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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 | 2128 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.29 | 2069 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.27 | 1201 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.26 | 916 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 782 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr che
4.21 | 925 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.21 | 850 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.20 | 824 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.19 | 907 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.13 | 1445 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.11 | 1521 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.14 | 531 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.12 | 690 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.18 | 230 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.16 | 294 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.12 | 545 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.12 | 298 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.11 | 353 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.09 | 452 ratings
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT 2
Liquid Tension Experiment
4.12 | 273 ratings
PARALLELS
Fates Warning

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

SELF EXILE
Wastefall
STRONGER THAN HATE
Memories Lab
THE GREAT DIVIDE
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WHEN TIME FADES...
Suspyre

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by Chines

5 stars Hemina, the unsung heroes of Australian progressive music, have done it again and released an album worthy of consideration and comparison alongside their more well known contemporaries. Their sophomore major release, Nebulae, is loaded from start to finish with equal parts melody, musicianship and emotion. Production is strong, also, being in the very capable hands of guitarist and lead vocalist, Douglas Skene.

Another conceptual record, Nebulae is concerned with a journey through dreams. As a result, the songs are representative of the main character's episodic explorations of various facets of their being. From lustful urges to a need for true love, from delusions of something greater to a bad case of megalomania, the story enables music that is as varied as it is cohesive.

Opening with a synth pad slowly faded in, followed by Skene's double-tracked low-register vocal delivery, "Before" quickly sets the tone for the album. A sense of the grander is very effectively communicated by the electronica-fuelled sound field coupled with the climbing and expansive vocal range exhibited in the mere two minutes that this track takes up. Hard-hitting percussive strikes and lyrics such as, "Each day with head in hand seemed like eternity," paint the picture of a character discontented and frustrated with her life.

"Before" leads smoothly into the first full band performance, a song entitled "Nightlives". A busy yet catchy synth lead line, courtesy of Phill Eltakchi, is superimposed upon wide, distorted guitar chord stabs coupled with a syncopated drum pattern welcome us at the song's outset. This contrasts nicely with the following verse section which, whilst remaining interesting instrumentally, leaves ample space for the vocals to be digested easily. Continuing on with the vocals, this song easily has one of the most beautiful chorus sections on the album. Extremely catchy and full of energy, it showcases the band's four-part harmony prowess, and it's one that will certainly get stuck in your head. Following the chorus' second occurrence, another exciting moment can be found where Skene reaches for the song's vocal pitch peak on the word, 'except', over a well-timed sub bass drop.

Following a tasteful guitar-noodling moment reminiscent of John Petrucci's guest appearance at the end of Periphery's "Erised", we are soon greeted by the opening of the album's lead single, "Freedom". A prog metal anthem of sorts, this song is pure energy condensed into a tidy three- minutes that could be easily digested by the masses who may or may not have just been set free. Don't let the apparent accessibility put you off, however, as this song is anything but filler. It's groove and melody galore.

The following track, "Lust", is, in my opinion, is one of the album's stand-out tracks. Effortlessly blending the seemingly disparate worlds of funk and R&B with djent, the resulting experience is fun and inspiring. With a chorus spanning from falsetto to chest to near disruption in the time it takes for one line to be sung, a guitar solo from Skene that would make Guthrie Govan proud and a breakdown so hyper-syncopated it would make the most discerning rhythm-elitist grin, this song is indicative of Hemina successfully pulling out all the stops.

Quality is not lost in the grand statement of love that is "Soulmates". A semi-acoustically-charged ballad, this song feels like the spiritual cousin of "For All Wrong Reasons" off of the band's debut effort, Synthetic. Musically, the song has a great flow. Beautiful melodies feed off of each other like they were always meant to be together and the arrangement is carefully balanced. Lyrically, the wordplay in this song is tremendous. "Will I ever live my life in a lifetime, with a lioness to share my pride and goals?" Just one of many examples. Again, the four-part vocals are in full force for the chorus, however, particularly noteworthy is bassist Jessica Martin's first spotlight on lead vocals. She gives a stunning performance, and the love between her and Skene, who are engaged in real life, is very apparent whilst not hindering the narrative curve of the album - indeed, it fits right in.

Next, we have "Strength". One of the heavier songs, tight grooves speckle the eight-minute second-half kicker. Harmony isn't sacrificed, however. This song has some of the most interesting chord changes and the melodies are festering with the ability to be recalled in the shower. Prog aficionados will rejoice at the song's reprisal of lyrics from the album's opener, and guitarists will marvel at the mastery of Mitch Coull's melodic phrasing in the closing solo.

