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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 | 2255 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.28 | 2320 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.26 | 1306 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.23 | 997 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 867 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr che
4.21 | 902 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.20 | 1009 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.19 | 966 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.19 | 889 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.20 | 309 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.16 | 561 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.13 | 1555 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.20 | 240 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.11 | 1645 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.13 | 722 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.12 | 585 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.18 | 197 ratings
INTO THE EVERFLOW
Psychotic Waltz
4.13 | 368 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.22 | 134 ratings
MERCY FALLS
Seventh Wonder
4.16 | 207 ratings
A SOCIAL GRACE
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
DELUSIONS
To-Mera
THE BUTCHER'S BALLROOM
Diablo Swing Orchestra
THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY
Epica

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 The Odyssey by SYMPHONY X album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.94 | 460 ratings

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The Odyssey
Symphony X Progressive Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars ...to return would make my dreams come true

I don't tend to write reviews about albums that hold a special place in my heart, but it is one of these afternoons that you re-discover a favourite. In "The Odyssey", Symphony X move further away from the Divine Wings of Tragedy and regress to a much more Malmsteen/speedy power metal approach, nevertheless retaining the grandiose elements and powerful songwriting that gave them a decade of top-notch releases ('97-'07).

Low-tuned, creeping, mid-tempo heavy riffs that we would later experience in albums such as "Paradise Lost" make their appearance in "Wicked" but the majority of the album is based on Romeo's speedy power metal fantasies, apparent in "Inferno", "King of Terrors" and "Incantations of the Apprentice" that seem to have been made of the same mould; the latter retains the fantasy elements of the early days of the band.

The beauty of the album lies in the sequel "Accolade II", the grandiose "Awakenings" (with a strong Kansas feel) and the unsurpassable epic "The Odyssey". The former two sum up the qualities and unique character of this band and stand up there with the best of their songs, mixing the lyricism with the power. Galloping guitars and lush keyboards, multiple vocals, odd-time signatures and uplifting refrains. The next and biggest suprise comes in the 24-minute title track that finds the band in the heights of imagination. The story of the Odyssey is very difficult to tell in 24 minutes but Symphony X achieve it using "rich pictures", excellent storytelling, music moods that fluctuate, following the dramatic events (explore that booklet), opening and closing with some of their most catchy melodies ever.

If you enjoy the power metal aspect of Symphony X, this is an album for you, up there with the big albums of this band. Others may not enjoy as much but might find their own Ithaca in the title track.

 Darkness in a Different Light by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.93 | 217 ratings

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Darkness in a Different Light
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars FATES WARNING are my favourite metal band and so it's great that they are back after a nine year absence. Mind you having that Arch/Matheos album to enjoy did more to scatch that itch than this particular album. Still this is another very good album from the boys and i'm really impressed with new drummer Bobby Jarzombek, and even more impressed that guitarist Frank Aresti is back. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this album is hearing Matheos and Aresti playing their different parts as they compliment each other so well. I did pick up the special edition with bonus tracks and the two live songs("One" and "Life In Still Water") are what I appreciate the most.

"One Thousand Fires" is such a good choice for the opener as they really bring a lot of energy with this one. I like how the soundscape swirls and check out the massive bass a minute in as the guitars grind away. A calm quickly follows then vocals. Some nice guitar after 3 minutes but my favourite section is that beautiful soundscape after 4 minutes followed by a ripping guitar solo. "Firefly" has a really good heavy sound to it as the vocals join in. Some powerful riffs before 3 minutes as the second guitar comes in. Vocals and that previous sound are back before 4 minutes. "Desire" and the next track don't do much for me. This one starts off well with the atmospheric guitar before it kicks in then settles right back with vocals. Each time it turns fuller I just don't like it. "Falling" is a short(thankfully) ballad with fragile vocals and acoustic guitars. Why? Sorry I just don't get why we get a ballad on a metal album. "I Am" makes up for it though. This is a top three for me. It's almost TOOL-like with the dark atmosphere and powerful under-current. It's building until it breaks out hard. Love the drumming. Vocals join in as well. Great track!

