Instrumental prog-metallers Animals As Leaders return with their brain-meltingly brilliant fourth studio album, ‘The Madness of Many’. The breadth of the musical canvas here is impressive. Littered with bold strokes and subtle nuances. Controlled and chaotic. This is a canvas that has been carefully crafted by three very talented musicians. A three-piece who expertly combine tech-metal and djent with prog, effortlessly switching between time-signatures, beats, and riffs with style and sophistication.
Opening track ‘Arithmophobia’ lulls the listener in with an otherworldly riff before unleashing a storm of beats and bass guitar. It is a blistering start, even breathless at times, serving as the perfect blueprint for the rest of the record. ‘Ectogenisis’ continues the onslaught. ‘Transcentience’ layers wispy guitars with crushing drums in perfect harmony. ‘The Brain Dance’ also lingers. With a mesmerising fingerpicked acoustic guitar that dances along with grace. Like a calm between storms, this track is the perfect palette cleanser before a fittingly epic finale.
It is easy to get swept away in the technical proficiency of the band, but the songs do more than just bombard the listener with a myriad of noise. This is a journey. An exploration. One which requires time. Patience. It is difficult not to drift in and out of this record at times, as is the nature of progressive music, but this record is full of songs that will absorb you if you let them.
The relentless nature of this record will not be for everybody, but the band are true metal pioneers, and any listener of any genre will find it difficult not to be impressed by the scale and scope of the musicianship on display here. Fans of Meshuggah or Dream Theater will feel more than comfortable with ‘The Madness of Many’. This is a record full of intense and surrealist beauty.
‘The Madness Of Many’ by Animals As Leaders is released on November 11th on Sumerian Records.
Words by Joe Philpott (@joe_philpott)