At unfocussed ear value, The Joy Of Motion is everything we’d expect from Washington’s Animals As Leaders: complex, djenty, metal pabulum for guitar nerds worldwide. Yes, this is jam-packed with uber-technical eight string guitar craft, reaffirming that Tobin Abasi is and always will be a better guitar player than you. And sure, the combined palm-muted guitar riffing and double-kick drumming of the opener ‘Ka$cade’ makes you feel as if you are at the forefront of another menacing tech-metal cavalcade of an album. However, what follows is truly different and remarkable. Tracks like ‘Air Chrysalis’, ‘Para Mexer’, and the album’s clear standout ‘Another Year’, offer light, jazzy, almost uplifting tranquilities amidst the more ferocious throes of tracks like ‘Tooth And Claw’ and ‘Mind = Spun’. There is a real sense of balance here.
I feel exactly the same sentiment for The Joy Of Motion as I felt for CHON‘s recent EP, Woohoo!. Both bands have found their perfect equilibrium. Granted, The Joy Of Motion contains all the extravagance and excessiveness pertinent to their sound, but it also has enough substance and soul to allow us to conjure up beautiful imagery, and garner real emotions from the sound. It’s beautiful and it’s punishing. It’s like being in a state of bliss while a Rottweiler chews your face off.