Animals As Leaders once started out as a project by virtuoso guitarist Tosin Abasi. With the unique thumb style playing of the 8 string guitar including jazz to djent influences and very rare though haunting rhythms, AAL is a special one in the djent world. But it’s not only Tosin that makes AAL, Javier Reyes is a very underestimated guitarist, the parts he’s playing next to Tosin are just breathtaking, sometimes you would think he has more than 4 fingers to form chords with. And not to forgot the incredible drumming of Matt Garstka, which make the songs come alive with truly incredible patterns that suits this not so easy listenable music.
‘MonoMyth’ was the first single and video that came out. It was mind blowing, the robotic rhythms that were very Meshuggah like but with a very own twist. The breaks and solo parts in that song are just so sublime. The video that was made for this make this song even more haunting, it gave and still gives me goosebumps. The stunning visuals fits the music just fine. Well, AAL maybe that’s an idea, do a theater tour, with the music performed life and a whole show with dancers performing like the ‘Monomyth’ video, I would love to see that. With ‘The Problem of Other Minds’ they added another video that is in the same theme of the ‘Monomyth‘ one though less darker. Could it be that they’re creating a visual stunning movie for this album, who knows.
‘Parrhesia’ consist of 9 songs, ‘Conflict of Cartography’ opens with a nice soundscape and some groovy opening drum parts. the song further goes on to the typical instrumental leads and here it is where AAL differs from all other instrumental bands. In the mid section there’s a welcome groovy break which makes the song very interesting. ‘Red Miso’ has a lot of Periphery vibes. I could imagine the vocals of Spencer Sotelo on top of this. This song includes also some more Satriani sounding leads. ‘Gestaltzer’ could be the follow-up to ‘Monomyth’, it has the same vibe.
As always Animals As Leaders takes you on a musical experience that is not for the faint hearted or easy listeners. With the jazz progressions, complex leads and rhythms it are not songs that you can identify with on first hand. This is more music for a niche audience. Nevertheless very impressive album. And like stated before would love to see them do a theatre tour based on the stunning visuals of their last videos.
- Music / Songwriting 8/10
- Mix / Production 8/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 8/10
Animals As Leaders offers more than out of the box musicianship. Their unique style is a profound merry go around across multiple subgenres, not only in metal. Extremely talented, one of the finest instrumental bands at this moment. The stunnings visuals that came along with some videos of this album are just as the music out of this world. A must see and must hear.