One track alone features abstract techno, heavy metal guitar and references to cannibalism and murder...

AALIYAH has unveiled a radical third album intended to consolidate her position as US R&B’s most experimental artist.

The 14-track album, titled ‘Aaliyah’ and released on July 16, continues to push the agenda set by last year’s ‘Try Again’ single, which became a critical and commercial smash thanks to its pioneering acid R&B production.

The album features three further Timbaland -produced tracks; lead single ‘We Need A Resolution’, the anthemic, 80s-tinged ‘More Than A Woman’, and the jazzy ‘I Care 4 U’, written by Missy Elliott.

The rest of the album was produced by unknowns Keybeats, Jay Dub and Bud’da, discovered by Aaliyah‘s record company Blackground. Though a mooted collaboration with Nine Inch Nails‘ Trent Reznor fell through, the album is still dark in tone, with final track ‘What If’ featuring abstract techno, heavy metal guitar and a lyric about cannibalism and murder.

“I really feel this album reflects me,” Aaliyah commented to NME.COM in an exlusive interview.

“I’ve always been drawn to the darker things in life.”

Other tracks on the album feature a pronounced Seventies funk influence, including the minimalist sex tune ‘Rock Da Boat’, with some tracks featuring no bassline.

The album will be released as Aaliyah begins filming ‘The Matrix 2 and 3’ in New Zealand with Keanu Reeves. Her second film, the Korn-soundtracked vampire flick ‘Queen Of The Damned’ in which Aaliyah plays the title role, is due for release later this year or early 2002.

Watch out for the full, exclusive interview in the July 7 issue of NME.