The Sound of Animals Fighting
Tiger and the Duke


3.5
great

Review

by USER (14 Reviews)
August 1st, 2005 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


Describing The Sound Of Animals Fighting may well be one of the hardest things to do in this review, let alone reviewing the actual CD itself. TSOAF are a group of musicians from well known bands like Finch, Circa Survive and RX Bandits. Their identities were kept secret during recording as not to deal with issues with copyright and contract and such, and the band members were each given nicknames of animals.

There are 14 members of the band, and I won't go into great detail with them all. Anthony Green (ex-Saosin/Circa Survive) and Rich Balling provide vocals, Matt Embree and Chris Tsagakis (RX Bandits) play lead guitar and drums, and Randy and Derek (Finch) pull out rhythm guitar and bass.

The first noticable thing about this "album" is that it only has 4 proper songs. The rest are interludes, intros and outros. Technically, there is only 19 minutes worth of music played by the musicians above on the record, but oh boy is it good. To make it easier to understand, I will just review the songs the band play and not the electronic instrumentals.

The fact that these musicians have teamed up is amazing to me, and it's great to see Anthony Green back screaming his lungs out to what can only be described as "progressive rock". Each song is a new level for the team of musicians, providing a new taste of the band's creative minds.

“Act 1: Chasing Suns" begins with a fast drum beat and an equally upbeat guitar riff. And then Anthony's distinctive vocals burst in as the full band begins to play. It swirls into a quiet moment for the song, then builds back up with an interesting lead guitar melody laid over the top. The double vocals in this song work perfectly, and give the listener so much to listen out for. It adds mystery to the song, with lots of bursts of strong screams dubbed over the perfect vocals. Around 2:45, the electronics build up more tension, as a furiously fast riff is played by Randy, my first taste of his excellent guitar work. The second solo plays over the top of his high-pitched strumming, and it's euphoric. It finishes out with another chorus and ends at once, the perfect way to end this beast of a song, the first glimpse into The Sound Of Animals Fighting.

“Act II: All Is Ash or the Light Shining Through It" starts with a small drum roll and another interesting and unique riff which fade into a harmonic verse accompanied by dual vocals. The verse is magnificent, giving us a look into the band's calmer side. Then it speeds into the chorus, with another scream from Anthony, and then pushes into another verse with palm-muted guitar. The different parts of the song, even though they are incredibly quick, blend together so well. Halfway through, it falls apart, and we are left with 2 riffs which seem to be improvised. But once again, it pulls you in deeper, and the alternating melodies contrast each other brilliantly. Distant vocals follow onto the final verse, with low and high vocals again singing in harmony. Possibly the most eerie songs ends in the same way "Act I" did; with no outro.

Once again, another drum intro leads us into “Act III: Modulate Back to the Tonic", which draws back on the weirdness of the previous song. High and quiet vocals are laid over the top of a beautifully crafted melody, and vocals just speaking a story are laid over this. It sounds somewhat pretencious, trying to be different and smart. The chorus utilises Anthony's harsh vocals again, and seems to be the only place for him in this song which perhaps has too much creativity. At about 3:15, it stops, and fades into a more Mars Volta style breakdown. A very down-beat feeling, with a distorted solo playing softly over a random drum beat. Sadly, this doesn't last song, and rushes into the final chorus. The ending pulls this song up a little, but doesn't make the song not skippable.

We finish with the last song, "Act IV: You Don't Need a Witness". It sounds like the opening riff is the riff for "Act I" played backwards at places, and the opening to this song really shows off the band's production value. The best way to describe this song would be to call it a mixture of the 3 previous acts. The familiar riff from "Act I" quickly bursts into a slowed down verse, which then fades into a random breakdown of one chord played over and over. Then the bassline gets distorted, and leads you into the full band playing again. Possibly the best part of this song, it does such a good job of keeping you hooked. This is a mostly up beat track, but keeps the listener occupied with tempo changes and different uses of the electronic attributes of the band and intrument arrangement. The only gripe I had with this song is it's ending, about 1 minute of static, which is unecessary since it leads into a 6 minute long outro track.

The Sound Of Animals Fighting have proved themselves to be a collection of talented minds and musicians from different parts of the pop-punk scene. From the pop-punk and anthemic (Finch), to the ska-based pop (RX Bandits), right through to the hardcore underground (Saosin), their input on this project really made it different. Sadly, this is the band's weakness as well. What sometimes comes across as progressive and all-round well-played, occasionally seems pretencious and boring, expecting the listener to appreciate every bit of uniqueness about this record.

