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PROGRESSIVE METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Progressive Metal definition

This category represents the core movement of what is called "Progressive Metal" in the literal sense. It is a subgenre of progressive rock as much as it is a subgenre of heavy metal, and this is how its sound is defined: a blend of heavy, guitar-oriented metal music enriched with compositional innovation and complex arrangements, usually expressed through diverse instrumentation and often (but not always) with odd-time signatures. Common, but not essential to define the movement, are the frequent use of keyboards, high-pitched vocals, concept lyrical themes and tracks of longer duration. Similar to progressive rock, progressive metal draws influences from other genres, such as jazz/fusion, ethnic, classical and symphonic music.

The Origins:
The heavy sound of some of the progressive rock bands of the 70's has been one of the building blocks on which progressive metal was raised. Progressive rock pioneers such as KING CRIMSON and RUSH have often been acclaimed as the main influences of progressive metal bands. The other major influence has been the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) movement, and especially the twin-guitar arrangements of IRON MAIDEN, which have left their stamp on the early stages of the genre's development.

The Pioneers:
Often (and not unjustifiably) referred to as the "Big Three" of progressive metal, QUEENSRYCHE, FATES WARNING and DREAM THEATER have set the scene of what was to follow in the movement. The defining era for the genre was the second half of the 80's, among QUEENSRYCHE's "The Warning" (1984) and (most explicitly) "Rage for Order" (1986) along with FATES WARNING's "Awaken the Guardian" (1986) and "No Exit" (1988) releases. The former evolved on their pure American power metal beginnings, while the latter refined their technical/NWOBHM-influenced metal into more progressive forms. Although producing demos since the mid-80's as MAJESTY, DREAM THEATER's first release came in 1989 with "A Dream and Day Unite". The innovative use of keyboards along with influences from American heavy/power metal and progressive rock produced an original blend which was to be further refined in 1992's "Images and Words", which until this day remains next to "Progressive Metal" definition in any musical dictionary.

Among the pioneers of the genre, but enjoying less success and popularity, were PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and SIEGES EVEN. The former were essentially playing progressive metal as ASLAN in the mid-80's and developed a highly eclectic sound in the 90's. The latter's debut classifies them among the European prog-thrash pioneers but their music evolved to more melodic patterns and heavily influenced by RUSH in the early 90's.


Progressive metal is difficult to further divide in sub-genres but a number of tendencies or movements have been critical to the evolvement of its sound.

Traditional Progressive Metal
The style developed by the pioneers was fully established in the 1990s and includes a range of bands from the two sides of the Atlantic. Good examples in this movement are SAVATAGE, who expanded their heavy metal beginnings with operatic and progressive elements in late 80's/early 90's, while SHADOW GALLERY and SYMPHONY X emerged with a unique sound, each embodying a strong theatrical, symphonic and melodic approach. In Europe, SOUL CAGES continued the legacy of SIEGES EVEN in a more artistic path.

Power-Progressive Metal (American style)
The legacy of RIOT (the counterpart of NWOBHM sound in USA) and the early releases of QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING heavily influenced a number of bands that were to develop a common sound towards the late 80's. Among the well-known representatives of what is called American Power Metal (e.g. VICIOUS RUMORS, HELSTAR), a small number of bands enriched their sound with progressive and epic elements. Probably, the most obvious examples of this movement are CRIMSON GLORY and HEIR APPARENT.

Power-Progressive Metal (European style)
This category includes a broad range of bands that could sound fairly dissimilar to each other but their music is significantly influenced by the European Power Metal (primarily German) bands of the 80's (e.g. HELLOWEEN, RAGE, RUNNING WILD). The earliest examples are probably BLIND GUARDIAN, ANGRA (although Brazilian, their sound is mainly European) and CONCEPTION. Slightly later, VANDEN PLAS, ROYAL HUNT, ELDRITCH and LABYRINTH gave rise to the popularity of the genre in Germany, Denmark and Italy respectively. The symphonic and neo-classical elements (made popular by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) also found their way through power metal with bands like RHAPSODY OF FIRE and NIGHTWISH, whose style does not qualify as being progressive for many people. Nevertheless their music is quite demanding to play and contains many elements of serious classical composition and form.

