Monday, June 13, 2011

UneXpect - Fables Of The Sleepless Empire (2011)

UneXpect, the kings of the bizarre, are making a comeback after a five year absence. With their new album, titled "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire," the band look to reassert themselves, and assure you that they have not changed. A trip to the wild side awaits you, one that you will be hard pressed to describe, but you won't soon forget.

Angelic female vocals are the perfect intro to "Unsolved Ideas Of A Distorted Guest," immediately fulfilling the "beauty" side of the band. A strong drum beat keeps the pace, supported by a up and down bass line. Lightning fast guitar work, in the form of picking and plucking, breaks down to distorted chugging. The soft voice disappears, unavailing devilish screams and deep, guttural growls. Now the beast is unleashed. The instrumentation seems chaotic at times, with keys tying all the pieces together. Harsh screams take you down a dark path to the conclusion.

Smooth bass and passive strings join that same heavenly voice to begin 'Words," a track that quickly turns. Dark symphonics peek through, yearning to take over. The bass and guitar move at lightning speeds, leaving the drums to fill the gaps with roll after fill. Vocal diversity is a key here, borrowing from every possible style, from clean singing to death styled growls, and everything in between. Keys are demented and spacey, creating an atmosphere that will frighten you. "Orange Vigilantes" has all of the drumming prowess of the best black metal has to offer, but relies heavily on immediate tempo changes and a hint of the wicked. You are not afforded time to rest and catch your breath in the dulcet, female lead vocal passages. Seconds later, piano keys and jazzy bass work take you into another realm. Variety is the spice of life.

The band blaze through odd time signatures and equally strange instrumentation on "Mechanical Phoenix" and the aptly titled "The Quantum Symphony," a track which will leave you trying to hash out new mathematics to figure out what beat this band marches to. "Unfed Pendulum," a taste of the bizarre, combines shredding strings with robotic chants and screams that could come from Satan himself. That is, if Satan likes to boogie. Dust off your dancing shoes, because there is a jazz swing breakdown that will have you on your feet. "In The Mind Of The Last Whale" is only three minutes in length, but not short on creativity. A short instrumental to cleanse the pallet.

"Silence This Parasite" highlights the drum capabilities and solidifies the "beauty and the beast" vocal stylings the band is known for. The drums punch ahead, with brilliant string work and frightening vocal passages. "A Fading Stance" is a welcome interlude, with sweet vocals and layered strings, almost dreamlike in its harmony. The album ends on as bizarre a note as it begins with crushing "When The Joyful Dead Are Dancing" and "Until Yet A few More Deaths Do Us Part," with the latter being a demented set of wedding vows.

Fans of the same old same old will be instantly turned off by everything this album has to offer. There is simply no way to take it all in with only one listen. Being unique is not always a recipe for success. Different isn't always better. But in the case of UneXpect, strong musicianship and creative writing make being strange seem like a good idea. The circus is in town, and it is time to enjoy a taste of the bizarre.


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