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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)
Louis (rdtprog)


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 | 2504 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.29 | 2563 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.26 | 1438 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.23 | 1054 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.23 | 974 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.21 | 929 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr che
4.19 | 1111 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.19 | 988 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.18 | 1025 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.14 | 1727 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.19 | 333 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.15 | 619 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.13 | 1828 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.19 | 270 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.13 | 761 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.12 | 628 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.15 | 348 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.14 | 327 ratings
A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY
Fates Warning
4.13 | 393 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.12 | 498 ratings
THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY
Symphony X
4.17 | 225 ratings
A SOCIAL GRACE
Psychotic Waltz
4.14 | 317 ratings
PARALLELS
Fates Warning
4.17 | 213 ratings
INTO THE EVERFLOW
Psychotic Waltz
4.16 | 208 ratings
TEMPLE OF SHADOWS
Angra
4.23 | 123 ratings
PARADOX
Royal Hunt
4.17 | 187 ratings
STREETS - A ROCK OPERA
Savatage
4.26 | 99 ratings
THE TOWERS OF AVARICE
Zero Hour
4.09 | 503 ratings
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT 2
Liquid Tension Experiment
4.09 | 459 ratings
ENTROPIA
Pain Of Salvation
4.07 | 868 ratings
SHRINE OF NEW GENERATION SLAVES
Riverside
4.17 | 154 ratings
MERCY FALLS
Seventh Wonder
4.10 | 278 ratings
THE BLACK HALO
Kamelot
4.09 | 308 ratings
DISCONNECTED
Fates Warning
4.06 | 512 ratings
LOVE, FEAR AND THE TIME MACHINE
Riverside
4.06 | 516 ratings
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Ayreon
4.25 | 80 ratings
RITUAL
Shaman / Shaaman
4.14 | 158 ratings
THELI
Therion
4.08 | 266 ratings
SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE
Arch / Matheos
4.08 | 242 ratings
CRITICAL MASS
Threshold
4.10 | 183 ratings
A GENTLEMAN'S HURRICANE
Mind's Eye
4.12 | 146 ratings
VOVIN
Therion
4.06 | 272 ratings
TYRANNY
Shadow Gallery
4.08 | 179 ratings
THE ORIGINS OF RUIN
Redemption
4.06 | 223 ratings
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Seventh Wonder
4.19 | 80 ratings
THEORIES OF FLIGHT
Fates Warning
4.23 | 67 ratings
GRITAR╔
Matraz
4.09 | 147 ratings
HARVEST MOON
Votum
4.05 | 237 ratings
NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH
Blind Guardian
4.09 | 146 ratings
CELESTIAL ENTRANCE
Pagan's Mind
4.10 | 130 ratings
JEREMIAS - FORESHADOW OF FORGOTTEN REALMS
Circle of Illusion
4.10 | 128 ratings
CALLING THE EARTH TO WITNESS
Darkwater
4.06 | 181 ratings
HOLY LAND
Angra
4.02 | 302 ratings
RAGE FOR ORDER
Queensr che
4.01 | 372 ratings
MARCH OF PROGRESS
Threshold
4.03 | 222 ratings
BURN THE SUN
Ark
4.03 | 206 ratings
CHRIST 0
Vanden Plas
4.56 | 25 ratings
SONGS FOR INSECTS
Thought Industry
4.11 | 96 ratings
DELUSIONS
To-Mera
4.05 | 160 ratings
IN SEARCH OF TRUTH
Evergrey
4.19 | 64 ratings
MENTAL TORMENTS
Spheric Universe Experience
4.12 | 87 ratings
IN YOUR MULTITUDE
Conception
4.29 | 44 ratings
BILO 3.0
Micic, David Maxim
4.06 | 134 ratings
TRANSCENDENCE
Crimson Glory
4.29 | 43 ratings
JOURNEY OF A ROUGH DIAMOND
Mind Key
4.08 | 105 ratings
ABYDOS
Abydos
4.00 | 230 ratings
TALES OF THE SANDS
Myrath
4.01 | 211 ratings
OCEANBORN
Nightwish
4.17 | 61 ratings
INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Shaolin Death Squad
3.97 | 432 ratings
ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE
Pain Of Salvation
4.26 | 44 ratings
GUIDING LIGHTS
Skyharbor
4.04 | 134 ratings
A SENSE OF CHANGE
Sieges Even
4.04 | 132 ratings
EDGE OF THORNS
Savatage
4.09 | 90 ratings
SECTION X
Beyond Twilight
4.19 | 55 ratings
JUST THE TWO OF US ME AND THEM
Mindflow
4.02 | 148 ratings
BEYOND DAYLIGHT
Vanden Plas
4.09 | 88 ratings
SANCTUS IGNIS
Adagio
4.37 | 32 ratings
TO DIMENSION LOGIC
Vauxdvihl
4.00 | 187 ratings
QUIET WORLD
Native Construct
4.01 | 160 ratings
THE TIDE, THE THIEF & RIVER'S END
Caligula's Horse
4.58 | 21 ratings
MODS CARVE THE PIG
Thought Industry
3.98 | 235 ratings
AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN
Fates Warning
3.99 | 194 ratings
UTOPIA
Distorted Harmony
3.94 | 495 ratings
THE ODYSSEY
Symphony X
4.32 | 33 ratings
HUMAN (THE FACTS)
Fughu
4.15 | 58 ratings
MI KUBBESI
Nekropsi
4.12 | 63 ratings
COSMOGENESIS
Gru
4.00 | 147 ratings
GUTTER BALLET
Savatage
4.02 | 111 ratings
UNDERWORLD
Adagio
3.96 | 238 ratings
HYPOTHETICAL
Threshold
3.98 | 169 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Blind Guardian
3.94 | 331 ratings
PROMISED LAND
Queensr che
3.98 | 165 ratings
VOICE IN THE LIGHT
Amaran's Plight
4.00 | 130 ratings
FIVE DEADLY VENOMS
Shaolin Death Squad
3.99 | 141 ratings
FOR THE LOVE OF ART AND THE MAKING
Beyond Twilight
3.98 | 142 ratings
HARVEST AORTA
Ephemeral Sun
4.28 | 31 ratings
OMNIEM
Jinetes Negros
3.94 | 218 ratings
SUBSURFACE
Threshold
4.32 | 27 ratings
REACHING PLACES HIGH ABOVE
Persona Grata
4.10 | 54 ratings
5TH SEASON
Dreamscape
3.95 | 161 ratings
SING-ALONG SONGS FOR THE DAMNED & DELIRIOUS
Diablo Swing Orchestra