Modern Progressive Metal
The second half of the 90's and the early 00's also saw newly formed bands expanding the boundaries of Traditional Progressive Metal via a number of ways: introducing electronic/spacey elements, investing heavily in lyricality and/or syncopation and further rhythmical experimentation. Also the idea of thematically conceptual albums has returned in accord with the practices of the Progressive Metal pioneers. Well-known examples in this category are AYREON, PAIN OF SALVATION and RIVERSIDE.


--- Definition by Thanos and the Progressive Metal Team, January 2012 ---

The Progressive Metal Team
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Alex (Rune2000)
Thanos (aapatsos)
Dave (Prog Sothoth)


Progressive Metal Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Progressive Metal | More Top Prog lists and filters

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SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
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THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
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4.21 | 858 ratings
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4.20 | 923 ratings
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4.19 | 844 ratings
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4.16 | 533 ratings
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4.13 | 1479 ratings
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4.19 | 292 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
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4.20 | 230 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
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4.11 | 1559 ratings
AWAKE
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4.12 | 697 ratings
BE
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4.12 | 551 ratings
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4.14 | 298 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
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4.13 | 352 ratings
ROOM V
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4.16 | 195 ratings
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4.17 | 185 ratings
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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Hymns for the Broken by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 56 ratings

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Hymns for the Broken
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Mebert78

4 stars For my first review, I've decided to write about my most favorite release of 2014: Evergrey's Hymns for the Broken. The truth is, I'd never listened to Evergrey prior to this album. Sure, I'd heard of the band. I just hadn't listened to them. For whatever reason, they were never recommended to me by my immediate circle of prog pals. But I'd seen their name pop up frequently on the Dream Theater Forums, which I visit quite regularly, and I noticed the high praise for the new tunes. And so, during a slow day at work, I finally decided to check out this band once and for all.

As someone approaching the band with fresh ears, I unfortunately can't compare Hymns for the Broken to the band's past albums. But I can say is that this album has made me a fan that plans to check out those past albums. From the album's earliest moments, you know you're in for something more than just a collection of songs -- you're in for a special journey. The album starts with sounds of war -- galloping horses, a helicopter, voices crying in pain. Then a speaking voice. "We've crowned a king with no soul; when all doors are closed we walk alone." You can quickly tell that this is an album about an internal struggle -- a battle between happiness and sadness, or good and evil, or self worth and self loathing -- all told with a well-crafted war metaphor. It's a fight we've all experienced at some point in our life. It's something we can all relate to. And Evergrey unifies us through our common sorrow.

The album's single, "King of Errors," is the first track after the intro. It's a beast of a song that's hard not to love. It starts off with an instrumental section that briefly reminds me of "Anarchy-X" from Queensr che's Operation: Mindcrime. But by the end, it is all Evergrey. Tom Englund's emotional voice shines from the very first lines and a scorching guitar solo demonstrates this band has the technical abilities to hold their own against any of today's progressive metal juggernauts. It would be easy for the energy to dip a bit after a monster like "King of Errors." But it doesn't. In fact, there are no weak songs on the album at all. They all firmly rank between an 8.5 and 9.5, in my opinion. It reminded me of Megadeth's Youthanasia album in that way -- or most recent Rush albums. Solid from start to finish.

Hymns is also a very well-balanced album. Englund channels his inner Michael Bolton on the piano ballad "Missing You," followed by crushing riffs in tunes like "The Grand Collapse." The latter is the album's longest song at 7:48. It is also, no doubt, is the most progressive. The middle of the song is filled with more war sounds, leaving you to wonder who ultimately won the internal battle -- a question that is answered on the final track. I'd be lying if I said the progressiveness of "The Grand Collapse" didn't make me wish that the previous, more straightforward, songs had some more progressive elements on this level. If they did, this album would easily be a 10/10. But that's the closest I can come to a Hymns criticism.

I was shocked to learn in interviews that Evergrey considered disbanding prior to writing and recording this album. What a crime that would have been. This is clearly a band with a lot left in the tank and a lot left to say. If Hymns is any taste of what the future might hold for Evergrey, then the band's fans are in for a major treat in the years, and albums, to come.

