Gear News


D’Addario is proud to welcome guitarists of the prog metal band, Animals As Leaders, Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes, to the D’Addario artist roster.

Tosin Abasi plays D’Addario EXL120-7 nickel-wound 7-string Super Light (9-54) electric guitar strings as well as EXL140-8 nickel-wound 8-string Light Top/Heavy Bottom (10-74) electric guitar strings. Javier Reyes (pictured below) also plays EXL140-8 nickel-wound 8-string Light Top/Heavy Bottom (10-74) electric guitar strings, as well as D’Addario EJ45C Pro-Arte Composite normal tension strings from D’Addario, and says, “Tosin and I use D’Addario Strings because they consistently sound fresh with every pack.”

When Tosin Abasi released his self-titled debut solo album under the moniker Animals As Leaders in 2009, few would have predicted the band’s meteoric rise over the next two years. Abasi, who earned acclaim as the lead guitarist in the Washington, D.C.-based metalcore act Reflux, had a vision for an instrumental album of progressive metal with jazz, electronic, and ambient flourishes. In its current form, Animals As Leaders is made up of Tosin Abasi (guitars), Javier Reyes (guitars), and Navene Koperweis (drums).

After nearly two years of touring together, the trio wrote and recorded their second album, Weightless, in mid-2011. Weightless solidified Animals as Leaders worldwide as a trailblazing pioneer of modern heavy music. The group’s genre-defying compositions have earned extensive praise. Steve Vai called the band “the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing,” and MetalSucks recently ranked Abasi #2 on their list of modern metal’s top guitarists. The diversity of their music has enabled them to tour with a wide variety of acts including Deftones, Underoath, Circa Survive, BTBAM, The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Faceless, Thursday, Decapitated, and Dredg, as well as on the 2010 Summer Slaughter tour.

The group’s most recent tour included sellout shows from coast-to-coast, a sign that as quickly as Animals As Leaders have risen, the best is yet to come.

„It has been a pleasure getting to know and working with Javier and Tosin in the studio & during clinics,” says Hugh Gilmartin, D’Addario Artist Relations. “They are true innovators of a new genre in progressive music, and also great teachers and mentors to younger players.”

Abasi and Reyes’s dedication to their craft mirrors that of D’Addario as they continue to inspire performance worldwide.



Published since 2005 as a printed magazine, TopGuitar is a magazine of opinion for professional and amateur musicians. Since 2020 on a digital platform. Contain reviews of various guitar-related musical gear, interviews and original articles on world’s most popular artists, music reviews, event reports, guitar workshops and tips, the latest products and artist news. The Editor-in-Chief is Dr. Dariusz Domanski, a guitarist and academic teacher, doctor of musical arts.