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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

4.29 | 2089 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.29 | 2157 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.27 | 1206 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.25 | 917 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.23 | 785 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr che
4.22 | 929 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.21 | 846 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.19 | 912 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.19 | 828 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.13 | 1462 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.16 | 529 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.21 | 226 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.18 | 289 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.11 | 1538 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.12 | 688 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.16 | 268 ratings
PARALLELS
Fates Warning
4.11 | 537 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.14 | 292 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.17 | 192 ratings
A SOCIAL GRACE
Psychotic Waltz
4.12 | 344 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Progressive Metal experts team

THE EDGE
Eternity X
DARK DECEIVER
Zero Hour
THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY
Epica
PATHOSRAY
Pathosray

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Glorious Collision by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.02 | 44 ratings

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Glorious Collision
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars By 2011, only founder Thomas Englund remained from the line-up of the breakthrough In Search of Truth album. Sound on Glorious Collision is minimally progressive, but tries to be hip. Its all about overproduced guitars, electronic synths (which are admittedly more diverse than usual for Evergrey) and the passionate choruses, though I must say that Englund a rare vocalist who still keeps getting better after so many years. Even more, I've seen them in concert on the Glorious Collision tour, and he's even better live. In fact, Englund could be a power metal version of the American Idol alumnee Daughtry of the often disliked too-commercial-to-be-genuine "post-grunge" style, whom I nevertheless must shamefully confess a soft spot for.
 Momentum by DGM album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.94 | 17 ratings

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Momentum
DGM Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars DGM (stands for "Diego Gianfranco Maurizio" a founding member) hails from Italy and began as an instrumental band all the way back in 1994 and has released several albums since then with many a member coming and going over the years. They basically are a power metal band with a few minor progressive twists now and again. To be honest I don't hear much progressiveness on this album so I have to assume that they must have had more of it on previous albums for them to be considered as such.

This is another highly rated album and group that just doesn't do it for me. Nothing bad here. Everything is played quite well and done in the proper manor. It's just really predictable and generic. Even the solos fit into the formulaic song structures which are ok but nothing that really stands out. Nothing new until track 6 when we finally get some piano. It's like haven't I heard all this somewhere before? Not sure this would have really stood out ten years ago. The production is extremely well done and the musicians are top notch but this just lacks the originality and diversity that makes an album interesting for me after so many phenomenal power metal albums have been released. Listening to MOMENTUM leaves me no desire to check out any of their previous albums. Love the album cover though.

 The Inner Circle by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.90 | 149 ratings

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The Inner Circle
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars The Inner Circle concludes (almost) everyone's favorite trilogy of Evergrey classic albums (In Search of Truth, Recreation Day). I've always thought that Englund's confessional, gruff style vocals and concepts about alien abduction and doomsday cults (predominantly American cultural phenomena) gave Evergrey a certain American feel. That's why the integration of power metal and gospel-like sounds was a good idea. In the Wake of the Weary is a great example of this, while A Touch of Blessing is a candidate for a mid-paced anthem of the year. The rest of the songs get less consistent (always a problem with Evergrey). After that band simplified their sound and entered a period of personnel turmoil and tanked with critics and fans, as evidenced by a drop in their ratings here on PA. However, I think that altering the style was a logical step, since Evergrey gave us three good albums and formula started to wear a little thin.
 March Of Progress by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 323 ratings

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March Of Progress
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars That's it, it's the end of the world as we know it! Topsy bloody turvy! Yours truly, famous for having a huge collection devoid of any Dream Theater, Mastodon, Tool, Messhugah, etc? and looking at the Tech/Extreme prog-metal section of PA and going, what is this? has finally decided to give the chugga-chugga a chance. Up to now, my prog-metal was revolving around Roswell Six, Queensryche, Ayreon, Mastermind, a single Shadow Gallery album , a single Iron Maiden recording and Opeth's very soft "Damnation". Pfff, limp, I know. Well, I always felt that metal was like jazz and blues, it needed to be a live experience to be truly enjoyed. So I decided that in my golden age, I was going to prove to myself that I can rock, hard and long (LOL) with headphones on. So I got hooked up with a few vids, read a few glowing reviews and really liked "Ashes" as well as "That's Why We Came", certainly enough to pull the amazon trigger. I knew of Damian and Karl from their associations with the more neo-heavy prog scene but the rest were revelations, especially drummer Johanne James kicking some serious butt. The mail was particularly rapid as my CD arrived within a few days, here in the country music hotbed that is Calgary (stop giggling, you silly cowboys) and I wasted no time in getting cranked up and harassing my neighbours with torrential guitars. So I downed a case of Red Bull, swallowed 12 Viagra pills, united 'March of Progress" with my vintage Danish Bang & Olufsen system and my girlfriend's funeral is now set for mid-week!

