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Unexpect - Utopia CD (album) cover

UTOPIA

Unexpect

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.13 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars If you're like me then you started listening to UNEXPECTED's twisted mangled musical melodies beginning with either "In A Flesh Aquarium" or "Fables Of The Sleepless Empire." In my case i began with the last and worked my way back in time finally arriving at the debut UTOPIA which i hesitated in even checking out because of the almost universal critique that basically pans it. Well, finally arriving at this debut with nowhere to go except wait for a new album, i have to say that i was totally taken aback by how much i like this. True that it is not the fully formed musical madness of the aforementioned masterpieces but taken on its own terms and comparing it to any metal of 1999 leaves this album in a very interesting place for its time AND it's one that i actually find myself listening to on a regular basis. It is basically UNEXPECT Light, that is an album that already showed a genre blending prowess but instead of incorporating every known genre in the universe into the mix, this one took a more conservative approach. In fact, this album reminds me of what the Japanese avant-garde metal act Sigh was doing at the same time or at least the closest thing to it.

UNEXPECT was already mastering the art of blending the classical influenced black metal that reminds me of early Ulver with its often operatic vocal tradeoffs with black metal riffs crossed with a healthy dose of death metal growls, riffage and intensity. There is also plenty of traditional metal influence in the mix as well. There also exists lots of progressive metal riffage as well. On board with all the metal influence is a generous dose of Chopin inspired piano runs and to a lesser degree at this early stage the gypsy folk violins but they do appear here and there. While the female vocals on this album contributed only on this debut by Elda are mostly kept in the back of the mix, she does take the lead at times. The songs are generally quite lengthy and go through many changes but there are much more recognizable musical patterns at this stage of the game and for anyone who finds their later works much too busy and impossible to comprehend, they should start here to hear where they are coming from and how they evolved their sonic chaos into the craziness it would become. The music on UTOPIA is roughly 80% extreme metal with classically inspired melodies mixed with traditional metal. The gypsy influences are minimal and the violin plays a subordinate role for the most part.

I've fallen for this band but i am finding that the debut album is no exception. I have read countless gripes about the horrible production. I have the 2006 remastered version which i don't find outstanding but it doesn't sound horrible either. I have not heard the original recording so all i can do is suggest to try the newer version if that was a reason for not liking this. Musically this is really beautiful. It doesn't seem like a mess at all. The compositions are well thought out and they flow very nicely together. The lack of future busyness ensures that this is a smoother listen and one that can be listened to less attentively to unravel its mysteries. In fact, there are no mysteries which makes this a great place to begin to appreciate UNEXPECT's unique take on making avant-garde metal. To me this sounds like a more aggressive version of what Akphaezya would create later on and i would guess that this was an influence for them. Despite this having a running time of 65:34 i always have to listen to the entire album once i put it on. This is a mildly avant-garde metal that will appeal to those who love that style of metal that retains the dominance of the melody. Guess i'm in a lonely room with this one :P 3.5 rounded up

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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