Review Summary: Imagine Barnum & Bailey on Halloween night.
That’s what Unexpect bring you with In a Flesh Aquarium. This bizarre, yet impressive album incorporates death metal with a very progressive twist. Now this isn’t any of that “I can’t Believe It’s Not Opeth” metal (example: “In Mourning”); instead they produce a sound like no other, something I could only describe as Circus Metal. I call it that because listening to this album makes you feel like you are walking down a dark street with carnival freaks trying to get your attention. That may be an odd way of describing their sound, but you really have to hear it to understand. But let’s get on to the technicalities of the album.
The instrumentals in general are very technical and precise. Unlike many bands I have listened to, the bass is very prominent, and not only is the bass audible; it’s a 9 string bass which is put to great use as he rips and pops through the songs with great bass lines. The switches between piano and guitars always seem to be placed perfectly, never getting in each other’s way. There is a lot of synth use in here, which I usually am not fond of, but it suits the music very well by giving a very disturbing atmosphere. Another thing you don’t see very often in a metal band is a violinist, but of course, they have one. The violinist plays a crucial role in the feel of the songs, ranging from a racing sound through the verses, to loud and eerie screeches; he gives a sense of fright and urgency.
But while everything on this album is strange, the most bizarre thing on this album HAS to be the vocals. First off, there are three vocalists. That in itself is pretty unusual, but that’s not the point. Between the three vocalists, they go from calm and quiet singing, to alternating high-pitched screams, fast spoken growls, sudden choir vocals, and sometimes all of those at once. This contrasting vocal style is unlike anything I have heard, and more than likely, it’s unlike anything you have heard.
Though songs like Feasting Fools, Desert Urbania, and Summoning Scenes showcase all of their technical abilities and creativity and are disturbingly pleasing to the ears, there are some songs that overstay their welcome. In other words, there is some fat that could be trimmed. For example, Silence_011010701 is five minutes of synth effects that really do nothing to help the album, instead it makes it drag and I tend to skip over it. Also Psychic Jugglers clocks in at just a little over eleven minutes and at about 5-6 minutes in, I wish it would end already. That being said, I am not against long songs as long as they are done right, but in this case, while they can be enjoyable, there really is no point to the length of the songs and they might not keep the listener engaged all the way to the end.
While some of the lengthy and sometimes repetitive songs may get a bit monotonous, this chaotic and schizophrenic album is worth the pickup and will keep you entertained and baffled, at least for the first few listens.