaits you. Also it is hard to describe this new album adequately, but let me put it this way: The last album, five years ago, was a concept of pure chaos, and seemed hardly under control even by the band itself. This time, it seems like they mastered this chaos and combined it with excellent songwriting. The Unexpect machine now works flawless and for the first time, this seems not only like a bunch of really good musicians with really good ideas, but more like a completely new dimension of music. Words can not describe this album, you have to hear it yourself. Fortunately you can do so at their bandcamp site.

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Send comments to caedes (BETA) | Report this review (#455303)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars They've done it again. Unexpect managed to take their absolute insanity and forge another masterpiece just as good, if not even better than In a Flesh Aquarium. Okay so it's more accessible and not as insane, but here they've proven that they can make a majestic melodic heaven to contrast their intense chaotic hell. I just got this today on it's release date and I cannot stop listening.

As I said, they have a more accessible controlled style here which should appeal to people who thought the previous album was too insane as well as prove a great starting point for people who don't want to plunge into the utter chaos right away. All of their influences (death metal, circus, cabaret, etc) are still here and it's definitely still got that claustrophobic (yet completely controlled) feeling idiosyncratic to Unexpect, but here it's a little easier on the ears.

Another notable characteristic here is Leilindel plays a much larger role in the sound of the album. She uses her beautiful voice just as good, perhaps better than on In a Flesh Aquarium and uses it more often. syriaK and Artagoth still provide their brutal harsh vocals to contrast Leilindel's angelic vocals to create a wonderfully satisfying listen.

Like metal? Buy this now. An undoubtable masterpiece of prog and metal that seems to get even better with more listens.

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Send comments to DisgruntledPorcupine (BETA) | Report this review (#455326)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Monstrous Collossus of Prog Metal

Every musician will tell you seeing a really great show usually elicits one of two feelings. Either you want to go home and grab your instrument immediately, or you want to set it down forever. With FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE, Unexpect may have made the majority of the prog metal community want to set their instruments down and go start selling insurance. There are dozens of albums in the genre that feature some great elements but leave something lacking. This album makes me think, "That's what they were trying to do." A few obvious examples are Indukti and Shaolin Death Squad, bands I adore, along with other favorites like Leprous and Arcturus. All of these are extremely strong bands that now seem like apprentices to Unexpect's master.

With this over-the-top praise, I must issue a few qualifiers. 1. If you don't like metal, you will hate this album. 2. This is not beautiful art metal like Maudlin of the Well or Devin Townsend's Terria. 3. Though the album is more accessible than its predecessor, it's still like drinking out of the fire hose. It can be exhausting. 4. The massive amount of activity does not work as background music in any capacity. It starts to blend together into a mush unless you're paying full attention. 5. This is complexity for complexity's sake, intensity for intensity's sake, craziness for craziness's sake. If that turns you off, don't bother.

UneXpect's IN A FLESH ACQUARIUM is perhaps the craziest piece of avant-metal ever made. For FABLES, the band added not only a vastly improved sense of composition, but also infused numerous displays of technical prowess that are often on the leading edge of the member's respective instruments. Bassist Chaoth (on 9-string) is especially mind-boggling, but the guitars and drums match any DT clone prowess while working through songs that are not only more complex, but infinitely more emotionally evocative. The voices are superb. I am not a fan of harsh vocals, but the variety of harsh tones used here seem more appropriate, more in place than perhaps any other album I've heard. The harmonies between the female, semi- operatic tones and the goth-y low male are tight and spooky. (Definitely evocative of Garm's occasionally out-of-tune work with Arcturus, but hitting pitch perfectally ever time.) Violin also plays a large role on this album, interweaving lines with guitars and bass.

At my fifth or sixth listen through, I am still discovering new mind-blowing aspects of this album on every song. If you love metal, pick it up and get ready for your jaw to drop. Likely to be prog metal album of the year. 5/5

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#456243)
Posted Friday, June 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Here is another big adventure in the world of Unexpect, where you can expect the unexpect... Every twist in theirs songs is like a big surprise, metal meet jazz, circus music, classical in a atmosphere impossible to describe. The sounds are jumping right off the instruments, like a joyful dance. The music is going in many directions, but the melody is there, in a way that no one band can do. This band is a heavier version of Diablo Swing Orchestra and Estradasphere with the proportion of a big metal opera. Their music is at times joyful and light, violent and dark in the same song. The use of death vocals are done in a way that it goes perfectly with the music without ruining the melody. The vocals are like another intrument that give new dimension to the songs. The use of violin is interesting here, but not as much as the bass, guitar and drum playing who he's incredible. To appreciate this music, you have to pay attention to details, and not doing something else while you put this cd on. if you are looking for someting different, with a lot of insanity and imagination, you will love this band. After listening to this cd many times, i don't know if i will be able to appreciate Dream Theater again...

