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Animals as Leaders

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(12 Reviews)

Animals as Leaders Biography - Animals as Leaders Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands


A Rush album based on groove? Strangely enough yes, and what’s even more astonishing is how well it works. Rush have always been known more for technical flash than for straight-ahead rock, but Presto achieves a synthesis of the two that’s accessible without compromising. It’s strong lyrically, without the heavy-handed symbolism that makes, for instance, ”Trees” so difficult to listen to, and the band often gets into a rhythmic groove that’s positively infectious; check out ”Scars” or ”Superconductor.” Presto is also the first Rush album where the incorporation of electronics and synthesizers truly works, instead of sounding like an additional layer artificially added to existing music. This album marked something of a creative rebirth; Rush has turned out consistently strong efforts ever since. — Genevieve Williams

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  • The other reviewers have already said everything you need to hear to be convinced that you should own this CD.

    I’ll merely add that you won’t tire of listening to the complex, beautiful tracks.

    I got to see these guys play live on one of their first tours (in 2009) and they were just as incredible live as they are on the CD. Tosin is a gifted guitarist and composer.

    Buy it.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m going to start this off by saying that I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into when I got this album. I was just going off the advice of a friend to “just buy, don’t think”, and I had only heard a couple songs posted on their MySpace that I wasn’t really even all that crazy about. What a great gamble that turned out to be. This album quickly made me forget that I even had expectations, and it has already become one of my all-time favorite albums, despite only having it for a little over 2 weeks. I’m dead serious.

    “Animals as Leaders” is leaded by guitarist/songwriter Tosin Abasi (ex-Reflux), and is the first progressive metal band I’ve heard that really can’t be put into a genre. Even “progressive metal” is a label that would make people think they’re going to sound like Dream Theater or Rush, which is absolutely not the case. “Experimental” might be a good label, but that’s also a bad, terrible label, in that it simply clumps together all the musicians who sound nothing like anybody else or each other. This album is fresh, it’s instrumental, it’s heavy, it’s very progressive (both rhythmically and melodically), it’s uplifting, it’s EPIC, and it’s utterly beautiful. No need to genre-ify it.

    Anyways, there is nothing more important to this album than the musicianship of Tosin Abasi. I’m no guitarist, but I can easily say that he makes his music come alive with passion and heart, and I’m worried that his guitars might explode if he keeps making such awesome music. The drum work is phenomenal, too. I’ve been playing drums for 11 years, and some of the stuff I hear is like nothing I’ve ever heard. I just wish I knew who wrote/played them (may have been Tosin for all I know, some multi-instrumentalists are skilled at everything).

    The two tracks currently posted on MySpace “Tempting Time” and “Song of Solomon”, are good examples of the heavier side of the album. While those are damn good songs that will make you rock out no matter where or how you listen to them, they’re not my favorites – those would have to be the more laid-back tunes with the jazzier-classical influences, like “Soraya”, “Behaving Badly” and “The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing”. Hearing an atmospheric jazz-fusion-esque sound combined with redonkulous 5/16 time, meshuggah-like polyrhythms, and a classical guitar-like composition is the coolest thing in the world! Though, even the songs I didn’t mention are absolutely amazing! I just haven’t had enough time with the album yet to develop a sense of how to describe them (it’s that way with most of the album, actually). I’ll just let you find out for yourself what it sounds like.

    However, don’t get the idea that just because I mentioned which ones are my favorites, that there are songs or parts of songs that are just OK or filler! There is not a single wasted second on this album. There is nothing repetitive, nothing that will bore you, nothing that will leave you disappointed or underwhelmed, nothing that will even make you think about skipping to the next track. This is an album that after your first listen, will leave you feeling as though you’ve rediscovered music. It was good enough that it’s been in my car’s CD player for the last couple weeks straight, and I haven’t gotten tired of it. I can’t say the same for the new Mastodon, the new Isis, or the new Obscura, which I thought were all great albums that really pushed the limits of metal. Will I call this the best metal album of 2009? Absolutely, and possibly the best metal album of the last few years (right up there with the latest Meshuggah, Opeth and Gojira albums, and a few other other great bands that thrive on how original they can be).

    People, get this album. A smart man once said “What mama don’t know can’t hurt her”, but he’s obviously never heard Animals as Leaders before. Buy it now, you won’t make a better decision for a long time.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album cover to cover absolutely blew me away the first time I heard it. This is progressive metal at it’s best! I’ve never even heard of these guys before I bought this album. Every track on this album is a work of art, an epic journey. Tosin Abasi is a musical mastermind. All instrumental, no vocals, just raw talent. I simply cannot stop listening to this record! I must see these guys live! Best $9 bux I’ve ever spent.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Mr. L.E.J. Fischer’s review is dead-on. I don’t wish to rehash what has been said, other than to add – do yourself a favor and pick this up; particularly if you are looking for a wonderfully fresh perspective on highly technical guitar work. Make no doubt, Tosin Abasi is pure monster, with a wholly unique and inspirational approach.

    To answer a below reviewer’s comment on the drum work; it is programmed by Misha Mansoor, polyrhythmic 7/8 string-weilding maven of DC-based Periphery fame. Though not listed in the liner notes, I am pretty sure he uses DFH (Drumkit From Hell, Tomas Haake sample library).

    This is an incredible piece of programming work, to say the least. The last time I was this impressed with percussion programming as a work of art was Meshuggah’s Catch-33. The mix here is superior to the infamous Catch-33 recording, however. The kick and rhythm guitar tracks absolutely leap off this disc, just begging to be cranked on a high-end system.

    Want. More. Now!

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m going to start off this review by saying this is a profound advancement in technical and progressive metal. This album is a true reflection of an incredible amount of skill that does not overbear a wonderful sense of musical taste. Overall the album is hardly repetitive, constantly shifting in mood and intensity from heavy, rhythmically interesting riffs to subtle melodies and pleasing phrases, giving this album an incredible depth and texture most new musical projects fail to deliver.

    The first track, Tempting Time, seems to be a logical place to start. This song is truly staggering in every way imaginable. Beginning the song with careful use of synthesizer and sampling effects lays the foreground for a monster jackhammer riff courtesy of Tosin Abasi. The technical skill in this song is unbelievable, with such sonic intensity created and the surprising thing to note is none of this is repetitive or tiring to listen to. Midway, the song shifts to a cleanly executed 7 finger tapping line, one of my favourites in the whole album; a clear indication of the phenomenal writing and technical ability of Tosin.

    The contrast of this album is a feature I find to prominent. The wonderfully delicate and tasteful Soraya almost resembles the musical variation of Scale the Summit. The jazz fusion influence is noticable throughout the album, and adds a unique dimension to each song’s development. “Behaving Badly” and “The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing” are examples of this. Coupled with shifts in time signature numerous times hint an obvious Meshuggah influence, but this is definitely not even close to a Meshuggah clone album in any respect. Each song develops in its own unique way, offering a wide range of distinct musical tones that intrigue every part of the listener.

    Modern Meat is another example of a wonderfully orchestrated jazz influenced track played on a detuned acoustic, which provides a reefreshing break from the onslaught of intense shift in time signature and aggressive lead playing. The lack of accompaniment gives the carefully chosen guitar phrase to develop beautifully. My only grievance is it only goes on for 2 minutes!

    Overall, this album is a masterpiece. The involvement of Periphery’s Misha “Bulb” Mansoor on the album of whom I am a huge fan only makes me look forward any and all new material from the project. Do not hesitate for a second. Buy this album and you will never regret it.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now