How about that for a lengthy band name and CD title? I Have Made My Bed In Darkness will either be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare of one of the most artistic achievements in metal that you've heard in ages. The press sheet lists influences/comparisons to acts such as Mr. Bungle, Captain Beefheart, Mars Volta, Mordred, and The Dillinger Escape Plan, but that really only just scratches the surface. Indiana's Exotic Animal Petting Zoo, who surprisingly are a three-piece (you'll understand my reaction when you hear the wall of sound these guys create), manage to combine metal, jazz, post rock, progressive rock, avant-garde, ambient, and alternative rock into something that draws upon all of those styles yet sounds like none of them.Give Brandon Carr (vocals/guitars/keyboards), Scott Certa (bass), and Stephen Carr (drums/vocals/programming) plenty of credit for coming up with something unique here. It won't appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy the more adventurous side of extreme music, then you are in for a treat. Scattered feedback and guitar noise permeate the opening cut "Seeds", a mini-epic in itself that jumps from shredding metal to apocalyptic post rock, then back to atmospheric and spooky prog, to manic hardcore, all within its 8+ minute time frame. The band lurches from gentle jazzy noodling on "Anniversary Psalm" to the crushing "Hairdresser", a raging funk-metal monster that recalls vintage Faith No More. You can hear a little Isis-meets-Porcupine Tree-meets-Burst on the meditative "A Balloon Enters Kyoto City", while "Every Waking Moment" is pure, lush prog rock, featuring soothing vocals, effects laden guitar work, and plenty of keyboards.
If you dig the complexity of math-metal, look no further than "Richard Dean Anderson" or the wild two-part "Translations" and "Curse Of The Sands", as guitars ricochet off of bubbling bass, tricky drum work, and layers of varied vocal styles. The final two epic numbers "Ira Lore" and "Arendering" are tasty prog-metal numbers with a touch of alternative and post-rock, textured songs that house plenty of emotion and atmosphere to go along with their musical muscle.
It will take a few spins for it all to sink in, but I Have Made My Bed In Darkness is worth the extra effort to absorb all the detailed and layered sounds. Exotic Animal Petting Zoo have definitely arrived and are without a doubt a band to keep your eye on.
1. Seeds 8:25
2. Anniversary Psalm 1:30
3. Hairdresser 3:21
4. A Balloon Enters Kyoto City 3:33
5. Moonshoes 3:56
6. Every Waking Moment 6:48
7. Richard Dean Anderson 4:33
8. a) Translations 4:22
9. b) Curse Of The Sands 4:54
10. These People Refuse to Believe That The Lake Is Bottomless 5:22
11. Ira Lore 8:11
12. Arendering 8:25