Avant-garde Metal • Canada
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Unexpect was a Canadian avant-garde metal band from Montréal in Québec, formed in 1996. The band split up in 2015.

Unexpect (often stylized as uneXpect, unexpecT or UnexpecT) mixed elements of black, death, progressive and melodic metal; classical, operatic, medieval, gothic, electro, ambient, psychotic, noise and circus Music with an occasional jazzy touch.

With a crew composed of 7 different beings, the atmosphere sometimes takes a form of symphonic proportion by its sound diversity and arrangements. Their vocal performance range from one extreme to the other as they alternate between glorious choirs; inhuman screams of deep, high, mid-growl and delirious intensity; theatrical narrations and clean/sober sections strewn with bewitching feminine singing pleasures.

Current members

* Syriak (ex-Magister Dixit) – vocals, guitar (1996- ) * Artagoth – vocals, guitar (1996- ) * ChaotH – bass guitar (2001- )
Thanks to negoba, bartosso, Bosh66 for the updates

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UNEXPECT Discography

UNEXPECT albums / top albums

UNEXPECT Utopia album cover 2.77 | 12 ratings
Avant-garde Metal 1999
UNEXPECT In a Flesh Aquarium album cover 3.88 | 36 ratings
In a Flesh Aquarium
Avant-garde Metal 2006
UNEXPECT Fables of the Sleepless Empire album cover 4.07 | 42 ratings
Fables of the Sleepless Empire
Avant-garde Metal 2011

UNEXPECT EPs & splits

UNEXPECT We, Invaders album cover 3.28 | 11 ratings
We, Invaders
Avant-garde Metal 2003

UNEXPECT live albums

UNEXPECT demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

UNEXPECT re-issues & compilations

UNEXPECT singles (0)

UNEXPECT movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


UNEXPECT Fables of the Sleepless Empire

Album · 2011 · Avant-garde Metal
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Sonic shockwaves detonated once again a long five years after their second album “In A Flesh Aquarium” when the erratic and eclectic avant-garde musical maestros UNEXPECT simultaneously took the prog and metal communities by storm. The crazed and quirky Quebecois jugglers of supersonic entropy unleashed their followup FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE which continued the forceful cross-pollination of musical genres like abducted animals that are stuffed into a meat grinder and stuffed into a sausage casing. The dizzying inaccessible mess of sound was resurrected for a second haunting like a circus of doom returning to town and unleashing intoxicated circus clowns out to destroy everything they touch with the musical equivalence of classically trained jugglers passing musical genres around like flaming chainsaws. Like it’s predecessor FABLES delivers all the goods of weaving the ultimate tapestry of several metal styles, gypsy folk, electronica and even tango amongst others and impregnates them into a Western classical underpinning that allows it all to explode into one of the most satisfying examples of controlled chaos in all of contemporary extreme musical expressions.

Infused with bombastic metal riffs and black metal shrieks, ghoulish chants or histrionic outbursts of tormented recitations, the unhinged male vocal contributions of SyriaK and Artagoth are diluted in their abrasiveness by the female vocal loveliness of Leïlindel’s folklore femininity and newbie Borboen’s Paganini flair of violin playing with a style more often reminiscent of a circus gypsy having an extremely high-octane episode. In between it all lies the unique 9-stringed bass lines of ChaotH that connect the dots but only after an enterprising journey through several progressive tornado run riffs of spirited vigor. And then add on the strange lethargic intros that ratchet up the tension while languishing in tranquil torpidity before launching into tumultuous musical terror that bombards the listener with incessant excess all the while creating just enough of a melodic hook to keep your head from exploding. Ah, uneasy listening at its zenith, UNEXPECT raise the bar of musical complexity like a pole runner carrying the Olympic torch all the way up Mt Everest in under 61 minutes.

To say the least, there is nothing to compare UNEXPECT’s music to except, of course, UNEXPECT itself. While very much in vein of “In A Flesh Aquarium,” FABLES does seem to be more focused which is neither good or bad but merely different. The main difference being in the fact that on FABLES musical motifs are allowed to retain a longer shelf life as every musical idea in the universe isn’t as prevalent as on “Aquarium” where a listening experience is equivalent to riding in the eye of a tornado and watching all the notes whizz by in utterly unpredictable ways. Here at least, despite being bombarded by the myriad mega-stimuli, there is a concerted effort to let the hooks sink in a little deeper before the ultimate uprooting and casting off into turbulent atmospheric disturbances. True to their vision with a slighty more polished touch, UNEXPECT retain the crown of most chaotic crazy and creative masters of the avant-garde metal universe. While this one took me longer to gestate in my psyche before the alien forces hatched, i find FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE to be equally as brilliantly inventive as “Aquarium.” Although it would take another five years and no albums later, the capricious creative ones announced that the band would continue no longer. Now THAT was truly UNEXPECT-ed!

