Sound — 8
The name "Joy of Motion" really does describe the sound of this album. Animals As Leaders create an atmosphere of constant movement. The beat is always breathing from start to finish. It compliments things like driving, working out, or activity in general. Not recommended for sitting! Drums are crisp, but the bottom 8th string can get a little muddled when distorted. The mood varies from edgy to mellow throughout the CD. Songs like "The Future That Awaited Me" and "Air Chrysalis" have a very contemplative feel, as where songs like "Ka$cade" and "Crescent" have that heavy "drop E" chugging thrown in that makes you want to bang your head. It's a very diverse CD, not full on metal or jazz, but the musicianship is flawless for both drums and guitars. My only complaint is that the bottom 8th string becomes muddy at times.
Lyrics — 9
Since there are no lyrics I will talk about the lead guitar instead. Very cool, imaginative, and outside-the-box. I really think Tosin can communicate by singing through his guitar. Doesn't rely too much on shredding, but more focus on melody to grab your ear, which I think is a lost art these days. It definitely takes you to the next level! I specifically like the solos in "Another Year," "Ka$cade," "The Future That Awaited Me," "Physical Education," and "The Woven Web." I think these are examples of why Tosin is as famous a guitar player as he is. Totally inspiring!
Overall Impression — 7
This is more jazzy and less metal than their previous albums. That being said, I think the songs have a lot of variety. The opening track "Ka$cade" balances the jazz and metal really well, and so does "Physical Education," "Crescent" and "Lippincott" with the finger picking and thumb slapping. "Another Year" does a good job of joining a clean jazz guitar lick to a heavy, distorted bridge and an awesome lead. "Para Mexer," "The Woven Web," and "Nephele" have that classic AAL spacey sound. "Tooth and Claw" and "Mind-Spun" have a more raw, in-your-face sound. These songs have a nice application of artificial harmonics to give it that extra edge. I love the drop E riffs, but sometimes it is a little hard to define the notes that are being played. There is no bass guitar, but if there was, it would probably become lost sound of the 8-string guitar. Overall, not my favorite CD, but definitely worth listening to. Regardless of whether you are a musician who can appreciate the technicality of it, or a fan just trying to find a good jazz/rock album, give it a try!