Unexpect - In a Flesh Aquarium http://www.amazon.ca/Flesh-Aquarium-Unexpect/dp/B000GW8PUE
There comes a time in every reviewers life where he loves an album so much, that he puts off reviewing it in fear he'll get sucked into the dark realm of 100% subjectivity. This is the album that does it for me. I don't have many reviews at the time of writing this, but I've had this situation. But here it is, my review of Unexpect's "In A Flesh Aquarium" album.
After hearing so much about the French-Canadian band Unexpect a few months ago, I decided to pick up this album then. I was always picky about harsh vocals so I was reluctant, but I heard many great things. Also, I love some good old fashioned weirdness, so why not give it a try? It couldn't be that bad, could it?
On my first listen, when Chromatic Chimera came on, an unusual question was posed: "Is this one of the greatest things I've ever heard, or one of the worst things I've ever heard?" What was it? Two growlers and a female going completely insane over a cacophony of guitars, drums, bass, and violin? I didn't know what to think. Unfortunately the album didn't survive past the first song for me, so I put that one away for a while.
Since I'm not one to put away an album and never listen again, I gave it another chance. Still a little overwhelming, but I survived the whole album that time. I didn't approve of it this time either, just too much happening. Too much going on. However, little did I know that it had fully captured my interest without me realizing it, because I kept playing it over and over and over again. After a couple weeks, it solidified it's position amongst some of the greatest albums I've heard in my life.
What genres do we find here? Death metal and black metal for starters. But here we also have some circus music, a little bit of operatic and classic influence, and some jazzyness here and there. If this thing isn't avant-garde I don't know what is. If you were to compare them to other bands, lets say the crashing presence of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum mixed with the influences of Diablo Swing Orchestra fused with the absolute insanity of Koenjihyakkei.
Now that description certainly won't do this album justice, as that's just a jist of what they are like. I have never heard a band that could come at you with so many different melodies, themes, tempos, or even genres in a matter of seconds, yet not make it feel completely irregular and not have any changes that just feel uncalled for. They also make every song the perfect length, never overstaying their welcome, and every song seems fresh. This is an album guaranteed not to bore. I would do track-by-track reviews as I normally do, but they're all so great it's hard to make a point in doing so, so I'll decide not to.
This album isn't for the faint of heart though. And if you don't like metal, don't touch this one with a ten-foot-pole, as there is no chance of you ever liking this one. If you do like metal and you're ready for one of the heaviest and most challenging, yet rewarding albums ever, feel free to tackle this one. I did it, and I'd call it one of the best musical decisions I've ever made.