Another memorable chorus lies in the brooding depths of "Loss". A beautiful melody, again wonderfully harmonised by the rest of the band, with a delightfully unexpected shift in phrasing that, without it, may have rendered its contour as predictable. Lush string orchestration also permeates the bridge section here. This one, I believe, will particularly appeal to fans of Evergrey.

"Hope" follows. The opening reminds one of a similar sound aesthetic used at the start of "The Boy Is Dead" off of the aforementioned debut. This is soon interrupted by glitch-like sound effects reminiscent of old video games that quickly segue into the band on full assault. Dreamily modulated acoustic guitar backs a wonderful guitar solo followed by another deep and expressive Skene vocal. Also dreamlike are the choir voices, drenched in reverb, that serve as an interlude between "Hope" and the following track, "Promise".

Another song clocking in under four-minutes, "Promise" still seems to be bursting with musical goodness. A memorable chorus augmented by Martin exclaiming the word, 'eternally', and ear- catching piano tinkling from Eltakchi during the first verse help make this one another of my favourites from an excellent album. Additionally, we get a bit of nasty from Skene's vocal delivery in the second verse, which is juxtaposed by his boy soprano-like falsetto at the very end ? intended as a sincere compliment.

Closing the album is the eleven-minute epic, "Otherworldly". What I love about this track is how it showcases all four members of the band. Skene does an excellent job on lead vocals as usual, but we also get to hear a verse superbly sung by Eltakchi that climbs down to near-basso profundo territory, sounding quite sexy, really. This is immediately picked up by Coull giving us a verse with his soaring tenor vocals, giving us a taste of what we'd previously only heard to such an extent on the previous album's "With What I See". Later on, we also get a couple of verses from Martin who sounds sublime approaching the heights of contemporary soprano repertoire. Instrumental prowess is not forgotten, however, as there are a plethora of lead lines from the keyboardist and both guitarists with the rhythm section holding it all down.

At the very end, there is a short spoken word section that leaves me eagerly awaiting the next release that will, hopefully, tie together the story arc set by Synthetic and this album, and I hope you will be waiting with me as well. In the meantime? Nebulae ? get on it!

 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by BugsyEdwards

5 stars On the one hand, you could say that the second album from Hemina is more accessible than the first. Which it is. But, on the other hand, there is so much packed into this mighty opus that you could easily find yourself a little dizzy after the first hearing. Like all good prog, the deepest rewards come from subsequent listenings.

In a decade that has old guardians of prog issuing work of little substance (Yes, I think you know who I mean), these guys are not in the business of missing opportunities to add depth, detail, and dynamics whenever it is in the service of taking the listener on a journey of drama and nuance.

This is not prog metal in one flavour; from beginning to end we are guided through multiple sound landscapes with a metal that moves from djent through to steely (sic), but never losing its way as a cohesive whole. Incidentally, speaking of sound landscapes, it turns out Skene is more than a creative front man, he is also a fine sound engineer. The 'outsourced' mixes of the previous album now pale next his own work here.

That these musicians know their instruments could not be questioned, though this album is clearly not intended as music that showcases their respective skills so much as skilful musicianship that showcases the music. (Unless you are still in the sad business of willing Dream Theatre to play 'even faster', it's the right agenda.) And, with every member of Hemina but the drummer pitching in at the microphone, these musicians also know their voices.

Stand out tracks for me; 'Strength' and 'Nightlives'.

 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by Introspekrieg

5 stars "Chunks of thorns and dreams"

This album is truly representative of a tormented soul.

"Paint me something grander"

Improving upon the guitar rhythms of "Synthetic" .

"The Nebulous warmth of a world far away"

A truly worthwhile progressive album that hasn't been seen so much as of late.

"Scar-tissued calligraphy"

The emotions come across as true and genuine, not constructed for the sake of "progginess "

"For the first time (Melting the ice that once dominated me)"

Reminds me of listening to my favorite classic prog album for the first time, rejuvenating.

"At first I didn't know what this was or could be"

A grower, took a few listens to appreciate all the dynamics and harmonic interfaces.

"Marching out, reels me in! Consensual lust."

Once the pristine vocals reel you in the accommodating low lines pad your ears with comforting bass blasts.

"But what could make this change?"

After a subdued response to "Synthetic", I think they really wanted to drive their passion for making music home.