- Michael R. Ebert

 VolontÓ Legata by S91 album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.66 | 4 ratings

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VolontÓ Legata
S91 Progressive Metal

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars From the streets of Montecarlo

After years poring through hundreds of Italian rock bands in the grasp of a most wonderful musical addiction, the last couple years have been spent listening to a wider range of things for sure. Still, when the chance arises I love to return to my adopted musical homeland. And when I find a band from a small town I love to tour their home on google maps to get an idea of their possible inspirations. Not often have my tours been any more rewarding than checking out S91's hometown of Montecarlo, in Tuscany. Could I use a summer in this gorgeous little village of thin streets, homey estates, and 14th century history in the air? Oh yeah.

S91 formed in Tuscany in 2006 and profess influences of Shadow Gallery and Stream of Passion, progressive rock, metal, and pop. Somewhat unusual for a metal band is that they are fronted by not one, but three female vocalists, and two of them, Tania and Maria handle the lyrics. The music is written by Frank and Franz, keyboardist Francesco Londino having played piano since he was a child. The members of the band have been friends and this camaraderie comes through in the music. It appears there have been some personnel changes since this work, we shall see once their upcoming second full length is released.

While advertised here as a metal band, S91 take a more balanced approach, their "metal" element on the lighter side of the spectrum. What I appreciate about them is that unlike the somewhat cold "mechanical" sound of some prog-metal bands who seem so hung up on intense heaviness, S91 has equal parts softness, human emotion, and obviously a heavy dose of the feminine. Being Italians, whether intentional on their part or not, some of their appreciation for RPI bands like PFM and Orme can be heard on the last two songs primarily. The blend of symphonic grandeur with metal intensities and RPI infusion make for an exciting aural adventure of modern and traditional elements, with plenty of unapologetic humanity shining through.

"What I appreciate about Volonta Legata is how it brings enough over the top progressiveness to appeal to those whose tastes range from Neal Morse to Pink Floyd to Shadow Gallery to Dream Theater and all things in between....you will encounter enough complex songwriting and maze like twists and turns to keep most progressive aficionados interested for time to come...it grew on me with repeated play." -Andrew Rockwell, AngelicWarlord.com

In a world so heavy with despair and misguided madness I find the band's Christian inspiration to be no problem, and in fact uplifting. Worry not, there is no browbeating of the audience here, just a band inspired particularly by Psalm 91 from which the band name originates. It would be foolish to let the Christian tag alone stop you from investigating this music, though no doubt some will. The vocals are a mix of English and Italian, naturally the Italian vocals work much better for this RPI fan.

Early tracks were engaging and energetic to be sure, but the highlight is the 18 minute centerpiece "The Seal of the Living God." A nice array of modern keyboard textures with some piano meet excellent guitar work. Sudden diversions and tempo changes along with a bombastic attitude set the table where lovers of "epic" tracks shall dine. There are breaks for both guitar and keys solos and both are beautiful and inspired--the guitar solo just slays me! The track begins with gruff male vocals before the instrumental breaks, then moves to lovely female harmonies and piano, and more killer lead guitar work. The closer "Spazio inconcepibile" just gets even prettier with acoustic guitar behind melodic piano and vocal harmonies. The songwriting in general is very melodic and appealing, shred never becoming more important than the listening pleasure.

Some will point out that it has all been done before by numerous Dream Theater/Nightwish clones and I understand. But S91 have their own vibe and they appealed to me where those other have not. This album is kind of special in its blend of benevolence and personality.

 Life ...And All It Entails by ENOCHIAN THEORY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.91 | 26 ratings

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Life ...And All It Entails
Enochian Theory Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After being very impressed with their previous album "Evollution:Creatio Ex Nihilio" from 2009 which I gave 4.5 stars to, I tracked down this their latest recording from 2012 called "Life...And All It Entails". The previous record was very much a Post-Metal album in my opinion with lots of dark atmosphere and some nice heaviness throughout. This one still captures that mood for the most part although I find the closing two tracks a little too lightweight for my tastes as they are getting close to being ballad-like. Up until then though this was a 5 star album. The lyrics are so meaningful reminding me of my own thoughts at times. Once again we get THE LOST ORCHESTRA adding a lot of depth and atmosphere to the proceedings.

