UnexpecT is an avant-garde extreme metal band from Montreal, Canada. I think the band puts it best when they describe themselves as "Cirque du Soleil goes black metal amidst an acid-trip version of The Dark Crystal." With their seamless incorporation of the organized chaos progressive metal sound, beastly growls, carnival-like strings, hints of electronica, and haunting female vocals, it's no surprise that many of the band members have had previous conservatory experience. The vocals are very theatrical, and the lyrics are a fantastical and imaginative smattering of words that reflects the chaos of their music. Their female singer, Leilindel, is a professional contemporary dancer, and the dreadlocked bassist plays a 9-string bass.
The female vocals were what won me over with UnexpecT. I think the band was right when they said her "angelic voice could melt the will of the most vile politician."
(By the way, whoever does the PR for this band is a genius. I suggest reading their band bio and subscribing to their newsletter purely for the entertainment value.)
The violins are very avant-garde sounding, utilizing many non-conventional techniques. The violin playing comprises of harmonics, tremolos, double-stops, and slides, and is usually used as an embellishment to the music rather than a strong melodic force. They sound very gypsy-like, and are reminiscent of carnivals and circuses.
For the first ten years, the violins were played by a man by the pseudonym Le Bateleur, and he is also the one featured on all their recordings to date. But he left the band a few years ago, and has since been replaced by Blaise Borboën-Léonard in 2007. Blaise (seen in the picture) plays an acoustic violin, both in the studio and live. He's studied at the Montreal Conservatory, and has played the instrument since he was 8. Blaise cites among his influences Estradasphere, John Cage, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Bela Bartok, and Radiohead.
Recommended Songs: "Megalomaniac Trees", "Desert Urbania", "Feasting Fools" (no violin, but my favorite!), "Summoning Scenes", "Chromatic Chimera", "Psychic Juggle", "In Velvet Coffins We Slept"
Official Site: http://www.unexpect.com/
Blaise Borboën-Léonard's Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/blaisebl
A live performance of "Desert Urbania":