"I knew there must be something more."

Doug & Jessica. That is all. Try to find any similar dynamic in prog today, you won't.

"Before they added a little more fire."

Their last album was already a masterpiece, but this is a quantum leap in their songwriting. Developing maturity, heart-wrenching emotional intelligence, and rocking the [%*!#] out. 4.9/5.0

 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars This band has been getting rave reviews recently and mentioned among the Dream Theater-inspired hook-conscious prog metal bands. Being of the diminishing group of people who still enjoy that admittedly stale approach, I had to check it out. Not impressed. This is prog metal-lite with the pop factor driven to the max. Songs are fairly uncomplicated rarely having the musicians stretch themselves technically or structurally, although there is some good guitar work and teen-heartthrob vocals. There would nothing be wrong with that approach if there were better all-around melodies.

This reminds of recent efforts by such bands as Darkwater, Circus Maximus or Sun Caged - competent but kinda bland. To stand out in DT-like metal, you'd have to have an exceptional sense of melody coupled with technical chops of Seventh Wonder, genre- bending of Haken, or slowed-down groove of Atmosfear's Zenith album.

 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars Hemina, Australia's answer to Dream Theater, have released their second album and it is a genuine delight. Hemina released an excellent album in 2012 "Synthetic" that really impressed me with its blend of metal and spacey musicianship. It is an album I would recommend to the prog metal fan who does not like to be constantly bombarded with speedy riffs, over produced complexity or death growls, and recommended for those who love haunting atmospheres, compelling lyrics, strong melodies and virtuoso arrangements.

This followup album "Nebulae" is again a blend of crunching metal riffs juxtaposed with melodic keyboards and soul wrenching vocals. The vocals, as previous, are in the accomplished hands of Douglas Skene and his loved one Jessica Martin. Douglas is a busy guitarist, with involvement in a variety of other Prog related projects, and with Hemina he is able to shine with some fret melting lead breaks and killer riffs. His vocals always remind me of the type heard on Pain of Salvation albums, indeed the band are similar to the sound of Kamelot or Symphony X in places, and Jessica's vocals may remind some of After Forever or Nightwish at times. It is a clear tone and easy on the ears, with easily recognizable lyrics. Jessica's vocals enhance the sound, with beautiful resonance and haunting clarity. I believe an angelic voice can soothe the soul, and in the same way as is heard on many Ayreon albums, the addition of a female vocalist is always a welcome sound after a lot of male vocals. It balances out all the heaviness of aggressive guitar riffs and pounding drums. Jessica plays bass also and this strikes out effectively with some outstanding keyboards by Phill Eltakchi. The whole sound is fleshed out by Mitch Coull, also adept on acoustic and electric guitars, and plays some blindingly brilliant lead solos.

The lyrics are important in understanding the conceptual ideas behind the album. Each song is given a one word title and follows an emotional journey of searching in the darkness of despair and coming out of the night with a sense of hope and one final promise. On the way the protagonist has to battle the trials we all face but in the struggles there is strength leading to building up of character, and through strength of character comes hope. Then there is the literal meaning that has a science fiction element, but one can interpret this as they choose such is the ambiguity of the concept, and this is one of the drawcards of Hemina. Douglas Skene describes the concept as being centered around "lucid dreaming and the exploration of possible worlds dominated solely by particular human emotions and experiences in isolation. It's about the search for transcendence through love and the desire to be loved."

The journey begins with 'Before', the lyrics hinting at the dreamscape concept; "I thought true love would make it easy if we played our parts, two souls hovering, floating, gliding for a counterpart". The music builds gradually and then breaks into a lone keyboard seguing seamlessly into 'Nightlives'. A multi tracked vocal is heard as a wild guitar phrase crunches along a forced percussion figure. The lyrics centre on the lucid dreaming; "In my waking world I can't walk through these walls, or feed my hands to each other, oh, eye to eye with my watch face, to me its flickering, lucidly I forge my nebulae." The latter lyric is sung with an aggressive growl, though the majority of vocals are clean and harmonised with multi tracked voices. Douglas Skene is in his element on this album, really powering out some excellent vocals. There are sudden bursts of sound in an ambient section that has a dramatic effect. A keyboard and lead guitar solo rounds off this indelible highlight, making this a great start to the album.