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

THE BUTCHER'S BALLROOM
Diablo Swing Orchestra
PRINCIPLES OF TRANSFORMATION
Super String Theory
WAVES OF VISUAL DECAY
Communic
DARK DECEIVER
Zero Hour

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 A Dream in Static by EARTHSIDE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.87 | 56 ratings

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A Dream in Static
Earthside Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'A Dream in Static' - Earthside (63/100)

I can't help but feel the slightest bit suspicious when a band suddenly explodes the way Eathside has over the course of this past year. There was nary a mention of these guys before they usurped the prog metal dialogue last October with their debut. Now, just a few months later, they're acting as direct support for the genre's present frontrunners on the upcoming North American Leprous tour. What's more; A Dream in Static comes with the kind of massive budget and big-name guest spots you might normally expect from a more established act. With this manner of apparent step-skipping, I almost get the impression that Earthside only saved themselves the years-long struggle working up the ladder because their wallet was big enough to accommodate their ambitions.

Then again, before I heard Earthside's name on the upcoming tour announcement, I heard of them from friends who got up in arms over A Dream in Static as soon as it was released. Much the same way the progressive metal network went ape over Leprous' own Tall Poppy Syndrome several years ago, it didn't take long for A Dream in Static to latch onto its target audience. Most importantly, even if their sudden success is conspicuous, Earthside have the raw talent and skill to back it up. Progressive metal isn't an easy shell to crack as a musician, and their tight execution says more about their experience together than whatever dollar signs they had backing them up.

I could take a positive or negative stance toward Earthside, and I think I'd have sufficiently enough to say in either scenario. My real opinion probably lies somewhere in the middle. Earthside may have a lot of great things going for them. but for all their firepower and heft, A Dream in Static leaves me feeling somewhat dry. No one can doubt their determination when it came to making the album as polished as they could make it, but it also sounds like Earthside took every possible cliche of modern progressive metal under consideration when it came to writing the album. Djenty rhythm sections? Soaring melodic vocals? Bombastic arrangements and misguided symphonic pomp? Check, check, check, check. There are times on A Dream in Static when I feel like I'm listening to a modern metal laundry list manifest as sound. For a genre that's proverbially meant to be constantly pushing the limits forward, it's not a great sign that they constantly see fit to remind me of bands that preceded them.

