“Animals as Leaders” – The Madness Of Many CD-REVIEW by Nabil Hossan
Animals As Leaders is a progressive/instrumental/djent band from USA that was formed on 2007. It’s a trio project: Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes (guitars) and Matt Garstka (drums). They are considered one of the finest djent bands and one of the bands you usually mention when you are introducing someone to the genre alongside with Meshuggah of course.
So far they have released three successful albums, starting on 2009 with their debut Animals as Leaders that Tosin Abasi had exerted so much effort in writing and composing it, and it met many positive reviews and put Animals As Leaders on the right track. Followed by Weightless on 2011 and The Joy of Motion on 2014. The Madness of Many is their 4th album and it was released on 2016. One of Animals As Leaders merits is the consistency between their albums. Maybe their debut can be considered the best musically but all their albums are almost at the same level. The band’s members are so talented and they can show that through their music.
The Madness of Many contains 10 tracks and it has got many strengths and very few weak points. One of the strengths of it is the catchy bass guitar plays by Javier Reyes, and that was prominent in the first three tracks of the album: “Arithmophobia”, “Ectogenesis” and “Cognitive Contortions”. Not to forget to mention the great melodies by both Javier and Tossin in addition to the fast drums as well. So the album has got and energetic start that takes you right into the album’s atmosphere.
The 4th track is called “Inner Assassins”, and in this track the most striking thing is the electric guitar melodies. They focused on it in this track which made it a bit different than the past three tracks. But so far the first 4 tracks are almost at the same level, yeah consistency is something they are really good at.
The 5th track had a slower tempo than the previous tracks, it is called “Private Visions of the World” and they focused on the guitars and the bass plays more than the drums, so this track is slightly different than what you heard before.
Track number six is called “Backpfeifengesicht”, and it’s a German word that means “A face that got to be slapped” or something like that. Although the word itself seems to hold some negative feelings but they seemed to be in a VERY good mood while playing this song as I consider it the strongest musically among the 10 tracks. It’s like they were doing whatever they want in it and playing the way they want. Pretty catchy riffs and definitely one of the highlights of the album.
The seventh track is “Transcentience”, it’s not a bad track as it is strong musically, but it didn’t give me the feel that I’m hearing something very different, which takes us to the only weak point I considered about this album which is that it’s kind of repetitive. As a djent album this shouldn’t be a great drawback or anything as the genre itself is kind of limited or has margins, unless the band wants to include other elements than just proggy/djent. So generally it was an okay track.
“The Glass Bridge” is track number eight, and I really like its name maybe because I imagined a bridge made of glass which would look so beautiful. And actually one of the things I like about djent albums is the songs’ titles. They are either beautiful or creative and you can see that in many albums for other bands than Animals As Leaders too. “The Glass Bridge” has a slow tempo (like “Private Visions of the World”). Great bass and guitar melodies which made it a strong track to hear near the end of the album. Probably my second favorite after “Backpfeifengesicht”.
Track number nine is called “The Brain Dance”, and it had a mellow atmosphere at the beginning which is acceptable for your ears as it’s almost the end of the album. Musically it’s pretty good and slightly different than the whole album’s atmosphere. Animals As Leaders ended their album with track number 10 “Apeirophobia”, or the fear of eternity. It’s an acoustic track which from the title of it you can guess that it’s in a minor scale formation. The track is beautiful and yes other than high—gain guitar plays and the fast drums they are also pretty good at soothing acoustic tracks. It was a very good end of this album.
Generally, it was a very good release, you always expect strong tracks musically when you hear Animals As Leaders playing. The album is almost at the same level as the previous releases and definitely worth giving it a shot. I give it an overall rating of 7.8/10.
1. Arithmophobia (6:01)
2. Ectogenesis (4:56)
3. Cognitive Contortions (4:29)
4. Inner Assassins (5:30)
5. Private Visions of the World (4:57)
6. Backpfeifengesicht (4:27)
7. Transcentience (5:32)
8. The Glass Bridge (5:04)
9. The Brain Dance (7:01)
10. Apeirophobia (4:59)
Nabil Hossan / MHF