This album screams cheese. If you enjoy this stuff then I don't know whether to be sorry for trashing it or sorry for you,
I've outgrown this stuff. I might've enjoyed this years ago, but Unexpect's Fables Of The Sleepless Empire is everything I absolutely hate about flamboyant, noodling "progressive" metal. The band's juvenile attempts at being "avant-garde" come off as half-baked and cheesy. Symphonic elements - violins, operatic female vocals, neo-classical guitars, and some of the most fruity keyboards this side of Cradle Of Filth - rule Fables Of The Sleepless Empire from beginning to end. There was a time where I thought Kalisia was tolerable, and Persefone was pretty badass, but now is not that time.
As long as you understand that, you can go ahead and dismiss (or applaud) the rest of this review.
Structurally speaking, most of these songs are actually fairly predictable in that they have different movements that build to a particular climax. That's about all they have going for themselves though. Otherwise you're subject to a forgettable and disorganized blur of arpeggiations emanating from both guitar and keyboard. Talented but trite female vocals really dampen the excitement offered by the flurry of instruments. Add some forced, high-pitched harsh vocals underneath the female lead and you have a recipe for me getting a headache. This headache peaked during the first half of noodle-synthfest "Mechanical Phoenix" and didn't go away until I walked away from my damn speakers.
Now that I think about it, my hatred for this album - piss poor songwriting aside - might be due to it not being "heavy." I've heard acoustic folk albums heavier than this. Atmospherically speaking Fables Of The Sleepless Empire falls flat on its face. Why? Because there isn't any atmosphere. Unexpect even manages to botch the atmosphere in longer tracks where they have time to build like "Unfed Pendulum," and did I just hear fucking palm-muting? Seriously that was some of the weakest palm-muting I've ever heard this side of newer Whitechapel. This is largely because of the no bass, ultra compressed production values present throughout the album. The snare sounds flat and the pillow bass drum is insanely aggravating. There's no escaping them either, except for when this shit stops spinning.
At least the musicians have a degree of talent. It's just a shame they decided to waste it on this pretentious, musically inept album.
3.5 out of 10