animals as leaders

Ernie Ball Music Man Kaizen Demo | First Look

A new, evolutionary seven string is made approachable with help and a guiding hand from the Animals As Leaders maestro.

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Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes—Animals as Leaders’ jaw-dropping dualguitar team—live up to their name and create a new progressive-rock beast by cross-breeding jazz, classical, and metal techniques in a way that simultaneously blows your mind and defies the genre’s stereotypes.

“It’s a few genres combined into one. It’s like progressive metal, progressive jazz … space metal,” says Tosin Abasi, founder of Animals as Leaders, when pressed to pigeonhole his band into a category. And he’s right—in the course of a single AAL song, your ears might be assaulted by math-metal djent-isms with bittersweet Lydian sonorities, tapped open-voice triads, contrapuntal textures, 8-string slapping and popping that sounds like a cross between Victor Wooten and Eddie Van Halen’s “Mean Street,” and lo-fi electronica-influenced tones.

On the surface, this description of AAL’s musical mélange might reek of the sort of music-school pretension you expect from guys who wear Jaco Pastorious T-shirts and throw in every new device they learn in theory class to create a hodgepodge of faux eclecticism. But Animals as Leaders weaves every twist and turn so organically that it never sounds forced and, after a couple of listens, almost doesn’t make sense any other way.

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