Album review: Animals as Leaders – The Madness of Many

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 7:10 PM
Album review: Animals as Leaders – The Madness of Many by Britton Rozzelle

Starting off with a discordant rhythm and blindingly fast guitar work, you know immediately that “The Madness of Many,” the newest album from progressive rock/Djent band Animals as Leaders, is going to be a complex and exhilarating ride.

“Arithmophobia,” the first in a long list of names on this album that seem more like a random assortment of letters and suffixes, kicks it into high gear, entirely passing over any sense of peace or tranquility within the opening notes.

Shredding across the entire musical scale, the band takes us on a discordant journey to a familiar location. If you’re already a fan, you’ll be right at home.

“Ectogenesis” and “Cognitive Contortions” further lead us down the line of jaw-dropping, technical guitar skill and rhythms, with the former feeling akin to a song that would be set to a redemption arc/montage in an ‘80s movie.

The latter feels like a frantic, nearly-metal song from the Pac-Man soundtrack, with tonal whiplash and a sense of movement and progression that very few bands can truly accomplish.

“Inner Assassins” is, undoubtedly, my favorite song on the album (and the one I shared on social media with a handful of fire emojis). It represents everything that I have come to love about the band — from a unique fusion of metal and jazz guitar, to soaring highs and technical prowess that is almost entirely unmatched by their contemporaries like Scale the Summit. There are no lyrics, but a story is told in each and every one of these tracks and this one is the clearest. There’s a struggle. There’s determination. And all of these things are translated into notes.

“Private Visions of the World” follows, along with “Backpfeifengesicht” (see what I mean about the seemingly random song titles). And these are two tracks that, if nothing else, continue the trend of delightful riffs and rhythm, with the former being another standout on the record.

The latter is just as impressive as everything else on “The Madness,” and breaks into a delightfully chaotic melody that carries it into
a lovely, calm and melodic interlude, underscored with effects pedals and distortion that pulls the track together.

“Transcentience” doesn’t stick out among this crowd of tracks, but makes up for what it lacks with bravado and a somewhat engaging hook. It doesn’t seem fair following this track with the bombastic and captivating “Glass Bridge,” another incredible standout, but that’s neither here nor there.

“The Brain Dance,” meanwhile, begins as a more low-key sounding affair that shifts into one of the band’s greatest tracks. A 7-minute- long epic that displays, more than anything else, the power and authenticity behind every release by Animals as Leaders. They have an untouchable sound, and this song is why.

The final track, “Apierophobia,” is a dynamic closing call, curtains for “The Madness,” that plays out like a dark, Spanish stage play, full of dramatic guitar flourishes and an uncanny sense of style.

Overall, “The Madness of Many” is another incredible release from Animals as Leaders.

You can find the album on iTunes and Amazon, as well as in stores or streaming via Apple Music or Spotify.

Standout tracks: “Inner Assassins,” “Glass Bridge” and “Apierophobia” 

Britton Rozelle is the Executive Editor for The Spectator and can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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