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Send comments to rdtprog (BETA) | Report this review (#457249)
Posted Sunday, June 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not quite as innovative or stunningly fresh as 2006's In a Flesh Aquarium, this is still a music that is so unique, so intricate and layered, filled with such amazing instrumental (those voices, too!) performances that I can rate it nothing less than "essential." As noted by previous reviewers, this is a step forward, a maturation of the songwritng and skillful performing abilities of the band members. Amazing work. More immediately accessible than IaFA, too. (That was one crazy album!) But still out there--WAY out there. What's in the water and air in Quebec to produce such amazing music/musicians and creativity? Pick this one up, you 2011 naysayers. It's an earful--and then some! (P.S. "In the Mind of the Last Whale" has got to be one of the most poignant, emotion- packed, spot-on renderings of post-industrial--post-human?---Earth.)

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#457962)
Posted Tuesday, June 07, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars I guess you can put Unexpect in that catagory of artists who take their sweet-ass time releasing albums. In A Flesh Aquarium blew me away and it completely fit my defintion of 'prog metal.' Fables Of The Sleepless Empire sounds like a continuation of that album, not really adding anything new. In the process the band has it's own sound but the music does not come off as exciting or innovative this time. It sounds like they tried to go for a fuller production which I actually think hurts a few songs here. The sound of the drums in particular sometimes bugs me, while they were no problem on the last album.

The female vocals generally dominate, with the male vocals almost serving a 'back-up' purpose. Those female vocals are also multi-tracked compared with Aquarium. The influences I could hear before from System Of A Down, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Mr. Bungle are still here but not as noticeable. The music is still a mix of metal, classical, electronic and other genres. The traditional metal instrumentation (including guitars and basses with lots of strings) is again joined by violin, piano and synths.

"Words" has both complex and more accessible moments. "Orange Vigilantes" almost has a Zeuhl vibe to it at times. A 'Latin' influence here and there...especially the piano. Features a nice but too short bass solo. Love the groove they get into at the end. Some backwards sounds and whispered male vocals begin "Mechanical Phoenix." Great guitar, bass and drum work in the middle. That bass has a lot of strings. "The Quantum Symphony" features some cool electronically altered vocals and great bass playing.

"Unfed Pendulum" is a highlight and one of the more interesting songs. Most of the songs feature the music jumping from one section to another, but here those jumps just gel. Great playing and a great composition all around. "In The Mind Of The Last Whale" is a great instrumental. Love the overdubbed martial drumming mixed with the oddball sound effects and wordless vocals. "When The Joyful Dead Are Dancing" is probably the most traditional metal sounding song on the album, but even it has non-metal moments.

Overall I think this is a notch below In A Flesh Aquarium but is still going to end up being one of the better releases of 2011. Like the previous album you need to listen to this several times before you can figure out what's going on. Great modern experimental metal that would appeal to the more adventurous prog fan. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#458712)
Posted Thursday, June 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' - UneXpect (10/10)

In 2006, a band from Quebec quietly released an album that has since become the standard for avant-garde extreme metal. The band was UneXpect, and the album was 'In A Flesh Aquarium', a chaotic masterpiece which shocked many a listener for its uncompromisingly original take on metal, and complexity that bordered on insanity. Putting this band on the map with that album, it was natural for expectations (and tension) to be set very high for the release of the follow-up. The first months of 2011 were filled with apprehension for UneXpect's third record, given the aptly surreal title 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire'. Although many bands tend to cave under the pressure of releasing an album that tops their magnum opus, UneXpect proves here that not only are they able to hold their fire, but are only getting more fierce. Although I had no problem calling 'In A Flesh Aquarium' a masterpiece even after many listens, it takes an album like 'Fables' to show me how flawed the band's second work really was. Maturing and consolidating their incredibly unique sound, UneXpect has once again raised the bar, and simply stated; created one of the most mind-boggling metal albums to have been released in quite a few years.

It's not that UneXpect have changed up their sound all too much from 'In A Flesh Aquarium'; their style is still technical, fiendishly complex, convoluted, and quirky as all hell. What does take 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' up to the next step in the band's evolution however is the fact that they have noticeably matured their sound from the sophomore. For all of its brilliance, 'In A Flesh Aquarium' was still quite a silly album that often sounded like it was trying to be 'avant' for the sake alone of being avant-garde and weird. Here, UneXpect sounds like they are trying to put together more cohesive compositions, with clearer melodies and greater dynamic between the chaotic tech sections and 'beautiful' passages. Remarkably, UneXpect has done this at no loss of weirdness or depth; 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' remains an incredibly challenging listen, especially to a listener who does not have the precedent of 'In A Flesh Aquarium' to fall back on.

