Animals As Leaders - The Joy Of Motion review

Animals As Leaders broadly fall into the prog-metal genre, but there's much more to this instrumental trio than pure djent-le riffage.

The first thing that strikes us about this third album, The Joy Of Motion, is the musical breadth covered. Check out the ambient, heavy, delayed rhythm grooves on Air Chrysalis, the jazz fusion of Another Year, the touch of Latin influences on the nylon string-driven Para Mexer, and Tosin Abasi's distinctive, signature funky slap-bass grooves for his eight-string guitar that figure frequently throughout.

The gentler moments, which you'll find in nearly every track on the album, are welcome respite, providing contrast with the dissonant onslaught of Vai-like modal lead lines, syncopated rhythms and Abasi and Reyes' brutal octave-down dual eight- string riffing.

Reyes and Abasi have said The Joy Of Motion features some of their finest material to date, and we agree. This is some of the most creative guitar playing around today.

5 out of 5

Chris Bird

Chris has been the Editor of Total Guitar magazine since 2020. Prior to that, he was at the helm of Total Guitar's world-class tab and tuition section for 12 years. He's a former guitar teacher with 35 years playing experience and he holds a degree in Philosophy & Popular Music. Chris has interviewed Brian May three times, Jimmy Page once, and Mark Knopfler zero times – something he desperately hopes to rectify as soon as possible.