April 1, 2022 Animals As Leaders – Parrhesia (Album Review)
The groundbreaking, genre defying instrumental trio, Animals As Leaders has finally returned with their new album Parrhesia on Friday, March 25, 2022 via Sumerian Records.
The band’s first new full-length release since 2016’s critically acclaimed The Madness Of Many, and fifth overall studio effort, Founder/Lead Guitarist Tosin Abasi states this about Parrhesia, “It’s been a while since we’ve released a body of work. We’re really proud of this collection of songs as well as the visual components, and are excited to share it with all of you.”
A statement to get any Animals As Leaders’ fanbase blood flowing with excitement, the truth of the matter is that many have anticipated new material from Abasi, Javier Reyes (guitar), and Matt Garstka (drums) for quite some time. That in mind, the new album offers 9 tracks full of interesting twists and turns while averaging at between 4 to 5 minutes in-length.
Opening proceedings is “Conflict Cartography” which has a distinct Progressive flavor that compliments the bands signature Djent vibes. Furthermore, there are interesting riffs with majestic guitars layered which add a tastefulness over the busy rhythm section. Then there is “Monomyth,” a darker piece with Industrial tones that strikes as heavily influenced by Meshuggah. A strong effort worth revisiting, and great for a workout playlist, the song also features a music video that captures the mood perfectly with its Tool-Schism vibe in the color scheme.
Later on “The Problem Of Other Minds” immediately grabs your attention with its synth all while the verse gifts its own unique texture that is reminiscent of the Prog instrumental master Steve Vai; an icon who has major influence on Animals As Leads, as well as the genre. The strongest of the songs that make up Parrhesia, other stand out moments include the short but sweet “Ashai,” “Red Miso,” plus “Thoughts and Prayers.”
It is safe to say the future of Progressive Metal is in safe hands with Animals As Leaders. Long overdue, Parrhesia is an album worthy of being a staple within the collection of any fan of this genre. That in mind, the album is also accessible enough for Animals As Leaders to find a new audience as well. It is evident this is the future of guitar-driven music and also proves why Animals As Leaders are pioneers in the Instrumental Progressive Metal world. Showing no signs of slowing down, Cryptic Rock gives Parrhesia 4 out of 5 stars.