Friday 4 November 2016

INSTRUMENTAL INTERPRETATIONS Part VII: Animals As Leaders – “The Madness of Many”

By: Phil Weller

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/11/2016
Label: Sumerian Records

Tosin Abasi and company find expressionism through mathematic complexity.

“The Madness of Many” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Arithmophobia
02. Ectogenesis
03. Cognitive Contortions
04. Inner Assassins
05. Private Visions Of The World
06. Backpfeifengesicht
07. Transcentience
08. The Glass Bridge
09. The Brain Dance
10. Aepirophobia

The Review:

Every generation plays host to its innovators and Animals As Leaders’ Tosin Abasi, through the imitable tones that usher forth from his 8 string guitar, represents a very fresh and modern approach to guitar playing. Using the extended range to flirt with slap techniques otherwise left to bassists and detailing his sonic canvas with everything from the heavy grunt of djent and progressive metal to swinging gypsy jazz, electronica and more, here is a musician who laughs at the idea of boundaries and limitations.

In many respects ‘The Madness of Many’, the band’s fourth album and second truly collaborative effort, is Abasi’s most accomplished too thanks to the diverse palette which is laid out before us. From the siren-led mathematic chaos of ‘Arithmophobia’ (meaning a fear of numbers) to the likes of ‘Inner Assassins’, which allows all his musical references and inspirations to tangle with one another inside one great big melting pot, it is a spectacularly engaging record.

The pinballing rhythms of ‘Private Visions of the World’ make way for some breath taking lead work before returning with a pinging vengeance. It sounds like a wondrous cross between John McLaughlin and Meshuggah. 

On the final two tracks, their diversity is further broadened when they drop the crunching steel electrics for nylon acoustics. ‘The Brain Dance’ and ‘Apeirophobia’ (a fear of eternity) shift the mood dramatically, giving the record a serene yet oddly frantic conclusion as the luscious flamenco at play soon dips and dives into time signature contorting, spasmodic djent phrasing. The band’s mantra of hybrid stylistic thinking is here epitomised as they seamlessly combine a traditional, almost ancient style of music with one of the most modern without you ever raising an eyebrow in confusion. Such is the quality of this cross-breeding, you just accept it for what it is, close your eyes and sink deeper and deeper into its transcendental depths.    

While its complexity may at times be overwhelming, there is a gorgeousness which prevails through a blazing trail of algorithms and acrobatics. It may sound like rocket science, but it has personality too.

“The Madness of Many” is available everywhere from 11/11/2016
Band info: facebook || official