Also, much of the tongue-in-cheek circus music which defined the second album for some is gone here, in the favour of more serious fusion sounds. Most notably among the non- metal sounds on 'Fables' is the often classically-nuanced violin work of Borboen, who gives the string section a strong foothold on the sound. Often when the guitars and mind-blowing bass work are blistering riff after riff of avant-garde madness, the violin grounds the band with a sense of near-gothic class. Musically, each member is at the top of their game, and after many listens to 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire', it is difficult not to see these musicians as some of the best to have ever come out of the metal scene. Of special note is the bass work of Chaoth, whose fury with the 9 string bass is nearly unparalleled. Although the bass guitar is often lost in the mix of much rock music, the bass makes itself very prominent, especially in the most technical of 'Fables's instrumentations.

Vocally, the vocals may be the least remarkable aspect of what UneXpect has to offer, but also the greatest point of derision among prospective listeners. Featuring a variety of different growls, rasps, guttural vocals and even harmonies between these, the vocals are as over the place as the instruments, which can certainly be an acquired taste for some. However, these are placed in tandem with some clean vocals, occasionally falling to some low clean male vocals, but most often being placed on the unique alto voice of Leilindel. Due to the highly erratic chaos of the instruments and growls, she is left to defend most the melodic aspect from being overrun by the chaos, and for the most part, she holds her own, her jazz-affected vocal work swinging around the towers of guitars, bass, electronic samples and classical violin.

The songwriting here can be said to rest at the level of genius, even if it were only for the sheer amount of ideas and complexity that Syriak and company are able to push into each song. However, 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' reaches its level of near-perfection by the fact that each idea flows incredibly well into the next; each song is a condensed fury of ideas that each come at the listener with remarkable energy and context. Even with 'Unsolved Ideas Of A Distorted Guest' featuring ideas as disparate as a Celtic-tinged bass and violin intro to an electronic dance break, it all works perfectly, tied together by the melodic vocal work and dynamic ebb and flow that runs throughout the album. The last three tracks may have made more sense to have been combined into one track (as they make a running suite of music), but overall, 'Fables' runs and flows quite smoothly.

Regardless, 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' is an album that I would have new things to say about each time I listen to it; it's rare to hear such a wealth of ideas piled into fifty minutes, let alone to have things sound so well-arranged and cohesive. Although it may not have the shock value of such a groundbreaking album as 'In A Flesh Aquarium', it is certainly a fair step above its predecessor, taking the existing style of UneXpect, trimming the fat, and fashioning an experience that is detailed enough to present a constantly developing experience to the dedicated listener. Although I never tend to say this for new albums, it took me quite a few embroiled listens to realize that 'Fables Of The Sleepless Empire' is right up there with the other landmarks of progressive metal.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#461422)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favourite album this year. I liked their previous In a Flesh Aquarium well enough but I think it lacked cohesion and, while enjoying the vast amount of ideas in it, I found it way too hard to digest at times. Yes, technically speaking it was a pure pleasure to listen to but it never really clicked with me.

Wiht this new Fables of the Sleepless Empire their songwriting has improved and what we have here is the same incredible musical diversity but also songs that are actually... well... songs. It's always avant-garde so it gets pretty twisted here and there but it's also a way more accessible album than its predecessor. You'll surprise yourself humming a song like Unfed Pendulum after a couple of listens, something that still hasn't happened with Flesh Aquarium.

If you've never heard of Unexpect and you happen to like your music theatrical, with violins, growls, sopranos and the likes and you want to listen to something really unique these days then go on and give a spin to Fables of the Sleepless Empire. I can't say it's music for everyone but Unexpect definitely released something close to a masterpiece here. Given the genre, I don't think it can be played much better than here.

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Send comments to Camel666 (BETA) | Report this review (#465579)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Negoba said it well: listening to this album is like getting a sip of water out of a fire hose. In the best way possible. The intertwining lines of the guitars, violins, and piano with constantly changing meter push the boundaries of what extreme metal can be. Brutal, beautiful, serious and whimsical, the attitude of the music changes as quickly as a the meter, which moves at a breakneck pace throughout much of the music. Highlights include the album opener, Orange Vigilantes, and Unfed Pendulum. This album is certainly in my top releases for the year, and it may be a defining album in the extreme metal genre.