UNEXPECT In a Flesh Aquarium

Album · 2006 · Avant-garde Metal
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This Montreal band uneXpect must rank near the top of weird albums in my collection. I stumbled across them on MMA while checking out top-ranking Canadian albums, which included mostly Rush and Devin Townsend. I had never heard of uneXpect and decided to give them a listen. Whoa-ho! I knew right away that this band was going to be a challenge to listen to. So I bought “In a Flesh Aquarium” partly because it was their highest rated album and also because it was the only album available on Amazon in Japan for a normal price. Someone is selling the “wE Invaders” EP for something like $2,500!

First, if you don’t already know, uneXpect are essentially an avant-garde metal band that combines thrash, black, progressive and symphonic metal styles with a bit of traditional metal thrown in. Add to that some excellent classical piano used frequently and some violin with strong gypsy music tendencies, and some industrial sounds sprinkled with bits of circus type music and a trio of voices that are comprised of clean female vocals and male vocals that go from growls and snarls to shouts and System of a Down-like Tasmanian Devil whatevers. And now perhaps you can begin to imagine what this band must sound like.

There is simply nothing in my collection that comes close to this although if this album were a mountain peak then partway up we might find bands like Suspyre, Disillusion, Dark Suns, or even a bit of Haken. When the mood gets mellower with piano and touches of industrial, and female vocalist Leïlindel sings slowly and clearly, I’m reminded a bit of some White Willow. I’ve read reviews elsewhere that mention bands like Arcturus, Ulver and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, so if you’re familiar with those (I’m not) you might also have a clue about uneXpect’s sound here.

It’s not easy to describe the songs or the music well. All the styles I mentioned about are mostly mixed together in nearly every song. The image that comes to my mind most often is a kind of horror puppet show where the scary puppets look like they are ready to slice your face open but are actually just having fun singing their bizarre songs. Maybe like a “Nightmare Before Christmas” deal without any suggestion of cute or adorable spooks. There’s a feeling of insanity and intensity as the songs careen from musical passage to passage, often changing in only four bars. You can have a symphonic metal segment that is threatening to veer into thrash while a tasteful piano plays along or a quick exchange of shouts and growls while a violin swings and swerves over blasting double bass drum kicks and some progressive guitar riff is flying out like bats from a cave at dusk. A song may suddenly break into a bass solo, a violin solo, a piano solo, a frantic sax solo, a circus music segment, an eastern European folk bit, or absolute chaos and cacophony. Then you might abruptly get a dose of intense metal polka swiftly followed by voices calling and chanting, or some other seemingly incongruous and totally unexpected musical motif. For about 4 to 8 bars. Then it changes again.

It might sound like complete swill and truthfully to some people it does. Ratings I encountered went anywhere from praising this album to blue heaven with upwards of 92% scoring, to middle ground ratings with comments about some excellent songs and several failed efforts, to the album being a complete heap of rubbish. Some reviewers claimed the band had tried too hard to be avant-garde and simply thrown haphazardly together a grocery list of ingredients. Others say it is all done well but doesn’t sound original. As for my opinion, I find the album an excellent listen in part because it’s so crazy but also because the actual playing is achingly top notch and it is incredible that so many different sounds can be woven together to make an insanely wild collection of music. I admit that at moments I wish the vocals wouldn’t sound so much like a death comedy musical, but on the other hand, that’s part of the charm of the album.

Regarding the individual songs, I’ve read people praising “Chromatic chimera”, “Desert Urbania” and “Psychic Jugglers” but being less kind to other tracks. I actually found things to like in every track, including the sometimes maligned “Feasting Fools” and overlooked “Summoning Scenes”. Special mention should also go to “Silence 011010701” for its industrial sound and powerful symphonic conclusion.

This is not an album for everybody. There are no “Living After Midnight” sing-a-longs on here. It’s intense, ultra-busy, and possibly even exhausting. It might take to you ten listens to enjoy or only one. Or you might hate it. I’m rather impressed with it and can enjoy playing the album from front to back or pulling selected tracks off for daily mixed playlists. If possible, I’d like to get one of their two other albums. Hail to the mad marionette musical masters of Montreal!