'Freedom' cranks along a genuine metal blast beat rhythm, with provocative lyrics; "set the masses free and destroy minority". Some forced growls sounding like Devin Townsend are heard in places to great effect. I particularly love the jagged guitar rhythms. This one really grows on you after a few listens and the lead break is absolutely killer, reverbs, delays and huge string bends, merging into a frenetic keyboard solo. Coull's lead guitar playing is a speed blur of frenetic picking and up sweeps. A final effect of a helicopter and air raid siren adds to the concept.

'Lust' surprises with a funkadelic groove reminiscent of late 70s Disco. Jessica has fun playfully plucking out a bassline that comes straight out of the Earth Wind and Fire Museum of funky bass hooks. The sound works as the song is about lust, and what can be more lustful than 70s porno funk grooves? A salacious hook locks in as chaotic percussion and bass warbles about. It's nice to hear Jessica passionately duet with Douglas. The lyrics are compelling focussing on unrequited love; "I picked you out from across the room in this white light, so bright." The soothing keyboards are counterbalanced by heavy passages of guitar, though the music is always allowed to breathe. The music is a testament to the innovative creative talents from the group that were only hinted at in the debut. The band go into full flight on this track and plunge deep into the steamy waters of quirky pop and dance at times, strange bedfellows I agree but Hemina make it work somehow.

'Soulmates' is a calming atmospheric track reverberating with acoustic vibrations. There is a romantic sense of mystery in the lyrics; "walking together, growing strong, amidst this void we found our call". The song floats on an air of keyboards and acoustics as vocals caress the spaces between, with some of Douglas Skene's best work and Jessica answers with emotive angst. The singing is exceptional on this album, and I particularly love how Jessica and Douglas are able to balance each other's styles on soulful, melancholy songs such as 'Soulmates'; it is truly beautiful. The twin lead break is also awesome with howling string bends and fast fingering echoing the turgid romance in the lyrics.

'Strength' follows, with staccato meat cleaver chops of metal chunks blasting over manic synths. This is a heavy song after the previous melancholia. In the lead break there is a fractured rhythm and some blazing riffs with duel guitar playing. The keys chime in with sweeping washes of string pads as the pacey rhythm gallops along in contrast. After more singing a stunning lead break takes the song out, with a flurry of speed trills and lightning fingering. The lyrics are mysterious and draw one in; "I head to unseen waters toward a light that is lovingly familiar, a figure glimmers in the distant sunset, the me I'd dreamed of with a little more strength."

'Loss' keeps a steady rhythm with metal distortion and a strong melody. The lyrics are intriguing; "I want to thank you for sparing me the years or empty hope, strung along for what seemed like a legacy". The melody is difficult to capture but there is so much happening at such a frenetic pace that it does not matter. The guitars are complemented by huge cloudbursts of synth.

'Hope' jumps along an odd meter with forceful passionate vocals that are the dominant force here, with some enticing lyrics, "my world a sphere of ice and me its cold insides, stars warm my heart the distant nebulae." An ambient opening warms up 'Promise'; a song with an optimistic note. The metal blasts are prevalent soon as Jessica and Douglas sing "promise me you'll try eternally, I need someone who will grow." The shattered rhythms are jarring to the ear and there is an ascending melody, and a soothing outro.

'Otherworldly' takes things out with Hammond sounds and a raucous chorus; "through the wormhole and rise to another frame, frame of reference free of a world of blame." The song takes some twists and turns with sudden departures in volume and pace, quiet reflective moments concluding the conflict in the concept; "reach down inside and realise what you've lost, it's simple to find if you've even got a heart." A choppy riff is heard over a fast keyboard phrase. Some very powerful vocals follow, and it breaks into a classical piano passage, then the grinding metal riffs return, fracturing time signatures, and a final spoken narrative section over ethereal keyboards. The sheer force of musical virtuosity is astonishing on this album.

A new project "Venus" is still in the pipeline and hopefully will see the light of day in the near future, but till then "Nebulae" will continue to excite listeners with accomplished musicianship and mesmirising themes. There are throughout adventurous basslines and sporadic blitzing drums. The dynamic lead guitar breaks and keyboard flourishes are incredible. Hemina inject odd time sigs and intricate layers of instruments to create some remarkable musical compositions. Overall "Nebulae" is yet another solid release from Hemina that delivers outstanding prog metal on a plate served up with a slice of funk, diced up with distorted guitar riffs and a nice garnish of spacey atmospheres wrapped around a concept of lucid dreaming and the exploration of emotions.

