Self Care – Animals As Leaders Play CAFO

As I mentioned when I shared some Orianthi, I’m not anti-shredding. When it works, it works incredibly well. And this is yet another example of it working extremely well…

Tosin Abasi is absolutely incredible. His playing is definitely powerful, and he does something some of those shredders I don’t like don’t do… he injects quite a bit of emotion into his near-perfect playing. He’s not afraid of effects or space, and it shows.

I’m not going to put a time stamp on the guitar solo, because this song is an instrumental. So it’s the whole song.

Animals as Leaders are an instrumental progressive “djent” metal band. I highly, highly recommend checking them out.


  1. chrisdevries says

    Love these guys! I saw them live back in November, and they blew me away. I especially loved Infinite Regression -- that thumping technique is insane. And they did not play it live, but Wave of Babies is perhaps their most impressive song, save CAFO. Tosin and Javier are beasts of guitardom (especially Tosin), both revolutionizing both the technical side of playing and bringing diverse influences into the songwriting side, creating a most mindblowing sound.

    Speaking of mindblowing, ever heard of the Norwegian experimental metal band, Ram-Zet? Not sure how much screaming you like in your metal but they also have quite a unique sound that incorporates diverse influences (including jazz).

    The vocal harmonies in this song are particularly innovative. Also, the guitar solo at 3:08 reminds me of a guy like Pat Metheny. Certainly not elements you find in the majority of metal music.

  2. says

    It’s weird, because specifically the demon growls present in a lot of heavier metal annoys me for some reason (not nails on a chalkboard annoyance, but enough to make me only listen rarely). I’m good with stuff like Nirvana, or In This Moment, and I’ve even managed to enjoy Otep (she screams, instead of growling, and just in general goes for something more chaotic vocally that I actually find enjoyable). But stuff like Opeth kills me because the music is so damn good, and the lyrics are usually amazing, but the vocals… I’m still working my way towards tolerating them… and maybe (hopefully) even finally liking them.

    For Ram-Zet… I’m listening right now to the song you linked to, and yeah, that’s really good. I love the singing, but the growls… I’m going to have to get some music from them and listen in small doses. It may be able to help…

  3. chrisdevries says

    Yeah, I watched Tosin on Youtube go through both the intro to Infinite Regression and the first solo, and I became even more impressed with the song after having seen that. He is not just talented at guitar technique -- his understanding of harmony and melody are quite advanced as well. He’s like the Jordan Rudess of guitar.

    And re: growling, I have listened to enough metal to distinguish several types of atonal vocal styles, some of which I quite like, and some which I do not care for nearly as much. Opeth is in the latter category I’m afraid. Like you, I love the music and lyrics, but Åkerfeldt’s cookie monster style never really became that enjoyable, mostly because I can’t comprehend what he’s saying…the growling is muddy. Higher-pitched scream-type growls like Ram-Zet utilizes are much more my thing, as are less gutteral, more comprehensible low-pitched growls (both of which can, along with clean male and female vocals, be found in the music of Persephone, another mind-blowing band with some incredible guitar solos/shredding that I think you’d like: ). The clean male vocals in Persephone aren’t the greatest, but the music just…I dunno, it fucking rocks. It’s like what Dream Theater could have been if they’d dared to innovate and expand their brand of metal in a more extreme direction. And I can understand 80% of what is growled/screamed, which is a bonus!

  4. chrisdevries says

    Oh BTW, if you listen to nothing else of that Persefone track, check the solo at 14:15. It feels like (and may actually be) Bach. It’s a nice bit of counterpoint anyway.

  5. says

    Too bad Marta Masafret isn’t a member of the band; just a guest vocalist. She’s incredible and they really should use her more often. It’s actually a really good song. I do like the higher-pitched screams, but it’s the lower-pitched growls that I have to get past… heh…

    Dat solo, do’… that’s amazing…

  6. says

    I’ve actually been searching for psychedelic, experimental, and metal music that features women, as singers and/or lead guitarists. I’ve found a good amount, but my search for a woman who plays lead guitar in the style of David Gilmour, Steven Wilson, etc has yielded no results so far, which is kind of sad.

  7. chrisdevries says

    A pretty good metal band with a female singer you might want to check out (if you haven’t already) is Lumsk. Basically folk metal, male and female vocal, violin, Scandinavian themes.

    That’s my favorite Lumsk album (I’m a sucker for concept albums!).

    I’m less well-versed in female guitarists, unfortunately.

    Oh, I almost forgot to ask, have you heard Tosin Abasi’s former band, Reflux? I first became aware of them, and Abasi, when they opened for Strapping Young Lad back in the mid 00’s, and thought the band was good, but Abasi was just incredible. I’ve been following his work ever since (AaL shows a much more refined technique and far better musicianship, but you can hear how good Abasi *could* be in Reflux’s music).

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