Fables of the Sleepless Empire

1. Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest
2. Words
3. Orange Vigilantes
4. Mechanical Phoenix
5. The Quantum Symphony
6. Unfed Pendulum
7. In the Mind of the Last Whale
8. Silence this Parasite
9. A Fading Stance
10. When the Joyful Dead are Dancing
11. Until yet a few more Deaths do us part

syriaK : Guitar / Vocal
Artagoth : Guitar / Vocal
Borboën : Violin
Chaoth : 9 Stringed Bass
Leïlindel : Vocal
Landryx : Drums

Utopia (1999)
_we Invaders (2003)
In a Flesh Aquarium (2006)



Released 2011-07-03
Reviewed 2011-08-02


From Canada hails this band who are said to be a favourite of ex Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, which was something the promotors were very careful to add in the heading of the email that announced this release for us. They are also said to be the progressive highlight of the year, conveniently forgetting that Dream Theater soon will be releasing their Dramatic Turn of Events album and later this month Opeth will release their Heritage which are two album only in september that will be more anticipated and seen as highlights than this album. They might be thinking of quality though but I think those two mentioned albums will be hard to beat in that department also. This is a band though that have been very well received by the press for both this and their prior album, calling them many good things for what they label as music that is out there and complex, avant garde metal is what some call it. I know that it would be considered a dramatic turn of events if this was better received by us than the Dream Theater album which will be reviewed very soon as well.

So, how to describe this creation then? Mad, is a word that comes to mind but to in words give an accurate description to this album will be as easy as digging a railway tunnel with a toothbrush. It is built in a complex way with two singers, one aggressive and a female singer, it then encompass music from more or less every thinkable genre out there and these elements come and go in rapid succession which makes it a challenge for those not into progressive music to keep up with all of this as the tempo and style change all the time. Almost every song is more varied than the entire career of Iron Maiden, just the whale interlude is less varied but much more different than Iron Maiden’s career. There is also a massive range going through, from choirs to evil growls, from strings to brutal riffing and so on, it all varies all the time. The production is good and does not interfere with the songs which are eleven if you count them and they will take you 55 minutes to play.

It is mad, complex, different and liked by Mike Portney which will make it something I just have to like, or is it? It all starts with a song cleverly titled Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest which begins very good before it comes to a part where a badger gruntingly sings while preparing a new sett digging it with a toothbrush. After that I just wait for the next song as the first one is ruined, but it is also indicative of what the album is as this is something that happens throughout the album. The changes in style follows no pattern and there is no red tape going through the entire album and I end up feeling that it is good in episodes and terribly bad in other episodes. Another annoying thing is the small pauses that come in most of the tracks, it make it feel forced and not like a natural progression of elements making a song. It seems more like they are forcing in parts for the sake of having a different sound. It is like they were starting to dig a tunnel through a mountain from both directions with their toothbrushes and were going to meet in the middle but decided to call it quits before they got there much to the surprise of the first train operator and the burning passengers of that first train.

I am not saying that they should hold back but they should look for something to hold the songs together because in some parts it feels like they are just random fragments pasted together with a low quality type of glue. I think the track called Unfed Pendulum and Silence this Parasite are the best tracks of the album but not even those are good all way through. I think this is a general problem when making music like this and Unexpect are not exactly alone in not completely pulling it off, I would say that they have good ideas though.

I will give them an approved rating much because of the madness and funny ideas they have but I am sure that now after 25 plays of this album I will most likely never play it again. I think their music can be described as building a skyscraper on a toothpick, they need to have a better foundation if their music is going to work, no matter how good their ideas are, they will never work from a poor foundation and that is exactly what they have with this album, most of the time there isn’t even a foundation for the music to originate from. Unexpects fables are interesting and exciting but they tend to fall apart more often than not thanks to them building them up without a solid foundation. In the end it is an okay album, nothing more and far from the progressive highlight of they year.


Label: Factor/Gordeon Music
Three similar bands: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum/Mr Bungle/KFMDM
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
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