In a Flesh Aquarium

Q: If Necrophagist left Germany, travelling at 70 kph and Arcturus left Norway moving at half that speed at what time would they collide in front of the Cirque du Soileil and magically transform into the most aggressively weird Canadian metal band since Voivod?A: Just about now, I’d say.

Standing at the forefront of the tech-gypsy metal scene largely by virtue of there being no other participants in this just-made-up-genre; Unexpect has arrived at a perfect refinement of their sound by throwing all previous learned conceptual frameworks for experimental metal out the window. Okay, it wasn’t like they were grasping these concepts too tightly to begin with, but the songwriting on their previous full-length Utopia and CDEP We, Invaders seemed to harness the band’s chaotic compulsions with some semblance of logical song-sequencing. Even as In a Flesh Aquarium opens with a reprise from the last release, a re-working of the song “Chromatic Chimera”, it is apparently that the seven-piece group has truly let their imaginations out on a rampage here, ramping up the technical and chaotic elements of their sound, presenting quite a challenge for Le Bateleur’s electric violin and Leilindel’s operatic voice to keep up with the ludicrous speed riffs and transitions that the rest of the band comes up with.

It is a wild ride for the listener too, imagine the sensation of being the passenger in a runaway taxi-cab, driven by a lunatic, blasting death-metal as you ride roughshod through the streets of early 19th century Paris during a festival time and you might somewhat approximate the feel of this album. Artagoth and Syriak’s tight and technical riffing shifts unpredictably over ChaotH’s plucky, busy bass-lines as Landryx’s percussion pounds away with a vicious, scattershot fury. The two guitarist’s voices shout, groan, growl and narrate around Leilindel’s passionately quirky ruminations as mischievous lead-lines performed on the guitar, violin and keys become entangled in the fabric of the compositions where least expected. Truly a bewildering circus of sound is what emanates from this combination and even in the few and far-between restrained moments of the album, there is always a threatening premonition of the next sonic explosion oncoming.

In a Flesh Aquarium affects a unique tension here as unlike other band’s who would introduce the many extraneous elements Unexpect utilize constantly; this wacky gang of French Canadien’s doesn’t slow- or dumb-down their metallic ferocity to fit their extra instrumentation in. Rather the nervous anxiety, the exhilerating feeling that this could all fall apart so easily and the admiration I feel as a listener when it somehow holds together despite the greatest odds is what is truly special on this outing. In Unexpect, you have seven wildy creative souls hammering the shit out of that proverbial square peg with no regard for the violent rape of the round hole that results. In a Flesh Aquarium is either the Calculating Infinity of atmospheric, experimental metal or the La Masquerade Infernale of mind-bending tech metal.

Or both.

At the same time.

By virtue of the sheer audaciousness of the band’s vision and their ungodly quest to actually transmute that vision into sound, I find it hard to believe that 2006 will produce a more interesting or exciting album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
August 7th, 2006


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