Animals can churn metal

By Jake Saunder

Since 2007, American metal band Animals as Leaders have been performing its melodic symphonies with orchestral style.

On March 25, the band released its third studio album “The Joy of Motion.” The music is composed with a metallic façade over jazz instrumentalities. The band’s focus on instrumental complexion comes through in a large and dynamic scale through lead guitarist Tosin Abasi, known for his eight-stringed depth.

The album opens with the song entitled “Ka$cade.” The song seeps with an echo of reverberating strings. It alternates with a clamor of synchronous drumbeats with layered electrics atop the melody. The guitars churn in the background with a delighted stroke and heavy step.


Driving into the second song, “Lippincott,” the guitar melodies pervade the landscape of mottled electronics in the distance with full-scale drum fills. The initial crescendo subsides and, in a slowly rising motion, it beckons back again. The bass blows intensely in a pulsing way.

The third song enters rather gently and melodically. A slow introduction of somber notes finds its place once more in “Air Chrysalis.” The song maneuvers in a similar sway as the previous two tracks.

Each song enters on quiet notes, and they beat hard and loud as if struggling to save themselves from drowning. They pause for a measure to breathe, residing, collected and hesitant. Then, the symphonic waves break again.

However, the intricacies and varying structure of each composition, each create quite a diverse landscape.

“Another Year,” for example, swings in with a jazz-infused riff. One guitar hammers over another with a feel of the jam band rhythm. But the piece is defiantly separate. It proves itself in such a way when the guitars create a chugging texture and the synthetics rise and mark a whimsical feel when the chords collapse.


A pizzicato of envelopment arises from “Physical Education.” This feeling persists long into the tracks’ rhythm and dynamic.

“Tooth and Claw,” the album’s sixth track, begins and flows with the most grit and metallically driven influence. It billows, heavily stuttered and the staunched guitar sways in quick, rhythmic note ascension. It boasts intricate melodies and throbbing drum taps with the rapid succession of bass-drum double-kicks. An altogether cymbal smashing, synthetically composed, string-distorted ride.

The latter half of the album rides along in similar fashion. This does not diminish the quality of the composition, for the album holds a rather remarkable concept with each individual piece.

There is a melodic function to “Crescent” and “The Future That Awaited Me” brought quite an intrinsic calm, as compared to the surrounding pieces. “Para Mexer” and “The Woven Web” managed a similar construct of melodic and eerie feeling, respectively. In the end, “Mind-Spun” and “Nephele” produced some of the more concrete yet consecrated structure of melodies altogether. Metal, indeed.

Though “The Joy of Motion” should be judged on the intrinsic composition, as a whole, each track feels formulaic and done in similar dramatic construction. Despite this, each track alone creates a dynamic atmosphere. As the songs roll together, one track to another, they form a very fluid motion and a mystified ambiance. The album, being so craftily composed, certainly deserves a listen.