Animals as Leaders is an instrumental Progressive metal band from here in the United States who picked up some major steam with the release of their debut self titled album back in 2009 and caused some major waves in the prog scene and the metal world at large helping to usher in the un-genre that is so called “Djent” metal. My bias against that word aside, they did help push a more approachable variant to the chunky music Mashugga has been making since the early 90’s. This was do in no small part to other, less interesting bands in my opinion, like Periphery.
With the release of their second full length record “Weightless” they continued to produce this amazingly technical and well produced instrumental work. For some reason I feel many view it as a slight misstep or maybe it just didn’t reach as wide an audience or maybe I’m just completely wrong but it felt like some of the heat and momentum for the band died down around this time.
But boy is it back now. I feel like with the release of Joy in Motion even the mainstream music world is recognizing that Tosin Abasi and the gang are some of the most talented men in metal or music at large. All three albums feel distinctly deferent to me while maintaining that obvious feel that it is Animals As Leaders. Misha Mansoor of the aforementioned band Periphery played a major role in production for this album and this is probably my favorite project he has worked on to date. I’m not sure if his involvement helped in the garnering more fans and attention or if music is just tilting in a direction that looks more favorably on the virtuoso composers of more experimental music, but I haven’t been this excited for the music worlds recognition since The Mars Volta got their avant garde flag planted in the ears of casual listeners.
Ka$cade is a great track to open up with. Songs like Physical Education stand out as masterpieces of the Prog world with it‘s slapped low ends and syncopated rhythms coupled with layered electronic textures. I also have to take a second to nerd on the song “Another Year” which blends in this amazing smooth jazz element that really just grabs on my heart and won’t let go. I’m a sucker for jazz fusion and this has an almost Spyro Gyra feel. That song really makes me want to see them play a show with Scale The Summit ASAP.
Fans of progressive, experimental, and avant guard should already have this, and fans of metal should at least stream a few of the songs the band has made easily available to us and see if you like it.
Im feeling a very strong 8 on this and I’m curious to see where this falls in my play list by the end of the year because I could see myself coming back to this album as a whole pretty regularly for the extended future.
What do you think about Joy of Motion? What should I talk about next? Let me know here or on my facebook: facebook.com/TheAGZero
This has been Captain Rob telling you to Respect The Vest!
And as always: Be safe, and Stay Nerdy!