The terrific "Ashes" pummels forth, slicing through the sweltering synths and getting all bothered up, the guitars hammering fast and hard, with Damian Wilson soaring like some leather-lunged oil-rigger on speed. There is nothing innovative here really, nor is it particularly scary, just tightly played prog-metal of the highest melodic content possible. In fact, it comes across like Maiden with a keyboard player! But what do I know, being such a novice at this type of head-banging stuff. I deeply enjoyed the wah-wah solo from Groom or is it Morten? a trait that is sorely missed in the more conventional neo-symph-crossover shrines that I pray to. Any music fan would enjoy this opening blast.

The more mid-tempo steamroller "Return of the Thought Police" is not only a highly reflective piece with serious subject matter but the music is nuanced enough to attract the simpletons as well as the technocrats. The dual guitar hammer solidly, the keys bubble and the drums pound mercilessly. 'I promise you', he says!

"Staring at the Sun" is lethally sharp and honed, as if a condemned man is looking up at some out of control guillotine and wondering when the basket will fill with his blood. The keys offer both eerie piano and bubbling synths, bullied by the screeching lead guitar solo that punches ahead. Damian Wilson can sure sing high notes, BTW!

"Liberty Complacency Dependency" is shorter on melody and more focused on blasting away in a different style that I find has always been my difficulty with metal (it's too smart for its own good at times) , somewhat in contrast to country in that it's not smart enough for its own good! I understand that this style is more attuned to the dedicated rockers out there.

"Colophon" is a more like it, a moody rocker that shuttles forward with interesting breaks, some piano and clanging guitar providing a different doom-laden vibe. By this time, I find myself tiring from all the pummeling. Thankfully, "The Hours" comes to the rescue, a cinematographic epic that transcends the power rock formula by offering a more diverse palette of sound, thrashing guitar onslaughts notwithstanding. Damian is more down to earth here, mellifluous and yet bold, a studied exercise in prog-metal singing. The instrumental break buzzes with dual guitar electricity and a hint of classical symphonics, a track that I enjoyed very much.

The video for "That's Why We Came" is what hooked me, an ultra-stimulating melody that sticks from the very first note, reminding me more of Roswell Six's classic first album. Wilson again displays intense versatility. A real cool melody that could have easily been on an Arena album, standard melodic genius and perfect delivery.

The tortuous "Don't Look Down" is a sly little devil, starting out quite conventional (Read: boring) before evolving into a sensational level of contrasting sections , alternating between heavy and light, complex and accessible, stop/starts on a dime, shifting riffs and blustery axe solos. A bloody whirlwind that took me by surprise. I did look down, in shame, blast!

Peter Morten's comp "Coda" is described as a Judas Priest-like tune (I don't know Judas that well but I do like leather, lol), machinegun-like attack, careening drums, explosive bass and a rather hysteric vocal. Hmm, not bad, maybe I should check out Priest, wot? Definitely, off the beaten path.

The 10 minute epic "Rubicon" is the final nail in my ignorant coffin, a sublime piece dedicated to that moment in everyone's life when indecision is relieved by the urgency to act, a decision to throw caution to the wind and take the plunge into uncertainty. Julius Caesar did it ("alea iacta est") in 49 BC, crossing his XIIIth Legion and thus forcing Rome's hand, passing the point of no return. This is the 'prog' part of prog-metal, using historical inspiration to write thunderous music. A bloody brilliant church organ segment really highlights the imperial bombast, as centurion Damianus Wilsonus bellows to the Coliseum faithful, thumb raised upward. The torrential guitars bluster, like a victorious legion returning from battle.

This megalodon album has sharp teeth, primal yearning and a relentless temperament that has ravaged my misgivings about prog-metal, offering a tantalizing platform to admire the lethal attributes this genre occasionally provides.

4 Evolutionary strides

 Recreation Day by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.53 | 104 ratings

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Recreation Day
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars On Recreation Day (don't let title confuse you - its about facing death), follow-up to their first nig success, In Search of Truth, Sweden's Evergrey refine their trademark brand of dark, soul-drenching power prog. In Search of Truth is more popular with reviewers here than Recreation Day, but I think the latter is a slicker record, more diverse in sound and tempo (although I'd still like to see more variety here), with songs like End of Your Days, As I Lie Here Bleeding and namesake just screaming to be shouted out loud with your fists in the air, while Your Darkest Hour provides some simple, but appealing keyboard melodies and tempo changes.
 For The Journey by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.59 | 41 ratings

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For The Journey
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by buddyblueyes

4 stars The Snickers of Progressive Metal.