"This Aching Isolation" opens with a strange atmosphere as vocals and music kick in just before a minute. He reminds me of the singer of BIG BIG TRAIN when he sings with passion just before 2 minutes. Nice orchestral sounds as well. This is so moving(gulp). "HZ" has this cool atmospheric rhythm that continues for almost 2 minutes. It reminds me of FATES WARNING and their "Disconnect" album. Vocals arrive and there's plenty of emotion and depth. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes as dual guitar lines just off-set join in. "They watch as I squeeze...till there's...nothing left, nothing left...nothing left...it used to feel so alive...when the light comes...falter...as I reach out to your form...cower and stumble...as I kneel before you..." My God what lyrics. "Non Sum Qualis Eram" opens with slowly played piano as the atmosphere builds. Spoken sampled male words arrive sounding desperate and other voices can also be heard. An eerie track. "Distances" is fairly uptempo with vocals. A good song. "Inversions" has these Hogarth-like vocals and it's certainly a more subdued tune than the previous one. It does pick up 1 1/2 minutes in when the vocals stop. Orchestral sounds 2 minutes in then it picks up even more as the vocals return. So good, love the lyrics. "Creatio Ex Nihilio" is part of the title of the previous record and it features sampled female words along with other female sampled words reminding me of PORCUPINE TREE. Faint male words can be heard in static. Cool stuff.

"In Times Of Silence" has lots of atmosphere as reserved vocals join in along with strings and more. A song about remorse. It kicks in as he cries "How do you change the world when it doesn't want to change". I can't help but think of the slaughter of all those children on Pakistan that just happened as he sings that. The Defence Minister of Pakistan was quoted as saying "The smaller the casket, the heavier it is to carry". I hear you brother. Growly vocals just before 3 minutes are brief, whispering words late. "For Your Glory, Great Deceiver" has this mechanical atmosphere as low end guitar kicks in followed by growly vocals. They remind me of AGOLLOCH with those sinister growls. Normal vocals and a more upbeat sound arrive before 3 minutes. "Nisi Credideritis, Non Intelligetes" has picked guitars as vocals, bass and drums join in. It kicks in after a minute. Man these lyrics burn a hole in my heart. Extreme vocals after 3 1/2 minutes cry out then proceed to spit out the lyrics. What a climax to this track. "The Mothers Of The Machine" opens with beautiful guitar notes that echo as sampled female spoken words join in. This is the most PORCUPINE TREE track by far especially when we hear clips of George Bush speaking later on with that beat. I'm not big on the last two tracks but "Singularities" is pretty good early on and later as well. Later i'm reminded of ANATHEMA with the depth of sound while early on it's the strummed guitar and heaviness that follows that appeals to me. In between it's the higher pitched vocals and lyrics that get close to being ballad-like. Speaking of which that's how i'd describe the final song "Loves" not surprisingly given it's title. Just not a fan. The bonus track is "The Fire Around The Lotus" from the previous album but it's remastered here and it sounds great.

Another fantastic release from these Brits. I'll be watching for hopefully a new release in the future.

 Chain Reaction by DISTORTED HARMONY album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.96 | 77 ratings

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Chain Reaction
Distorted Harmony Progressive Metal

Review by TheMasterMofo

5 stars Distorted Harmony's first album, Utopia, was a very good album. Chain Reaction takes it a step further. It sounds more refined and mature than its predecessor but retains the excellent sense of melody and heavy riffs found in Utopia.

The album opens with Every Time She Smiles, which starts out with a long atmospheric intro before giving way to an alternative style riff. The verses are backed by playful basslines and feature light vocals. The whole song is very laid back, not overly flashy or heavy, but heavy enough in the right moments with a few short bursts of technicality. The song builds a little bit near the end, and the final chorus is definitely a strong, powerful way to end the song.

Children of Red immediately establishes itself as a heavier song, an intricate yet heavy and easy-to-accept intro riff with a completely different style vocally. The drums really help drive the aggression of this song home. Then, you hit the chorus, which is a nice anthem-like break from the aggressive heaviness of the verse, but as the chorus goes back to the verse... It's time to growl! That was unexpected. This song has an awesome contrast of extremely heavy, in-your-face metal and catchy, driving rock anthem.