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Send comments to soggybomb (BETA) | Report this review (#468488)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
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.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#516555)
Posted Tuesday, September 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
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.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#518510)
Posted Friday, September 09, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unexpect delivers again! These guys amazed me with their previous album In a Flesh Aquarium and now they are here with their third album. Compared to the previous album this one seems much more focused production and composition wise. In my opinion the guitars on this album are less black metalish than on the previous. Also this time around the songs don´t sound quite as hectic, the songs seem to have crearer direction in which they are heading. Vocally this album is just as heavenly as the previous one, with the mix of all possible kinds of grunts and screeches and Leilindels angelic singing. Basis of this album is metal that´s often quite heavy, but there is alot of stuff in that´s not metal.

I´m not sure how to set my words of recommendation. This is for fans of strange yet melodic music who don´t mind, if things get heavy. Devin Townsend fans is one group who should definately check this out.

MASTERPIECE!

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Send comments to I Love Internet (BETA) | Report this review (#559679)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars We have a winner here! The best prog-rock album of 2011 came from the most unexpected place: Canada, arguably the most boring country on the planet. Their last album from 2006 was brilliant, and this one is just as good, maybe even sounds a tad better (5 years have passed, a lifetime in audio technology).

This is a full, fat ghost-ride to your prog-metalist best dream come true: innovative song structures, sharp lyrics, amazing basswork, wild vocals, endless surprises along the way - and no cliches. You've got avant-guard attitude with kung-fu precision - brave art armed with an axe.

I've heard so many albums this year, most of them redundant. The best work always comes from groups that have taken long breaks between albums. UneXpect have gathered high-quality materials, worked on them and re-shaped them. The final product is nothing short of an ear-adventure.

While the "big names" of prog like Dream Theater, Steven Wilson and Opeth are repeating themselves or going nowhere, UneXpect is doing the actual work that this genre was born to do: progress, progress and progress.

I'm a lucky man to have this disc in my house. Since I live the far-away Israel (a small piece of land lying in the hot Middle East), with no chance of this Montreal band coming over here for a small gig, the digital album is a life-saver. "Fables of the Sleepless Empire?" more like "tales from topographic oceans" taken to the undying extreme.

See you guys again in 2016, your next album's release date. In the meantime - let's crown this band for their excellent artistic work. This type of diamond doesn't come easily: blood, sweat and tears are your home-made tools. And where would we be without home studios? anyway, this item should show up in the dictionary next to the term "Autobuy".

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Send comments to uribreitman (BETA) | Report this review (#559740)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Demon of the Opera: or, Surreal Rollercoaster: or, Mercy! My head is on the edge of overheating!"

This is an intense piece of avant-garde metal. I mean INTENSE. Unexpect's third full length record is an unrelenting beast, spawned by Ascendance Records. On its musical way it has devoured such genres as klezmer music, symphonic black metal, opera, electronic, jazz, classical chamber music and some other tasty styles that stood on its way. Oh my... It seems it's about to devour... YOU!

Such a dense and complicated record requires a crystal clean production. So, if you're looking for a fuzzy sounding and discordant avant-garde, you won't find it here. FotSE is a perfectly produced album with an impeccable sound. Every instrument (vocals, violin, guitars, 9-string bass... wait, what?!) has its space in the mix and thereby is easily distinguishable in the wave of sounds this crazy bunch bombards us with.

A book could be written about the music played by Unexpect. I must admit that on the first listen I was completely overwhelmed by its diversity and intensity. While the album may seem a bit inconsistent at first, its strange coherence becomes apparent with time. Unexpect are unbelievably talented songwriters and skilled musicians. Their mix of dark cabaret ambiance, modern electronic spices, chamber orchestrations, extreme metal impetuosity and progressive virtuosity, seems to be performed without effort. While sometimes I get an impression of thematic overload, the fact that it's a well-flowing album is undeniable. Most of all though, I think there's something that makes this intricate music surprisingly accessible. It's either beautiful vocal lines by the frontwoman Leilindel or Unexpect's great talent for thrilling passages. Well, both of them I guess.

Extraordinary. Intense, intriguing, technical and... brilliant. List of adjectives goes on and on. With this almost perfect creation, Unexpect has proven that virtuosity doesn't have to deprive the music of soul. That should be an important lesson for some leading prog metal bands. I can't help but admire these people, admire them for creating this exacting, surreal and emotion-provoking journey. I'm happy I've set out on it.

