By Erin Jardine
November 16, 2016
VANCOUVER — Walking down Granville on a quiet Tuesday night, Plini could be heard from down the block. The Commodore was full but not disgustingly so, and everyone stood still watching the prog guitar work of Plini. The lighting was akin to a jazz fest, rather than a metal show, and Plini’s crisp tone carried the melodies in an astoundingly clear way. The bass and drums were deafening, even for the Commodore, which made the delicate guitar all the more interesting. As I was expecting progressive metal, I was pleasantly surprised at Plini’s take on prog, unafraid to slow things down with a groovier riff. At the end of their set, Plini jokingly said, “Okay guys we’re going to go back there, have a drink and become Intervals!”
The set change was alarmingly short, and when I approached the stage again, I realized what he’d meant. Intervals is the exact same band, but the frontman and main composer was now Aaron Marshall rather than Plini. The band took on a more rock feel, while holding onto the guitar-focused soloing, and it was clear that the crowd was eager to up the energy and headbang along. Marshall gushed into the microphone between songs, “this is the best show we’ve played so far,” which, of course, is nothing new, but this time I believed him. During most slow sequences the crowd had their hands in the air clapping along, and breakdowns had the crowd jumping on top of one another in an effort to crowd surf.
With a droning bass tone similar to a Tambura, paired with glitching strobe lights and a black stage, Animals as Leaders was welcomed to Vancouver. Every sound this band plays is accounted for, and with two guitars playing off each other it’s refreshing to be able to hear every sound. What I like most about this band is the way the parts are balanced. Javier Reyes handled the lower strings of the guitar in support of Tosin Abasi’s prolific soloing. After three lengthy songs off of their previous releases, Abasi introduced a song from their very recent record, Madness of Many. The song is entitled “Ectogenesis” and in the intro to the song, Abasi took the low end of the guitar to provide the bass tone, while Reyes took the spotlight to claim the credit that he is undoubtedly due. Throughout the piece, the two players interplayed between roles, and as it came to an end, it concluded in the same way it began with Abasi on the low end of the guitar. Drummer Matt Garstka was set up at an angle, allowing the audience to see every move he made. There was no shortage of musical food for the hungry ears in the room that night.Animals as Leaders, BC, British Columbia, Commodore Ballroom, Intervals, Plini