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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 | 2226 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.28 | 2292 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.26 | 1286 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.24 | 980 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 852 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr˙che
4.21 | 998 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.21 | 888 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.20 | 956 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.19 | 872 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.16 | 551 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.19 | 305 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.13 | 1537 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.20 | 241 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.11 | 1621 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.13 | 713 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.12 | 576 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.23 | 133 ratings
MERCY FALLS
Seventh Wonder
4.13 | 365 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.14 | 310 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.17 | 196 ratings
INTO THE EVERFLOW
Psychotic Waltz

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

MANIFESTO FOR FUTURISM
Dali's Dilemma
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Ice Age
PRINCIPLES OF TRANSFORMATION
Super String Theory
BEYOND THE STARS
Ivory Tower

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Songs For Insects  by THOUGHT INDUSTRY album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.59 | 19 ratings

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Songs For Insects
Thought Industry Progressive Metal

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars Thought Industry-Songs for Insects

'Songs for Insects' is the debut studio album by avant-garde/thrash metal band Thought Industry. This is one weird band and album, and you may wonder how they got signed to a major label so quickly in their career. Well, Metallica's Jason Newsted brought their demo to the ears of Metal Blade Records and they were signed on. Thought Industry would continue to be pretty damn weird until their fourth release in 1997 when they moved in an alternative rock direction.

If you listen to this album once, you most likely won't fully understand it. However, the more you listen, the more the pure strangeness just sinks into your brain. This is no ordinary thrash album as you can most likely tell by the usage of Salvador Dali's 'Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonitions of Civil War)' as an album cover. This is a crazy avant-garde technical thrash metal album with a big smorgasbord of musical styles combined, and probably one of the most unique albums I've ever heard. While this is an album that needs a few listens to fully understand, the opening track 'Third Eye' is an instant gem. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it, the fast-paced drum beats and the grooving stomp of the guitars opens this song perfectly. Once Brent Oberlin's vocals come in, it fits perfectly with the crunching guitar and just sends chills down my spine. Easily my favorite on the album.

The weirdness comes in with the next song, the title track. This nearly 10-minute song never stays in one place. From thrashing goodness, to menacing passages with meandering guitar, to crazy drumming combined with wacky bass slaps that would later be heard in Mudvayne's 'L.D. 50' album. My second favorite from the album is probably 'Cornerstone' with it's industrial groove. Oberlin gives some strange vocals here, with weird guitar and mechanical drum pounding. The avant-garde strangeness continues with 'Daughter Mobius', which enters in with what sounds like some folk dance before thrashing guitar comes in. Next is the beautiful acoustic track 'Alexander Vs. The Puzzle', before being assaulted with another wacky thrash song in 'Ballerina' with great unique vocals from Oberlin. As you can probably tell, the lyrics are mostly surreal and unconventional, matching the Dali album cover. The song 'Third Eye', however, has awesome political lyrics such as 'Someone lied about God and Country but I have a third eye politically. What will it take to tear it all down? What does it take to see the U.S. draft's a lie.'

Overall, this will most likely be one of the weirdest albums you'll ever hear. It may take a few listens to really enjoy it, but I highly recommend this album to anyone wanting something weird, avant-garde, and unique. If you like thrash metal, groove metal, industrial metal, or anything avant-garde, this has elements of all of those.

(Originally written for www.metalmusicarchives.com)

 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 56 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by M27Barney

5 stars Just Like "Room V" by Shadow Gallery and "Scenes from a Memory" by Dream Theater this CD has introduced me to a new progressive metal band. And just like those two CD's I mentioned ? it has had a massive impact on me. I haven't heard any of the back catalogue ? so it should be fun sampling some of those in the next 12 months. Anyway, this CD ? almost certainly a must get CD because it is a lengthy concept, a full 78 minutes and I feel that it keeps its focus all the way through. I must admit to being pleased ? that finally a band has had the guts to base their concept on the theory of evolution! The epic is named after Richard Dawkins (Evolutionary Professor, who graduated from and lectured at Oxford University) book "The Greatest Show on Earth" ? and they even have Mr Dawkins Narrating on the CD (excellent touch I feel). I really like the vocals by Floor Jansen, the compositions are tight and the musicianship is good also.

This band sound like a cross between Shadow Gallery and Ayreon to me!

I love the mellotron, and general keyboards and the ambience at the end is Awesome!

