Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion

Animals as Leaders - The Joy of Motion

If Animals as Leaders‘ 2011 effort Weightless felt a bit off the path, with freshly released The Joy of Motion the Washington D.C.-based trio are on the same orbit they were on with 2009′s self-titled debut.

With a production handled by Periphery‘s duo Misha Mansoor and Adam Getgood and Volumes‘ guitarist Diego Farias, and with addition of a new drummer Mat Gartska, the band approached the writing and recording process with clear intention to create a mind-blowing record.

Compared to the two previous records the musical energy that imbues the music on The Joy of Motion is far more visceral, threatening to explode at any time. The exceptional exquisite dominance of the improvisational conversations that are present here as independent forms of music never seem muddled; the music is where it should be, comprised of ever-interesting and dynamic lines that occasionally feel almost poetic.

The music of The Joy of Motion is texturally very interesting and enjoyable – whether the band sounds surprising like in Another Year or djently extreme in Tooth and Claw (or any other piece). Much of this is, of course, is down to the huge talent of guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes. But not to forget Gartska‘s drumming – he is exceptional in each and every way throughout the album.

The Joy of Motion is full of angular segments, with dozens of broken rhythms and provokingly prolific harmonies. The inclusion of effects does not feel pushy, but rather as an additive that lifts up the hallucinogenic in the album’s atmosphere. Throw in the song titles and it can be concluded that music on The Joy of Motion can only be exciting and riveting. And more than that, the metallic flavour in Animals as Leaders’ sound was there since the beginning, but it is The Joy of Motion that reveals new discoveries for both the band and fans. While there is as mentioned the presence of djent, the trio successfully distances itself from the genre’s clichéd attitude by employing plenty of different motifs.

There is something maddeningly new (in the most positive meaning of the term) about this album. It showcases a wide spectrum of influences, but still remains unorthodoxly original and unpretentious. And while Nephele brings The Joy of Motion to the end, it is hoped that much more will come from the pens of the trio in the near future, be it together or alone.


1. Kascade (5:23)
2. Lippincott (4:22)
3. Air Chrysalis (5:05)
4. Another Year (3:50)
5. Physical Education (4:40)
6. Tooth and Claw (4:23)
7. Crescent (4:23)
8. The Future That Awaited Me (4:33)
9. Para Mexer (4:29)
10. The Woven Web (4:07)
11. Mind-Spun (4:35 )
12. Nephele (4:31)


* Tosin Abasi – guitars
* Javier Reyes – guitars
* Matthew Garstka – drums


* Misha Mansoor (Periphery)
* Adam Getgood (Periphery)
* Diego Farias (Volumes)
* Navene Koperweis


Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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