Album · 1999 · Avant-garde Metal
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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

UNEXPECT We, Invaders

EP · 2003 · Avant-garde Metal
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WE, INVADERS is the 2nd release by UNEXPECT in the form of a four track EP . It is the transitional link between their debut album “Utopia” which was firmly grounded in avant-garde death metal and the phenomenal masterpiece “In A Flesh Aquarium” where UNEXPECT tackles every musical genre and subgenre that exists and throws it all in a pot together. This album is the half way point between those two albums. I would say that it is a little closer to the following album rather than the previous as they are already adept at fusing many styles of music together seamlessly. It just doesn't sound as busy and densely packed with EVERY type of music.

It is also clear on this album that the template for their sound is based on classical music and it sounds like these musicians are classical trained and educated because they play this everything in a virtuosic manner. The piano runs can remind you of Mozart or Chopin while the violin sounds a lot like Paganini. On the metal side it can sound like traditional, death or thrash. Since the tracks are less busy they sound more melodic in a straight forward way as opposed to a poly-melodic one. One track “In Velvet Coffins We Sleep” is a remake of a track from the debut album while another “Chromatic Chimera” is a stripped down piano version of the track on “Aquarium.”

All in all this doesn't sound like it should be an essential recording but I have really grown to love this band and I find myself picking this album up a lot because it is just so perfectly done. It certainly doesn't measure up to the following albums in complexity but that matters not for it is well-crafted and an enjoyable listen with a greater emphasis on classical melodic textures with subordinating metal and other musical genres. Not a masterpiece but a very strong album. Stripped down or gussied up, UNEXPECT is a band that delivers a unique musical experience unlike any other and this transitory EP is no exception.

UNEXPECT In a Flesh Aquarium

Album · 2006 · Avant-garde Metal
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Like a musical Frankenstein where vast amounts of musical ideas are sown together ever so carefully with the greatest of diligence until one day they emerge from the lab as a completely different organism all together. This album intrigued me from the getgo and after several good years of listening to this I have to conclude that this is one of the most unique and demanding avant-prog extreme metal releases that I have ever had the pleasure of focusing my attention on. Far from the chaos that many write this off as after an initial listen, this music is indeed a complex and structured musical edifice.

IN A FLESH AQUARIUM has the density of a black hole while providing layers of accessibility all strung together and then like a wormhole taking you to completely different galaxies at the speed of light with occasional oxygen breaks for sanity's sake. This album demands constant attention in order to follow the succession of a plethora of sounds and ideas that come and go like a school of fleeing fish chased by a band of hungry barracudas. One listen or even twenty will hardly suffice to grasp this demanding project that is perhaps one of the most complex pieces in all of rock history being more akin to ambitious symphonies by classical legends like Prokofiev or Rachmaninoff in terms of complexity than anything in rock, metal or most of the other genres they use to weave this sonic masterpiece.

UNEXPECT is a breath of fresh air in a musical world that tends to favor complacency over completely unfettered artistic expression and evolution. They expand their sonic tentacles into so many musical genres and reel them in until they become so intertwined in their configuration that just like physical chemistry they have fused enough different particles together so successfully that it could now be considered a new element on the musical equivalent of the periodic table. What do we call this strange musical beast in which lies the sum of various parts including progressive, technical death, black and melodic metal as well as classical, dark cabaret, opera, jazz, funk, electro, ambient, noise, circus and gypsy music? Just like a newly synthesized element that tends to go under a generic name, we have no vocabulary and simply call it avant-garde metal although experimental eclectic metal might be slightly closer to describing this sonic stew.

This is quite the treasure trove for the musical ambitious (and lovers of 9-stringed basses) and guaranteed to intrigue and bewilder. To surprise and perplex. It has the brutal aggressiveness of death metal while it also has the sweet sensual vocals of Leilindel and melodic violins. It is contrast. It is a musical federation. It is utter madness that is domesticated but not tamed. Fiercely independent and proud, UNEXPECT went where no other band was looking. Although other bands have tried to incorporate so many genres, few have succeeded. Mr. Bungle certainly achieved that lofty feat but precious few other bands have managed the successful amalgamation that constitutes a separate species. UNEXPECT have emerged as a band with an ambition that actually surpasses that of Bungle and pulls it off for those patient enough to explore the intricacies of this demanding and seemingly inaccessible fusionfest. Highly recommended for those who love a musical 3-ring circus of the 21st century which continues to reward the listener in as many different ways as the sounds incorporated in its mix.

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