Animals as Leaders

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Animals as Leaders
Animals as Leaders at NAMM 2014
From left to right: Matt Garstka, Javier Reyes, Tosin Abasi
Background information
Origin Washington, D.C, United States
Genres Progressive metal, djent
Years active 2007–present
Labels Sumerian Records, Prosthetic
Associated acts TRAM, Periphery, Animosity, The Faceless, Darkest Hour, Reflux, Mestis, After the Burial, Fleshwrought, Gokh Bi System, Two Man Trio, CHON
Past members

Animals as Leaders is an American progressive metal band from Washington, D.C. It is composed of guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes along with drummer Matt Garstka, having been formed by Abasi in 2007. Their musical style has also been described as djent.[1] 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.[2][3] 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."[4] 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".[4]

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.[4] The album was released April 28, 2009 by Prosthetic Records.[5]

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,[6] November 4 in Europe, and November 7 in the UK.[7]

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.[8]

“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!” [9]

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.[10] Two days later, it was confirmed that Mansoor was recording the band after the completion of two songs.[11] 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. On February 2, 2016, they revealed on Instagram that they were working on their fourth studio album.


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.




  • "Wave of Babies" (2010)


Year Title Director
2010 "CAFO" Scott Hansen
2011 "Isolated Incidents" Jay Wynne
2012 "Weightless" (unreleased) Scott Hansen
2014 "Lippincott" Jay Wynne
2015 "Physical Education" Cameron Alexander


  1. Angle, Brad (23 July 2011). "Interview: Meshuggah Guitarist Fredrik Thordendal Answers Reader Questions". Guitar World. Future US. Retrieved 17 October 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Politte, Elliott. "Tosin Abasi: 8-String Animal". Guitar Edge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Buchta, Mikey (14 February 2011). "Interview with Animals as Leaders guitarist Tosin Abasi". Pure Grain Audio. Retrieved 13 August 2015. Animals as Leaders is a progressive instrumental metal band Tosin created after the breakup of his previous band Reflux.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Allyn, Bobby (February 9, 2009). "Q&A: Animals As Leaders." Washington City Paper.
  5. "Animals as Leaders Unveils Artwork, Track Listing for Debut Album" (March 20, 2009).
  6. "Animals As Leaders Set November Release Date For New Album “Weightless”"
  7. "Animals as Leaders: new album release date announced".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Prosthetic Records Announces New Drummer For 2012 Tour"
  9. "ANIMALS AS LEADERS PREP FOR EUROPEAN TOUR, MESHUGGAH DATES". Prosthetic Records. March 23, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Mansoor, Misha. "Writing new Animals As Leaders riffs with Tosin Abasi. Recording starts tomorrow!". Facebook. Retrieved 1 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Further reading

External links