Apex predators Animals as Leaders represent the next evolution in progressive metal with their bone crushing power, lightning speed, and mind-blowing creativity. In concert, Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes both play massive 8-string guitars that allow them to hold down crushing bass lines and soaring leads simultaneously. Reyes tends to handle more of the low-end duties while Abasi shreds furiously over the top, a master of both syncopated complexity and direct melodicism. Drummer Matt Garstka pounds out massive rhythms, fluid transitions, and furious fills to keep ticket buyers’ heads banging throughout AAL’s epic sets. Fresh off the 2014 release of The Joy of Motion and touring with the likes of Between the Buried and Me and The Contortionist, Animals as Leaders are continuing their climb up the heavy metal food chain.
Animals as Leaders formed in Washington, D.C. in 2007 when Tosin Abasi left his previous band Reflux. Prosthetic Records noticed his prodigious talent and offered to produce an instrumental album of his guitar work. Instead of taking the generous offer, he opted to hone his skills at the Atlanta Institute of Music, which took his playing to staggering new heights. He recorded Animals as Leaders’ self-titled debut in 2009, immediately attracting attention in guitar circles due to his unprecedented and unconventional gift for rhythm, melody, and harmony. Abasi found a talented guitar foil in Javier Reyes, who joined AAL in 2009 to ease the transition from recording project to touring band. Drummer Matt Garstka solidified their lineup in time for their 2012 tour schedule and held down the drums for the group’s critically praised third album The Joy of Motion (2014).