"Lighthouse" opens with a relaxed sound with reserved vocals but there's this tension that continues and I keep thinking it will break out. A cool tune. "Into The Black" features guitar that cries out over top as the drums pound away. I like when it settles in before a minute then it picks back up with vocals. A ripping guitar solo before 3 minutes then it settles back again before building. A top three for me. "Kneel And Obey" has this heavy base to it which I really enjoy. Vocals come in and check out the guitar before 3 minutes as he lights it up. "O Chloroform" opens with the atmosphere then the guitar comes out of that followed by drums and a heavy sound. Vocals too then it settles back before 2 1/2 minutes but not for long. I like this one especially that background sound. Atmosphere ends it. "And Yet It Moves" is the over 14 minute closer and my final top three. It opens with what sounds like a classical guitar as a second one joins in. Bass joins in then it kicks in beautifully just after a minute. Some cool sounding guitar licks arrive then vocals 4 minutes in. They are kicking ass 6 minutes in. A calm with strummed guitar after 9 minutes. Some atmosphere too as laid back vocals join in. The guitar comes and goes grinding away. It kicks in heavily after 12 1/2 minutes then back to that earlier sound.

Man I have enjoyed this a lot but for me it doesn't measure up to that Arch/Matheos release or earlier albums like "Disconneted", "Perfect Symmetry" or "Awaken The Guardian".

 Dark Passion Play by NIGHTWISH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.86 | 166 ratings

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Dark Passion Play
Nightwish Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Dark Passion Play is artistic power metal in the first degree, bursting at the seams with sweeping compositions, massive guitar riffs, orchestral flair, and a bit of camp. It'll delight prog-metal lovers and repulse everyone else... what more can you ask for!

The album opens with "Poet and the Pendulum", a 13-minute epic that pretty much defines the band's sound and takes you on a theatrical journey which throws together numerous tempo and mood changes, as well as a variety of vocalists and instrumentation. It's a huge song with irresistible hooks, riffs, and emotional bits; a killer track.

Nightwish is known in part for its feminine vocals, distinguishing it from other prog metal bands and providing a host of new textures and sounds to explore. Anette Olzon does a wonderful job throughout, though I don't think her voice is as beautiful or as prominent a component as some other reviewers. Because so much of her singing uses long sustains, it actually comes off as sounding bland. However, when paired against gruff, traditional metal vocals of Hietala - and especially when sung over the outstanding instrumentals, the overall effect is very enjoyable; more so than many other female-fronted metal bands out there. If you like metal, but are turned off by metal grunts and growls, you'll be pleased by Nightwish's combination of singers.

The orchestra is also well-implemented, providing emphasis, textures, and sometimes taking the spotlight to create drama and scope to the songs. As if the powerful guitar and bass weren't enough! The excellent drumming by Nevalainen completes the fully metal crushing that Nighwish accomplishes. However, one thing I appreciate a lot about Nightwish's songwriting is that they don't set the dial to 11 and leave it there. There is a lot of acoustic moments, and even some folksy diversions to keep the effect fresh and exciting. "The Islander" is the standout showcase of this style, a sea-shanty style song that does an amazing job of evoking the misty shores of Ireland with its celtic feel.

So, if you're into prog metal, and can stomach more than a bit of excess, you'll find a ton to like with Dark Passion Play.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 Ascension by INNER ODYSSEY album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.22 | 9 ratings

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Ascension
Inner Odyssey Progressive Metal

Review by PH

5 stars I had great expectations for the second release from Canadian prog-band INNER ODYSSEY. Begs the trivial question: was it worth the wait? Yeah, 'Ascension' is a fabulous affair! It can literally take your breath away. Beside graceful musicianship and terrific songwriting, young fellows bring artistic integrity. Each song blends perfectly with the concept of metaphorical journey through the life, accompanied by inescapable questions that depend on different age stage. ╔tienne Doyon is responsible here for the lead singing and percussion. The guitar textures (Vincent Leboeuf-Gadreau) are underpinned by bass department (Simon Gourdeau), while Mathieu Chamberland provides the keyboards intention. The album's opener, 'Why Am I Here (Ouverture)', slowly gains momentum, holding a vibe where nice chords are alternated by powerful work. This segues into 'Something More', larded with the guitar gimmicks, interspersed between agility of keys and tight rhythmic section. Thereafter, 'A World Of My Own', which is replete with sonic surprises and whimsical performance. The middle section contains Spanish-esque fragment. Next up, 'My Purpose' has enough room both for enchantment and for virtuosity. Heir, titled 'Losing Your Mind', sounds at times vigorous, at other moments fragile, but without losing sight of the common message. Again, the intertwining harmonies create a special palette. Drifting 'Crawl' exudes flavour, bound by the vowel system and instrumental passages. Then, things turn to 'Lifelong Misery', using a barrage of potent riffs and intriguing synthesizer lines, thrown in for good measure. Bass and drums battle it out amidst significant signatures. The flute is also present in the mix. Gentle 'Introspection' shows a sense of restraint that's underscored by piano melody and the fine vocal delivery. Bursting out in a prog- metal style, instrumental 'Retrospection' gives offensive template. It's mighty and furious. By contrast, a smooth ballad 'You Are Not Alone' glides to soothe. Its melodic pattern can remind of the opening track. For the completion, comes versatile 'Where It Begins, Where It Ends' (Finale), a melting pot of cool ideas, featuring excellent placement of accents...In sum, I can rate this CD as the strongly recommended purchase! Just imagine, if Pink Floyd, It Bites, Porcupine Tree, Anathema, Dream Theater and Transatlantic got together and worked on one album - it would sound much like 'Ascension'.
 The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay by CEA SERIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 7 ratings