Misguided is an awesome song full of deep, rumbling guitar riffs and perfectly timed keyboards. The verses feature some extremely nifty and proggy/jazzy bass and drums with some interesting sounds in the background from the keyboards and guitars, accentuating the vocals. I love how they build the verse up by adding more the second time around and hitting a higher level when going into the chorus. Misha Soukhinin has a great range on this song as well, hitting some nice, clear highs when needed. By far the most impressive feature of this song is how you can listen to the verses, which are essentially the same, but feel completely different from one another due to the way DH subtly adds in more the second time around. Oh, and the instrumental near the end is pretty awesome, too. The bass really shines throughout this song and it helps set the tone for some very tasteful shredding from the lead guitars.

Nothing (but the rain) changes things up once more, starting out with some mellow piano and electronic- sounding drums with a nice beat. Slowly, the bass joins in. Then the song picks up, then it picks up some more... Once again DH does a beautiful job at building up a song and creating the mood it wants to create instead of jumping straight into it. This song doesn't have anything else to it, but it didn't need anything else. Great instrumental.

As One is possibly the heaviest song on the album, giving several nice head bang moments while featuring a chorus that allows you to head bob rather than headbang. When the song moves over into its instrumental section it quiets down for a bit before punching you in the face with an angry, heavy-hitting guitar riff. The keyboards do a great job at accentuating the heavy guitars and drums without taking away from them.

Hollow is my personal favorite song on this album... The intro is a simple clean guitar chord progression, but somehow it really catches my attention. It sets a very somber, wistful mood before the distortion comes in, melodic but heavy. The verse jumps around a lot in terms of timing and the overall feel of the song, becoming a little chaotic at times but somehow retaining its melody. The chorus is a hard, middle-eastern riff with soaring vocals. For much of the album the lead guitars are subdued compared to DH's first album, Utopia... This isn't the case in this song. The lead guitars shred around for a bit with some great little sweeps and runs before the song returns to its roots. The song ends by chugging the rumbling low riff featured earlier.

As You Go, much like Hollow, starts out pretty soft. Unlike Hollow, it stays that way. Initially featuring atmospheric keyboards and a major key, happy acoustic chord progression, the vocals are spot-on through the verse. The chorus is very folksy and artsy, something completely unlike everything else on the album so far... Eventually, the bass, some piano, and then the drums kick in and the song manages to build itself up while retaining the same mood with which it began.

Natural Selection lets you know right away that you're in for a technical, progressive metal ride, and oh, are you. DH reverts to what they're becoming known for; contrasting heavy, technical guitar-driven parts with bass and vocal-driven verses... This song has the best pre-chorus in DH's discography so far and one of the better choruses as well, and Soukhinin's vocals a very impressive throughout the entire song. The instrumental portion of this song features some heavy guitar chugging with nice harmonies from the keyboard and guitar, but nothing is overdone or very flashy.

Methylene Blue is a very atmospheric piece lead by a synth riff and some droning bass/low synth. Eventually the tasteful drums begin accentuating the mood and you get a few hints of guitar. Then the mood shifts slightly as the clean guitars take over with piano and drums in the background. After being moody for a long time, the drums build with the snare and distorted guitars come ringing in. Then a lovely melodious guitar lead highlights some of the previous vocal melodies with plenty of embellishment. Eventually from out of the moody atmospheric ashes rises a harsh, aggressive guitar riff, which takes over before allowing the keyboards to come in on top of it and add to an already cool-sounding riff. The ending of the song returns to the atmospheric vibe from the beginning of the song, which I definitely feel was the most appropriate way to end the song and the album.

The TL;DR version of this review is that Distorted Harmony is a great band absolutely worth checking out. It seems like the new prog band of the decade has almost universally been deemed to be Haken, but while Haken has definitely put out some great music since 2010, I feel like Distorted Harmony ought to be mentioned right there with them.

 Utopia by DISTORTED HARMONY album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 181 ratings

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Utopia
Distorted Harmony Progressive Metal

Review by TheMasterMofo

4 stars From the very beginning of the first song, Kono Yume, I somehow knew that I was going to love this album... A beautiful intricate piano line opens up the album and then gives way to a very heavy, crushing guitar riff, backed by thundering drums, before a searing guitar lead scorches your face with blazing speed.

