Animals as Leaders at Wooly’s on 3/10

Celeste Welshhons

Instrumental progressive metal band Animals as Leaders will play March 10 at Wooly’s in Des Moines accompanied by After the Burial, Navene K, Chon, The Curse of Hail and Imagine the Silence.

One of the guitarists of Animals as Leaders Javier Reyes began playing the guitar at a young age. He played in some other bands before Animals as Leaders, but nothing professional.

“I was probably 6-years-old when I started playing guitar,” Reyes said. “I’ve done high school bands, and battle of the bands and everything I could think of just growing up … I haven’t done anything major until Animals as Leaders. Me and Tosin (founder, guitarist) were friends from previous bands when we were teenagers, and he just hit me up when he had the opportunity to go on tour.”

The band’s self-titled debut album was actually supposed to be a solo endeavor by Tosin Abasi, but soon turned into a band project. Misha Mansoor of the band Periphery was the first outside contributor for the band. He also helped with the production of their upcoming release, “The Joy of Motion.”

“Periphery and us are in a way sister bands. Misha did have a large effect on how Animals as Leaders came out,” Reyes said. “Literally in working together for about two weeks, [Mansoor and Abasi] made that first album.”

This is not the only collaboration between Animals as Leaders and Periphery.

“We decided to go back to Misha to capture a little bit of the first album that we didn’t have on the second album. He co-wrote some of the songs on the new album,” Reyes said.

“Nolly, the bassist of Periphery actually ended up producing the final recording … Matt Halpern the drummer for Periphery used to be for a very brief moment the first drummer for Animals as Leaders,” Reyes said.

For their show at Wooly’s, the band will play a compilation of all three albums.

“We wanna play new material, we’re actually rehearsing new material right now,” Reyes said. “I think there’s some songs from both the first and ‘Weightless’ album that we have to play.”

The band has played some shows in Iowa before, but they have not been in Des Moines for about two years.

The most recent project for Animals as Leaders “The Joy of Motion,” is quickly approaching its release date of March 27. On Feb. 26 the first song of the album, “Lippincott,” was made available on Sumerian Records’ YouTube channel.

The genre of instrumental metal is still not a widely known or accepted sub-genre, but Animals as Leaders are bringing the genre to the forefront and creating the face for it.

“I think we’re aware of what we’re doing, but it’s kind of hard to take that title on for yourself,” Reyes said. “At this point we’re getting a lot of recognition from people who are highly influenced by the guitar playing skills and drumming.”

Animals as Leaders may be a relatively young band, but they are already aiming high with some of their goals.

“(We want to) become a well-known band that people really respect,” Reyes said. “We want to play places like Coachella…some of the bigger festivals and overseas and Soundwave and all the European festivals.”