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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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Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Shredding for a new society.

Initially I thought of doing this review without mentioning the dj...-word. "dj..." being an entirely inadequate onomatopoeia intended to describe what the rhythm-guitars are supposed to sound like. Inadequate to a non-English speakers at least as the English spelling simply doesn't have the consistency to give me a clue on how I'm supposed to pronounce 'djent', like 'gentleman'? Then no, this is definitely not what the guitars sound like. Clinical, over-processed and too distorted, that's what they sound like.

Anyway, if you can do without the tagging, this is simply a modern instrumental Prog Metal album with some jazz influences, indebted to Meshuggah but with the extreme parts left out. The influences from modern day King Crimson in the guitar arpeggio's add a nice touch that definitely distinguishes this band from other bands in the field. Something that is really welcome as there are lots of projects in this style. AAL is one of the best loved examples and the praise is certainly understandable from a technical perspective: this involves all the virtuosity and compositional standards that fans expect from this sort of music.

But despite the interesting ideas the album is too much a "play safe", hardly stretching outside the previously set standards for instrumental jazz-metal fusion, and indulging way too much in pointless shredding. Worst of all is how emotionless and sterile this music is, as if it was made by an - admittedly very fast - computer program. It sounds as if it involved more hours spent on a laptop then actually playing instruments. No, excuse me while I want more spontaneity, interaction, dynamics and tension in instrumental music.

All objections aside, if you're a Prog Metal fan you can't go wrong with this. If you aren't a Prog Metal but still want to check out modern instrumental metal, I'd rather recommend other bands such as Octopus (Chile), Excivious, Chimp Spanner or Cloudkicker. I'd say AAL is music for musicians rather then for listeners. Anyway, the ideas are there, cut out a few solos and I'd still give it 4 stars.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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