 Live From the Pit by REDEMPTION album cover Live, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live From the Pit
Redemption Progressive Metal

Review by Spartanj42

— First review of this album —
4 stars So Redemption's been on a bit of a break since their excellent 2011 release This Mortal Coil. This has seen lots of tours and big live performances at multiple festivals. In doing so they've made quite a name for themselves and they finally decided to grace us with a live album called Live From the Pit that seems to be an average of all the material they've been playing the last three years. At Progpower 2012 they played a rather long set for a festival (at 80 minutes) with quite a wide smattering of material from different albums.

Production and mixing are usually the most important things you look at with a live album so let's see. I found them both to be very well done, I was able to hear every instrument as well as was necessary at the time, maybe the guitar wasn't quite as high as it could have been in the mix, but the keyboards are magnificently mixed so that's good. Also the guitars have a very gritty tone which I really like. The drums are a bit high, but in my experience that's something you'll find in almost every live album ever made. So the mixing and production are good, usually second most important when considering a live album is the setlist. The set they played is pretty representative of their discography. The majority of the setlist is taken from the albums The Origin of Ruin and This Mortal Coil. Only two songs each were played from The Fullness of Time and Snowfall on Judgement day, the former being my favorite that was slightly disappointing, but they did an excellent job with the two they did. Only one song from their self titled debut, but I'm okay with that.

The whole thing starts with Threads which works well as an explosive opener for both the concert and the album it's from, but immediately following it is the real show stopper In the Suffocating Silence, one of my favorite Redemption songs they really did the song justice with some really strong keyboard playi ng. Other standout performances include Parker's Eyes, Fall on You, Stronger than Death and Black and White World. Apparently this was the first time they had ever performed Parkers Eyes live so that's a cool treat for Redemption fans, not to mention they played the pants off it. Now when I say a "standout performance" I mean they really conveyed the emotion of it to the audience, they managed to use the live setting to their advantage and build up to a climax in a way that's difficult to do in studio. Especially on Black and White World, they really nailed that one. Oh also Dreams from the Pit features a really fantastic bass solo, I mean Sean Andrews played the hell out of it and his bass playing really made Dreams from the Pit a very memorable performance.

The emotion is all very heartfelt the power behind the songs is there and everything sounds really tight. One of the few issues I have with this is that for the most part everything sounds just like it did in studio, like they didn't do anything differently even the solos were pretty much exactly the same. Plus the crowd's really quiet and there's almost no crowd interaction so it hardly sounds like a live album at all sometimes. It's really more of a compilation album with scattered applause here and there. If that doesn't bother you in live albums then more power to you, but I could have done with a little more crwod involvement and maybe some improvised solos. Overall it shows that Redemption does still have it and that Ray Alder is still a great singer, I look forward to their next studio album because so far they've never really let me down.

 A New Gate by ANNON VIN album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.00 | 1 ratings

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A New Gate
Annon Vin Progressive Metal

Review by Ovidiu

— First review of this album —
4 stars Definitelly,this is a masterpiece album and it could be considered a forgotten musical pearl!ANNON VIN managed to release only this album in their short career,but what a damn good album they made!A NEW GATE is heavily influenced by SIEGES EVEN-we can call it ANNON VIN being a copy of the wellknown technical prog metal band-now disbanded unfortunatelly-but,they had a better vocalist than Thomas Herde,the awful vocalist of SIEGES EVEN on the first 2 albums!What we have on this album is a display of technical capacities of this 3 young and ambitious musicians-sometimes we can feel that they try to do a little more of what they are able to do-pushing the technical aspect of this album at an unbelieveble level!The whole audition of the album is a test of will,but ,in the end we can say that this album is almost a masterpiece!Amazing technical chops,twists,change of rhytms-impressive bass lines and an almost scarry versatility of the drummer !The guitarist/vocalist is out of this planet too-he is totally impressive when we think that the guy is in charge vith the vocal duties ,plus the sophisticated guitar work-WOW!!!Hard to say which song is the best one-all the album is a difficult to chew album,and there are necessary many auditions,and to dig deep into it ,to understand the complexity and meanings of such a fantastic album!Very good production,an uninspired cover-but the music is fabulous!4.75 stars for me!
 Nebulae by HEMINA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.61 | 27 ratings

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Nebulae
Hemina Progressive Metal

Review by Contemptible

5 stars With Nebulae, Hemina build upon and polish the strong foundation of progressive metal that was their debut album Synthetic while progressing their sound in almost every way. The result is a heartfelt and accomplished record that further cements their position as a premier Australian progressive metal band.

