|Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock
April 28th, 2009
Release length: 51:48
Animals As Leaders is a very different breed of release all together. Acting as a solo project from the aforementioned Tosin Abasi, the material here is a mix of very impressive guitar work, as as well as some electronics, primarily through keyboards it would appear, to create a specific atmosphere on many tracks. The album seems to shift quite a lot between simply being a Progressive Rock outfit, to being a Progressive Metal outfit, with the latter being where the most impressive guitar work can found. Take “Thoroughly At Home” for example, which really is a spectacular track that shows off some impressive fret work, as well as how well the ambience in the background of the song can take the music to a whole other level. This much faster track isn’t enough to make your blood bump or get you worked up in any way, but, like the others, are moreso to show the talent involved in the project. Sadly, the shorter tracks “Tessitura”, “Point To Point” and “Modern Meat” really don’t do much for the album, and had they been expended on a little more in length, could have been thoroughly enjoyable instead of just feeling like they were there just to be there.
For those that are more interested in the Rock atmosphere of the album, or even just the overall ambience, you’ll be happy to know that the slower tracks are pretty much what you would want and expact. Having a very spacious atmosphere to much of the material on the album, it’s the slower songs like “Soraya” and “On Impulse” that will have you sitting back and enjoying the overall feel of the album. And, the thing abouut Animals As Leaders that really pushes things forward, as well as backward in some instances, would be the sound quality of the release. While the recording is very clear, the instruments themselves seem to go through some kind of either recording process, or just distorted in a specific way, that will often make them feel as if you are listening to an old record. This really does boost the overall atmosphere of the slower tracks, but the heavier, faster tracks on heere, like “Tempting Time” seem to suffer since it just makes the guitars simply sound hollow against full sounding keyboards.
But, while this release shows off some great guitar skills, there’s nothing here that will really get you worked up as far as the Metal aspect of the release goes. Sure, the more Rock tracks on here work very well with the overall atmosphere in the background, but only the track “CAFO” really has the ability to come off heavy and have any actual bite to it. “Inamorata” and “Song of Soloman” are two other tracks that have some bite to it, actually being very well done with some great drumming too that leaves you wishing someone would have just thrown some vocals into it to make the song perfect. Aside them, there aren’t many other harder tracks on here, focusing more on the Progressive Rock element of the album, but not really holding much of anything to make the songs stand out aside the impressive guitar work.
Had there been a real focus on writing more tracks like “CAFO” as well as “Soraya”, and finding a way to really change the musical styles and tempos up in a somewhat conceptual way, as if you build up or slow down with the music, then this could have been a very impressive release. Unfortunately there’s just not that much to the album that really screams for repeat plays outside of the heavier closing tracks aside “Point To Point” and “Modern Meat”, which should have been taken off or placed elsewhere with one track bleeding into the other to make it seem like it’s the same track, just different interpretations of the flow of it, as well as some of the lighter atmospheric tracks that are scattered about. As impressive as the music is, after a while it gets boring, and won’t even result in many plays in the background.
01. Tempting Time – 5:24
02. Soraya – 4:27
03. Thoroughly At Home – 4:01
04. On Impulse – 6:10
05. Tessitura – 1:05
06. Behaving Badly – 4:23
07. The Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing – 5:32
08. CAFO – 6:41
09. Inamorata – 6:08
10. Point To Point – 1:44
11. Modern Meat – 2:07
12. Song of Solomon – 4:14
|Overall Score: 4/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Prosthetic Records.