Animals As Leaders’ Parrhesia album: molten noise meets next-level virtuosity

Album review: Animals As Leaders continue to push djent into bold new realms on new album Parrhesia

animals as leaders: parrhesia album cover
(Image: © Sumerian Records)

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Even for a subgenre where technical virtuosity is a necessity, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better-played album in 2022 than Animal As Leader’s fifth effort. Matt Garstka’s drumming is tight and subtly expressive while eight-string wizards Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes underline their status as bona fide, modern-day guitar heroes. Shorn of vocals, it’s up to the leads to add emotional heft to the labyrinthine arrangements, and Parrhesia achieves a tangible resonance. The electronic blips and blurs that erupt from Red Miso and Micro-Aggressions’ dense molten cores add a sense of character, while the tension and frustration coursing through Thoughts And Prayers and Gordian Naught are palpable.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.