When you press play on an AAL record, you usually know what’s going to launch itself into your lugholes; a blitzkrieg of low-end guitar flurry, gut-unsettling rhythms and jazz-speckled interludes. It’s a potent cocktail, making the Washington trio one of the most spellbinding instrumental outfits around. Don’t expect many deviations on their fourth album The Madness Of Many, however, with the record strutting a familiar path. AAL say it’s their most collaborative effort yet and you can tell, with the taut interplay between the two guitars and drums feeling even more telepathic than usual.
Arithmophobia is a boisterous choice for starters, with mainman Tosin Abasi dishing out guttural grinds and leads like the fastest axeman in the west. Ectogenesis then melts into groove-ridden, percussive rhythms fit for a warped Latin dance party.
As is often is the case, it’s when Animals As Leaders go beyond the djent flavours that things get truly interesting; Cognitive Contortions touches on electronic adventurism and highlight The Brain Dance ditches the distortion in favour of off-kilter acoustic hues. Animals As Leaders haven’t really reinvented their own wheel here, but with a sound so visionary as it is, who really cares?