ANIMALS AS LEADERS

Jazz Related Rock • United States
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When Tosin Abasi released his debut solo album under the moniker ANIMALS AS LEADERS in 2009, few would have predicted the band’s meteoric rise to the apex of the progressive rock/metal world. Although Abasi earned acclaim as the lead guitarist in the Washington, D.C.-based metalcore act Reflux, it was still a long-shot that an instrumental album of progressive metal with jazz, electronic and ambient flourishes would develop anything more than a cult following.

Fast-forward two-plus years to Weightless, the group’s sophomore effort, and ANIMALS AS LEADERS is revered worldwide as a trailblazing pioneer of modern heavy music. The group’s genre-defying compositions have earned extensive praise — Steve Vai called the band “the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing.” Guitar World Magazine also featured Abasi on the cover twice over the course of this album cycle, further cementing his legendary status within the current progressive scene.

Now in 2014, ANIMALS AS
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Animals As Leaders - Encore EditionAnimals As Leaders - Encore Edition
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Prosthetic 2015
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The Madness Of ManyThe Madness Of Many
Sumerian Records 2016
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WeightlessWeightless
Prosthetic 2011
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Animals As LeadersAnimals As Leaders
Prosthetic 2019
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Animals As Leaders Live 2017Animals As Leaders Live 2017
Sumerian Records 2018
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ANIMALS AS LEADERS Discography

ANIMALS AS LEADERS albums / top albums

ANIMALS AS LEADERS Animals As Leaders album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Animals As Leaders
Jazz Related Rock 2009
ANIMALS AS LEADERS Weightless album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Weightless
Jazz Related Rock 2011
ANIMALS AS LEADERS The Joy Of Motion album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Joy Of Motion
Jazz Related Rock 2014

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ANIMALS AS LEADERS Reviews

ANIMALS AS LEADERS Animals As Leaders

Album · 2009 · Jazz Related Rock
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siLLy puPPy
The brainchild of founder Tosin Abasi from Washington DC, the all instrumental jazz-fusion meets djent project ANIMALS AS LEADERS is more or less his baby although the band tours and presents itself as a full-fledged musical collaboration. This creative outlet began with Abasi’s involvement as the guitarist in the tech metal core band Reflux. After the band ceased to be, Abasi was approached by the metal record label Prosthetic Records who were majorly impressed with his chops and wanted him to record a solo album but Abasi declined feeling the idea was self-indulgent and instead he took a year off to study music in an academic setting to further his growing interest in jazz, classical guitar and composition. After he finished his homework he took Prosthetic up on their offer and then proceeded to let it all rip and roar. He chose the name ANIMALS AS LEADERS after reading the novel “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn which dealt with the subject of anthropocentrism.

In 2009 Tosin released his first album playing his eight-string guitar and bass as well as co-producing with his partner in crime Misha Mansoor who handled engineering, drum programming and mixing. This album got a lot of praise when it came out due to its challenging virtuosic performances that add a lot of variety and spice to the often impressive but sterile compositions that many a virtuoso can dish out. A child of his time, Abasi pretty much handled all the duties formerly requiring an army of talents to accomplish and if he had been ten to twenty years older he could have easily fit in on the Shrapnel Records label that ushered in all kinds of young talented virtuoso guitarists to the world. Some of those artists like Tony MacAlpine and Greg Howe seem like antecedent influences to Abasi’s work, but i also hear some Pat Metheny in some of the lighter fluffier pieces, some mid-tempo ones bringing Allan Holdsworth and even Shawn Lane to mind and of course, the undeniable palm-muted technique of djent tech thrashers Meshuggah in the metallic edge that many of these tracks dish out.

While the influences on board are plenty, what i find refreshing about the debut album by ANIMALS AS LEADERS is how some fresh new takes on these techy fusion guitar jams play out. While the album is clearly created to show off Abasi’s technical wizardry, he was prescient enough to know that wizardry alone for wizardry’s sake had been played out and that extra oomph was needed to guarantee a pleasant listening experience. Well, pleasant this is indeed with lots of chops to excite my hunger for lightning fast guitar runs configured with insanely fast and unpredictable progressive time signatures alternating between quiet cozy numbers and rowdy rockers that unleash monster riffage and extreme bass frenetics.

My only complaint is that this album may be a tad too long for its intensity and contains a couple tracks that seem a little redundant but overall i find this to be a beautifully constructed modern day jazz-fusion guitar and bass extravaganza with beautiful atmosphere, crystal clear production and a musical passion that keeps the quality sizzling. OK, one more complaint. I wish there would have been a real drummer. While the programmed drumming is far from unpleasant or bad in any way, it really is no proper substitute for a talented jazz-fusion drummer who can really bring out the best in a band like classic Bill Bruford did in Yes. Excellent album but not quite a classic.

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