Animals As Leaders
Weightless


3.5
great

Review

by Zettel USER (37 Reviews)
November 11th, 2011 | 155 replies | 32,004 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great follow-up? You bet.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Animals As Leaders' self-titled debut album did a remarkable job in bringing instrumental progressive metal to the forefront. Instead of favoring technical prowess and heaviness, trying to obliterate its audience into amazement, Tosin Abasi chose a different approach: melody and musicality above it all. This is what made the album all the more impressive, for Abasi possessed the technical skills to make a display of unabashed virtuosity; and yet, he released a record where musical sensibility shined, a record that was accessible while musically and technically complex.

Weightless retains all those qualities, but changes a little bit the presentation. As great as the debut was, the sound was very dense, sometimes static, with Tosin's riffs completely filling the picture as collaborator Misha Mansoor tried his best to keep it all together. This time, taking advantage of the addition of guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Navene Koperweis to the recording sessions and with Misha gone, Abasi clearly strives for a more organic feel to the music. This works because the contributions of Reyes and Koperweis tightly follow Abasi's musical conception, providing the dynamics missed at some points in their debut, adding more elasticity and flow to the compositions. The sound is thinner and sometimes simpler by comparison, but in exchange the music has more room to breathe, thus being less overwhelming and easier to follow, allowing Abasi's compositional skills to be more prominent than before. Tracks like "Odessa", "Somnarium", "Isolated Incidents and "Do Not Go Gently" are both instant classics for the band and glaring examples of what made Animals As Leaders a force to be reckoned with.

The secret to Animals As Leaders' appeal is that on the surface it seems like sugar-coated progressive metal --not too heavy, not too dark, constantly melody-driven--, but underneath it is really a carefully assembled and executed collection of highly technical tracks. The band intertwines heavy riffs with gentle passages, jazz influences with electronic sounds, all in smooth yet powerful progression, constantly shifting dynamics to avoid stagnation. It is very active and lively music that invites the listener for multiple listens in order to pick up all the details, but is far from becoming an exhausting experience, something that happened often in the debut. Is there nothing wrong in here, then? Not exactly.

While Weightless stands very well on its own, what made the first record such an standout release is that it sounded like nothing else. The combination of Meshuggah-esque riffs, jazz influences and electronic bits was (and remains) unique and refreshing if not completely original. This time around you have heard it before. Weightless is a somewhat stripped-down version of that mixture which plays on the same strengths. There is nothing wrong with it, but if you expect progression and something truly different, you are lead to disappointment. None of this really matters, though. The album is a quality sophomore effort that proves the inspiration that gave birth to the project has not dried out, even if it does not reach the peaks found in Animals As Leaders.

Not bad at all.



3.75 / 5



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user ratings (859)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
ANJ45 (3)
Some of the great melodies that made the first one a classic are still present here, but altogether,...

Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (2.5)
Tosin Abasi puts forth an average effort and the rest of the new trio can't pick up the slack....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2011



1983 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Oddly enough, I found this album to be way less organic and far more dense than the initial release,
which is part of the reason I was not a huge fan. That, and I definitely demanded progression, since
that seems to be an element the project is founded on. And while I would call the eponymous album
somewhat accessible, this, I would not.

This is a decent review, but there are a few errors throughout:

with Tosin's riffs filling completely the picture


Should be "completely filling."

Reyes and Koperweis contributions


Needs some manner of possessive (and would probably work best by rewording to state "the
contributions of Reyes and Koperweis," since it's an odd area to slap apostrophes into)

contributions follow tightly Abasi's


Should be "tightly follow."

letting Abasi's compositional skills to be more prominent


You need to either change "letting" to "allowing" or "to be" to "to become"

than in the self-titled


I know it's common slang to call a self-titled release a "self-titled," but you need a noun at the
end of the sentence there. Just a professional writing hangup.

The secret to Animals As Leaders' appeal is that on the surface it seems[b]like[/i] sugar-
coated progressive metal --not so heavy, not so dark, constantly melody-driven--, but underneath
[b]it[/i] is really a carefully assembled and executed collection of highly technical tracks.


Add the bolded words or modify the sentence structure appropriately. I would also recommend
adjusting your "so"s and turning them into "too"s, since "so" constitutes a comparison that is not
present.

to avoid stagnancy


Stagnation is the word you're looking for.

It is very active and lively music that invites for multiple listens in order to pick up all
the details, but is far from saturating the listener, something that happened often in the self-
titled.


