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Animals As Leaders Debut In India

The American prog metal band plays Bangalore Open Air on July 6th

Anurag Tagat Jun 28, 2013
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Prog metal band Animals As Leaders play their debut India gig at Bangalore Open Air 2013.

Prog metal band Animals As Leaders play their debut India gig at Bangalore Open Air 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Sumerian Records

Tosin Abasi, frontman and guitarist of progressive metal band Animals As Leaders, knows he has a 22-date US tour to embark on as part of the Summer Slaughter tour starting on July 19th. But that’s not going to stop him from spending more time in India during his maiden visit to the country next month.

The band’s inclusion in the Bangalore Open Air (BOA) lineup places them next to old school metal stars such as Norwegian black metal artist Ihsahn, German thrash metallers Sodom, and Swedish melodic death metal band Dark Tranquillity. But Abasi says Animals As Leaders is used to being the odd ones out, be it on festival lineup or even club tours. “It happens all the time, because we’re just available and we’ve got guitars and we’re a three-piece and the music is really adventurous.” Abasi adds that Animals As Leaders have toured with bands from across the spectrum. “There’s Thursday, Circa Survive, Deftones and Thrice, just to name a few.” says Abasi, who will perform the headlining set with his band in India on July 6th.

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Abasi says that he is currently writing demos for the band’s third album, a 10-track release due later this year, with help from prog metal band Periphery’s guitarist Misha Mansoor, who produced the breakthrough Animals As Leaders in 2009. Mansoor is writing and recording with Abasi, but hasn’t said much about their own Bengaluru gig at last year’s NH7 Weekender festival in December. “They [Periphery] just went in for a day and a half and I was kinda shocked that they didn’t want to stay longer, but he didn’t give me much detail about the trip,” says Abasi.

In the last four years, Animals As Leaders have been at the forefront of the new wave of prog metal in India along with Periphery. While Abasi has been giving thought to the future of prog metal, he feels that bands like his, who are also jazz-influenced, will not fit into any category. “The sound that was fresh five years ago is now almost overdone. So we’re making creative choices where we don’t repeat ourselves or end up sounding like what’s popular,” says Abasi. 

As for more immediate demands at BOA, the band plans to play a standard set of at least 40 minutes, consisting of songs from their two albums, Animals As Leaders and Weightless. Since the music is instrumental, Abasi hopes to keep audiences tuned in to the visual element of their music. “We’re usually physically performing the way most bands do, but with my pedalboard and other technical demands, we’re not running around stage doing kickflips and stuff. Hopefully, we can procure a screen and a projector from the festival. We like to try for the same production level everywhere we go,” he says.

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Animals As Leaders play a headlining set at the day-long Bangalore Open Air (BOA) festival on July 6th.


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