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Animals As Leaders

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Album Review

And now for something completely least for fans of Washington, D.C., metalcore also-rans Reflux, whose rather ignominious demise after just one critically acclaimed but poor-selling LP wound up freeing resident guitar virtuoso Tosin Abasi to accept an offer from Prosthetic Records to deliver his first solo album. That album, like the pseudonym adopted to mask the ostensible solo nature of Abasi's new project, was Animals as Leaders, and it proceeded to showcase the guitarist's formidable mastery of his instrument through a wholly instrumental, daringly progressive, and, perhaps most surprisingly, oftentimes mellow and ambiently new agey collection of songs. Of course, Abasi's heavy metal proving ground inevitably takes charge on more aggressive, maniacally intense workouts like "Tempting Time," "Thoroughly at Home," and "CAFO" — all of which make reference to extreme explorers like Cynic and Meshuggah. But kinder ruminations like "Soraya," "On Impulse," and "Point to Point" take a different approach by weaving cascading melodies and fleet-fingered tapping (somewhere between Joe Satriani and two-hand-tap trailblazer Stanley Jordan) out of his customized seven- and eight-string guitars. Meanwhile, overt electronics are kept to a bare minimum aside from the programmed drums and occasional electronic hiccups ("On Impulse"), fluttering synth patterns ("Song of Solomon"), and overdriven synthetic percussion runs ("The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing") that flare across listeners' panoramic widescreen. And on another surprising tip, the oddly named "Modern Meat" (Frank Zappa fans just perked up!) actually boasts gentle, mildly bossa nova-ish acoustic melodies. Having praised all that, the album's endless parade of circular scales and sheer barrage of flickered notes (epitomized by the dizzying "Behaving Badly") may prove just a bit tiresome to less adventurous musical tourists, but for those looking for sounds that both awe and challenge their faculties, Animals as Leaders delivers quite the cerebral workout.

Customer Reviews

Best of 2009

This album is by far one of the best albums of 2009..
Even if you're not into instrumental music, put aside your prejudices only for this album cause this is nothing like you've ever heard before.. this is no Steve Vai or Joe Satriani shredding endlessly, it is a completely different and an original sound!
amazing riffs, crazy solos and a completely new experience...


Wow. thats all i can say. fantastic band, the guitar and bass throughout is insanly good. something else thats good is the use of differnt styles too. and the guitar isnt always running distortion, he uses clean jazzy styles and shreds it hardcore as well. top notch performance. Well done.

simply amazing

every person I have showed this cd to either said "wow" or something resembling "man it took me to like... another place in my mind". Absolutely amazing. Stop thinking, just get it. Do yourself a favour. The virtuosity and creativity behind this, as well as the simple sublime euphoria you get from listening to this level of talent are out of this world.


Formed: 2008 in Washington, D.C.

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After playing for a few years in the "straight" music world as a member of the uniquely virtuosic Washington, D.C.-based metalcore band Reflux, seven- and eight-string guitar wizard Tosin Abasi was asked to record a solo album by the group's then-record label, Prosthetic Records, once the group disbanded. At first, Abasi declined on the grounds that to do so would be "egotistical," but he eventually relented and founded a new entity named Animals as Leaders (inspired by Daniel Quinn's 1992 anthropocentric...
Full bio
Animals As Leaders, Animals As Leaders
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Apr 28, 2009

Customer Ratings