I have to give this five stars for its audacity and great delivery, it might even get some faith-heads delving into some of mankind's better books (Like the "Extended Phenotype" by Mr Dawkins or "On the Origin of Species" ? one of the most important books ever written) ? forget the bible ? it's utter nonsense ? and get into Finnish Prog-Metal. PEACE.

 For The Journey by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 76 ratings

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For The Journey
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I was blown away when I first heard March of Progress, and most people should also have the same response. For The Journey did not hit me the same way, but after a few listens, I can tell you this album is equally excellent in it's own way. This band is definitely a stellar Progressive Metal band that everyone should be excited about. They are doing everything right, and this lineup will hopefully stay in tact for years to come. Damian Wilson's vocals on March of Progress and For The Journey are superb, and I could not see this band with anyone else at the mic. If you love progressive metal or enjoy previous Threshold albums, this is a must buy. Make sure you buy the version with the bonus tracks, because I Wish I Could is one of the best songs on the album.
 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 572 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A letter of apology.

Dear Dream Theater,

During the naughties, when you released several bleak albums in a row I was really starting to worry about you. The whimsy and magic from earlier albums that kept me captivated among the hard hitting metal and intricate songs were no more. At first I enjoyed the manic frenzy but after time it started to grow old. When you released Black Clouds and Silver Linings I considered it the final nail in the coffin of a band that I once dearly loved.

In the coming years with the shift in personnel I still didn't want to give you another chance. I didn't listen to any of your music until just earlier this year. The colourful cover of A Dramatic Turn of Events paired with the name to me just seemed like a cocky statement about how you could overcome your own nadir, but I was so busy exploring new music that I didn't have any time for the band who once let me down so badly.

But I shouldn't have given up on you. I am sorry for thinking that there was no way that you would ever be able to make enjoyable music again. Maybe I was caught up on the idea that your time had passed, that the world no longer needed complex progressive metal with a story telling aspect. Maybe I just didn't need the hard hitting riffs at the time. Maybe I had lost appreciation for just how much practice goes into being able to shred the way you do.

Thank you for changing my mind. When I finally got up the guts to listen to your new album I heard a band revitalized. Playing music that they wanted to play, not the music they thought their fans wanted to hear.

Yours Truly, --Queen By-Tor

*ahem* Now that that is out of my system...

Dream Theater's newest album is a far cry from the band who has for a long time been a laughing stock of the progressive community. The songs are tighter, the solos are enjoyable instead of indulgent and the writing has a down to earth feel which makes the album actually relatable.

Even the structure of the work is better thought out. The album is composed of a handful of medium length tracks (between 6-7 minutes), a few shorter rockers and one epic track. Perhaps after learning that a string of long songs and epics just don't work there is a variety of lengths at play that don't grow tired after repeated listens.

This feels like the album they were trying to make with Octavarium but got too caught up in the theme of 8 to actually accomplish. A mixture of darker, heavier tracks blended with some songs that are actually upbeat make for a Dream Theater that we haven't heard since Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The Looking Glass and The Bigger Picture being two soaring songs that can lift up your heart without sacrificing the music to (too much) cheesiness. Enigma Machine is a hard hitting instrumental reminiscent of the Train of Thought era and The Enemy Inside builds off of the few things that were right with Black Clouds..., and expands them into a new and better territory.

Even Illumination Theory seems like a monument compared to previous works. After Black Clouds and Silver Linings I did not want to listen to Dream Theater play a song longer than 10-minutes ever again. Illumination Theory takes all the themes of the album and takes them for a ride through brilliant and beautiful music. Through its speed changes and all its own sections it manages to never become boring. It is an epic that was made to be an epic, not a song built upon just to make it longer.

In conclusion - This is not only a great album for Dream Theater but a great album for the progressive metal scene. It has completely restored my faith in the band which means next stop, A Dramatic Turn of Events! Even if they never manage to produce another album that I like I will still hold faith that they could. 4 stars, well done boys!

 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 572 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by JJLehto
Prog Reviewer

3 stars While I have not been a big fan of DT's output over the preceding decade, finding these albums either hit/miss or lackluster, (and I admit I'm odd that I feel the band actually peaked with "Train of Thought") I was intrigued to listen to this album, since it would be the first to have Mike Mangini fully integrated in the creative process. Perhaps he would bring some new ideas, or spark a change I felt they long needed, and being a drummer I at least wanted to hear what he's got.