You need to add some form of noun or pronoun after "invites," since that slot is currently empty. I
also don't understand what you mean by "saturating the listener," which could do with some cleaning
up.

EDIT: Wow, this comment is huge. Sorry. I don't want to be a pretentious prick, so if it's
bothersome or if you want me to delete it, that's fine, just let me know. But I do want you to see
this so you can improve your writing a bit.

Digging: Rx Bandits - Gemini, Her Majesty

asdemonsburn
November 11th 2011



793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

the thing about this album is it doesn't play to "their strengths" at all

the arrangements suck in comparison to the s/t.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 11th 2011



5979 Comments


good review despite some grammar and phrasing errors, pos.

I know this band only by name, i think they belong to the djent thing, right?

Digging: Lisa Gerrard - Twilight Kingdom

sexpoi
November 11th 2011



599 Comments


goog review. I can't wait to hear this. I just saw them with Between the Buried and Me and Tesseract and that concert was freaking awesome as shit. Second time I saw BTBAM and Animals as Leaders live and both bands were sharp as fuck. I've never heard bands play so perfectly live.

sexpoi
November 11th 2011



599 Comments


goog review. I can't wait to hear this. I just saw them with Between the Buried and Me and Tesseract and that concert was freaking awesome as shit. Second time I saw BTBAM and Animals as Leaders live and both bands were sharp as fuck. I've never heard bands play so perfectly live.

bloc
November 11th 2011



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I disagree with your summary. Sounds like the band put out a bad album before this, went offline for a bit, and then came back with this one.

Digging: Messiah - Choir of Horrors

Zettel
November 11th 2011



589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First things first:

@Atomic:

No, no. Your input is very much welcome. I am far from mastering the English language, and your observations are highly valuable. You are right in most points, so all give the review a deeper look.

Regarding the album we definitely have opposing views. When I first heard the album what struck me right away was its accessibility. Go figure. Again, thanks for your criticism.

EDIT: Hopefully it reads better now.

Spec
November 11th 2011



27102 Comments


Very first sentence. "Did an remarkable job."

Digging: Rinoa - An Age Among Them

tkxxx7
November 11th 2011



6153 Comments


^


Also, these guys do indeed sound great live. Saw them on the Full Collapse tour and they quickly earned themselves some new fans.

Zettel
November 11th 2011



589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Voivod: Thanks.

"I know this band only by name, i think they belong to the djent thing, right?"


I dislike the term, but it could be said so. It does not mean that the bands really sounds like any other.

@Bloc:

"I disagree with your summary. Sounds like the band put out a bad album before this, went offline for a bit, and then came back with this one."


??

bloc
November 11th 2011



34735 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I just mean when you say "comeback" it sounds like the band went on break or something, or that they put out a few bad albums and then suddenly sounded good on this new album.

tiesthatbind
November 11th 2011



7373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A great followup would be a more appropriate term, because yeah, comeback implies what bloc just said.

troyofyort
November 11th 2011



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I actually enjoy the arrangements on this one much more, theres so much more to find when you listen to it. Looking at the music for the first one, its so easy to analyze the song and musical structure, but this one is a much more difficult, but satisfying, listen

Philalethes
November 11th 2011



245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review. I think you did an excellent job of describing the album, and also were able to highlight some of the disappointment many are feeling without being overly dramatic about it. I still find myself liking this album more than their first album, but that is just my personal taste, and also partly due to better production that is found on this record.

Zettel
November 11th 2011



589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Philalethes:

You should really write a review for the album. You have made very interesting points on it that deserves elaboration. I try not to compare the two records, but surely I have been listening intensively to the new one, and sounds better every time.

MikeC26
November 11th 2011



3169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this band. Haven't had time yet to give this one a solid listen.

Saw them last week, and damn, can they play!

MO
November 11th 2011



18419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rules. Way too many people giving this album shit for some reason though. I mean I guess Tosin doesn't go completely balls out in this album but I find that a good thing. Too much wank would just be overwhelming. This has a perfect mix of shred and groove. Album rules, no disappointment.

Ending of Earth Departure is godly.

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

tkxxx7
November 11th 2011



6153 Comments


I'll probably listen soon

TomAkaVeto
November 11th 2011



1616 Comments


Yeah, people are being way to hard on this album. It took a minute for it to grow on me, but now I love it.

troyofyort
November 11th 2011



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

people are too hard on this cos they came to love the first album but it they have had time to get into it, but they expected the 2nd album to be an
instant gratification



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