Today is dedicated to Animals as Leaders. Why? Because they melt faces, that's why!
Last summer, I was hanging out with my friend and former band-mate Mike Sebedra. Keep in mind that Mike is a pretty damned exceptional guitar player... Mike walks up to me with a huge grin on his face, and in an uncommonly cheery voice asks me, "Hey! Do you wanna hear a band that almost made me quit playing guitar???" Interest now incredibly piqued, obviously I replied, "Fuck yeah, I do!"
Mike proceeds to show me this song:
My jaw immediately hit the ground. The lead guitar player Tosin Abasi (formerly of the mathcore band Reflux) astounds with his jazzy, classical, yet at times brutal 8-string guitar wizardry. And of course fellow Animals' Javier Reyes (guitars) and Navene Koperweis (drums) hold up their end of this eclectic and eccentric instrumental Jazz-Metal trio with incredibly capable hands (and feet). Granted, Koperweis didn't record or write the drums for the album (former drummer Matt Halpern has that honor), but he plays those beats flawlessly nonetheless.
Is it Metal? Is it Jazz? Is it Classical? Is it Electronica? Is is trippy? You bet your ass it is. Animals as Leaders are easily one of the most stunning, innovative and moving acts in music today. Period. Granted, that's just one assholes opinion. But having seen these young masters at work in person, you can't help but be awed at the technical ability, the raw emotion, the sheer power and beauty that this band pumps out at will. Watching these guys live, it's hard to deny that there isn't some divine influence involved. You can see how much it physically hurts them to pull off some of the things that their songs require, and yet, each one of them is smiling through the exertion. There were moments that I was honestly brought to tears at the overwhelming sensations of awe, respect and pure joy that the intensity and soul contained within their sonic onslaught.