12 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backstory: Tosin Abasi was the virtuosic guitarist for Washington, D.C.-based metalcore band Reflux. His skills on the eight-string guitar were so impressive that following the band’s breakup, its label asked Abasi to record a solo album. He declined. Fast-forward to 2011, and Animals as Leaders is Abasi and Javier Reyes (both on eight-string guitar), as well as drummer Navene Koperweis from Animosity and Fleshwrought. Since the instrumental progressive metal trio is configured almost exactly like The F*cking Champs, it’s not surprising that “An Infinite Regression” opens sounding a bit like that group's 2007 album VI until Koperweis makes bass runs on his low strings while Abasi taps out rhythmic harmonics high on the fretboard. “Odessa” simultaneously blends dual fret-tapping with studied shredding under a foundation of meaty riffs. Unlike on the group's 2009 eponymous debut, the drumming here is very real—even on “Earth Departure,” where Koperweis’ airtight time signatures and metronomic flawlessness sometimes sound mechanical. “Weightless” closes with Abasi and Reyes playing like they were born with three extra fingers on their left hands.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Backstory: Tosin Abasi was the virtuosic guitarist for Washington, D.C.-based metalcore band Reflux. His skills on the eight-string guitar were so impressive that following the band’s breakup, its label asked Abasi to record a solo album. He declined. Fast-forward to 2011, and Animals as Leaders is Abasi and Javier Reyes (both on eight-string guitar), as well as drummer Navene Koperweis from Animosity and Fleshwrought. Since the instrumental progressive metal trio is configured almost exactly like The F*cking Champs, it’s not surprising that “An Infinite Regression” opens sounding a bit like that group's 2007 album VI until Koperweis makes bass runs on his low strings while Abasi taps out rhythmic harmonics high on the fretboard. “Odessa” simultaneously blends dual fret-tapping with studied shredding under a foundation of meaty riffs. Unlike on the group's 2009 eponymous debut, the drumming here is very real—even on “Earth Departure,” where Koperweis’ airtight time signatures and metronomic flawlessness sometimes sound mechanical. “Weightless” closes with Abasi and Reyes playing like they were born with three extra fingers on their left hands.

TITLE TIME
3:25
4:14
4:15
5:10
3:47
3:41
2:40
4:32
2:13
4:50
5:15
2:27

About Animals As Leaders

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-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 novel Ishmael) to function as this solo project. An eponymous debut album followed in April of 2009 and saw Abasi handling all guitar and bass tracks, while drums and other synthesized sound effects were programmed by engineer Misha Mansoor. Abasi and company followed up in 2011, when Animals as Leaders released their sophomore effort, Weightless. The following year, the band signed on with Sumerian Records, on which they would release their third album. The resulting The Joy of Motion, released in 2014, debuted at number 23 on the Billboard 200 chart. Described by drummer Matt Garstka as "the most collaborative effort for the band" to date, Madness of Many, the group's much-anticipated fourth studio outing, dropped in 2016. Two years later, they delivered the concert album Animals as Leaders Live 2017, which debuted in the Top 30 of the Billboard Independent Albums chart. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

ORIGIN
Washington, D.C.
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
2008

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