The Bottom Line
- Stellar guitar work.
- Technically-sound and brimming with creativity.
- A good contrast between melodic and heavy sections.
- Dry production tames the heavier moments.
- Some of the longer tracks drag on.
- Released April 28, 2009 on Prosthetic Records.
- The debut album from Animals As Leaders.
- Side project of Reflux guitarist Tosin Abasi.
Guide Review - Animals As Leaders - 'Animals As Leaders'
The twelve tracks range in length from minute-long interludes to six minute epics. None of the songs feel like needless jamming sections, a problem many progressive metal instrumental albums tend to fall into. Tightly structured, each song is its own journey, using the instruments to tell a unique story. Whether that is a tale of darkness (“CAFO”) or pressures of growing old (“Tempting Time”), Animals As Leaders is able to evoke an emotional response without the use of lyrics.
Abasi wasn’t alone in the creation of the band’s debut album. Periphery member Misha "Bulb" Mansoor does a competent job on the drums, but they seem to take a back seat, as the emphasis on Animals As Leaders is mainly on the guitar work. He also performs the programming and synthesizer sounds, which add a light and airy atmosphere to the longer songs.
The only notable flaw is the rough production, which tames the heavier moments on the album, sapping any punch they could have. Abasi is a fantastic guitarist, and his immense skills are on tap throughout Animals As Leaders. The album is a strong collection of instrumental music that progressive metal fans will find solace in.