A crazy carnival company hailing out of Canada is here with their latest effort. Unexpect has gone through some changes since their highly peculiar “In A Flesh Aquarium”. First off the new album “Fables of the Sleepless Empire” is self released and also the bands keyboard player took a one way ticket out of the band in pursuit of other ambitions.

But now we head off the tunnel of endless gloom into to the most intriguing part; the music itself. In ways this latest effort is more streamlined than it predecessor, but fear not! This still doesn’t mean we are closing in on Lady Gaga and according to promotional pictures the band members know what a shirt actually is. The music bounces from here to there and back again, but from song to song the overall feel is more united than before.

The female vocalist sings some beautiful melodies and has quite a few ‘femme fatal’ moments, although her voice feels very thin at times. Also there are some very intriguing, but generic, vocal duels with growls/squeals and clean female song. On that note, the male vocals are at times bordering to irritating in some pitches but I love the versatility in the bands vocal use.

Many of the songs are spiced up with strings and electronic orchestration making the sound huge and highly contemporary. The before mentioned elements make “Fables of the Sleepless Empire” a small metallic symphony instead of just your average avantgarde metal band, though it regresses to that at points.

In the search for ‘something else’ Unexpect is a sure shot to go for, when your basic avantgarde/prog metal is feeling way too narrow for your taste.

8 / 10