Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: "Weightless" by Animals As Leaders

"Weightless" was released on November 8, 2011. This is the sophomore effort by the solo project of Tosin Abasi. Though hardly a solo project. Animals As Leaders consists of three members: Drummer, Naven Koperweis (now replaced), Tosin Abasi, and Javier Reyes who both play 8 string guitars. Both Tosin and Javier play solos and rhythms, so it's not like most instrumental guitar acts where one player is the focal point of every song.

In "Weightless" each of the twelve tracks weaves in and out of riffs and solos, both on the guitars and the drums. In that regard, it is similar to most guitars of this genre, but that is about where the similarity ends. There are no acoustic guitars or bass guitars, but what I found to be the most interesting is that there are very little in terms of guitar effects on this record. Aside from a little distortion and a touch of chorus, these guitars are played cleanly.It was a very refreshing change of pace. I wasn't distracted by the guitar tone and could focus on the guitar playing, which was phenomenal.

In most of the bands where seven or eight string guitars are played, there is a very concerted effort to play very heavy. Tuning down to C sharp or lower is not uncommon, but here, Javier and Tosin do not seem to rely on the two extra strings in order to create a heavier and darker tone, but to mimic the bass guitar. In most of the songs the two trade off between lead and rhythm and work very together very well. They both lock in with the drummer and just play amazing lines, but again they do not play the normal liquified fingers solos of say Steve Vai or John 5.

I found "Weightless" to be a spectacular album from beginning to end. It does tend to be a little monotonous due to the guitar tones basically never changing, but instead of being turned off by that I was hypnotized by it. I received this album on a few days ago, and I have listened to it beginning to end at least eight times. It is very entrancing.

Genre: Progressive Metal (Sub: Instrumental Guitar)
Label: Prosthetic
Year: 2011
Track Listing:

1.   "An Infinite Regression" 3:25
2.   "Odessa" 4:14
3.   "Somnarium" 4:15
4.   "Earth Departure" 5:10
5.   "Isolated Incidents" 3:47
6.   "Do Not Go Gently" 3:41
7.   "New Eden" 2:40
8.   "Cylindrical Sea" 4:32
9.   "Espera" 2:13
10. "To Lead You To An Overwhelming Question" 4:50
11. "Weightless" 5:16
12: "David" 2:27

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