Ever since the release of their first ever self titled record, Animals As Leaders have been doing their best to progress and push the genre to create something completely unique and utterly mind boggling for the listener. The same can be said for this fourth offering which is undoubtedly one of their craziest and most intricate offerings they aim to bring to the table in the world of progressive metal.
Flying out the gate with the ever head-crunching ‘Arithmophobia’, you can tell the band aren’t here to mess about or slow down any time soon. As with some of the sections keeping in time with the 4/4 structure you feel set out in some parts, following along to many parts of the song does feel like you’re having to sit there with a calculator trying to map every single change out and tempo structure. Moving onwards to ‘Ectogenesis’, the rhythm sound punches through so crisp cut that you wouldn’t believe that there isn’t any bass guitar on the record from a newcomer listening in. The skill and tone that both Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes produce on the record is ungodly and such an orgasmic touch to the senses.
Another great part of this record is the simplistic, yet technical programming touches added to this record giving it a new lease on life. The amount of different flowing sounds that are produced off the next track ‘Cognitive Contortions’ are simply awe-inspiring and once again reach to the insane djent heights that this band are always great at reaching with their musical skill. Even ‘Inner Assassins’ with the spacey ending in the background feeling like something out of a video game staring at the night sky, whilst the rest of the track incorporates the more action packed side of the band to a new degree.
Going into the guitar tone, it varies what you will get throughout the record. From the low growling tones that seem to pierce through on ‘Backpfeifengesicht’ before you get to the sections where it sounds like someone hitting a wooden xylophone in triplets. The leads always bounce through during the solo sections whilst the rhythm boisterously keeps the record sounding all inclusive. With a different sound from the record, breaking into ‘The Brain Dance’ with a more acoustic guitar orientated piece, the sweet high plucks of the guitar strings ring through so methodically and add such a great resonance to that track.
Moving finally to the drums to which without the expertise of Matt Garstka fuelling the backing track of the entire record, there wouldn’t be much to credit for such flawless patterns and crushing time signature heavy sections mushed into one. Whilst the record isn’t necessarily about the drum playing and the whole construction that the record is about, the specific way that he plays to help accentuate different parts of the guitar play, such as in ‘Private Visions of The World’, it helps kick the sound up that little bit more to make everything sound that more dignified and perfect.
For fans of technical rock, technical metal and djent, this record is what will be talked out in many years to come as the meaning of the word ‘progressive’. If you look all the way back through their older material up to this point now, you feel a positive breath escape you because of the amount of perfection being crafted into this. It’s simply eye bulging.