Thursday, May 2, 2019
Sometimes, a band’s music registers just as seismically on an emotional wavelength as it does on a sonic spectrum. Animals As leaders — Tosin Abasi (guitar), Javier Reyes (guitar), and Matt Garstka (drums) — reimagine, reinterpret, and refresh instrumental prog, experimental metal, modern jazz, alternative, and even world music to a point where the reaction becomes primal on the new full-length album, The Madness of Many (Sumerian Records).
“What you’re hearing is the madness of the band, what happens in our heads, and what it sounds like when you put it all together,” says Reyes. “For us, that’s the sound of the new album. It’s simply the madness of these three individuals. We’re trying to create something that only we can do.”
That’s why Animals As Leaders has risen to celebrated heroes of the members’ respective instruments since first emerging in 2007. Most recently, 2014’s The Joy of Motion bowed at #24 on the Billboard Top 200, moving 13,000 copies first-week. Along the way, the trio has earned acclaim from the likes of Consequence of Sound, Revolver, Ultimate Guitar, and Rolling Stone who extolled them, “as satisfying in their visceral kick as they are in dazzling displays of dexterity.”
Abasi has graced the cover of Guitar World twice, Garstka the cover of Modern Drummer.
Consistently delivering a captivating show, they’ve toured alongside Deftones, Between The Buried And Me, Periphery, and many others in addition to Abasi joining Joe Satriani at the G4 Experience and Steve Vai and Nuno Bettencourt for the Generation Axe Tour. Garstka remains a sought-after talent, performing on Late Night With Seth Meyers and at drum clinics and festivals worldwide, and Reyes’ solo project Mestis stands out as a fan favorite.
When it came time to begin working on new music in late 2015, the musicians possessed a clear vision for their next evolution.
“Instead of enlisting a producer, we ended up doing everything ourselves for the first time,” says Reyes. “We were really influencing each other, and it’s the most collaborative effort so far.”
The band opened up the writing process like never before since Garstka joining in 2012. Ideas were flowing freely, and his contributions added another dimension to the group’s signature style.
Another first, Abasi and Reyes actually wrote guitar to the drums of six-minute album opener “Arithmophobia.” Its polyrhythmic percussive palette provided the perfect backdrop for distinct dexterous riffing and a hypnotic hummable lead.
Ultimately, The Madness of Many impacts listeners like only Animals As Leaders can.
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