The songs are filled with some original riffs and beats, some of the best dual vocals I've heard in so long and all are above 4 minutes, but the interludes and such just ruin the mood. The energy you get from each song, be it the slowest "Act 3" or the fast-paced "Act 4" is taken away by the boring intermissions, forcing you to wait your turn to feel the character and momentum. If this were a regular EP, I have no doubt it would be near to perfect, and one of the best collaberative albums to grace the pop-punk, even rock, world. Yet this record i poorly constructed, and that is what made me give it such a low score.



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user ratings (516)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Kronzo (4)
This is a great album that is appealing to a wide variety of people....

TheMisterBungle (3.5)
A wonderful album, but is unfortunately plagued by the postlude, overture, and interludes that drag ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
marsvolta
August 1st 2005


64 Comments


ok saosin is not hardcore underground...theyre definitely melodic and have become a lot more poppy with their new singer.


beyond that, this cd is amazing. the entire cd was recorded 'backwards' and without the members ever seeing each other. each insturment was recorded in 1-2 days, and on top of that, the entire thing is improvosation. if you read the insert contained in the cd booklet, it explains how the music was crafted with just the framework, which allowed the members to create a 'flow' sort've vibe to the songs. also, some of the guitar work is insane...they do some super aggressive finger picking (no picks were used by embree, i believe.)

pick this cd up, its cheap and worth it to support some musicians trying to do their own thing. Also, TSOAF has already confirmed that another cd is on its way, hopefully with less interludes and more rock.

marsvolta
August 1st 2005


64 Comments


oh yeah, good review

Kid A
October 14th 2005


261 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing review. Amazing album.

Dancin' Man
December 29th 2005


719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this. I like the way it was recorded and I want to try it.

ActAppalled
January 16th 2006


22 Comments


this cd is amazing, and a much needed breath of fresh air. i'm a big fan of all the members who contributed in their own bands, and them coming together to create this is fantastic. the only gripes i have are that the bass isn't present enough, it just sounds kind of bland for the most part... and of course, the interludes.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
January 16th 2006


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is fucking great, too bad I can never find it anywheres. I always have to listen to it in my friends car instead
4.5/5This Message Edited On 02.12.06

B
January 17th 2006


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Amazing album.
Nice to see members of other bands teaming up to do something different.

204409
Emeritus
January 20th 2006


3996 Comments


This sounds pretty cool though I don't trust anybody in RX Bandits to provide an interesting improv. What does this actually sound like? Track by tracks are usually so worthless. I have the impression it's like Coheed and Cambria and Mars Volta and other bands that have emerged from a punk scene with a sound that causes a lot of people to throw around the word "prog."

pixiesfanyo
January 20th 2006


1223 Comments


it kind of sounds like TMV done by a pop-punk band.
it's decent. but it's pretty amazing that they basically improv the whole album.

sneakybird
April 12th 2006


13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

awesome. i love this kind of sound

black guy
April 17th 2006


47 Comments


I'm listening to this now for the first time and I'm very excited. It sounds like TMV if they broke up and reformed ATDI but kept trying to play Mars Volta songs.

garbagetruck32
April 20th 2006


32 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

uhhh, wat? thats an intersting simile.

UBIK
April 21st 2006


75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just heard the song Skullflower off their new album, amazing stuff.

Scabdates
May 22nd 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

deserves more than 3.5

Scabdates
May 22nd 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

and the new album is absolutely nothing like this one, there isn't a single song that will remind you of this album

kno_kontrol
May 29th 2006


448 Comments


This album is pretty mediocre. The instrumentals are uninteresting, bland, and just worn out. Vocally, its essentially what every other 'progressive post-hardcore' band has to offer, the predictable sing a little scream a little formula. This album is much more post-hardcore than anything else, with some ambience. There isnt much progressive about this album, its more of just the same old stuff that bands like Circa Survive, Chiodos, and countless others have been cranking out for the past year or so. Its got a bit of Coheed influence, but not enough to push it past mediocrity.

Your review was pretty good though. Enjoyable read nonetheless.

Arrakakaka
June 9th 2006


685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it kind of sounds like TMV done by a pop-punk band.

They reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.. Now that you say it, they do sound like The Mars Volta.

Arrakakaka
June 9th 2006


685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Repost. Whoops.This Message Edited On 06.09.06

TheMisterBungle
November 6th 2006


861 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just bought this album (it's now offically out of print so I wanted to find it fast as no online store carries it anymore), and I'm really liking it so far.
I think you could have improved on your review. Try not just telling whats happening in the song. Give an overall feel, and impresion (sp?) of each track and more, but try to stay away from the and then the guitar does this and the drums do that kinda stuff.
Sorry for such a long confusing comment.

TheMisterBungle
November 11th 2006


861 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the interludes.



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