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 10/10[masterpiece!!!]: Words; Mechanical Phoenix; In the Mind of the Last Whale || 9/10[fantastic!]: Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest; Orange Vigilantes; The Quantum Symphony; When the Joyful Dead are Dancing; Unfed Pendulum; Until Yet a Few More Deaths do us Part || 8/10[great]: Silence this Parasite; A Fading Stance ||

-- Originally posted on METALMUSICARCHIVES.com --

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Send comments to bartosso (BETA) | Report this review (#634701)
Posted Thursday, February 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Take avantgarde/experimental metal, throw is some touches of black metal, circus & cartoon music, violins, math-metal, and a whole lot of absolute, utter chaos and you have the latest offering from Unexpect. Complex, technical, crazy, intense.....that's pretty much what this album boils down to. If you don't like overly technical metal, this probably isn't for you, but if you do, be prepared to be amazed. They took the complexity of In a Flesh Aquarium and turned it up to 11. Also on display here is at least 4 or 5 different vocal styles. I also thought the production was pretty spot on, everything came through clear in the mix. Which is impressive considering how much is going on. Never a dull moment throughout the entire album, I highly recommend it.

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Send comments to Puppies On Acid (BETA) | Report this review (#743863)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
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3 stars As with their preceding album, uneXpect once again succumb to the inclination to be avant for avant's sake without showing much thought as to how to best draw out the gems and sideline the dross of their experiments. I'm not against avant material by any stretch of the imagination - I wouldn't champion Mr Bungle to the extent that I do if I were - but in the case of uneXpect I don't think the band have learned to master a skill which Mr Bungle - and Frank Zappa, and Henry Cow in their better moments, and more or less all the greats of avant-garde rock music - show a mastery of, and that's knowing when less is more.

uneXpect delight in an overbusy style of production in which soloing is layered on top of soloing which is layered on top of vocals until you have an enormous tower of musicians all jamming away, and whilst that's technically impressive it isn't compositionally interesting because the production is so dense that it's impossible to pick out and focus on any aspect of what is happening: vocals, guitars, drums, keys, everything end up conspiring to smother each other. Too often they fail to give a particular aspect of the compositions room to breathe. It's like an oil painting which has had too many different layers of paint applied to it so that the end result is an ugly brown smudge.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#853510)
Posted Thursday, November 08, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars My impression in listening to this album is of a band with a lot of skill and not much taste. The incredibly busy, indulgent, über-produced music on this album gets irritating - the "everything plus the kitchen sink" approach ends in a sort of Nightmare Before Christmas style of metal (THIS IS HALLOWEEN THIS IS HALLOWEEN), and I don't know why the band was so afraid of not putting 100 layers on the music at any given second, but there's a whole lot going on that I don't feel really compliments the direction of the songs. The result is sort of like a parody of 2000's metal, like if Devin Townsend, Arcturus, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Nightwish, Sculptured, and Solefald were all playing at once. I can practically feel my attention span shrink by the second...

For what it's worth, the bass player has serious chops.

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Send comments to 1791 Overture (BETA) | Report this review (#935290)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fables of the Sleepless Empire is the third full-length album by Canadian avant-garde extreme metal band Unexpect. Their second album In a Flesh Aquarium, released in 2006, has become one of my all time favourite albums, so I was quite excited about their next album. Fables of the Sleepless Empire arrived in 2011, so the band certainly took time for their next release. On this album we have the seven-piece band of their previous work, the only difference is that violin player Le Bateleur is replaced by Borboen. Unfortunately, this is going to be the last album featuring keyboard player Exod. Fables of the Sleepless Empire contains 11 tracks(but the last three form a quasi-suite), and has a playing time of about 55 minutes. The music is unmistakebly Unexpect, so various kinds of metal, and many other influences are melted together. Compared to the previous album the circus/carneval elements are almost completely gone, and there is more room for celtic folk, fusion and smyphonic sounds. The songs are better crafted than on their previous work, I love In a Flesh Aquarium, but with this album I realize that the band had many rooms for improvement regarding songwriting. With the more harmonic, mature and I even dare to say more accesible approach Unexpect have not not lost their quirkiness, complexity and heaviness. This is still a very demanding and wild album, which demands full attention, and easily can make one"s head seriously ache. The musicanship is absolutety amazing, especially Chaoth's wizardy on the 9-stringed bass guitar. My favourite tracks are the opening Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest, Orange Vigilantes and Unfed Pendulum, but after a while i have to admit, that even the interludes are winners on their on right. Surely, Unexpect's version of progressive extreme metal is not everyone's bag, but I beleve, that in this kind of music you can hardly make a better album. I am glad owner of an autographed copy of this masterpiece, since the band's short, but memorable performance in Budapest.

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Send comments to Norbert (BETA) | Report this review (#995379)
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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