And that's just the first two minutes of the song!

I'm always looking for new, exciting prog metal bands, and most of the time when I think I've found something, I either wind up being disappointed or I'll be excited about it for a week or two before putting the album away and not listening to it ever again. I'm not going to lie and say that I've listened to this album every day since it came out, or even every week - not even every month - but I do wind up coming back to it every so often and remembering why I have such a positive connection with it; the album is just good.

Distorted Harmony is an extremely melodic band; the keyboards and guitars tell stories in pretty much every lengthy song. What's impressive to me is that they have combined this fantastic sense of melody with some really heavy, technically impressive moments. Utopia is a very nice blend of harmony, melody, and heaviness, and vocally it's solid all the way through.

To me, the standout tracks of the entire album are Breathe, Obsession, and Utopia. Breathe begins with beautiful acoustic guitars before interchanging between a really dark, heavy riff and some nice, relaxing soft moments. Obsession will remind you of Pain of Salvation back when they were an upper echelon prog metal band. Utopia's instrumental intro is one of the better aggressive heavy metal sections I've heard so far this decade. By the time you get halfway through the song you begin reflecting on the lyrics "No one dares to protest..." and then they give you a quiet interlude to continue reflecting before waking you up with a killer instrumental section again. The song (and album) end on a beautiful, emotional ride lead by a great keyboard melody and excellently-delivered vocals.

I think lyrics are often a forgotten art in progressive metal. Everyone is impressed by great musicianship or vocals, so often lyrics are an afterthought. This album has solid lyrics all the way through, but the title track in particular is powerful, especially when considering the region from which the band hails.

If you, like me, are looking for exciting new prog metal bands, this one is worth checking out.

 Dawn On Pyther by PROJECT CREATION album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.67 | 14 ratings

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Dawn On Pyther
Project Creation Progressive Metal

Review by Star_Song_Age_Less

2 stars I have to begin with a sigh. I tried very hard to like this album. After years of repeated attempts to do so, I have unfortunately found that this music is not for me. I'll do my best to explain why, but first here's why I wanted to like it so badly.

First, the concept behind this sounds like it should be awesome. Dawn on Pyther is the 2nd of a series (yes, that's right: series, as in more than one album) of albums depicting a science fiction story about life beginning on a dead world. In a word: cool. As a Star Trek, Star Wars, and just about anything else "Star" fan, I could easily have gotten behind a concept like that. The second reason I wanted to like this album was because I chatted with Hugo Flores (Project Creation's creator) several times, which is how I came to order the CD in the first place, and I liked him. I liked his ideas, I liked that he wasn't pulling punches - doing something so ambitions is risky. So, I went into this ready, hoping, and expecting to be amazed.

I remember when I first received it I was fumbling with the packaging in the car so I could listen to it right away. My first experience listening to it was on a drive - I forget exactly how long now, but it wasn't long enough to hear the album all the way through. What I do remember is the feeling of my heart sinking further and further into the floor of the car as each track ended without anything of note occurring in it. There are a few things worth noting here: 1 - I am less picky about music when in the car because my mind is partially on driving and I'm therefore less inclined to be a critic, and 2 - I was not able to finish hearing the album immediately after leaving the car, so it had to wait until later that day. My first listening experience was therefore disjointed. At first, I put my lackluster impression down to reason # 2, and figured that reason # 1 distracted me this time. I hoped that once I gave this due attention with headphones, it would improve.

It is now many years later, however, and it has not improved. I find it difficult to make it through the first three tracks. I think I know why: 1 - The wonder of the concept is not adequately expressed in the music. The music is well executed, but the songwriting does not make me believe that I am on Pyther. I do not feel the alien landscape. 2 - The lyrics often strike me as clunky or too literal. 3 - Sections of the music are disjointed. They tend not to flow into each other. (Not always necessary - maybe this was an artistic choice but it didn't work for me). 4 - Many of the synth sounds used seemed cliche to me. 5 - Expression of the interesting concept seems to have taken a back-seat to showmanship. It feels like the album is saying, "look at me, I'm very prog" rather than, "this is what it would feel like to be on Pyther when this world-changing event is happening."