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The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay
Cea Serin Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band CEA SERIN was formed back in 1997, and following some initial demo productions, they released their debut album "Where Memories Combine" in 2004, an outing that was met with a lot of interest and acclaim from reviewers and fans alike. Then the band disappeared, their promised second album becoming something of a progressive metal vaporware item, bordering a mythological entity. Talked about and anticipated, if it ever should appear. Come 2014 and the band unexpectedly reappears, releasing their second album "The Vibrant Sound of Bliss and Decay" through the fledgling German label Generation Prog Records.

Cea Serin has returned following a ten year long hiatus with a second studio album that should build quite nicely upon their reputation as a high-quality progressive metal band. Tight, quirky and vibrant progressive metal, unafraid to include whatever the musicians desire, be it compelling power metal galloping sequences, more aggressive thrash metal escapades or, indeed, a ballad penned by Sarah MacLachlan. A production that merits a check by those with a general interest in progressive metal, and especially those with a taste for a vintage variety, adventurous take on the genre.

 4 by SOUL SECRET album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.52 | 6 ratings

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4
Soul Secret Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars really

Soul Secret from Italy is to me a very strong prog metal band with a decade career so far and three albums released so far, but with all that they are quite unkown in prog metal circles and is a damn shame because they offer a very solid, well written type of prog metal. The third album is from this year 2015 named simply 4 (strange name to me) and far less pretentious as on previous two releases. Another album another vocalist, this time we have the unkown, at least for me - Lino Di Pietrantonio. Did he integrated well in Soul Secret sound, yes, of course, his type of voice is fiting like glove on hand here, he has a clear tone and his job is well done . So, another worthy one of this italian band, for sure among my fav prog metal bands from recent years. What we have here, is good well performed type of prog metal, lacking in originality but the musicianship is more thn ok most of the time,. If the overall sound is keeping the same formula as on previous two albums, elaborated arrangements, twisted passages, lots of changes in tempo, the perfect example is the opening - On The Ledge - for sure one of the most intresting pieces the band ever composed, and probably on my top 3 pieces from this yea, absolutly great from guitars of Antonio Vittozzi to the spectacular keyboards parts of Luca Di Gennaro (no wonder he will apear on new Subsignal album) - this tune simply kick ass, the best of the album, at least for me. On the opposite is the track named K who is by far the worst piece band ever done, I don't like here in this context the growling vocals provided by a guest , simply totaly unintresting tune and forgetable at best. Another hihlights ar the instrumental one Silence and few more. All in all quite good release, maybe not their best from all 3, but close enough. I like a lot this band and I'm with an eye on their career since the beggining. 3.5 stars, fans of the genre take a listen worth it.

 Supermassive Black Hole by THRESHOLD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
2.03 | 10 ratings

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Supermassive Black Hole
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars To accompany the re-release of 2007's Dead Reckoning, complete with instrumental versions of each song, Threshold put out a digital single featuring a Muse cover and an edit of one of their most popular songs.

Muse's styles span multiple genres, including but not limited to hard rock/borderline metal, orchestral prog, grunge, electronic (on some later occasions), and pop. Supermassive Black Hole falls in the last category, but Threshold makes it properly heavy, although they don't work their progressive magic on it. Verses feature distorted guitars, effortlessly transitioning into the pre-choruses with spacey, smooth keyboards. Mac is not able to pull off Matt Bellamy's falsetto and his voice is less suited to the song, but he puts more feeling into it than Bellamy does. They did not at all alter the solo (can it really be called that?), disappointingly enough. Muse gave little thought to that portion, and Threshold did not seek to fix it. Overall, however, they've improved the song, turning Supermassive Black Hole from a radio-friendly hit to something you can actually headbang to.

