Animals As Leaders- Weightless Review2 By Jason Matthew
Tosin Abasi created the group Animals As Leaders in 2009, and the band has seen its popularity increase quite a bit over the last two years. Being an instrumental, progressive metal outfit infused throughout with jazz, ambient and electronic touches, it seemed like the kind of band that would only find a niche following. They’ve found critical praise and even very kind words from Steve Vai, who claimed that they are “the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing.”
Abasi is joined in the studio this time around by guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Navene Koperweis. While the last Animals As Leaders album featured programmed drums, this time there’s a real person behind the kit, and you can truly hear a huge difference. Reyes’ tight rythm guitar and Koperweis’ exceptional drumming keep a tight groove throughout, while Abasi shreds through complex solos and riffs. For an album that has no vocals, the songs never get boring; this is a truly stellar progressive metal album that will keep you interested throughout.
Animals As Leaders throws in a lot of cool touches, like Nintendo-sounding samples and other neat electronics on “Somnarium”. “Weightless” and “An Infinite Regression” are two other great heavy tracks. The production has a very Fear Factory, mechanical sound to it, which works great for this album. The production is great and all the instruments have clarity in the mix. Animals As Leaders’ sound also recalls Periphery a bit, and has a lot of the same “Djent” qualities.
Overall, this is a great modern metal release that manages to keep the listener engaged from start to finish, regardless of the fact that Animals As Leaders has no singer. That’s a pretty awesome accomplishment.