Well, it doesn't seem very different from anything Dream Theater has done before. Aside from shorter songs it seems a very standard Dream Theater affair. Mangini is clearly a talented drummer, though I can't say his work here was much "better" or even radically different from Portnoy. I would say he has a more "technical" style, and I do like his drumming, there's some impressive stuff.

The album has a good sound to it, I think the guitars sound good, heavy but not ridiculous, just have a good tone, the drums sound great, I am still not a big fan of LaBrie's vocals but they are fine, and not placed well in the mix. I hear a tiny bit more Myung but that's not hard considering I never hear his bass at all, it's still not prominent at all and missing on most of it.

While the music is typical Dream Theater, and still hit or miss for me, I do think this is a better album than any of their recent ones with some great standouts. The album opens with the awesome instrumental "False Awakening Suite" a keyboard heavy, fun piece filled with choirs, great melodies, drumming and instrumentation and moves into "The Enemy Inside" which may be the best song DT has made since Train of Thought.

"The Enemy Inside" is packed with great riffs, melodies and has a superb flow. It doesn't linger, it doesn't move at breakneck speed or with abrupt changes, just has a great pace. It's a very well composed song, with everything having its place, and getting show off, but working together, and the drumming kicks ass. It frustrates me songs this good, this well written, are possible but generally elude the band.

"Enigma Machine" is another standout. A classic DT instrumental bursting with epic riffs and virtuosic musicianship, it's compact and packs a wallop. Mangini's greatest display on the album. "Illumination Theory" is the other highlight, a 20 minute prog epic that features it all, "Metal Heaven" as I'd call it, great riffs, great flow and pace, and some awesome moments. There is a long interlude, and everyone gets to show off. I mean everyone, Myung has his section and even LaBrie shows some range and hits some real shockers. As always guitar and drums dominate, with Petrucci and Mangini really impressing. One of the better prog metal epics from the band.

Those were the highlights. "The Looking Glass" is a really good song and it's nice to see DT can be DT, but without lingering on and on or sounding stale. The rest of the album I find lackluster. Uninspired and boring. There are good moments of course but not enough to really call the songs good.

So what to make of the eponymous "Dream Theater"? There is nothing that will surprise you, nothing is added, or removed, and the album is inconsistent. The musicianship is good though, including a real coming out party for Mangini, and there are some songs that are quite good. The others, while not special, are not bad by any means. The shorter songs do of course mean there is less time to linger in the so so areas. So, I have to say this album is not a superb effort, but stronger than the last few DT albums and have some of the better songs they've made in a decade.

Three Stars

 Symphony X by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 1994
2.88 | 158 ratings

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Symphony X
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars The eponymous debut album by SYMPHONY X came about after the release of founder and guitarist Michael Romeo's solo project called "The Dark Chapter" where he hooked up with keyboardist Michael Pinnella. The two hit it off with that project which was successful in Japan and they decided to form a real band in its wake shortly thereafter and to this day are the only two members to appear on every SYMPHONY X album. This is one of those debut albums that gets a bad rap because of the poor production. It is also the only album to feature Rod Tyler on vocals before the much more dynamic Russell Allen took the reigns.

While i have a soft spot for debut albums that don't quite live up to the better ones that follow, i can't say that i don't agree with the general consensus with this one. While the musicianship is already extremely strong on this album with sweeping arpeggios and neoclassical thunder gracing the album's duration and Rod Tyler's vocals not being nearly as bad as we are led to believe, the main problem with this one is not only the lackluster production but really the songwriting isn't up to snuff quite yet. The dynamic interplay of progressive power metal parts just doesn't quite fire on all pistons.

This very well could have been considered a much better album if it was their only release but SYMPHONY X would improve their sound significantly on the next two albums which would leave this one in the dust. While this is a decent power metal album, the progressive parts hadn't evolved to an interesting point with the12:07 minute final track "A Lesson Before Dying" being the notable exception and despite the outstanding musical talent clearly heard here things just aren't jiving together in the cohesive manner that SYMPHONY X is now so famous for. I'm also not sure if Rod Tyler had the vocal range that could have propelled the band into what they became because he seems to be struggling on some of the higher notes. Far from a bad release, it is far from a great one as well. A decent beginning that served as a launching pad for their career and one that most fans will surely encounter sooner or later.

