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Music / Animals as Leaders

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Odds are, they're better musicians than you.

Describe Animals as Leaders here

Animals as Leaders are an instrumental math/space/progressive metal band formed by guitarist Tosin Abasi in 2007 after his former Metalcore band, Reflux, disbanded. Some of Abasi's guitar work in his former band was taken notice of by Prosthetic Records and they asked if he could do some solo work for them, but he turned down the offer because he thought doing a solo album all on his own would be arrogant. After taking a break from music for a year to study the guitar, Abasi got back into the music scene and formed this very band in 2007 with bassist Chebon Littlefield who left the band almost immediately after it was formed. In 2009 they released their first Self-Titled Album with guitarist/keyboardist/producer Misha Mansoor and gained drummer Matt Halpern, who quit and was replaced by Navene Koperweis and then later replaced by Matt Garstka in 2012, and guitarist Javier Reyes.


They're one of the very limited number of Djent bands metal heads don't hate, though they've long since outgrown the title of a Djent band.

Current band members

  • Tosin Abasi: 2007-now
  • Javier Reyes: 2009-now
  • Matt Garstka: 2012-now

Studio albums:

  • Animals as Leaders (2009)
  • Weightless (2011)
  • The Joy of Motion (2014)
  • The Madness of Many (2016)

Animals as Leaders provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Matt can go to town on those drums during his live performances.
    • Averted on their first album as the drums were programmed by the album's producer Misha Mansoor.
  • All Guitars Are Stratocasters: A prog band, so seemingly by law they avert this. Tosin and Javier often use headstockless guitars as well as seven/eight string guitars
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: They, along with the Deftones, essentially rescued 7-8 string guitars from the scrappy heap for progressive rock and metal even though they'd been on store shelves since the 80's. Tosin even began making his own line!
    • Played for Laughs in the video for Physical Education, where Javier hits a chalkboard that says "MORE STRINGS" on it.
  • Black and Nerdy: In a musical manner. Tosin has a great understanding of musical theory and puts all of his knowledge into his music.
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  • Groove Metal/Progressive Metal: One of the bigger names in it.
  • I Am the Band: Tosin wrote almost everything on the self-titled debut album. Subverted since The Joy of Motion, as Javier Reyes and Matt Gartska made significant contributions to the songwriting.
  • Instrumentals
  • Lead Drummer: Matt Garstka is famous for his technical ability and is also a fairly big name in gospel drumming.
  • Loudness War: Unfortunately, they first album fell quite victim to it with the programmed drums being mixed in extremely loud.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly in the 7-9 range.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Space Rock mixed with ProgMetal, Math Rock, Jazz, Classical and IDM. It's crazy.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Weirdly played with. The band often use a guitar pitch shifted down an octave or a synthesizer to provide the bass for their music. However on The Joy of Motion, the album's engineer Adam "Nolly" Getgood tracked some bass parts.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Tosin liked to wear smart casual or a suit and tie, sometimes in conjunction with a fedora hat in the early days of the band.
  • Shout-Out: The band name itself is a shout out to the novel Ishmael.
  • Uncommon Time: They are a prog band, after all.

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