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Animals as Leaders: The Joy of Motion

Combine two 8-string guitarists and an amazing drummer and you get Animals as Leaders (AAL). Tosin Abasi is the main axe-slinger, Javier Reyes is the rhythm player and Matt Garstka is the newest member to hold down the drum kit.

I'd be surprised if you haven't listened to this group yet, at least so you can make a decision if their music is for you. AAL is part of the new generation of instrumental metal; progressive, heavy, highly syncopated. There are programmed elements included to give the songs some atmosphere (provided by Periphery's Misha Mansoor) and a session bassist added for more bottom end (Nolly Getgood, another Periphery alum, also handled production, mixing, engineering).

"Ka$cade" starts off their third release The Joy of Motion (first for Sumerian Records) with "classic" AAL material: a clean guitar introduction leads into a highly syncopated combination of quarter notes and sixteenth notes with alternating accents; a distorted djent foundation upon which Tosin can weave his slithery leads that remind me of Steve Vai at times.

"Lippincott" uses the lower strings and features tapping techniques that add to the percussive quality of the music.

It sounds like multiple time-signatures are melded together during "Air Chrysalis" and you don't have to pay attention to the complexity unless you want to, which is very tough to accomplish.

"Another Year" is a soulful song in 7/4 with clean tones for the majority of the tune. The programmed synth arpeggios add nice depth.

Put on your best funk-face for "Physical Education." Deep tones from the lowest-string are featured with one of the best melodies on the CD.

Keep that facial expression… "Tooth and Claw" continues the groovy heavy metal with another AAL instant classic. Listen for the harmonized lower-register melodies which remind me of old school In Flames!

The percussiveness and rhythmic creativity on the remainder of The Joy of Motion really is a joy to listen to. Some deep listening (read: headphones) reveal many subtleties provided by the sequenced synth programming; nothing obtrusive and always enhancing the depth and composition of the song. I could go on about each remaining track but I won't, however, one piece of advice: listen to the songs all the way through! Animals as Leaders has another winner with The Joy of Motion.

Track Listing
1. Ka$cade 5:23
2. Lippincott 4:22
3. Air Chrysalis 5:06
4. Another Year 3:50
5. Physical Education 4:41
6. Tooth and Claw 4:23
7. Crescent 4:23
8. The Future That Awaited Me 4:33
9. Para Mexer 4:29
10. The Woven Web 4:07
11. Mind-Spun 4:35
12. Nephele 4:31

Added: April 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Ryan Good
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2093
Language: english

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