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Animals As Leaders – Parrhesia

Animals As Leaders
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 March 2022, 7:33 AM

ANIMALS AS LEADERS needs no introduction in the world of instrumental music. “Parrhesia” is the third album in their catalog produced by Misha Mansoor, a friend and contemporary best known as the founding member of PERIPHERY. “We did “The Madness of Many” completely internally. I wanted to work with Misha again, as he was part of many of our quintessential songs, and I really like our collaboration,” Abasi explains. “He produced five songs on this album and was also part of arrangement and songwriting sessions. In a way, he’s like a silent fourth member.” The album contains nine tracks.

“Conflict Cartography” leads off the album. It begins with a rumble of rhythm guitars and drums and some lead notes. The heavy rhythms are augmented with melodic leads in a flurry of time changes that are hard to keep up with. The bassist is featured here as well. “Monomyth” is a shorter song with attacking staccato rhythms and slapping Djent bass. Some glittering leads come in as the attack lessens but make a triumphant return. “Red Miso” is a more mellow and moody number featuring some nice legato leads. Underneath, the heavy rhythms swell and provide a dark backdrop for the leads. They then move into the forefront and retreat again in this deadly dance between the two styles.

“Gestaltzerfall” begins with more of that trade-off between melodic leads and weighted rhythms. A lighter passage clears the grey clouds at the half-way mark, and the two competing styles move forward with synergy. “Asahi” is a shorter, two-minute track consisting mostly of atmosphere and ethereal elements. The leads are as smooth as warm butter. “The Problem of Other Minds” is also a shorter song that opens with harmonic leads and another rough rhythm section. I get a tinge of OWANE here, and hat bass line is dominant, hammering down through the leads with precision.

“Thoughts and Prayers” is about as charming and pretty as you might imagine from the song title. Some heavy rhythms develop around the half-way mark, again with more time changes than you can count. “Micro-Aggressions” opens with a flurry of guitar, bass and drums in a very heavy manner. The attack lessens for a bit so that the lead melodies can develop. This is a dark barrage of intrusive elements, and I am again amazed at how the band can keep up with the meter shifts. They are true experts in every sense of the word. “Gordian Naught” closes the album. It begins with weighted, heavy dissonance that builds into a frenzy. Perhaps this song encapsulates what the album does best…a heavy seas storm that swoops in and destroys all vessels, re-setting the seas once again to calm waters.

Although I absolutely marvel at their musicianship, I found the album lacked a bit in the melody department. But let the band do what they do best…create energetic, pulsating lightning strikes from their fingers to their fists. They are a marvelous trio indeed. Compared to some other instrumental Metal bands that I have heard lately however, I believe the album needs more structure and brighter components.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 4
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Conflict Cartography
2. Monomyth
3. Red Miso
4. Gestaltzerfall
5. Asahi
6.The Problem of Other Minds
7.Thoughts and Prayers
8. Micro-Aggressions
9. Gordian Naught
Javier Reyes
Tosin Abasi
Matt Garstka
Record Label: Sumerian Records


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