 Endless Forms Most Beautiful by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.86 | 56 ratings

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Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars The first studio album with Floor Jansen is excellent. Other than her apparent beauty, she is a humble and classy gal in live performances that make her easy to appreciate as a person. She really gets to show off her voice in soft ballads and rocking metal, and she fits this band perfectly. While I appreciate the previous singers, this lineup may have just produced their best album to date. Endless Forms Most Beautiful has the classic Nightwish sound with epic tracks and hard hitting metal. If you like to have at least one long track on a favorite prog album, there is good news because "The Greatest Show On Earth" clocks in at 24 minutes. This album is a must buy for Nightwish fans and everyone else that likes metal and progressive music.
 4 by SOUL SECRET album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 3 ratings

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4
Soul Secret Progressive Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another album---another vocalist. I feel badly for bands that just cannot seem to retain a lead vocalist. Italy's Soul Secret started out with a guest singer, progressed to Fabio Manda's amazing voice on their sophomore album, and now have turned to Lino Di Pietrantonio to lead them. This choice, much like the album, is a solid one, though flawed in some ways.

Soul Secret's third album is called "4", and, yes, that is confusing as hell. It represents a slight change in sound for Soul Secret, due not only to the change of singer, but also to the maturity of these guys as musicians. Indeed, I hear stylistic changes across the board. Soul Secret, if you are not familiar, are definitely a progressive metal band in the vein of Dream Theater, though I'm sure that's a shadow they don't want. Either way, though, it is the truth, as they rely on strong guitars from Antonio Vittozzi, sizzling keys from Luca Di Gennaro, foundational bass from Claudio Casaburi, and the ever present structure of Antonio Mocerino's drums.

Their styles have changed somewhat, though. I am a huge fan of their previous album "Closer to Daylight", and the band as a whole has moved on from shorter, more structured tracks to longer and more varied concepts. This is both good and bad, as you won't really find much to sing along to here, but you will certainly find incredible instrumentals to admire (something Soul Secret has always done well). In fact, it seems like each and every track has a noteworthy instrumental, and some, like "Traces on the Seaside", "On the Ledge", and "Our Horizon", have multiple sections that are incredibly sublime. This is partially due to the new sounds for this band, especially Luca's wonderful keys. He has moved on from the standard atmospherics so often found in prog metal to new heights of solos, even leading the music many times. Needless to say, I'm very impressed with the large range of key tones used, too. Besides this, I sense a change for Mocerino's drums, too, as he has opted for a more delicate touch than his blast beating past. In addition, Vittozzi's guitars seem much more deliberate and inspired in composition.

Thus far, we have a great third album called "4" that features some notable changes in sound. This is where my slight issues with the album appear. First of all, I do feel that it is a bit long. At 72+ minutes long, I feel like some of the incredible effectiveness of the first half of the album wears off by the end. Indeed, I feel like they realize it, too, as most of the really amazing rhythms are found in the first half. This is not to say that the latter half is bad. It's actually great, especially songs like the instrumental "Silence" or the addictive ending to "My Lighthouse". Heck, "Downfall" might be my favorite song on the album! The first few tracks, however, just gel so well that you barely notice the time pass.

My other issue with this album is the Dream Theater sound. This is primarily because of Lino's vocal performance. Indeed, I think the band actively tries to avoid the DT sound by including plenty of small oddities, like harsh vox, crazy synth, and a notable lack of overpowering guitar. Lino's voice, however, sounds SO much like Labrie's vox on "Images & Words". This isn't a bad thing, as I don't think Labrie has ever sounded better. Lino does avoid the pretentious wailing (thank God), but there are definitely a few times where I could have imagined that I was listening to DT.

Overall, though, this is another solid album from Soul Secret, and they really show their instrumental chops. Indeed, the ending epic "The White Stairs" opens with a fantastic groove that always makes me stop everything else I'm doing. For progressive metal fans, then, I don't think there has been a better offering so far this year. Be sure to get your hands on this album!

