Animals as Leaders: “Odessa”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Animals_as_Leaders_Odessa.mp3|titles=Animals as Leaders: “Odessa”]
Begun as a solo project that highlighted guitarist Tosin Abasi’s unmistakable shredding, Animals as Leaders released its debut album in 2009, emitting progressive-metal instrumentals with tasteful ambient, electronic, and jazz undertones. Now a trio, Animals as Leaders has returned with Weightless, its first recording as an official band.
The album features more hyper-prolific finger-tapping on eight-string guitars, the instrument of choice for Abasi’s meticulously crafted material. Electronica intros and bridges play a large role, but Weightless — ironically — often is very, very heavy, more so than its predecessor, trudging into sludge territory for spells. Despite the insane technicality, there’s always an emphasis on melody and head-banging rhythms, but the music — endorsed by shred virtuoso Steve Vai — is just as suitable for those with short attention spans.