Damian Wilson could sing about pomeranian puppies playing pattycake in the poppy fields and sell it in a way that would make the most ferocious, die hard metal fan ferris wheel their brain pan with school girl delight. For The Journey is Threshold 's sophomore follow up to March Of Progress, which found the band reuniting with Wilson after a long hiatus. March of Progress was a great title for an album that essentially got listeners fired up for revolution, ready to take the mutinous stance of opposition against big government, politics, and the economical greed of "the man." With pitchfork and torch in hands we were expecting the next vigilante theme song, the soundtrack for headhunting the 1%-ers throughout the world. For The Journey, however, leaves us standing confused amongst the ranks, without sonic leadership. The themes for this album were a little darker, more obscured and less abrasive. "Soft" you ask? Nah, there's a new facet, a dark creepy factor is ominously present, especially with songs like "The Box" or "Autumn Red." The lyrics are still somewhat fueled by malcontent and angst, like the previous release, but also foresee the barren, post-apocalyptic landscape -- the fallout, the aftermath. Perhaps Frank Herbert got it right with Children Of Dune: the blossoming of every revolution already contains within it the seeds for it's own destruction, even if victorious. [note: don't read that statement while stoned or you'll ponder the complexity and forget to breathe for a duration which may cause you to black out.]

Threshold is a band that understands their "sound" and there's a specific direction and philosophy that has remained strongly consistent throughout much of their discography. They have solidified their position as one of the best prog metal bands out there, having catchier lyrics, hooks, and melodies than the countless Dream Theater clones (and perhaps even DT themselves!). Threshold remains the most accessible of the prog metal acts. They stay laser-focused on proven song structures and formulas, but it's done so well you find yourself not asking for something experimental. It works. It satisfies. It's the Snickers of progressive metal.

For the Journey is another solid release. The musicianship is superb. There's a quiet reserve about the musicians that hint at a skill set that can easily keep up with the most young, tech/extreme bands out there. But Threshold is mature enough to ask: why would they want to? What's the point? Do they spotlight themselves or the song? The songs take priority. Period. Not to say there's not some dynamic playing, though, just check out the drum break at 3:35 of "Autumn Red" if you're questioning the chops. A few extra spins concludes this release fares up there with March Of Progress. Now if the guys can only make their way to the US for some touring! That would make this reviewer happier than pomeranian puppies playing... well, you get the point.

Wishful concert band pairing: Pagan's Mind.

 In Search Of Truth by EVERGREY album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.07 | 137 ratings

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In Search Of Truth
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Shame on me and my preconceptions. I've thought Evergrey, being from Gothernburg, to be a Swedish doomy-depressive band a la Catatonia. While this is certainly not happy music and every album deals this way or another with man's inner turmoil, its actually of the gothic-laced power prog variety, all pounding riffs and catchy choruses with keyboard embellishments. While most bands of this type deal in musical cheese or esotericism, Evergrey's leader, Thomas Englund, sounds like a guy ripping his shirt and exposing his innermost to the world. This style calls for soulfulness, and Evergrey wisely use it occasionally to enhance their sound with gospel-like female vocals. If I had a problem with Evergrey is that they tend to front-load their albums and not enough variety, as the same type of pounding riffs and intense vocals get tiresome after a while with just a brief, perfunctionary respite in form of generic ballads and softer vocals.
 The Human Equation by AYREON album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 911 ratings

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The Human Equation
Ayreon Progressive Metal

Review by FragileKings

5 stars Part 1: Fiction

Sometime in the very recent past, Arjen Lucassen, using the theory of non-linear time and a device not unlike the TARDIS, visited my profile page on PA and my CD collection at my house and said, "Peter, I am going to make an album just for you and people like you. I see you are a fan of traditional metal but have been discovering more recent progressive metal artists. You prefer good singers who can use drama and affect subtle emotions in their voices to the shouters and the growlers; however, I see that you have recently begun to enjoy Mikael Akerfeldt's death growl vocals and you like singers with power. You also like the theatrical singers like Geoff Tate. You used to be a fan of some female vocalists long ago but not so much in recent times. Alright, I have an idea for a rock opera which I think you will enjoy and I know of some people whose vocals you will really appreciate, male and female."

