Monday, June 27, 2011
And now for something a bit more modern...
The Djentlemen depicted in this picture are the members of the band Animals As Leaders, a modern Progressive Metal band. What makes them so striking is the unique instrumentation of their group, as well as their strictly instrumental approach. They've toured with bands such as Veil of Maya and The Faceless, and are currently set to support Between The Buried and Me in Europe this fall.
The group was led, and formed, by Tosin Abasi. This 8-string guitar wizard is a phenomenon in and of himself, with a mathematical sense of rhythm, coupled with an anomalous technical approach and melodic aesthetic. Tosin formed the group after graduating from college; Prosthetic Records had, years earlier while playing a stint with the metalcore band Reflux, offered him a solo deal with their company, which he had originally declined. He brought along fellow musicians Javier Reyes and Navene Koperwies for live sets, but producer Misha Mansoor programmed most of the drum and synth parts for their self-titled first album, released in 2009.
The music itself is a woven tapestry of poly-rhythms, desperate sectional segways, Meshuggah-like metal riffs and passages, and fiery solos. The drum tracks a combination of your usual metal drumming, along with instances of electronica-esque drum tracks. It's a breath of fresh air from the other acts with whom Animals as Leaders is associated; the style certainly feels much different than other math-oriented bands of the scene, such as Sikth. If anything, it's musically reminiscent of Mr Bungle, or Frank Zappa, coupled with Holdsworthian fusion sensibilities - but well within the spirit personified by some of their metal and deathcore counterparts. Particularly good tacks to look out for are "Song of Solomon" and "Tempting Time."
Although there doesn't seem to be any kind of a new album in the works, AaL members Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes are currently involved in a project with Suicidal Tendencies drummer Eric Moore and Mars Volta woodwind player Adrian Terrazas, "T.R.A.M." The new act strips off the metal trappings of the former band to reveal a much more fusion oriented group. Whether the group will flourish as well as AaL is to be seen.