Forerunners of modern progressive metal, Animals As Leaders released their third studio record called The Joy of Motion on March 25 via Sumerian Records. And once again, they have showed the world why they’re winning the game. This trio of musical geniuses plays a brand of instrumental music that leaves the listener awe inspired, with highly complex and cohesive song structures, unreal 8-string guitar work by mastermind Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, interesting electronic parts and leads that will make you want to give up guitar.
The Joy of Motion is all that and much more. It showcases the band at its finest. Known for pushing musical boundaries and incorporating innovative sounds, they have taken it up another notch with this album. The songs exhibit musicianship never seen in metal before and make you feel a plethora of moods. This time around Misha Mansoor (Periphery) is back along with Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood (Periphery) and Diego Farias (Volumes) as co-writers. Reading these names assures us that the music and production on this album will be outstanding.
The opening song ‘Ka$cade’ is a mini roller coaster preparing you for the bigger roller coaster. It has pretty leads which move on to tasty low end riffage and a solo which exudes class. The next song ‘Lipppincott’ has an interesting mood going on throughout but I felt that it is a bit timid. Being one of the singles to be released before the full length, it unfortunately pales in front of the other tracks. However, it still contains really good off time rhythms and as mentioned previously, interesting moods. A favourite of mine is ‘Physical Education’. It’s one of the most memorable tracks on the album. The song showcases an ingenious slap guitar technique and fun leads that are present throughout. It is one helluva groovy track. Another notable song is ‘Tooth and Claw’. It shows the band’s heavier side and it grooves thoroughly. There’s so much guitar in AAL that one forgets to write about the insane drums. New drummer Matt Garstka is a powerhouse. He makes his proficiency known, pounding accurately on a beautiful sounding drum kit. With Matt’s ability and Nolly’s production skills, the drums on this record are something to be appreciated separately.
The Joy of Motion will take more than a couple of listens for you to fully grasp what’s going on in the songs. This record is more ‘accessible’ than their 2011’s Weightless. The tunes and rhythms leave a nice aftertaste. Moreover, all the songs aren’t exceedingly long and things are kept fresh from start to finish. This album will be a favourite among guitar enthusiasts and fans of good music alike.
– Quiet Boi
8eight8 Score: 9.5/10