 Psykerion by THOUGHT CHAMBER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.86 | 93 ratings

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Psykerion
Thought Chamber Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Thought Chamber is without hesitation one of my fav prog metal bands ever, specially because of their debut Angular perceptions, who was and is for me a damn excellent prog metal release. If the debut was from 2007 the second offer is coming some years later in 2013 named Pyskerion. Well, this is quite diffrent in musical terms and aswell in line up. First, only the head of the band Michael Harris is present and front man Ted Leonard from previous work, the rest of the 3 new members are from Enchant and Joe Stump. Second, musicaly speaking as I've said is diffrent then Angular perceptions, this is more towards in many places to progressive rock, some of the pieces (16 in number) have nothing in common with prog metal only slightly, it sounding like a more edgy Kansas to my ears. Anyway this is quite eclectic, the combination of prog metal with prog rock and jazzy elements makes from this second release an enjoyble ride for sure. The pieces are much shorter around 4-5 min with only 2 being lenhtier around 8-9. Each musicin shines and handle damn fine the instruments. Technicaly competent for sure, Pyskerion delivers what listner wants to hear, no weak moments here for sure, but with all that I prefer the debut more. All in all a fine album for sure, Thought Chamber is a brilliant prog metal band that anyone can find something intresting to discover.4 stars.
 Galactic Cowboys by GALACTIC COWBOYS album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.25 | 14 ratings

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Galactic Cowboys
Galactic Cowboys Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As corny as the name of the band is, this is still pretty decent metal music, though on this their first album, the prog is not as prevalent as it would be later. But, this is still a great listen for lovers of heavier music. Many people compare the Galactic Cowboys sound to King's X, mostly because their soundscapes are somewhat heavy like King's X. But, GC has a Beatlesque 3 part harmony that sounds nice at first, however, it tends to wear out because of the extensive use of it in their songs. This harmony, used a little more sparingly, would have had a better impact overall, but most people may not even notice this because of the awesome guitar work on here which is loaded with heavy riffs and plenty of great hard music.

Starting off with the 2 first tracks namely "I'm Not Amazed" and "My School", it seems that the best prog moments come along early. Anyone listening to this the first time will think they have their hands on a great progressive metal album because these are great songs with just enough of a progressive edge to make one seem that they have their hands on some great sophisticated metal here, but the next 3 songs lean too much on straightforward heaviness and not enough inventiveness, plus the extensive use of the harmonies with the metal background tend to make the sound a little too dense while also leaning towards the commercial side of metal instead of the progressive side. These tracks become more enjoyable with more listenings as they take on their individuality, but really don't rise to far above the straightforward metal sound.

"Sea of Tranquility" is another animal altogether however. This is a very dark and heavy song that at times even becomes abrasive, but not overly obnoxious. This one is a masterpiece of metal, and even though it still tends to rely on the commercial sound, it is probably a little too experimental for the typical metal lover. It is songs like this one that kept GC from having a huge following because the sound is a little too sophisticated for the typical listener of the genre, but probably not quite inventive enough for the prog head. I absolutely love this track though and it is a very heavy track with a few rhythm changes as it enters the bridge of the song and then returns to the theme. A definite 5 star song here. Next, the band leans towards a thrash metal sound with "Kill Floor" which is about a butcher turned serial killer. Again, this is not quite hard core enough to be considered pure thrash, but it is close at least and a respected attempt at the sound. There are 2 short pieces that come next that sound nothing like filler at all and still retain the heavy sound. Any kind of reprieve from the heaviness comes on the last track "Speak to Me" which is a more dynamic sound as it moves from heaviness to a more laid back sound and, like the first few tracks, hints at a more progressive sound.

Definitely a valiant try for a debut album. More progressiveness and a better use of the harmonics would have made this a better album. But it is still a fun album in that hints of humor lie throughout the lyrics, the music is a little more sophisticated than most run of the mill metal, but not quite inventive enough for hard core prog nuts. If you go into the album not expecting anything ground breaking or out of the ordinary, you may find you like this better than you think you would have. I do like this one, and would give it 3.5 stars, but I will round it down because it leans too much on the commercial side of music. But it is a respectable debut for certain.

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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
ABODEAN SKYE United Kingdom
ABSOLACE United Arab Emirates
ABYDOS Germany
ACCOMPLICE United States
ACHING BEAUTY France
ACID RAIN Argentina
ACID RAIN Serbia
ACID RAIN Spain
ACUTE MIND Poland
AD ASTRA United States
ADAGIO France
ADRAMELCH Italy
AEBSENCE Hungary
AEOLUS Netherlands
AEON ZEN United Kingdom
AETHERIUS United States
AFFECTOR Multi-National
AFTER FOREVER Netherlands
AGE OF NEMESIS Hungary
AGHARTA Netherlands
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