"You are a big fan of concept narratives like The Wall, Operation: Mind Crime, Subterranea, and Scenes from a Memory. I think you'll like what I have in mind. I see you also really like neo-prog these days and have a special affinity for Celtic music. You like flutes and acoustic guitars as well as metal music; you can appreciate intelligent rock and pop; you love catchy melodies and vocal harmonies; recently you have found you can appreciate synthesizer much more than before and violins too; and I see you mentioned on PA last week that you like classic Uriah Heep. Okay. I am pretty sure that when you here this album that I am going to make, it will blow you out of the water. Now I am going back and have it ready by 2004. You have already found it here in 2014. Now order it and enjoy."

Part 2: Fact

The Saint Elias Mountains are the highest mountain range in North America and the second highest peak on the continent is found here. Mount Logan stands 5,959 metres high and is said to possibly have the largest subaerial mass of any mountain on the planet. The massif rises 3,000 metres above the surrounding icefields and supports an icefield of its own 25 by 10km in surface area. There are thirteen peaks above this icefield, eleven of them over 5,000 metres elevation. I am going to use Mt. Logan's topography as a metaphor for listening to "The Human Equation".

Part 3: Review

"The Human Equation" has reminded me of Mt. Logan quite simply because the emotional experience of listening to this album the first time and the second time has been one big high from start to finish with several peaks elevating me to the highest levels of music enjoyment. It would not seem unreasonable to me to rate this album referencing Mt. Logan's elevation by awarding it 5.959 stars. I have in my CD collection some very few albums that I have enjoyed so much that I would give them six stars if possible. "Any last requests?" "Yes, please allow me to listen to Ayreon's "The Human Equation" one last time.

Yes, I am a sucker for a good concept narrative album. Though I don't listen to it often because of the time necessary to run it from start to finish, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" is always an emotional ride like watching a favourite movie. More recently, Dream Theater's "Scenes from a Memory" became a close second favourite concept narrative of mine, and the excitement and suspense I felt after the first listen two years ago still filled me again when I listened to it most recently a couple of months back. Now Ayreon's "The Human Equation" has hit me with the same impact. Powerful music, strong melodies, an array of instruments and a cast of superb vocalists and musicians, this album was like reading a good book where I loved the moment I was in and was excited to hear what was going to happen next.

The story is basic enough. A man is in a coma in the hospital and his wife and best friend visit him and talk together. He mysteriously crashed his car into a tree on a lone road in broad daylight. During his twenty days of coma, he speaks with his emotions: Fear, Love, Reason, Passion, Pride, Agony, and Rage. We learn that he came from a broken home and overcame bullying at school by becoming a bully himself. He and his best friend both got jobs at the same company and were both in line for the same promotion, but it was his friend who was the better candidate. Our protagonist sabotaged his friend's promotion prospect but felt great guilt. We also learn that he saw his wife in the arms of another man, his best friend, though they both claim that it was only a consoling moment he witnessed. During his time in a coma, he reviews his life and his betrayal of his friend, and in the end decides that he must survive his accident, awaken, and confess to his friend and make things right. The story reminded me a little of that movie with Harrison Ford where he wakes up with amnesia and tries to put his life back together, discovering that he was a real prick before his accident. The best friend betrayal reminded me of "Ghost" and the surprise ending made me think of "Vanilla Sky" for some reason.

Though the story itself is a bit unoriginal, the cast of singers playing their parts and the music make this such a wonderful album. The first track introduces the scene in the hospital and the sound of a car approaching the instant of the crash. The second track had me from the start with James LaBrie (Me, the protagonist) and Mikael Akerfeldt (Fear) in a sung dialogue and then the flute and wonderful synthesizer solo (very Pink Floyd "On the Run" at first). From LaBrie's first words I was reminded of Nicholas in "Scenes from a Memory" and I thought how appropriate his voice is for this character.

Before the third track, "Pain" had even finished, I was loving it so much that I added it to a playlist I'm constructing of recently acquired favourite tunes. There I was feeling like singing along to the chorus without even knowing the words yet. If this were Mt. Logan, I'd already be on one of the summits.

