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Album Review: Animals as Leaders - The Madness of Many

By Marvin Dotiyal, Contributor

[Sumerian; 2016]

Rating: 7.5/10

Key Tracks: “Inner Assassins,” “The Brain Dance,” "Apeirophobia"

Animals as Leaders is back with another mind-blowing release, The Madness of Many. In their fourth album, the progressive-metal trio manages to capture a diverse sound; some songs have an energetic drive while others are rather relaxing and mellow. Animals as Leaders has proved that metal doesn’t always have to be heavy, loud and fast in order for it to be good. That being said, this might not be your typical metal record, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

“Inner Assassins” is a bass-driven song with jazzy-guitar licks laid on top of polyrhythmic drum work. A fast, nu-metal inspired bass riff starts the song as the guitars slowly build up the ambition and intensity. Like most of their songs, “Inner Assassins” contains frequent time signature changes throughout, joined by a jaw-dropping, complex drum solo. The song experiences an instrumental shift after the drum solo; it fades into a calming guitar interlude, slowly ending the song in tranquility.

While the opening track “Arithmophobia” seems to be the popular track amongst fans, the ending track, “Apeirophobia,” deserves the spotlight. It’s weird when a metal band does an acoustic song, but this song is an exception. The song is entirely on acoustic guitar, which truly encapsulates the guitarist, Tosin Abasi's remarkable talent. The song is simply beautiful, but complex in terms of structure. It almost sounds as if Carlos Santana and Misha Mansoor of Periphery collaborated on an acoustic project while high on psychedelics. And that’s a good way to end an album.

The Madness of Many heavily relies on other musical elements ranging from jazz fusion to math rock while using progressive metal as a foundation to build their imagination. Although this album is less heavy or “djent” compared to their older works, this album is arguably their most unique in their career.

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