The Joy Of Motion, by Animals As Leaders

Who hasn’t heard of Animals As Leaders? With their 2009 self-titled debut, this instru- mental “experi-metal” group blew everyone’s minds, mine included. Now, with the addi- tion of Matt Gartska on drums, and friend Misha Mansoor of Periphery as co-writer and producer, Joy Of Motion is the band’s most mature and cohesive release to-date.

The album takes you on a 54-minute explo- ration through vibrant color, groove, and a myriad of musical styles, all while being crush- ingly faithful to their metal roots. Tracks like “Lippincott” really capture the poly-rhythmic, groovy, and electronically-spiced basis of AAL, while tracks like “Another Year” are emblem- atic of the album’s well-executed and creative synthesis of vastly different genres. Think ‘80s jazz fusion, video game electronica, latin guitar, and modern progressive metal—and that’s only the beginning.

These men are well known for mind-bending virtuosity and technical innovation. This time around, however, guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes display not only fantastic shred- der-y, but also an obvious growth in pure musicianship. The shred here feels tasteful— it’s found its place in the music, rather than getting slapped on top of everything—an error of their past works. While their last release Weightless felt more like an experiment—a study of new-found techniques, styles, and electronic elements—Joy Of Motion is a successful synthesis of what was learned, expressing a matured musical unity.

Joy Of Motion drops on Tuesday, March 25th.

See them live on Thursday, March 27th at The Assembly in Sacramento. 

Written by Crown

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