Given their arduous instrumental approach to prog metal, Animals As Leaders have become an unlikely success.
Granted, the virtuosity and sounds conjured by eight-string wizards Tobin Abasi and Javier Reyes atop drummer Matt Garstka’s rhythmic acrobatics are jawdropping to behold, but there’s never been much for non-chin-stroking musos to get their teeth into. While their last LP began a shift from their Meshuggah-worshipping riffs, The Madness Of Many continues further into the aether, utilising spacey textures and majestic tones over the signature slapping and complex harmonies. Cognitive Contortions distorts into new forms, Transcentience’s crescendos descend into dreamy passages and The Glass Bridge offers quiet seclusion from the information overload, culminating in the latin and jazz coalition of The Brain Dance and Aperiophobia. AAL continue to dazzle, and must be commended for fusing metal into bold new configurations but its musical value will depend on your ability to fathom its dense sonic labyrinth.