Animals As Leaders - Weightless review
|Animals As Leaders
01. An Infinite Regression
04. Earth Departure
05. Isolated Incidents
06. Do Not Go Gently
07. New Eden
08. Cylindrical Sea
10. To Lead You To An Overwhelming Question
Imagine you were on a date and the other person saw you with the Weightless CD and asked you what it sounds like. Most people wouldn't describe it as make-out music, however tempting that would be in that situation. I think the music of this US trio is better described as musical gymnastics. If that is a good aphrodisiac or not, that depends on whether you say it with a sexy face or not.
The controlled chaos that is Aal returns after two years. The entangled riffs and changing dynamics continue. Some of the riffs still seem to be trying to fool what our rhythmic perception is, their trademark, but they also have a certain characteristic which you find in bands like Protest The Hero: they don't need ten minutes to be progressive. In fact, none of the songs in Weightless surpasses the five-minute mark. This seems to be happening more often these days, as if bands were getting tired of that particular formula or because our attention span won't allow it anymore. Both bands also come from the same tradition of virtuosity and skill in terms of playing their instruments.
Weightless sounds more organic and focused than Animals As Leaders. There is a certain urgency in some of the songs right from the get-go with "An Infinite Regression", which is heightened by the samples/effects used and electronic sound-waves. The opening song marks the territory and is an ideal link between their previous work and this new offering. The djent blasts are controlled and subtle, the aggression is never overwhelming with Aal and the mellow parts of songs like "Somnarium" or "David" can be so peaceful and transcendental that you are easily pulled in. Certain sounds resemble bass sounds, but they are really just guitar-generated. It is the drummer who is doing most of the bass-pounding rhythms. But whatever approach they take, it is never something permanent; instead, it is unstable and fluctuating.
There is also a Joe Satriani vibe going on, especially in the main leads of "Do Not Go Gently" and "Cylindrical Sea", which means the solos are more melodic. He is a reference when it comes to instrumental guitar-based albums after all, but it is somewhat surprising to find traces of his music here.
However, there is a continuity "problem", the album is all over the place, there is no real order in the sequence of the songs, they are loosely placed, which makes the album sound disjointed. But some songs do share a common thread like "Odessa" and "Somnarium" or "Do Not Go Gently" and "Cylindrical Sea", but other than that, it is mostly fragmented. The best songs all seem to be concentrated on the first part of the album. "Espera" and "Weightless", for instance, don't have much to add to what we already listened to beforehand, they only drag the album a little longer.
It can be argued that some of these songs are too "thick" or overdone, difficult to get into. Whether you like the process or view it as a pompous one, Animals As Leaders continue to defy the norm and fine-tune their songwriting abilities; Weightless is just another footprint in the sand.
Highlights: "Do Not Go Gently", "Cylindrical Sea", "Odessa", "Isolated Incidents" and "David".
|Written on 23.12.2011 by News chief, random reviewer, professional progger and wannabe surfer.
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