Animals As Leaders - Animals As Leaders
Prosthetic Records
Instrumental Progressive Metal
12 songs (51:50)
Release year: 2009
Prosthetic Records
Reviewed by Goat

Tosin Abasi, the former live guitarist from Born Of Osiris, here makes his solo name known, and a pretty damn impressive name it is, too. Starting with the Buckethead meets Meshuggah burst of Prog craziness that is Tempting Time and barely letting up from then on, this album loses no time in drawing the listener in. At over fifty minutes, you’d expect to quickly become bored, but unusually for me at least, this manages to keep your attention despite the complete and utter lack of vocals, mostly due to the musicianship involved but also due to the sheer variety. Opening with said Tempting Time was a good decision, not least because the guitar playing is so damn good that you can’t help but be impressed. It’s very Metal, clear riffing and jamming assaulting your ears not stop whilst the (programmed) polyrhythmic rhythm section backing Abasi is verging on brilliant. Steps into ambience such as that at the start of Soraya are impressive, as does the ensuing Jazz fusion which is enough to make Cynic fans dribble in joy.

It’s rather a shame that there are no vocals, really, as the songwriting is very strong, although I expect the ensuing hardcore yells would have ruined everything. Still, the likes of Thoroughly At Home will have scene kids dancing in the streets, even experienced progheads nodding along in admiration. Doubtless those music fans more nerdy than I will protest that ‘it’s all done through effects’ or some such nonsense – even if Abasi did cheat a little here and there, it still sounds amazing, which is all that ultimately matters. Complete and utter bliss, with moments of polyrhythmic madness – those New Age relaxation bullshit tapes have nothing on this.

If there’s a downside, it’s that the album can sometimes seem a little repetitive. It’s a good repetitive, however, building on what was previously heard and reaffirming your favourable opinion rather than becoming tiresome and dull, and there’s a lot to explore that will remain hidden on initial listens. Animals As Leaders is a very rewarding listen, and one sure to keep its appeal with time, especially for those into Canvas Solaris and the like.

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Killing Songs :
Tempting Time, Soraya, On Impulse, Behaving Badly, Inamorata
Goat quoted 85 / 100
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