Animals as Leaders Tracking New Album, Aiming at Spring 2014 Release

"We're going to have real drums that we haven't had in the past," says guitarist Javier Reyes.

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Guitarist Javier Reyes of instrumental prog metal masters Animals as Leaders has officially announced that the band's new album will drop sometime around spring.

As Reyes told Loud magazine, the trio is quite busy tracking the follow-up to 2011's "Weightless." The guitarist also seemed excited about the new approach, confirming a "new technique" and "real drums," something the band's hadn't used in the past.

"Things are good, most of the writing process is pretty much done and we're just tracking some now," Javier kicked off. "Hopefully we'll have a mixed and mastered album by Christmas and New Year's, that's the plan as of now. It's pretty good, we're pretty happy with it. I think there's a good variety of stuff.

"There are definitely sounds from the first album, there's a lot of new stuff as well," the guitarist continued. "There's a new technique we're doing, even some acoustic guitar stuff. We're going to have real drums that we haven't had in the past, so I think overall people are going to be as stoked as we are."

Confirming both melodic and riff-heavy material, Reyes summed it all up, saying, "Overall, it's a heavy, heavy album. We're hoping to release it by early spring, so maybe like April-ish, ideally."

The axeman then focused on the issues regarding the approach of trying out new material during live shows these days. "Usually it's like, you know, the guy was standing right in front of the biggest speaker in the venue, at some weird angle, and as soon as he's done videotaping he's uploading it," Javier said. "Doesn't even listen to it, and you go watch it online and it’s just distorted and sounds horrible, and it's like, 'Okay, that's the experience to the world, what the new Animals as Leaders sounds like.'"

Finally, Reyes discussed the writing process in detail, categorically ruling out the jam session approach. "Considering the level of intricate parts and the weird odd meter stuff, to teach that in a jam session environment, sometimes you spend hours just doing it," he said. "A lot of the times if there's some crazy rhythm or some crazy technique, each of us has to go and sit on it for like a day before we're ready to play it along with everybody.

"When I was learning some of the slapping stuff, I literally had to start practicing the slapping maybe like a year before we started playing any of these songs, just because I knew, 'Okay, I'm going to have to know this technique in order to play these songs.' So yeah, jamming and writing in that way wouldn't necessarily work for us. It hasn't worked for us; we see it as just more practical and efficient to run everything on a computer and learn everything afterwards."

As the band's sophomore studio effort, "Weightless" saw its release in November 2011 via Prosthetic Records.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great news! Love their stuff and they're some talented musicians. Looking forward to listening to it.
    Really? i totally dont believe you. Oh go **** your self... gutter trash
    Good year for prog. Tool, Gru, and now AAL.
    I think it's a great year for music in general, given a lot of what's coming out. Also don't forget Cynic. Their new album comes out in a month.
    "confirming "real drums," something the band's hadn't used in the past." Jesus what? When will it be mine turn to program midi drums that well.
    Bout time! Been waiting for this news for a while. Let's hope Sumerian doesn't screw it up...
    Weren't they tracking it like two months ago? I saw tons of updates on Nolly Getgood's page about it, could've sworn it was already done.
    That's awesome that he had to start learning Tosin's slapping technique a year in advance to be able to play the music.
    Wait... What!? They've never used real drums in the studio? I'm not expert on this band, but I've seen them a few times and they guy that I've always seen drumming is unbelievable... If those weren't real drums on the last two albums, it certainly fooled me haha
    First album had programmed drums via Misha Mansoor. Second album was real drums (me thinks).
    nope. second album was all sampled drums
    Really? Dang, I thought that was Navene playing...
    I think there may have been conflicting dates/information or something, because you're definitely not the first person I've seen who thought he was involved in the drum recording. I was under the same impression as you until someone told me otherwise online.
    A lot of modern metal records use sampled drums. They are clinical and clean easier to mix. I personally dislike the sound. They often aren't programmed either just n replacing the drummers performance.
    New technique? I wonder if he's talking about the sweep picking combined with hybrid picking technique Tosin's been working on.
    As much as this technique is really cool, I don't think he's talking about this. This one is just using two "old" techniques at the same time. I saw his clinic last month and he told us he's still learning and creating new techniques on a regular basis, so I'm hoping for something "newer" than this!
    Nolly is producing not Misha. And Navene did track drums on the second album!
    Thank your deity of choice for that! Just as long as it's not Misha "clipping all the way" Mansoor ;)
    According to the wiki page, and I had already heard and thought this, Weightless had real drums, played by Navene.
    Saw these guys open for Thrice about a year and a half ago, it was my first time hearing them so I didn't know what to expect. Needless to say, they were phenomenal and I've been a fan ever since, can't wait for this album to drop.
    Hopefully Misha doesn't **** it up. Periphery is great and all, but I just think that Misha tries to interject electronic elements wherever he can, and it doesn't always work out.
    I loved the 1st album, although I thought the mix was awful. Weightless was good but nothing special to me. I think bringing in other ppl to the band changed the sound a little. I'd prefer it to be a tosin abasi project as aal was originally. Nowadays I enjoy scale the summit much more as far as instrumental prog, but I am still excited for the new aal album and will be buying it day one.