Animals as Leaders has got to be one of the most bizarre, yet impressive bands of 2011. There is no band like them out there right now. The band’s new release, “Weightless” proves that.
One wouldn’t imagine that combining elements of Meshuggah, Nevermore, Dream Theater, Joe Satriani, and so many top name progressive rock acts would turn out too well. But somehow, Tosin Abasi (founder of Animals as Leaders) has done the unimaginable. He has crafted an album that crosses the lines of the rock world more than any other artist in the progressive rock world. And he does it in impressive fashion.
Right from the opening strains of ‘An Infinite Regression’, trained audiences will instantly think of famed bassist Jaco Pastorius. And while the 8-bit video game sounds may leave some audiences scartching their heads, those who wait will be rewarded with quite the musical adventure. It kicks into high gear with a very Nevermore-esque sound that doesn’t try to outdo the revered Seattle metallers. From there, it keeps that same peculiar experimental feel with ‘Odessa’. ‘Odessa’ starts off with those same 8-bit video game sounds before breaking into something akin to Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci.
That same Dream Theater feel continues on until ‘Do Not Go Gently’. This opus starts off with a nice jazz bass intro beofre kicking things way into high gear with a blatantly Meshuggah-esque sound. And there’s plenty more where that came from. Now, for those who want something softer, AAL offers that too in the form of: ‘David’ and ‘Espera’. Those two pieces are as quiet as this album gets. The rest of the album is a great aural adventure through the world of progressive metal. It’s one of those albums that unless it’s bought or downloaded audiences won’t be hearing it on any radio station. That in mind, not only is “Weightless” one of the best metal albums of 2011, it’s also one of the most underrated. For any purist metalhead, this one is definitely a must.