I doubt I will ever feel the urge to listen to this music again. However, I do have to say the technical proficiency of everyone involved was good. If you are just looking to hear someone play an instrument well within varying moods, you might like this. The production is very good, quite clean.

I should also say I was surprised to find this group listed as progressive metal. They do have some metal elements, but I wouldn't have given them this label myself.

In summation, the music did not live up to the concept. But the album was performed and produced well.

 Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House) by DREAM THEATER album cover DVD/Video, 2014
4.42 | 20 ratings

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Breaking The Fourth Wall (Live From The Boston Opera House)
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by TheMasterMofo

5 stars As a long time Dream Theater fan, there's a certain level of performance I've come to expect from Dream Theater when it comes to live shows, and while they certainly reach this level on Breaking the Fourth Wall, I think I have to start out by saying that this is absolutely the best vocal performance I've EVER heard from James Labrie. (Get ready for a rare Labrie love fest from me)

I became a Dream Theater fan in 2003. I was teaching private guitar lessons after school to make gas money for my car and one of my students handed me Awake and Train of Thought and told me that I was going to like them... I did. Since then, I've seen Dream Theater nearly every time they've come through the southeast U.S. and even went up to New York for the filming of their 20th anniversary Score DVD. I've stuck with DT through the good and the bad, but this is, IMO, their best live performance to date, and the only reason it's not perfect is because Mike Portnoy isn't featured...

Anyway, the first half of the show focuses on Dream Theater's last three albums: Black Clouds, Dramatic Turn of Events, and the self-titled album (And, randomly, Trial of Tears). While I could've done without The Shattered Fortress (Nightmare to Remember would've been better!), the song selection from these albums was fantastic, highlighting some of their best songs of this modern era of DT without repeating too many songs from Live at Luna Park, which seems like it just came out (it did). If you haven't given DT's newer stuff much of a chance, this is a very good chance to watch, listen, and determine whether or not you can truly get into it. The musicianship on the first half is amazing and James Labrie seems pretty much perfect.

Oh, speaking of Labrie, my friends and I were taking a drink whenever James Labrie did something particularly amazing because we could tell very early on in the set that he was sounding stronger than ever... By the end of the first half of the set we were fairly inebriated. What would happen next, none of us were prepared for...

The second half of the set focuses on two albums: Awake and Scenes From a Memory, two of DT's most monumental and critically acclaimed albums. The first two songs, The Mirror/Lie destroyed the night for my friends and I. What I mean by that is, Labrie sounded so ridiculously better than any time I've ever heard him perform these songs, even on the studio albums, that we wound up taking several rounds of triple shots to affirm his awesomeness during these two songs.

Needless to say, we didn't finish the DVD that night, but when we did, we enjoyed the rest of a great set of DT classics. If you've been waiting for years to hear Labrie nail vocals on your favorite Awake and Scenes songs, your wait is over; Labrie sounds better than ever. It's not just the fact that he's hitting the notes, or that he's doing it with clarity, or that he's doing it with confidence... He's doing all of those things, but he's got an attitude on stage, too. Labrie seems every bit as aware as I was of how great he sounded on stage. I've never seen Labrie own the stage like he does in this DVD, and I've seen DT more than ten times live now.

So, I've spent most of this review praising Labrie... You should know that Petrucci sounds great like normal, though his tone on some of the older songs seems out of place. Myung needed to be louder, but he does what he always does and plays a solid show. Rudess seems to fit in better with the newer music from the last three albums than he does with DT's older stuff, so he really shines in the first half of the set. He still does fine in the second half, but doesn't sound quite as good. Mangini is a wonderfully talented drummer and does as good a job as anyone could hope to do filling Mike Portnoy's shoes. Like Rudess, he sounds better on the recent songs, probably because when he plays the classics I'm comparing what he does to what Portnoy did and my brain can't accept anything differently.

All in all, this is, IMO, the best live DVD Dream Theater has ever put out. If you lost faith in James Labrie, this will restore it. If you never liked him to begin with, you probably will after watching this. And of course I say DVD throughout this review, but I purchased the Bluray. The quality is great, but I'm not well-versed enough in the nerdom of audio/video quality to give any relevant comments.

