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If you’re in the mood for some absurd circus metal, tonight’s your night to head out to the ‘burbs. Two of the most ridiculously over-the-top experimental metal acts you’ll ever hear are headlining a night at Jaxx in Springfield. Japan’s Sigh and Quebec’s Unexpect (pictured) play the kind of symphonic metal that you can’t help but laugh at, at least at first, because it’s just so bombastic and (some might say) pretentious.
But criticizing either of these groups for being too bombastic is kind of like criticizing Britney Spears for being too pop. It might be a meaningful statement of opinion, but as any kind of objective description or evaluation it just misses the point. These bands revel in their shamelessness and take bombast to the level of art form. If there was ever anything deserving of the slightly horrifying label “prog metal,” these guys are it.
If that sounds awful, consider this: I’ve seen Unexpect play Jaxx twice already this year, and each time I saw them I came away a bigger fan. After spending enough time with their records to actually figure out what’s going on in their insanely twisty compositions, a certain naive charm emerges. You have to admire bands like these who are completely unafraid to throw it all out on the table at once – hitting the listener with obvious jazz, rock, metal and classical influences one after the other.
Additionally, Sigh are kind of a historically significant band, as the only non-Scandinavian group that was signed by the infamous and short-lived Øystein Aarseth (aka Euronymous) to his infamous and short-lived Deathlike Silence Productions label. If that’s not black metal cred, nothing is.