Immediately noticeable is the improved production of the album. Every instrument is given room to breathe and the result is a rich, lush and downright pleasurable album to listen to. The rhythm section in particular is a vast improvement, exposing the girth and groove that was hinted at in the band's songwriting and live performances but was let down by the production of the first album.

The improved aural dynamics of the album accompany a diversifying of stylistic influences that fed the songwriting process, most noticeably djent and funk. These styles are blended artfully into the core of the bands signature sound and exemplified in the song 'Lust'. The courting of the djent genre might evoke fear that the band is pandering to a larger audience, but the band easily dispel such fears through the way they have incorporated the rhythmic strength of the genre with the melodic technicality they are known for.

The vocal performances of the band have also been polished to nigh perfection. The tendency towards the over-use of power metal theatrics from the first album has been reined in and this, along with the absence of death-metal growls that infrequently appeared on their earlier record, creates a sincere and emotive vocal effort and increases the dramatic effect of the occasions that the extremities of the singer's vocal range are utilised. The increased use of female vocals enriches the sound further, drawing comparisons to the likes of Anathema especially during 'Soulmates'.

There is no such thing as a perfect album, and unfortunately this holds true for Nebulae. While overall the record comes across as heartfelt and natural there are a few stylistic choices that detract from this feeling, particularly the vocal delivery for the early verses of 'Lust'. While all the vocals are technically still expertly executed on this song, the vocal styling for these verses is one of the few times it feels as though the band is trying to forcefully incorporate the styling of another genre.

Despite a few (admittedly subjective) disagreements with some of the newer elements of Hemina's songwriting the album remains in my opinion a masterpiece of progressive metal comparable in quality to not only the work of premier Australian acts such as Voyager and Caligula's Horse, but to any international progressive metal band.

4.5/5

 The Seraphic Clockwork by VANDEN PLAS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.72 | 157 ratings

BUY
The Seraphic Clockwork
Vanden Plas Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars The more conceptual Vanden Plas become, the harder they are to penetrate. More often than not story-driven concept albums tend to consist of shorter songs-chapters. Here, after two deceptively catchy rockers (check out the 3 back-to-back widely different bridges of Frequency) songs average 9 minutes in length and include long instrumental parts. But I think that they managed to stop right at the point beyond which more would have been tough to digest.

Stylistically, this is their most eclectic album. Their brand of Dreamtheatre-esque esoteric but catchy prog metal enriched with more symphonic and classic rock (by way of rumbling organ and some folkish inserts) influences. Andy Kuntz has finally shed his early- days hair metal histrionics and developed into a more serious type of a theatrical singer. Give this a couple of spins at least.

 Coma Ghosts by EFFLORESCE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.80 | 61 ratings

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Coma Ghosts
Effloresce Progressive Metal

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Effloresce is a german progressive metal band, signed on the young label Generation Prog Records, founded by the enthusiastic bassist of jazz-fusion band Relocator, Michael Schetter.

With 'Coma Ghosts', they sign a quality first album with top-notch production, to be filed somewhere between Dream Theater and The Gathering at the time of 'Mandyllion'.

Most of the tracks are filled with an overwhelming tension, brought by martial or galloping rhythms, obsessing and insisting guitars, the haunting and majestic Hammond of "Spectre Pt.I- Zorya's Dawn", as well as the gravity of Nicki Weber's voice, in a pleading fashion most of the time, yet quite solemn in "Pavement Canvas". The short musical interlude "Undercoat" set apart, there is nonetheless one song ("Swimming through desert") that lands like a UFO in the tormented climate, as the light- weighted music, the pastoral mood with acoustic guitar and the sunny voice of Nicki, are so different from the other tunes. The disturbed guitar that concludes the track ensures nonetheless a return to the desolated world.

Half-angel, half-demon, Nicki Weber sings with a voice that is delicate and repulsive in turn. In this fight of the extremes, the beautiful wins over the ugly, "grunted" chant, which is the (mis)deed of the young woman, is indeed scarce. And, as if this split was not enough to highlight the incredible range of her vocal abilities, Nicki fills us with joy in her flute parts that are more than welcome to temper the tension of the mood ("Spectre Pt.I- Zorya's Dawn" and "Shuteye Wanderer").

In a nutshell, this is a very enjoyable album, in which a dynamic music devoid of any flashiness and with spare and never invasive swirling guitars, back a bewitching voice.

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