The other track on the single is an edit of Slipstream, the first song from Dead Reckoning. It is one of two Threshold songs containing harsh vocals (the other is Elusive, from the same album), and they have turned the growls into an electronic robot voice. It's been shortened as well, by a whole minute and a half, as a result of removing the ending and many of the instrumental parts. It follows a more predictable structure now and has lost much of its "progressive" feel. I think I'll stick to the original this time.

It seems almost as if some of the characteristics of the two songs have been switched with each other, the cover becoming heavier and a little bit more progressive (due to the sudden shifts between distorted guitar and keyboard) and Slipstream's shortening and cutting back on the prog elements.

The single is worth a listen for fans of the band who also enjoy Muse (or are at least familiar with Supermassive Black Hole), and a novelty for other Threshold fans. Whichever group you're in, it's a good way to kill six minutes.

Originally posted to www.metal-archives.com

 The Human Equation by AYREON album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 966 ratings

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The Human Equation
Ayreon Progressive Metal

Review by Insin

2 stars Usually when one thinks of progressive music, or specifically metal, one of the names they come up with is Dream Theater, a band with a reputation of being pretentious because they are overly technical to a point where their songs sound like them endlessly showing off. Well, Ayreon manages to be even more pretentious, and far less technical, with proggy moments but not whole songs -- they need to show off more. Their style is not exactly what comes to mind upon hearing the words 'progressive metal.' But what could be more prog than a concept album? The element of a storyline (and Akerfeldt) is the only thing keeping me from drifting off near the latter portion of this 100+ minute ordeal. At least the plot prevents the album from being boring. Few of the Human Equation's plentiful twenty songs have a hard edge to them either, and the ones that do are balanced out by agonizingly soft, cheesy ballads and pop-influenced songs.

So what is the Human Equation? Isn't it classified as progressive metal? No, that hardly seems accurate: it's a rock opera, highly vocal-based and completely annoying. Arjen Lucassen has recruited some high-profile vocalists for this effort; James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Devin Townsend, and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) stand out on the list of no less than eleven singers. This vocal domination would be a bigger problem than it is if the singers didn't usually perform well. The exceptions to the general quality of vocal delivery are Irene Jansen (singing as Passion), who utilizes awful Styx-like harmonies (which, I might add, is another incredibly cheesy band), and Eric Clayton, singing as Reason, who just has a really annoying voice. But these two are exceptions to the rule, and everyone else performs well enough. The major issue with the vocals is that you don't need a choir to play on a (supposedly) metal album. Each vocalist sings overly dramatically and 'in front' of the rest of the music, putting the focus on them ' necessary for this album but awful and irritating all the same. The Human Equation is simply overcrowded with guest vocalists, and this is the main source of its pretentiousness. It sounds like a musical. Like show tunes.

The over-abundance of singers leaves little room for the rest of the music to develop. The instrumental portions are forgettable and, while eclectic, strikingly not metal. There is little technicality, much of the album devoted to cheesy balladry or acoustic and slow parts (Love, Memories, Sign, Disclosure). Transitions between parts of the songs are sometimes jarring and poorly done; good riffs are few and far between. Some of the songs have a folk edge, bringing in flutes and similar instruments, and spacey keyboards are used frequently and well. When it sounds like a song's instrumental break is actually starting to go somewhere entertaining, the tracks disappointingly end or revert to vocals. Overall, the musical composition is mediocre, though the album has its moments in the rare instrumental breaks when someone will spit out a passable solo -- which tend to be the album's highlights (see Day Two: Isolation and Day Four: Mystery). The song Day Sixteen: Loser has to be mentioned -- it's not necessarily good, but it's an interesting piece. The Father sounds like a theatrical villain' it's not surprising Arjen is adapting the Human Equation for the stage. Loser has strongly Irish vibe, followed by Devin Townsend screaming over the song's folksy riff, juxtaposition if there ever was such a thing.