So much of Earthside's craft feels deadset on impressing the listener as much as they can for as long as possible. While there's nothing wrong about a band pushing themselves to their limits, there's something immediately disingenuous about hearing a mix crowded with djenty chugs and a full-blown live studio orchestra. The use of the Moscow Festival Orchestra on "Mob Mentality" and "Entering the Light" has its moments (particularly on the more atmospheric latter track) but I never once feel like the symphony was employed as more than a display of some vague musical ambitions.

It's kind of ironic that Earthside actually make their best strides when they streamline themselves a bit. While they're clearly skilled as composers, their ambitions outstretch their reach with the most involved pieces. To contrast, they make great strides when they tighten in the reins. "Entering the Light" is a fantastic exotic instrumental that basks in the spaces between notes that may had otherwise been filled with sound on other tracks. Earthside offer up their best songs for the likes of their guest vocalists. Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT) and Bj÷rn Strid (Soilwork) each cover some fantastic range on "A Dream in Static" and "Crater" respectively. Tompkins' soaring chorus work towards the end of his spot is easily the most spine-chilling moment of the album for me. Earthside's own vocals are very solid as well, following the similarly melodic form of their guests. They've got a surprising skill with working melody into their work; I only wish more of the album had reeled in on that strength.

This is a mixed bag kind of impression, really. Earthside see fit to exemplify the polished place where modern progressive metal has settled. They've got plenty of skill, but aren't quite clear on how to wring the best out of their potential. They're clearly ambitious, though I it would be more accurate to wrap ironic quotations around that word; they are ambitious, sure, but they're not grasping at heights any higher than their peers. When all is said, I know Earthside have the best possible intentions at heart, but their apparent urge to amaze the prog community limits their potential to emote and connect on a more human level. This isn't a problem faced by Earthside alone, but modern prog as a whole. It's to their credit that they do what they do slightly better than many of the other bands to come out recently.

 Music Machine by STRIDE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.69 | 12 ratings

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Music Machine
Stride Progressive Metal

Review by maryes

4 stars 4,5 stars !!! I listened all three albums from North-American band STRIDE, and I consider this first work " Miusic Machine" slightly superior than the posterior albums ( however, I like much from the others). The reason is simple ... I think which this one are shows a more "digestible" prog-metal form with more beautiful melodies ( listen track 3 "Travesty" a great ballad with a fantastic and "bucolic" guitar) and more richness in influences . this influences sometimes runs out of the main stream of progressive metal ( as for instance Dream Theather's style), a good example is the track 4 "Boogie Man" a clear Jeff Beck influence. Another example is the track 7 "Moonroof" whit a acoustic guitar accompaniment and this "party" sonorous "landscape". In summary, is very difficult to me detach any track. Besides , the musicians are fantastic. My rate is 4 stars !!!
 Mercy Falls by SEVENTH WONDER album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.17 | 154 ratings

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Mercy Falls
Seventh Wonder Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What is it about progressive metal concept albums about people in comas? Queensryche kicked the trend off with Operation: Mindcrime, Ayreon did it with The Human Equation, and the same plot device shows up in Seventh Wonder's Mercy Falls. In fact, the overall premise is very similar to The Human Equation's, since both involve a protagonist who following a car crash has to undergo a range of intense reflections on their interior troubles and their relations with others, though I have to give Mercy Falls the edge with its plot; the personal revelations involved about the protagonist's family life mean there's something substantial to actually discover beyond psychological platitudes, whilst the motif of the town of Mercy Falls helps aesthetically tie things together. On top of that, Seventh Wonder set this all off against a great musical backing, reminiscent of a more tasteful Dream Theater, which really rounds out the package.
 Damn The Machine by DAMN THE MACHINE album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.34 | 9 ratings

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Damn The Machine
Damn The Machine Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Damn the Machine" is the self-titled debut full-length studio album by US heavy rock/metal act Damn the Machine. The album was released through A&M Records in June 1993. Damn the Machine was founded by former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland and includes his brother Mark on drums. Dave Clemmons on vocals/guitar, and David Randi on bass completes the lineup. Chris Poland released a solo album in 1990, but apparently missed playing in a band constellation and thus Damn the Machine was born.

