Animals as Leaders
|Animals As Leaders|
|Genres||Progressive metal, instrumental rock, jazz fusion, djent|
|Labels||Sumerian Records, Prosthetic|
|Associated acts||TRAM, Periphery, Animosity, The Faceless, Reflux, Mestis, After the Burial, Fleshwrought, Gokh Bi System, Two Man Trio|
|Past members||Matt Halpern
Animals as Leaders is an American instrumental progressive metal band formed by guitarist Tosin Abasi in 2007. It currently features guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Matt Garstka. Prosthetic Records released the band's self-titled debut album in 2009. They went on to release the albums Weightless (2011) and The Joy of Motion (2014).
Animals as Leaders formed after guitarist Tosin Abasi's previous technical metalcore band, Reflux, disbanded. The heavy metal record label Prosthetic Records saw Abasi's guitar work and asked him to create a solo album for them. Abasi initially declined, feeling such an endeavor would be "...egotistical and unnecessary." Abasi decided to take a year off to study music, as he felt he was unable to reach his peak at guitar playing, Reflux eventually disbanded permanently. After Abasi had completed his course, he took up the label on the offer of a solo project. The name Animals as Leaders was inspired by Daniel Quinn's 1992 novel Ishmael, which addresses anthropocentrism. Abasi coined the name as a reminder "that we're all essentially animals".
The project's first album, Animals as Leaders, was recorded in early 2008. Abasi recorded most guitar and bass tracks on the album; a few guitar solos, drums and various synthesized effects were programmed by engineer Misha Mansoor of Periphery and Haunted Shores. The album was released April 28, 2009 by Prosthetic Records.
In 2010, the band toured extensively, including the 2010 Summer Slaughter Tour with such acts as Decapitated, Vital Remains, Carnifex, The Faceless, All Shall Perish, The Red Chord, Cephalic Carnage, Veil of Maya, and Decrepit Birth and since Summer Slaughter have toured with more mainstream acts like Circa Survive and Dredg. They uploaded a non-album digital single called Wave of Babies to iTunes later that year.
The band embarked on a tour alongside Circa Survive, Dredg, and Codeseven from mid-2010 to early 2011, and in early 2011, toured alongside Underoath, Thursday, and A Skylit Drive to promote Underoath's latest release, Ø (Disambiguation).
On May 26, 2011, Animals as Leaders took part in a Red Cross benefit show titled "Josh Barnett Presents The Sun Forever Rising" at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, California. Shortly thereafter, they headlined their first tour, which included opening acts Intronaut, Dead Letter Circus, Last Chance to Reason, and Evan Brewer. On July 27, 2011, during a show at the Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia, Tosin Abasi announced that they were recording the show for a live DVD.
The band has been billed as the first support of Between the Buried and Me on their European tour in September 2011, also with the French band Doyle. As a follow-up to their self-titled album, the band released their LP, entitled Weightless, on November 8 in the United States, November 4 in Europe, and November 7 in the UK.
In Spring 2012, Animals as Leaders embarked on a headlining tour of Europe, then returned to North America to open for Thrice. Navene Koperweis left Animals as Leaders in March 2012. Prosthetic Records then announced on March 23, 2012 that drummer Matt Garstka would join them on tour. Whether or not Garstka is a permanent replacement remains undetermined.
“We see nothing but great potential with Matt, and look forward to performing with him on the upcoming tours,” Abasi says. “We feel very excited for the future of AAL, which is brighter than ever. I’m beyond excited for our fans to hear some of the new music we already have brewing for the future!” 
On November 28, 2012, Misha Mansoor, the producer for the first Animals as Leaders album, announced that he'd begun writing riffs with Tosin Abasi, intending to start recording on their third album. Two days later, it was confirmed that Mansoor was recording the band after the completion of two songs. On February 14, 2014 the band announced their third studio album, The Joy of Motion, which was released via Sumerian Records on March 25, 2014.
Abasi and Reyes are also members of the supergroup T.R.A.M, alongside former The Mars Volta wind instrumentalist Adrián Terrazas-González and Suicidal Tendencies drummer Eric Moore. Reyes also has his own side-project, Mestis.
- Tosin Abasi – guitar (2007–Present)
- Javier Reyes – guitar (2009–Present)
- Matt Garstka – drums (2012–Present)
- Chebon Littlefield – bass, keyboard (2007-2008)
- Matt Halpern – drums (2009)
- Navene Koperweis – drums (2009–2012)
- "Wave of Babies" (2010)
|2011||"Isolated Incidents"||Jay Wynne|
|2012||"Weightless" (unreleased)||Scott Hansen|
- Angle, Brad (23 July 2011). "Interview: Meshuggah Guitarist Fredrik Thordendal Answers Reader Questions". Guitar World. Future US. Retrieved 17 October 2011.
- Politte, Elliott. "Tosin Abasi: 8-String Animal". Guitar Edge.
- Allyn, Bobby (February 9, 2009). "Q&A: Animals As Leaders." Washington City Paper.
- "Animals as Leaders Unveils Artwork, Track Listing for Debut Album" (March 20, 2009). Blabbermouth.net.
- "Animals As Leaders Set November Release Date For New Album “Weightless”"
- "Prosthetic Records Announces New Drummer For 2012 Tour"
- Mansoor, Misha. "Writing new Animals As Leaders riffs with Tosin Abasi. Recording starts tomorrow!". Facebook. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Mansoor, Misha. "2 days into writing/recording with Tosin Abasi for the new Animals As Leaders album and we have 2 songs down, making good progress! Can't wait for you guys to hear this stuff!!". Facebook. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Further reading