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Animals As Leaders - Animals As Leaders CD (album) cover


Animals As Leaders


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.01 | 262 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars Electrocution by djent.

Animals as Leaders is the new project by celebrated classically trained and dedicated metal guitarist Tosin Abasi. From acoustic to 8-string, the man can whip out riffs like no one else. Pulling out tapping arpeggios at over 200 bpm or noodling with a nylon guitar, the album contains a fantastic dose of heavy, melodic, and just overall intensity. Each track has something a little special, even if some lack what some others possess. Although synthesizer openings and programmed drums may sound a bit cheesy at times, the album is able to pull together some fantastic chops and superb musicianship for an outstanding album.

Tempting Time is the amazing opener. When I say "amazing opener," I really can't stress how amazing it truly is. It opens with a somewhat "trippy" synth and guitar intro, before breaking into pure beauty at the hand of Abasi's 8-string guitar. The song contains within it the absolute perfect combination of djent, melodic riffing and soloing, and those sublime polyrhythms. If I were asked to take out any part of this song, I wouldn't, because every savory second is so perfect. The songwriting, musicianship put into it, production quality and just about every other aspect of the song is what I would call "perfect." I've tried to find something bad about this track, and I cannot find one single thing.

In the wake of Tempting Time, Soraya seems meager at best. The song, consisting of considerably slower riffs and melodies, has a certain dissonance to it that doesn't sit well with me. Although the "chorus" and main riff is a very nice tapping bit, the solos and rhythms seem a little weak, even set aside from Tempting Time. Overall, the song is nice, but leaves a small aftertaste that doesn't sit perfectly well with me. It's alright, but nothing spectacular.

Thoroughly at Home is a another considerable slower track consisting of more deliberate traditional heavy metal riffs and some steady attack of metal. Some interesting experimentation is heard, with some more creative djent riffs. At some points some extremely inventive soling is heard, with some infectious polyrhythms and tapping. Overall another strong song, but again nothing outstanding.

On Impulse is much more melodic and mellow, showing Abasi's more compassionate and "musical" side of song writing. Played on his 8 string in a beautiful fashion, Abasi obviously has some intense guitar skills as he rocks along with a steady rhythm. Again this song isn't outstanding, but does have a bit of a higher grade of songwriting than the precious two tracks.

Tessitura is a short little semi-acoustic piece. Abasi is all alone on this one, quietly playing his guitar with his insanely unique style. The song transitions beautifully into the next track.

Behaving Badly is the next impressive track on the album. Fusing all the elements found on the album into a concise four minute track. Abasi utilizes his insane skills to make a great fusion between his melodic playing and his metal playing- an infectious duo, it makes. Some of the chops heard on the track are truly sublime, showing off Abasi skill even more with insanely fast and melodically dense riffing all throughout.

The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing is the next track to feature that signature "fusion" that Animals as Leaders will easily develop into a very unique sound. The song has some great riffing from Abasi with some fantastic polyrhythms and interesting synth parts. Overall, the song presents another very strong track with a great fusion between guitar melodies and heavy metal riffs.

CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song kicks off with a sweeping tapping part before breaking into an intense djent riff with infectious tapping backgrounds. After this bombardment, the song breaks down into a simply vivacious tapping section where Abasi goes all out on his poor guitar neck. Smacking away at arpeggio after arpeggio, the song keeps a constant sweep of guitar notes. The whole song presents a ride of pure bliss in the form of djent.

Inamorta keeps this trend, blowing the listener away with some more great riffs and tapping solos. At this point, the trend is beginning to run a little dry, but the constant bombardment of sound seems to give at least some vigor before the intermediate tracks come back in. Overall, this track is good, but runs another common trend on the albumL having very strong single tracks that can't really stand up to the greater tracks of the album.

Point to Point is a short little guitar solo consisting of a short guitar noodle. The song is nothing spectacular, but does have some interesting riffing and other instrumental gems. Overall, the song just acts mainly as a transition into the next transition...

...Modern Meat. This track is the first truly acoustic track on the album. The 2 minute long song features Abasi on a nylon guitar, pouring his heart out over the strings (or maybe not). In reality, though, the song is a really great little classical guitar piece, showing Abasi's classical training in the form of pure composition.

Song of Solomon is a fantastic closer. Holding up to it's counterpart opener Tempting Time, it balances TT with a considerably lesser degree of insanity and fury with a great degree of melodic beauty and grace. Again featuring some great soloing and tapping by Abasi, the track has a perfect blend of everything found on the album, acting as a spectacular summary of everything the listener has exposed himself to on the album. Overall, the track is one of the greats of the album and will become a definite pro to the band's discography.

ALBUM OVERALL: Amazing. Overall, the album is amazing. Pure excellency. As a masterpiece? I wouldn't go that far, but as a debut, this album is as near to perfect as your gonna get. The album has virtually everything you could possible want in a metal album: intense, heavy riffs, moments of brief and poignant melody, and an overall heaviness that can categorize it as metal. Overall, this album is killer, and is highly recommended to any djent fan. Although some songs do seem to lack a little bit in comparison to others, track by track the album does have a great sense of charm. 4+ stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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