The music on the album is a sophisticated type of heavy rock/metal with slight jazz rock/fusion leanings. The latter stylistic element is rather subdued though, and only heard on occasion. While I initially expected the album to be loaded with instrumental music, that's actually far from the truth, as the music on the album features vocals. The instrumental parts (parts without vocals) are usually sections with guitar solos, so overall the music is pretty regular vers/chorus structured heavy rock/metal. It's generally well written and relatively catchy, but honestly I only remember very few tracks once the album has ended, and that of course a minor issue, even though the album is highly enjoyable while it plays. There's an almost easy listening and accessible way about the music, even though it occasionally rocks pretty hard.

The musicianship is strong on all posts, although Dave Clemmons hasn't got the most remarkable or distinct sounding voice. There's nothing wrong with his skills though, and his performance on this album is passionate and suits the music well. The rest of the band are very well playing too, and not surprisingly some of the highlights are Chris Poland's guitar solos, but also the rather intriguing rhythm section, and the general guitar work on the album.

While Damn the Machine generally sounds very little like Megadeth, I still think there are some features on the album that remind me of the most soft and rock oriented tracks by the Dave Mustaine led act. The sound production which is clear, organic, and detailed also lead my thoughts in the direction of the early 90s releases by Megadeth.

Upon conclusion "Damn the Machine" is a quality release and a relatively great debut album by Damn the Machine. The band would be short lived though and this would be their only album release before disbanding. They probably lacked that last punch and memorability in their songwriting to instantly succeed, but there is definitely potential here for something greater. Although that was never to happen a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved for this album.

 The Astonishing by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.59 | 447 ratings

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The Astonishing
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Steven Brodziak

5 stars I have to seriously question the honesty of the potential trolls who have discarded this album with one and two star ratings. Dream Theater has been a progression of music since they came on the scene in the late 80's. Yes, Images and Words was a landmark album for Prog Metal. Yes, Scenes from a Memory established their concept-album bona fides. But are you looking for them to produce the same thing again? Like all talented musicians, the Dream Theater crew has grown and expanded musically. The Astonishing is another step in that progression. We DO LIKE PROGRESSIVE MUSIC, right? I am personally thrilled that James Petrucci could come up with such a bold, ridiculous concept and bring it to fruition. He incorporates a science-fiction story into a Broadway-musical Prog-Metal Opera! WTF! It reminds me of some of the outlandish stretches you can be brought to listening to an Ayreon album. The musicianship is, as always, breathtaking. The orchestrations and interludes are fresh and new-sounding, while still sounding like Dream Theater. There are fewer hard edges to this music, but it is not sissified in any way. If you can't appreciate Theater Music (minus the Dream), then perhaps your appreciation of Prog suffers because of that. I Love Music. Musical Music. Talented Music. It doesn't have to have e electric guitars, it can have cellos. Dream Theater has always excelled at developing a melodic line and carrying it forward, then twisting it around, flipping it over and looking at the underside. They do that here and the melodies feel natural, not forced. Petrucci can often be accused of playing "too many notes". Well, he manages to control himself throughout most of "The Astonishing" for the greater good of the composition. Sure, there are characters and story lines happening that we may or may not want to read into to find out, but the music carries us along so that the importance of those details does not really matter, and does not detract from the enjoyment of the composition. James LaBrie sounds like he is 20 years younger and delivers powerfully without the false n need to sound like different characters when he is singing for them. The themes are timeless: power, oppression, freedom, l love and family. Prog has delivered such beautiful gems to us in the last decade. Bands stretching limits and doing things we haven't heard before. It is god-damned hard to put something new on the airwaves when there is so much out there, but I honestly think t that Dream Theater has done that with this album. "The Astonishing" is like Dream Theater meets Andrew Lloyd Weber. And if you can't appreciate Andrew Lloyd Weber, then you can't be a true Prog-head and you should run back to your Yngwie Malmsteen albums. I have been a DT fan since about 1992 when I bought Images and Words. If you make music for a quarter century, there are going to be high points and low points. The low points, for me, have been "Awake" and "Train of Thought", while each still had some very nice moments. Their musicianship has always held them up. There is not and has not been a week musician in this band. Mike Portnoy leaving certainly changed their feel but not really their musical direction, and Mike Mangini has chops that no one can question . Jordan Rudess on keys is a treat to listen to whether he is wailing on the synth or tickling the ivories like a virtuoso. The plain fact is that these guys produce sounds that sound excellent, period! The orchestrations are excellent, the production is solid as always. DO NOT let the trolls tell you that this album is not worth the listen. IT IS!!!
 Dead Winter Dead by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.86 | 119 ratings

