Throw together rock, jazz, djent, hints of electronica and progressive metal into a melting pot and you have Animals As Leaders. For many instrumental bands, the lack of singing can be a handicap, but this group proves once again that vocals are just another instrument – with their astonishing musicality, there’s simply no room for vocals. Now, the trio is back with their second genre-defying album, Weightless; I consider it to be the best album of 2011.
In this offering, though AAL take jazz and progressive to a whole new level with constantly changing key and time signatures, the songs still manage to flow smoothly and seamlessly. Despite the technicality of the music, it’s so easy to get into it. All the songs on this disc make good use of the full spectrum of heaviness and melody. Guitar wizards Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes deliver perfect blends of harmonies with their 8-stringed guitars (who needs bass?), accompanied by Navene Koperweis’s complex yet well-executed drumstyles. Tosin and Javier also use plenty of chords that are unknown to the rest of mankind.
Each song is different while capturing the signature AAL sound. Some, like “David”, take on a more sparkling, floaty quality. Others are on the much heavier side. “Earth’s Departure”, for instance, starts off intense and hardcore, bringing to mind the damage wreaked over nature in the world today – the song takes on a somewhat evil tone, a metallic quality, maybe an ode to the fact that robots will take over Earth someday… Best part about instrumental songs: they’re open to interpretation.
Synthesized effects are also used marvelously in each track. Gotta love a band who knows how to fuse effects with music, giving their whole sound a very modern, 21st century finish. “Espera” is a short song that uses a ton of effects with the guitars – absolutely beautiful. Lastly, EVERY song is a masterpiece and every song is flawless; captivating from start to finish. It might be a bit clichéd to say that this album redefined music for me, but let’s just say from now on, I will be rating all music I listen to on a scale of 1 to Animals As Leaders.
01. An Infinite Regression
04. Earth’s Departure
05. Isolated Incidents
06. Do Not Go Gently
07. New Eden
08. Cylindrical Sea
10. To Lead You To An Overwhelming Question
Run Time: 46:30
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Check out the song: “Odessa”