The Sound of Animals Fighting – Tiger and the Duke
Release Date: February 14, 2005
Record Label: Unknown
The Sound of Animals Fighting is a mysterious band formed with the purpose of creating something out of the norm. The band is comprised of members from Rx Bandits, Finch, Rich Balling (ex-Rx Bandits) and Anthony Green of Saosin and Circa Survive fame. Their music is experimental, the transitions progressive, and the lyrics were improvised on the spot. The members of The Sound of Animals Fighting borrow musical stylings from each of their respective bands, as the drumming is distinctly Rx Bandits, as well as the guitar rhythms and picking patterns. While all the members of the band remain nameless, they are referred to in the liner notes as “The Tortoise,” or “The Ferret.” All in all, there are 15 animals associated with this collaborative project, including the producers and engineers. The album itself is nine tracks long, but there are really only four songs, as five of the tracks are instrumental interludes.
After a slow, arduous interlude, the album breaks into a familiar voice screaming out in Act I. Tempo variations and free flowing instrumentation give the song a chaotic feel, but melodic melodies and sections of structure bring balance to the song. Fast picking along guitar riffs plow through verses into a vocal assault that is the chorus. The song’s time changes and distinct Rx Bandits sound are brought into the forefront as the song slashes into a breakdown. The breakneck pace of the guitar riffs takes center stage throughout this extremely long bridge/breakdown, finally slowing down to re-introduce the chorus again.
After this song lies my main problem with the album – the interludes. As soon as a song is over, all the flow is broken by what seem to be hastily thrown together interludes that use strange synth effects. They have no sense of purpose nor do they add to the fine experience that is this band – rather, they detract from it. But, they are only interludes, and they can be skipped if you like – I know I chose to, simply because the full band tracks are so stellar. Therefore I will not discuss them any more – you have been warned.
Act II begins with a math rock intro, with notes being hit at unpredictable times. At this moment, the Rx Bandits sound is extremely evident, as the style and sound of the guitars and drums are identical to their album The Resignation. After the math-rock intro, Anthony lends his vocals in a pre-chorus, which blasts forth into an extremely melodic chorus. While each member of The Sound of Animals Fighting seems to do his own thing, the various parts are brought together in this strong chorus. The following verse offers up yet another familiar voice (wink, wink). Tempo stops and Mars Volta-ish changes of pace make this song yet another fascinating addition to the record.
After another interlude, Act III opens with a strange, spacey intro with spoken word countered by a lazy delivery of a vocal melody in the background. Then, the song immediately changes pace into another strong chorus with Anthony wailing “We’re hanging from our ankles…” While the chorus is enjoyable, there is a lack of unity to this song. The transitions between the verses and choruses are sudden and are missing natural progression. This is the first major flaw in any of the Acts on the album. While the music itself is still enjoyable, this song needed more unifying elements to it. This critique is only strengthened as the song seems to randomly transition into a slow, Pink Floyd like breakdown. (That comparison is actually made in the liner notes themselves – more on that later.)
The final song is Act IV, and it has a truly chaotic intro that re-introduces themes and guitar parts from the earlier Acts, one by one. It’s an awesome recap to remind you of what you’ve been listening to this entire time, and gives the album a cohesive feel that it had been lacking at times. The vocals in the first verse are coupled with tight guitar arpeggios. This is followed by completely unpredictable hit timing, then a dark and distorted bass solo that brings the song into the hardest chorus of the CD full of brutally harsh vocals. The album then fades off into the distance with one final postlude.
One thing that must be mentioned along with the music itself is how spectacular the other things that come with the CD are. The album art is gorgeous, and the liner notes are possibly the coolest thing I have seen in years. Not only are there lyrics, but there are two entire pages dedicated to explaining how the band explored new ideas. Themes throughout recording, like “ascending diminished triads” are listed. Each song has its own paragraph describing the transitions, the style of picking used, the scale, and the musical significance to the imagery the band is trying to convey. It’s absolutely incredible and completely original.
While this album is worth buying for the liner notes alone, the music itself is totally innovative. The band achieves the progressive rock sound successfully, and while there are mistakes or parts that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, that’s part of being innovative. For the most part, the music of the album is great – I love the math-rock and hard-hitting choruses. I did not enjoy the interludes, and since they occupy nearly half of the total album time that was a key detracting factor from my listening experience. The band is unpredictable and does new things that a listener may not expect or agree with, and it’s important to know that before purchasing this album. The Sound of Animals Fighting have created a record that is not about spoon-fed music or standard song formats. It’s an innovative sound that holds more integrity than virtually anything else you’ll hear today.
An ascending diminished triad isn't a theme. Repeating the ascending diminished triad during key points in the song would make it a theme.
Do you even know what you're talking about? Or are you just repeating what you read in the liner notes to sound smart?
uh, I said that was something that was listed. i'm not trying to sound smart, i'm doing exactly what you said I was, telling people what it said. that whole paragraph talks about the liner notes. idiot. did you even read the review? or are you just trying to sound smart?
The four "ACTS" on this EP are actually excellent pieces of music but I'd like to start a petition, get about 10,000 signatures on it, and show it to all the bands who are trying to create something "original," "epic," or "profound........"
Do you know what the header of this petition would read?
THIS MANY PEOPLE CAN'T STOMACH ANYMORE "ARTISTIC" AMBIENT INTERLUDES
Anyway, here's to hoping I don't have to press the "skip forward" button every other track on the new album.