Exotic Animal Petting Zoo
I Have Made My Bed In Darkness

Considering my love of Between the Buried and Me, you’d think I’d be all over the debut from Indiana’s Exotic Animal Petting Zoo; Off kilter, jazzy, Dillenger-ish styled alternative rock and impossibly scattershot structures littered with lengthy ambient, introspective strains of clean vocals and progressive experimental textures. A must have right? Well not just yet.

While certainly close to the talent and ambition of Between the Buried and Me and their ilk (What’s he Building in There?, etc) , EAPZ are just lacking that level of cohesive brilliance that makes their material stand out. And while most of the album is of the more experimental, off the wall material with relatively little in the way of jerky hardcore that imbues BTBAM softer moments, both simply never gel or elevate the album beyond anything more than a curiosity listen.

Still, I Have Made My Bed In Darkness isn’t a bad album, the three peice is obscenely talented and its worth a listen for the more open minded of you curious about the BTBAM comparison, but it’s just an album that already requires a lot of attention due to its quirky spazzy gait, but then the payoff isn’t what you’d expect. When you wade through lengthy tracks like opener “Seeds”, “Every Waking Moment” or closer “Arendering”, run into slightly forced, short herky jerky numbers like “Hairdresser”, “Moonshoes” or “Ira Lore”, and ambient segues like “Anniversary Psalm” and “A Balloon Enters Kyoto City” , you expect the whole affair to ‘click’ as the musical adventurousness all comes together to form some transcendental experience, but it never does.

Now, to their credit, the album never comes off as an overdone, chaotic, random mess, as there is some restraint, especially considering the majority of experimentation that is displayed, and the band never elevate their metallic aggression (both vocally and musically) to BTBAM me like levels, and that ultimately may be what keeps the album luring in more extreme ‘metal’ fans and have more appeal to the likes of The Fall of Troy, Mars Volta, Tool, Filter and A Perfect Circle fans.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 5th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    Neat band I’m catching some “I am The Ocean” vibes from them. good stuff man.

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I could see that-a little more mellow and ambeint and with a better singer (though ive not heard trhe new IATO singer.

  3. Commented by: sandwiches

    played with this band in indiana. good dudes

  4. Commented by: PizzaClaus

    I’m really digging what I’m hearing from this band. I hear Mr. Bungle only with less genres of music. And less Mike Patton.

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