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One-man progressive metal machine Tosin Abas is the main brain behind Animals as Leaders, a project whose eponymous 12-track excursion daringly thrusts into the far reaches of the metal spectrum, encompassing a progressive metal edge with a slew of decadent fretboard nuances with all-inclusive jazz-fusion tendencies. Doing all the bass and guitar (both 7 and 8-string) tracks himself, Abas creates a world engulfed in lush soundscapes aimed to beguile the listener as a rich array of technical intricacies dually derived from the foundation of both jazz and metal pours out of the speakers. Armed with flurries of enthralling expansiveness, this affair fosters the ambitious musical spirit of a virtuoso player a la Vai and Malmsteen whose first-rate chops never get in the way of its compositionís flow, while displaying a lack of the typecast clinical residue which results in the invigorating feeling of refreshed fluidity this release exudes.
- Mike SOS