Animals As Leaders

The Joy Of Motion

Written by: MN on 05/05/2014 18:23:50

Animals As Leaders is a band that initially was conceived by virtuoso guitarist Tosin Abasi, formerly of Reflux. What many thought would be a solo effort was a fact quickly rejected by the amicable Abasi, who despite near superhuman prowess on an 8 string, retains a humble disposition. Animals As Leaders became the name of the project, highlighting a sense of darwinian attitude towards humanity, despite all our peculiarities, we still remain animals. Tosin Abasi called upon fellow axeman, Javier Reyes, and the now replaced Navene Koperweis and created Animals As Leaders as an adventure into where progressive metal could be taken, always in search of new territory but staying true to genuine composition rather than asinine and cocky technicalities that this three piece inevitably can pull off with ease. Animals As Leaders have become a household name related to the Djent movement, but their compositions are also inspired by fusion jazz and guitar music alá Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Their sophomore release "Weightless" had people flabbergasted at how much of a complex texture a track could have, for example on the amazingly heavy "An Infinite Regression".

Their latest release "The Joy Of Motion" continues in the same djenty vein, but has somehow smoothed the rough transitions into a much more coherent listen through and through. Clocking in at over 50 minutes, this gargantuan piece ascends the listener through a myriad of emotions, from the optimistic and invigorating "Another Year" to the slightly unsettling "Tooth And Claw". It is also brilliant to hear AAL incorporate latin/flamenco guitars into the mix, like in the song "Para Mexer" where the djent vibe still remains but in acoustic format, a beautiful transition in the song also allows for mild electronic elements. It is tough to say how much mastermind and engineer, Misha Mansoor of Periphery, has been involved in the songwriting, but from his previous endeavours, one may conclude that merit needs to be given to a man who probably had a big part in making these songs beautifully produced, meticulously written and chosen with the utmost scrutiny.

All in all, this record seems to find the equilibrium of being both technically impressive and melodically contagious, not unlike what Tesseract have managed to do with their latest release "Altered State". "The Joy Of Motion" may be criticized for not being "metal" enough, yet no one can blame Abasi and co for making a natural progression. Bands like these thrive on changes, not on traditionalism. There are moments where I feel that the songs are slightly prolonged where I wish some additonal twist and turn could be used, for example in the otherwise awesome "Physical Education" - A truly enjoyable listen that demands at least half a dozen spins. Yes, it is one of those albums that demands your attention, so for God's sake, don't listen to it through shitty iphone/laptop speakers, respect the music by playing it through the correct medium; proper headphones or speakers with a proper bass.


Download: Para Mexer, Tooth And Claw, Another Year
For The Fans Of: Tesseract, Periphery, Joe Satriani

Release date 24.03.2014
Sumerian Records

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