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How Animals As Leaders are challenging the foundations of prog

mathematician musicians Animals As Leaders are challenging ideas of what prog is with their experimental, instrumental and technical whirlwinds of sound

Guthrie Govan’s probably my favourite guitar player!” Tosin Abasi almost surprises himself with his enthusiasm. The two players toured together last year as part of Joe Satriani’s axe-fest, the G4 Experience. “I think Guthrie’s the perfect electric guitarist, the guy can do no wrong. He’s charming, witty, happy to have a beer and a chat, but there’s a crazy contrast between his down-to-earth personality and his monstrous playing. I feel grateful that Guthrie Govan exists and is playing now.”

We’re in Cologne. In a few hours, Abasi – currently the hottest guitar player in prog metal, maybe even rock as a whole – will take his Animals As Leaders on stage for their headline set at Euroblast, one of the continent’s biggest tech metal festivals. Just before soundcheck, he’s pondering some of the finer things in prog, Guthrie Govan among them. As a kid growing up and learning his chops in Washington DC in the 90s, Abasi was less about Yes, more about Candiria and Between The Buried And Me. “I know they’re not traditional prog, but in terms of musical complexity and scope they were doing a lot of stuff that impacted on me as a younger player.”

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