Sound — 8
UneXpect are literally the most messed up music making bunch of misfit artists to ever co-exist in perfect lunacy. If you've never experienced them before, now is the best time to try, when form and normality is abundant in all forms of current music. To breakdown the sound in an earnest nutshell, UneXpect mash every music genre, style, instrument, writing technique and emotional anxiety under the bleeding sun. All tied to a chaotic metal base. Which in itself is a constantly shifting mass of sound. Instrumentally speaking we have: A female vocalist with talents including soprano singing, screaming, growling and the occasional mindless babble, 2 other male vocalists with similar talents who are also the guitarists, an insane violinist, a bassist with 9 strings (let that sink in for a minute), a keyboard player with every synth sound that ever existed and a highly diverse and technical drummer who shifts more tempo changes a song than Lindsay Lohan makes appearances in a magazine. So yes, the mindf--kery continues. This means they are no slouches. There is never a single moment in this album where you will be bored. Anyone familiar with their past work would have either been turned off by its... weirdness or would have enjoyed the sound of a carnival set in the 9 circles of hell. "Fables Of A Sleepless Empire" is a massive, massive change in their sound from their last album "In A Flesh Aquarium". Its still insane, but it has what IAFA lacked severely: actual melody. I'd like to take the song "Words" as an example: Its romantic, subtle intro of harmonized bass, guitar and violin leads into a slow, rocking groove featuring the vocalists amazingly soft voice, shortly before the 10 second metal vox combo, and repeat. Just amazing. The guitar harmonies are particularly sublime, tapping to outmatch PTH for sure. Then track 3 goes and screws your mind over again. If you've ever wondered what mild schizophrenia sounded like in the form of music, you don't have to look any further than UneXpect, a band that will either amaze or confuse you, even do both, perhaps do neither, they're as unpredictable as all hell, but you'd be all the better for listening to it.
Lyrics — 9
"Fables Of The Sleepless Empire" has a diverse range of vocal performers. The most prominent is of course, the female singer simply known by her stage name "Lelindel". Her style variates from Nightwish-esque opera vocals, Evanescence-ish pop singing, a mix between the two and full on black metal screams. The other two vocalist/guitarists (Syriak and Artagoth, rofloflofl) are amazing in both aspects, both having incredible proficiency in playing their instruments and being able to sing to the same levels as the main vocalist (although these talents are not quite so frequently used). Lyrics go hand in hand with the music: Weird, abstract, mostly non-sensical stories and scenarios, not done for levity's sake (or for the lulz) but written to fit the just as weird, abstract and mostly non-sensical music. They're very interesting to read, although they just have no connection to your conscience, so listening to UneXpect for lyrics is like trying to listen to a book: You'd be mad for trying.
Overall Impression — 8
If you need consistency, if you need structure, if you need formula, rules or familiarity in your music, then do not come anywhere near this album. Its not that I'm trying to get across some kind of segregation between "the average listener" and "obscure artist connoisseur" with this album but the music does that entirely on its own. But overall this album is an intense trip through the many possibilities of throwing different coloured eggs into a demented basket and somehow making something undeniably twisted and gorgeous at the same time. Songs to look out for: All of it, for the full effect, but for sampled listening, "Words", "Mechanical Phoenix", "In The Mind Of The Last Whale".