Animals As Leaders
Animals as Leaders


5.0
classic

Review

by Sean USER (18 Reviews)
February 13th, 2010 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An awe inspiring first release for a band that has the potential to go a long way.

Very rarely do I listen to strictly instrumental albums. Usually, if I decide to listen to strictly instrumental stuff, I tend to resort to the types of Jazz you'd normally hear on the Weather Channel and things of that nature. I have never really been one for shred guitar albums. Even though my name might give the illusion that that's all I enjoy out of music, it is far from the truth. I have listened to a few okay shred albums like: Rusty Cooley's self-titled release, Michael Angelo Batio's "No Boundaries" and "Hands Without Shadows" and a few more. While I like some of it, the music tends to be quite linear and, after a while, grows extremely tedious and tired after a short listen. However, I have recently gained a much more optimistic view of the instrumental shred guitar genre of music now after listening to Animals As Leaders' first self-titled release. This album is much different than any other shred guitar album I have ever listened to.

When I first heard of Animals As Leaders, I had no idea who they were or even who Tosin Abasi (the mastermind behind AAL) was, for that matter. As a matter of fact, I did not even realize they were a instrumental shred band until I decided to purchase their album. I had a couple of friends suggest them to me before, but I never really dug deep to figure out who they were and what exactly they played. It's probably a good thing, though, seeing that I might have simply overlooked the band if I would have known they were an instrumental shred band. That would have been a seriously bad thing for me to do, because AAL has managed to change my view of modern shred guitar.

It must be noted that what makes this album work is the fact that it is not simply an album filled with non-stop guitar wankery around every corner. Within every song, there is substance and feeling to the music. Don't get me wrong, however. Abasi can shred like nothing else. He makes well known shredders like Rusty Cooley and Michael Angelo Batio look like amateurs. Exactly how? The main difference is not just the shredding but the song writing. Abasi knows how to put a song together without it sounding recycled or repetitive. His playing is extremely abstract and different from most, not simply playing the same generic minor or major chord progressions throughout the whole song. Abasi's guitar playing can be summed up as a mixture of everything from Fuion Jazz to Metal to Blues. His chops are very impressive and awe inspiring all at the same time.

Throughout the whole album, I did not find one thing that I didn't like about it. AAL manages to successfully switch from an extremely heavy sounding song such as "CAFO" to something soft and very Jazzy like "Modern Meat". Everything flows well and nothing sounds out of place. Another thing that I really appreciated about Abasi's songwriting is that every song manages to be catchy. My favorite song on the album "The Price of Everything and The Value of Nothing" has a very jazzy chord progression with a beautiful electric guitar lead section over it that manages to be extremely catchy. I was very impressed by how much I enjoyed this album. Another thing that manages to constantly impress me with Abasi's songwriting is his interest in extreme odd timings and polyrhythms. Throughout the whole album, songs constantly change from one odd timing to another but nothing ever sounds too abstract. Everything still manages to flow but still sound extremely technical all at the same time.

Animals As Leaders are certainly a band I did not expect to really get into. I bought the album mostly as a result of curiosity but I ended up with something I truly like and cannot stop listening to. If you are a fan of Metal or instrumental music, in general, this is certainly something to check out. It delivers in so many ways and never grows tiring or repetitive. It's an album that manages to be beautiful, heavy, and technical all the while being extremely catchy and inspiring. Do not simply look over Animals As Leaders because of their status as a "shred" band. They are something much, much more. Do yourself a favor and check this out!



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user ratings (1568)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Zettel (4.5)
The unexpected masterpiece, in a year full of great music....

Brent Stephenson (3)
A "shred" album that had the potential to be groundbreaking......


Comments:Add a Comment 
Wizard
February 13th 2010


19641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I have never really been one for shred guitar albums. Even though my name might give the illusion that that's all I enjoy out of music, it is far from the truth.

Nice recovery, I was going to say something around those lines. hahahaha

Great review. I remember hearing a few songs from this and wasn't too impressed. Maybe I should listen to it as a whole.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

Arhippigo
February 13th 2010


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, awesome album

bloc
February 13th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Wow a 5! But yes this band is quite literally amazing. One of the best young guitarists in the business.

Arhippigo, your avatar is so good.

poweroftheweez
February 13th 2010


1290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I remember hearing a few songs from this and wasn't too impressed. Maybe I should listen to it as a whole.

if you didnt like a few of the songs, i kinda doubt youd like the album start to finish. nice review, shred.

Wizard
February 13th 2010


19641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was months ago and sometimes I completely change my mind when I give something a second chance.

poweroftheweez
February 13th 2010


1290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh well then go for it! i found it a refreshing, educational listen.

ikarus
February 13th 2010


570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i havent heard something as heavy as CAFO in a while

bloc
February 13th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

^Favourite song on the album.

Scoot
February 13th 2010


17910 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

CAFO is the shit. Song of Salomon is also amazing.

Tosin is freakishly talented.

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

Shredzilla
February 13th 2010


501 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Nice recovery, I was going to say something around those lines. hahahaha

Great review. I remember hearing a few songs from this and wasn't too impressed. Maybe I should listen to it as a whole."

Yea, haha! I thought I would avoid that this time around!

I would suggest you give it another listen. I'm sure the album will not appeal to some, though. Still, I do think it's much different than any other instrumental album out there these days.

asdemonsburn
February 14th 2010


793 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

leaning toward a 4, album just loses momentum. They were amazing live

Zettel
February 14th 2010


604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. I remembered the feeling I got listening to it the first times. Well. I still have those feelings.

asaf
February 14th 2010


889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review. i dont know about the rating though. i saw this live and it was something spectacular. no bassist. just two jumbo fret 8 string guitars and a vicious drummer. on the cd its all the computers, but live its a whole other story.

bloc
February 14th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love the clean tone on this album, it has that slappy bright sound to it.

ManyBobs
August 2nd 2010


32 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album is absolutely fantastic.

canatunaman
August 3rd 2010


265 Comments


a lot of talent, cool guys, i'm just really not into shred enough to actually say that i would listen to this album

MO
December 23rd 2010


19077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

It's not as shred as you'd think, there are quite a few songs with just some nice playing

Spec
June 10th 2011


27298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The guitarists are beasts.

eggsvonsatan
June 10th 2011


1087 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Heard one song from these guys and it bored me to tears. I feel like this is one of those things that you'll never enjoy unless you play guitar.

MO
June 10th 2011


19077 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't play guitar. I just find the songs are extremely well written.



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