Usually when an album has such a good start, I expect that there will be a song or two that won't be very thrilling. "The Human Equation", however, continues with songs that feature surprise elements that seem to have been added just for my personal taste. Listen to the Jimmy Page guitar and the beginning of "Voices" which gets a dose of violin in that special Led Zeppelin / Tea Party sound and then flute like Jethro Tull. The keyboard melody of "Hope" reminds me of the Byrds' classic Rickenbacker guitar melodies. Just before I came home from the train station the first night I heard this, I walked right past my house out to where the road went between two dark fields and I played this song two times more, dancing on the dark street. I can't recall the last time I felt so compelled to dance to a song. Track 16, "Loser", with its Celtic guitar and flute also had me dancing. How good that music felt! And even this morning as I try to finish typing this review, the chorus to "Love" is in my head after having only heard it twice. It reminds me of a cross between Meatloaf's rock operas and a chorus by classic Sweet.

The second disc delivers more great music without losing pace. "Trauma", "Sign", "Betrayal" and "Loser" are all immensely enjoyable, but it's "Loser" that comes out as possibly the true summit of the mountain for me and has received several replays. Combining didgeridoo with Celtic guitar and flute and then an eruption of heavy metal guitar to a jig, this song is just one incredible joyride. Me's gloating, self-righteous, and sardonic father is well portrayed by Mike Baker; however Devin Townsend's throat-shredding scream "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER" in the last part of the song to the heavy metal jig was like the most delicious ear candy I had heard yet. I had to stop listening to the album here because I simply could not digest any more of this phenomenal music in one day. I listened to the whole album through the next day and when it concluded I felt as though I had just watched the most incredible movie I had seen in ages.

Part 4: Conclusion

Now I have heard the album twice and listened to several songs from three to perhaps ten times more. If you've ever heard people say, "This music feels like it written for me," well then that's just how I feel. From beginning to end, I follow the story, eager to hear the lyrics, to hear each person's voice as a singer and as a performer and actor. There is so much to the music and all the styles and sounds are so well integrated that it doesn't feel like a hodge podge of styles thrown together just to have diversified music. I have chosen three songs as must haves for my playlists, but there are several others that have been played again independently. The only drawback is that there is over an hour and forty minutes of music, so a good slice of time is required to listen to this all the way through. I have had to listen to disc one on the way to work and then disc two on the way home. Additionally, I received this disc along with a few others, including Steven Wilson's "The Raven that Refused to Sing" and Evergrey's "In Search of Truth" and both are eclipsed by this incredible package of music and drama.

A visit to Mt. Logan and its thirteen peaks would be an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience, but "The Human Equation" is ready for me to hear again as soon as I am ready to push play.

My apologies for the super long review. This is my 100th review on PA and I am really so pleased to have an album to be this excited about for this milestone. Out of five, I give it 5.959 stars, rounded down to five stars for this site.

 [A]synchronous by WATSON, TAYLOR album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 2 ratings

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[A]synchronous
Taylor Watson Progressive Metal

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars A remarkable debut record from son of Fusion legend Dean Watson, this music has a fusion going on of its own: There are many times that I feel that I'm hearing the walls of sound of DEVIN TOWNSEND's guitar-heavy work or TOOL. But I also hear many melodic moments, variations, and I can access much more of the individual instruments' work here. All-instrumental, Taylor weaves some very interesting themes and riffs together in a singular and fresh way--which is why I can tolerate this type of metal/extreme metal better than I can Devin's. The music is complex and the musicianship virtuosic (with some great engineering tricks) but not over-the-top nor sacrificing quirk or engaging melodies. I also find myself reminded of one of my all-time favorite albums, PROGHMA-C's Bar-do Travel while listening to manny parts of this album. If this is where young Mr. Watson is starting then, watch out world! We're going to see (and hear) great things in the future from this musical wiz-kid.

5 star songs: "(A)Synchronous" (6:00) (9/10), "Moments" (6:36) (10/10), and "Tarnished Rendition" (7:05) (9/10).

The rest are all solid four star compositions. A very solid four star album. Kudos, Taylor!

 The Sickness And The Theory by MARCHING MIND album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.76 | 36 ratings

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The Sickness And The Theory
Marching Mind Progressive Metal

Review by Progulator

2 stars At first, The Sickness and the Theory by Canada's Marching mind seemed very promising. Marching Mind was proving themselves early on to have an ultra-modern sound that spanned the boundaries of prog rock and metal without feeling like they were pigeonholed into either one. I quickly caught on to what some really good songs that were catchy, proggy, and really grooved. Then what happened? Nothing. That's the problem. The Sickness and the Theory just didn't seem to take me anywhere. What seemed inspiring at the start grew stale as the tracks went on, until the album felt like there wasn't really anything that stood out, getting more and more monotonous. I expect that fans with leanings towards a modern and somewhat commercial sound (especially in the vocals) will enjoy this album, but somehow it didn't bring me into transcendent territory that good prog always does for me.
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