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Unexpect Utopia album cover
3.11 | 48 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vespers Gold (7:32)
2. Constellations and Mysticism (5:38)
3. Metamorphosis (2:45)
4. Shades of a Forbidden Passion (6:46)
5. Palace of Dancing Souls (2:55)
6. The Fall of Arthrone (7:29)
7. Ethereal Dimensions (7:47)
8. The Flames of Knowledge Forever Lost (7:16)
9. In Velvet Coffins We Sleep (8:55)
10. The Revival (8:31)

Total Time 65:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Véronique Michaud "Elda" / vocals
- Éryk Chapados "Syriak" / guitars,vocals
- Stéphane English "Artagoth" / guitars,vocals
- Olivier Genest "Merzenya" / keyboards
- Charles Crépeau "Le Bateleur" / violin
- Mathieu Phaneuf "Zircon" / bass
- Stéphane Primeau "Lunorin" / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Pierre-Samuel Côté

CD Self-released (1999, Canada)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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UNEXPECT Utopia ratings distribution

(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (28%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

UNEXPECT Utopia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Utopia" is the debut full-length studio album by Canadian avant garde metal act Unexpect. The album was self-released by the band in 1999. "Utopia" was released 7 years before Unexpect´s critically acclaimed breakthrough album "In a Flesh Aquarium (2006)". The band hadn´t been inactive in those 7 years though as they released an EP called "We, Invaders" in 2003.

The music on "Utopia" is unmistakably the sound of Unexpect. If you are familiar the avant garde metal style they play on "In a Flesh Aquarium" you won´t be surprised by how they sound on "Utopia". "Utopia" is just a pretty imature version of the music style on the excellent "In a Flesh Aquarium". Unexpect mix genres like thrash metal/ black metal/ death metal/ symphonic metal/ Avant garde and power metal which gives them their own unique sound. The vocal style is generally very aggressive but there are semi-operatic female vocals on the album too. The compositions are as mentioned a bit imature though and the album comes off inconsistent and a bit amaturish as a consequence of the songwriting but the musicianship on "Utopia" is also a bit shaky and some parts suffer quite a bit because of that.

The worst part of "Utopia" and the part that almost completely ruins my listening experience is the production though. The sound is weak, empty and seriously lacking power. The guitars sound powerless and the drums (which by the way are a bit to busy for comfort during some of the calm parts on the album) have an awful sound. The sound on the album is pretty much what I´d call demo quality and not of the good kind.

I´d say "Utopia" is a hardcore fan thing only. I´m not even sure the hardcore fans will enjoy this too much. Imature songwriting, bad sound production and shaky musicianship adds up to a 1.5 - 2 star rating.

Review by horsewithteeth11
2 stars As much as I love In a Flesh Aquarium, this album comes nowhere near close to it. There are however a few redeeming features though.

This album was released seven years before In a Flesh Aquarium, often hailed as one of the most innovative avant-garde metal albums ever made (not to mention it being ridiculously heavy). The music on Utopia is very much Unexpect; they sound significantly less mature than on their sophomore effort however. The blend of genres is here, from several types of metal to operatic and classical influences, but there are little to no avant-garde moments on here. I feel that Unexpect is at their best when they are wild and chaotic, and without these avant-garde moments Utopia feels fairly bland and dry. Actually, I usually have a hard time listening to this album all the way through, because many of the songs feel same-y and that always makes me drift off. I always find it annoying, given that good music never has a problem keeping my attention.

The one thing that bothers me the most about this album though is the production. It's very raw (and I like raw production quality sometimes), but it doesn't feel like it helps the music. In fact it hurts it a lot. It's also probably part of the reason why many of the songs sounds fairly similar to me. Even if you like In a Flesh Aquarium, you might not like this album. There should be just enough here to keep you occupied (at least for some of the time) if you are a fan of the band's second album though. I can't give any higher than 2 stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Utopia' - uneXpect (7/10)

Nowadays, uneXpect (or Unexpect) are the darlings of avant-garde metal. Their latest album has met incredible reception, and their second work 'In A Flesh Aquarium' is considered a modern classic. As some of the most chaotic and innovative musicians I have ever heard, uneXpect have already set their legacy in stone, and may be considered to be one of the most talented acts going on today. 'Utopia' is the band's all-but-forgotten debut. Much in the way maudlin of the Well's 'My Fruit... Psychobells' is overlooked in favour of its stronger successors, 'Utopia' appears to be unknown, even to many of the band's fans. Obscure as it is, 'Utopia' delivers the band's signature style in a rawer, less defined form. As one might expect, 'Utopia' does not hold a candle to the two albums that would follow, but the band's potential and talent is evident.