If you like DT, get this DVD. If you live good music, get this DVD. If you like redemption stories (Labrie, who has been bashed for quite a while), get this DVD.

Get this DVD.

 Take Cover by QUEENSRYCHE album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.15 | 92 ratings

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Take Cover
Queensr che Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I'm really not a fan of cover albums unless the songs have been reworked in a very creative and unique way beyond the parameters of the original intent. QUEENSRYCHE released their tenth studio album TAKE COVER which is admittedly a clever name for an album totally devoted to their take on other's music. There's quite a range of artists COVERed here ranging from Pink Floyd to Black Sabbath to The Police and Peter Gabriel to even the O'Jays. The range of influences is great but there are a few factors which really keep me from getting excited about this album one of which is the fact i'm really not a fan of all cover songs for albums!

Firstly, Geoff Tate's vocals just don't sound right to me on some of the arrangements that were clearly constructed around the original vocalists abilities. This includes "Red Rain," "Welcome To The Machine" and "Neon Knights." Secondly, I don't think the band adds much to the way of creative interpretations for the most part. There are a few exceptions. I think they do take some creative license on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" and "For The Love Of Money" from the O'Jays.

Where I think the band shine especially with Geoff Tate's vocals is where they have always been at home and that is with the more operatic type of music and that is displayed quite well on Carlo Marrale's "Odissea." This is my favorite track on the entire album. I know some will find this album satisfying but I really have no desire to hear a whole album of QUEENSRYCHE doing covers. I do appreciate a well-crafted cover song slipped into an otherwise original album but despite being a hardcore fan (up to "Promised Land" anyways) I have no desire to ever hear this one.

 Castles in the sand by BEYOND THE LABYRINTH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.51 | 3 ratings

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Castles in the sand
Beyond The Labyrinth Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Beyond the Labyrinth is one of the lesser known prog metal acts coming from Belgium. They released 3 albums since now that gone under the rader in prog circles. I reviewed the debut some years ago and I like what I've hered there so I decided to check the follow up. The follow up is named Castles in the send and was issued in 2008. Well, despitting some well executed instrumental parts , the overall album is usual stuff , at least for me, plus that the voice of Jo De Boeck doesn't add nothing new under the horizon in the overall sound. There are some great guitar chops and good keybords interluded, but is lacking in something to really grab this album a lot The forte pieces are Beyond The Labyrinth and the beautiful For Eternity with excellent keyboards. All in all decent , nothing more, and I think Castles in the sand is little less intresting then the debut. I should check their third one from 2011 to see how they manageing to evolve. 3 stars for me, ok but far from excellent.
 Second by SYNCROMIND PROJECT album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Second
Syncromind Project Progressive Metal

Review by Lear'sFool

4 stars Two great musicians, an Italian and a Pole, have come together in Germany to cut some great prog rock and prog metal filled to the brim with nice guitars and keys. The rock side is triumphant, the guitar crying tears of joy and sounding somewhere between the best of arena rock coming home to prog and the best of guitar muzak spicing things up. The metal side is of a good thickness and weight, the guitar now coming down hard and fast. On both sides the keys add extra texture and levity. Synths and pianos both do their espective jobs in this sense. The Italian, Ferrara, as such is our hero with his wonderful work on the twice mentioned guitar, pretty much making the album. His bass is also well played. The Pole, Lis, gives us the keys and gives us them well. His drums complete the picture. The opener "Strong Principle" is the best track, but everything on here is worth a listen. A great effort by this skillful duo.
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Progressive Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
5R6 Ukraine
7 MONTHS United States
7DAYS Sweden
AAXSKFG Italy
ABANDONED STARS United Kingdom
ABERRANT VASCULAR Finland
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ABYDOS Germany
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ACHING BEAUTY France
ACID RAIN Argentina
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AGE OF NEMESIS Hungary
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AGORA Mexico
AINA Netherlands
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ALKEMYST France
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ALY Mexico
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ANIMATIONS Poland
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ANSATA Brazil
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ARK Norway
ART OF SIMPLICITY Greece
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ASHENT Italy
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ATAR─XIA Spain
ATHEM United States
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THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS Netherlands
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IVAN BERTOLLA Australia
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THE BLACK MAGES Japan
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A CHINESE FIREDRILL United States
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