Thursday, July 08, 2010

uneXpect: In a Flesh Aquarium (2006) Review

uneXpect is a Canadian extreme avant-garde metal band with an extremely clever name. How does one unexpect something? You may learn how, by the time their 2006 In a Flesh Aquarium is over.

The sound is very similar to the more well-known Diablo Swing Orchestra, though uneXpect was doing it before those Swedes. There are only two really obvious differences. First, the female singer does not strictly follow the rules of operatic singing. Second, uneXpect writes much stranger songs.

The similarities are more obvious, however. You will find piano, saxophone, violin, cello, clarinet, and even some sound effects on the album. You will also find songwriting inspired by such outlandishly disparate sources as "black metal, death metal, progressive metal, melodic heavy metal, European Classical music, dark cabaret, opera, medieval music, jazz, electro, ambient, noise, gypsy music, and circus music," according to the Wikipedia article.

But uneXpect has much more (dare I say?) unexpected songwriting tendencies. They'll get you into a groove well enough, but then abruptly shift into different territory, and some passages seem like they were recorded from a schizophrenic's hallucinations.

Every aspect of it is excellent, but the real star of the album is the bass. Played in a slap style, it keeps the groove going throughout the album even with all the insanity going on.

The Verdict: If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I love crazy music, and this is definitely crazy. But it's also very accessible, simply because it's written so well. I give the album 4 out of 5 stars. I only wish they would get around to recording a new album.

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