Genre: Instrumental Progressive/Djent
Animal As Leaders have proven in the past that you do not need a vocalist in your band to offer a complete package. If you have two guitar players who can wield 7 and 8 string guitars with the speed of a cheetah and the delicate touch of an archeologist, you can offer quite an elaborate palette of melodies and riffs. Back this up with a drummer that seems to effortlessly flow from jazz to metal and you quickly have a wall of sound. Matt Garstkaleaves a good impression with his first drum contribution to AAL.
After an almost cute intro riff our Joy of Motion kicks off with Kascade. All the different movements on this song provide anticipation for what is to come. Lippincott slows my enthusiasm down a little bit, but this is resolved by Air Chrysalis’ beautiful lead line. Although the band does not have a physical bassist the djent sound is incorporated on several songs of the album. Another Year starts funky and showcases a lot more jazzy structures. It is only late in the song you hear a real metal riff. Physical Education is definitely the most interesting choice for a title on the record as you wonder how the band members relate their music to this type of activity. Tooth and Claw is one of the heaviest tracks on the album and definitely leaves an impact.Crescent has a very strong electronic feeling from the beginning of the track which continues to pop up until the sudden ending of the song. The Future That Awaited Me is a softer and slower song on the record. In Para Mexer the band shows off a very Latin vibe and interesting change of style. The Woven Web starts off with an intriguing little riff that compliments the name of the song as you are taken through an intricate maze of riffs and passages. The same goes for Mind-Spun as your brain will have challenge keeping up with the frantic movements going on in this one. The album closes in style with Nephele. It brings back the djent vibe and groove and offers a powerful end for a more than decent album.
With all these rapid changes going on credits must be given as well to the production team of the album. They have done a great job making all layers of music stand out in their own right. I consider bands like this difficult to review as I often lack the words to describe all the technical complexities and subtle style changes implemented.Animals As Leaders know how to throw a punch and they provide a musical sensory overload. Not an easy listen, but a very enjoyable rollercoaster ride if you are into technical virtuosity.