When describing uneXpect's style, many terms come to mind. This Canadian act draws sounds from death metal, black metal, gypsy folk, circus music, and makes for an absolute mind-boggle of a listen. This sense of insanity is what largely defines uneXpect's work, and makes it special. 'Utopia' shows uneXpect playing in a less chaotic gear, although there is plenty of forward thinking. The music is a crossroads between black, death, and symphonic metal, with growls, Cradle of Filth-esque rasps, and female clean vocals all making themselves heard, sometimes in unison. The music is technical and weird, but both of those elements are not quite as bombastic as they are in later uneXpect material. The production is functional, but admittedly does not do the busy sound a fair justice.

The band's musicianship is very good, although the highly ambitious nature of uneXpect's music seems to be slightly out of grasp in regards to their recording abilities. On future albums, every element of this band's makeup would be improved upon, but that does not rob 'Utopia' of being a strong listen in its own regard. There is plenty of the weird and wonderful to digest here, as long as listeners do not expect the same polish that they are used to from this band.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars If you're like me then you started listening to UNEXPECTED's twisted mangled musical melodies beginning with either "In A Flesh Aquarium" or "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire." In my case i began with the last and worked my way back in time finally arriving at the debut UTOPIA which i hesitated in even checking out because of the almost universal critique that basically pans it. Well, finally arriving at this debut with nowhere to go except wait for a new album, i have to say that i was totally taken aback by how much i like this. True that it is not the fully formed musical madness of the aforementioned masterpieces but taken on its own terms and comparing it to any metal of 1999 leaves this album in a very interesting place for its time AND it's one that i actually find myself listening to on a regular basis. It is basically UNEXPECT Light, that is an album that already showed a genre blending prowess but instead of incorporating every known genre in the universe into the mix, this one took a more conservative approach. In fact, this album reminds me of what the Japanese avant-garde metal act Sigh was doing at the same time or at least the closest thing to it.

UNEXPECT was already mastering the art of blending the classical influenced black metal that reminds me of early Ulver with its often operatic vocal tradeoffs with black metal riffs crossed with a healthy dose of death metal growls, riffage and intensity. There is also plenty of traditional metal influence in the mix as well. There also exists lots of progressive metal riffage as well. On board with all the metal influence is a generous dose of Chopin inspired piano runs and to a lesser degree at this early stage the gypsy folk violins but they do appear here and there. While the female vocals on this album contributed only on this debut by Elda are mostly kept in the back of the mix, she does take the lead at times. The songs are generally quite lengthy and go through many changes but there are much more recognizable musical patterns at this stage of the game and for anyone who finds their later works much too busy and impossible to comprehend, they should start here to hear where they are coming from and how they evolved their sonic chaos into the craziness it would become. The music on UTOPIA is roughly 80% extreme metal with classically inspired melodies mixed with traditional metal. The gypsy influences are minimal and the violin plays a subordinate role for the most part.

I've fallen for this band but i am finding that the debut album is no exception. I have read countless gripes about the horrible production. I have the 2006 remastered version which i don't find outstanding but it doesn't sound horrible either. I have not heard the original recording so all i can do is suggest to try the newer version if that was a reason for not liking this. Musically this is really beautiful. It doesn't seem like a mess at all. The compositions are well thought out and they flow very nicely together. The lack of future busyness ensures that this is a smoother listen and one that can be listened to less attentively to unravel its mysteries. In fact, there are no mysteries which makes this a great place to begin to appreciate UNEXPECT's unique take on making avant-garde metal. To me this sounds like a more aggressive version of what Akphaezya would create later on and i would guess that this was an influence for them. Despite this having a running time of 65:34 i always have to listen to the entire album once i put it on. This is a mildly avant-garde metal that will appeal to those who love that style of metal that retains the dominance of the melody. Guess i'm in a lonely room with this one :P 3.5 rounded up

Latest members reviews

3 stars First off this is a bit less experimental then In a Flesh Aquarium but for most would be considered Avant Garde and quite experimental, and it is. It uses numerous influences from many genres and sub-genres but a big difference between this cd and Flesh Aquarium is the use of Power Metal influenc ... (read more)

Report this review (#208880) | Posted by kojurama | Thursday, March 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Being a debut album, this piece of works is actually quite awesome. It shows a great potential that the band have and of course a very good starting point. Unexpect is a great band with a really unique styles; they mix a lot of element in their music such as metal, classic, and some other styles ... (read more)

Report this review (#128013) | Posted by kazansky | Tuesday, July 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've wasted many of my valuable votes by not writing reviews, so here's my first. After renewing my taste for the heavier side of music, I was searching for interesting "new" bands to try out. Mainly by Google-ing for Death Metal top 10s and such. The name Unexpect came at me from many sides. ... (read more)

Report this review (#116607) | Posted by lurkist | Wednesday, March 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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