Rating:
7.6
Unexpect - Fables Of The Sleepless Empire
31 May 2011


01. Unsolved Ideas Of A Distorted Guest
02. Words
03. Orange Vigilantes
04. Mechanical Phoenix
05. The Quantum Symphony
06. Unfed Pendulum
07. In The Mind Of The Last Whale
08. Silence This Parasite
09. A Fading Stance
10. When The Joyful Dead Are Dancing
11. Until Yet A Few More Deaths Do Us Part


It seems like more often than not whenever the band Unexpect is brought up or I share a song from the band that I always seem to get a lot of the same responses; "It's too random and disjointed" or, since we're on the internet, a blatant "THAT WAS SHIT". For quite a while now I haven't been able to wrap my head around why Unexpect would be seen so negatively by metalheads. I remember one person saying something to the effect of "metal written by insane asylum patients" and my immediate thought is "well that sounds pretty damn metal."

Looking back on it now, Fables Of The Sleepless Empire does get a bit chaotic at times. Perhaps it's just my affinity for avantgarde metal that kept me from seeing it fully like others seem to, or maybe it's something else. I pondered it in my mind for a while and came to the conclusion that maybe i just love chaos. It's like you're in school and your art teacher hands you a canvas, a brush and a pallet and tells you to paint something. Most people might have painted a cat or a nice landscape, but I'd imagine if Unexpect were the ones holding the brush they would throw the brush at the teacher tell her to go fuck herself and proceed to smack their hands down on the pallet splattering bits of color on the teacher's now awe struck face and then beat the ever loving crap out of the canvas. The end result would look much like a mess to most, but others could see something more in it; a sort of imagination that lay outside of convention.

Also, the beating the crap out of the canvas thing would be totally metal, and I'm all for that.

So, what about the music then? The songs themselves do have a lot of jumping from one sound to the next in a very disconnected way. One moment you'll have some keyboards playing and clean female vocals and then everything halts for a split second and it's death growls and crunchy riffs. As a result the music is unpredictable, which is nice, but the songs themselves are extremely unmemorable because the album as a whole comes at you as a barrage of short moments; a convoluted, chaotic mess of sound. It feels like any hooks in this album are buried within that mess. If that's what you're into then I say go for it, but otherwise you'll probably want to pass on this one. Even to the crowd this type of music may appeal to I can't see it being more than a slightly above average experience. Interesting enough for a few listens but not memorable enough to want to play it over and over and over again. I, for one, respect Unexpect's unorthodox approach and will continue to support them whilst telling haters to go fuck themselves so I can get back to beating on my canvas.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Unexpect
Album: Fables Of The Sleepless Empire


 


written by chaosscizzors | 14.02.2013


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Demonic Tutor

Rating:
8.3
The Montreal-based asylum known as Unexpect broke a 5-year silence after with their new opus Fables From The Sleepless Empire. And the least I can say is that it is a demanding listen. Absolutely insane actually! This is the toughest review I had to write seeing that there is more music to be found on the opening track than on most albums. If any musical label can be applied to these guys, only extreme avant-garde metal would do them somewhat justice. And this is just a snooty way to say I have no clue.

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published 12.11.2011 | Comments (16)



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Paradox0 - 15.02.2013 at 16:01  
Aside from taking about a month of slow consistent listening to this album to fully appreciate (obsess over) I always found it a little bizarre that many people find this album disjointed. I find most of the songs actually pretty consistent. I see the song structures more as a continual metamorphosis of a single theme driven by each contributing members weirdness, rather than a musical journey of consistently altering scenes. However I found that the cohesiveness of the songs may not be fully realized until the song ends if the song as a whole was fully comprehended and remembered (admitedly a daunting task considering how many conventional musical ideas are either twisted or used unconventionally).

I think what alot of people get lost in are the embelished additions of the non-lead instruments in any given section. from what I've heard each and every section is actually co-written by at least two members, and then everyone else in the band adds onto that idea. I'm not sure if the other members are improvising or if it is a complementary actual writing process. Either way I find that sometimes either the keyboards or strings are hidden in the background of many moments not really adding to melody or ambiance but contributing to the mood of a section, and I think that if its not a traditionally used musical idea, listeners get a little lost on the song looking for these background instruments to have more traditional musical ideas.

I actually find "in a Flesh Aquarium" much more random than "Fables...", and maybe that pure chaotic song structure is conceptually much more easier to digest. I understand and respect Fables isn't everyone's cup of tea, since the album's sound is actually in a very strange place, in that its a band like Unexpect, with all of their weirdness, using their musical talent to make dramatic, epic, ambitiously crafted music in their typically unconventional way.
MétalNoir - 17.02.2013 at 03:05  
In a Flesh Aquarium is much more chaotic but I love it. On the other hand this one is a more polished sort of anarchy but it just doesn't appeal to me much, except for the opening track which is imo one of the band's best songs ever.
Diverge - 01.09.2013 at 19:33  
I thought this was a pretty poor review, mainly because I disagreed with your premise entirely. "For quite a while now I haven't been able to wrap my head around why Unexpect would be seen so negatively by metalheads." As far as I'm aware, Unexpect have received levels of critical acclaim and acclaim from metalheads that are similar to other avant-garde acts. Most first reactions are along the lines of disbelief and an inability to comprehend what just happened, as opposed to just outright saying "This is disjointed" or "This is shitty." Plus...this is the standard for avant-garde music, which can sometimes be received very poorly by most metalheads and even fans of the band itself, and which sometimes can receive almost universal acclaim.

The album is NOT disjointed, and it boggles my mind that users with an affinity for avant-garde music can make this mistake. This leads me to my other main criticism of the review: the inability to describe Unexpect. Yes, they are hard to describe, but you did a really poor job with it here. Demonic Tutor's review was much more revealing, and I appreciate the fact that he acknowledged they were tough to describe. Your approach towards the group (emphasizing crunchy riffs, for example) was the wrong route to take with regards to this band. I still can't get over the fact that you misrepresented the essence of this band by calling them disjointed.

To be honest, this is not one of the finest reviews. I appreciate the fact you took the time to write it, but I think you should try to write reviews on simpler subject matters before you tackle bands like Unexpect.
Diverge - 01.09.2013 at 19:35  
Written by Paradox0 on 15.02.2013 at 16:01

I actually find "in a Flesh Aquarium" much more random than "Fables...", and maybe that pure chaotic song structure is conceptually much more easier to digest. I understand and respect Fables isn't everyone's cup of tea, since the album's sound is actually in a very strange place, in that its a band like Unexpect, with all of their weirdness, using their musical talent to make dramatic, epic, ambitiously crafted music in their typically unconventional way.

I completely agree with this sentiment.

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