Tosin Abasi has become somewhat of a cult hero from his work with Animals As Leaders, initially a solo project. Recognition comes not just from below but also on high with established guitar greats inspired to create the melodic textures that Abasi and co have become known for. “The Joy of Motion” follows the structure of the previous release which combines jazz, metal and all other manner of musical explorations and unleashes them as a myriad of 4-5 minute songs. With no vocals it’s not easy to listen to on the first run through but like anything beautiful, it tends to take time to truly sink in.
‘Ka$cade’ immediately grasps the listener and dives to djent sounding riffs moulded together spacey melodies that open up the dynamic flood gates, and build up to the torrent of textured music hurled at a million miles an hour into you.‘Lippincott’ continues in a similar vein soon it becomes clear of the albums general direction. Whilst not attempting to be overly ambitious the new techniques and methods the band have discovered are obviously implemented on this album and though not particularly. Something so technically astounding is not surprising when Animals As Leaders are creating an album that Misha Mansoor is producing.
It’s a tough rate between sublime genius and egotistical fiddling. ‘Another Year’ carries with it such a happy flow and enforces the fact Animals As Leaders aren’t simply a “look what I can do” band and actually want to use their hard discovered genius to create something heavy, beautiful and at the same time delicate.
Maybe it’s not their best work. Maybe it is. It’s hard to judge but if there’s an instrumental album you promised you’d listen to this year make sure this is it. It’s metal, but at the same time it’s not, each individual song has it’s own genre. Shred rock ‘Crescent’ sounds perfect when mashed next to ‘Para Mexer’ and it’s curious Latin influence. Regardless of the individual rating, they are clearly a very talented group of people who manage to balance ego, fiddlery and melody into an incredibly intelligent heterogeneous party. If one sits down and listens to the whole thing it’s easier to delve through the layers and textures and play with the individual components like a cat tearing up a cloth.