As much as I've bashed the composition of the songs, the Human Equation's conceptual and plot-based elements redeem it somewhat, saving it from being a being nearly worthless. Is the album completely overblown and pretentious, and does the 'concept album' idea contribute? Yes. Is the plot mildly entertaining? Also yes. Ayreon's only non-sci-fi album, The Human Equation revolves around James LaBrie, playing the role of 'Me.' He has experienced an accident under mysterious circumstances, causing him to fall into a coma. He journeys through his past, each song representing one day, until he realizes that he witnessed his wife cheating on him with his best friend. He had crashed his car in anger and despair, the reason for his coma. Not the most original thing ever' the coma idea is one that sounds suspiciously familiar.

Contrarily, the story is told very clearly relative to some other concept albums, as long as you keep track of the characters and pay attention to the lyrics (lyrics shouldn't be difficult considering most delivery is clean singing). As pretentious as the vocals are, it is doubtful that the story could have been told the way it was without all eleven singers involved. In general, the intensity of the music and the subject matter of the lyrics fit together well enough (Love is an incredibly cheesy and cringeworthy ballad and the lyrics are about exactly what the title suggests; Pride is a stormy, heavier piece and the lyrics reflect an angry argument between LaBrie and Pride). The 'plot twist' of LaBrie's wife and best friend's affair is hinted at ('I don't think he knows'), and as LaBrie's internal struggles and the dialogue of the wife and best friend combine, the two plot lines are woven together, ending with forgiveness on all parts. A much more metal thing to do would be to have a Human Equation Part Two based around LaBrie seeking revenge, but obviously that's not happening. Not that I would want to listen to a potential part two of this piece of crap anyway.

To put it quite simply, the Human Equation is overrated. The effort and ambition put into this is respectable and appreciable, but in the end, it's really not a masterpiece. It is musically weak, though not without some good instrumental breaks, and too vocally dominated. While the storyline saves the album to a degree; it is not exactly genius, though told creatively and clearly. I would not recommend this to a fan of progressive metal, but maybe a fan of the rock opera could find some value in this. I dub Ayreon 'cheese rock.'

Originally posted to the www.metal-archives.com

 Legacy by SHADOW GALLERY album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.74 | 165 ratings

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Legacy
Shadow Gallery Progressive Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is an excellent album despite the last 10 minutes of air and junk. Bands have a right to be creative, but it just detracts from an amazing album. Fortunately, it is at the end so you can move on easily. I really think this release is very close to masterpiece status, and should be rated more like 4.5/5. Any fan of Shadow Gallery or Progressive Metal should pick it up. The title track Legacy is excellent along with the two stellar tracks that anchor the album: Cliffhanger 2 and First Light. There are no bad tracks. I am enjoying it along with the two successors and expect to get the early releases next. This album is solid and should not be missed.
 Very by DREAMSCAPE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.53 | 22 ratings

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Very
Dreamscape Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars German prog metal band Dreamscape might be one of my fav prog metal bands ever, even the originality lacks most of the time, the musicicnship is top notch on every album. I've reviewed so far 3 of their albums, 5th season was the peak of their career for sure, a truly outstanding release in this genre. Second offer from their catalogue is Very from 1999, featuring excellent vocalist Hubi Meisel (from maeve of Connacht or Book of Reflections). The pieces are not lenghty, the longest has around 7 min, but there are so many memorable parts here, that any prog metal fan can enjoy. As always the instrumental passages are brilliant, plus the voice of Meisel going hand in hand with the music. Energic parts, duels between guitars and keyboards and an awesome drumer. Maybe in some parts the musical arrangements sounding same, with clear influences from Dream Theater, but if you dig deeper, this is a truly reat album. All pieces are great, not particulary weak moments, despite the originality , in rest another worthy release from this unnoticed prog metal band. 4 stars for sure. After this one they become even better, with a new vocalist Roland Stoll. 3.5 stars rounded to 4.
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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
ABSTRAKT Poland
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
AGNOSIA Greece
AGNOST DEI Russia
AGORA Mexico
AINA Netherlands
AKASHIC Brazil
AKRIBI Sweden
ALCHEMY ROOM Italy
ALCHEMY X United States
ALETHEIAN United States
ALHMA MATER Spain
ALITHEIA United States
ALKEMYST France
ALKIMYA France
ALL TOO HUMAN United States
ALOGIA Serbia
ALPHA GALATES Canada
ALPHA ZENTRADI United States
ALTERED SYMMETRY Colombia
ALTONA Turkey
ALTURA United States
ALY Mexico
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