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Dead Winter Dead
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With a high sense of dramatic flair, instrumental proficiency, and song variety, Savatage's Dead Winter Dead is a great prog-metal experience from the '90's. It shows it's age with some ham-fisted keyboard sounds, abundance of hard rock guitar soloing, and gruff machismo vocals, but the overall experience is solid and pulled off very well, especially given its ambition.

Dead Winter Dead is a tale of the human experience during civil unrest and war; the plot is basically Oscar-bait, but the music will appeal strongly to prog metal fans who love the raw sound of the genre's infancy. Oliva and company create a thick, heavy, melodic, and dynamic sound. Part blues, part refined metal, and part faux-symphony, this album has a little bit of everything, and while I can't say that it does any one thing exceptionally well, the total package comes together for a unique and rewarding experience.

The highlights have got to be the song writing and and instrumental work. The writing is unapologetically conceptual, so don't expect many big hooks or choruses to get stuck in your head. This is an album driven by narrative, but not weighted down by it. This creates the impressions of a story without the explicitness heard on many other concept albums - a big plus for me. The songs are short, punchy, and highly varied. The playing gets the job done, especially the guitar work, which is voluminous, heavy, and filled with solo moments.

The music is dated, but it doesn't matter because when it works, it works big time. The opening and suite ("Overture" through "Starlight"), as well as the third-act suite ("Memory" through "One Child") strike me as the strongest moments. The keyboard heavy treatments of classical works, and especially the Christmas song are gimmicky, and stick-out obnoxiously in an otherwise solid song lineup. An unfortunate crossover with Oliva's Transiberian Railroad project that hams up an otherwise prog experience! The overall tone is somewhat dark, brooding, threatening, but also optimistic. There's a sensitive streak of hope that shimmers beneath the metal riffing and melodies of Dead Winter Dead that is compelling.

This album is a strong 3.5, and highly recommended for rock fans who enjoy some sensitivity in their metal, and especially for prog metal fans who want to hear an early success story that shows us that a flurry of guitar shredding alone doesn't necessarily make a great album - it takes a touch of class, too.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Theories of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.18 | 79 ratings

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Theories of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Fates Warning is a rare prog metal band without the musical cheese. The word to describe their music is... certainly not harsh. Bleak? No, serious would be the word. Even the albums have such scientifically-inclined names as Theories of Flight or Darkness in a Different Light. Fates are famous for incorporating complex riffing and drumming patterns in a concise pop song length. Theories continue with the thick guitar sound of Darkness, but there's an effort to make the music sound more commercial, with the prog power metal-like shifts between softer and harder parts, hooks galore and guitar solos, bringing the band closer to the sound of such more commercially successful outfits as Dream Theater, Symphony X and even Iron Maiden.
 Images And Words by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.29 | 2504 ratings

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Images And Words
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Rodrigo Andrade7

5 stars "Images and words" is the classic that set new ground of the progressive metal subgenre, this is the older Dream Theater at its best. Amazing guitar solos,amazing lyrics,amazing vocals,amazing keyboards,amazing drums... everything about this album is amazing. The album is melodic,fast paced,emotional and strong, proggy at its best!! Everything sounds well on this album, the length is perfect and every track gives you a lot to listen to, from amazing keyboard solos opening a way to guitar solo sections ending up with Labrie picking and controlling the song with his strong and powerful vocal! This is the classic Dream Theater, if you have never heard this album you don't know anything about progressive metal, this is the pinnacle of what this band has ever made. Dream Theater just got a fantastic bump since their debut album, "Images and words" is above everything the band had made before on every level. Highlights of the album: "Pull me under" an amazing track that easily defines Dream Theater greatness, "Another Day" a beautiful melodic track with a outstanding sax solo, "Metropolis part 1 (the miracle and the sleeper)" the masterpiece of the album! This is one of the most memorable songs Dream Theater has ever put up, its amazing on every level, and my other highlights go out for "Under a glass moon" and "learning to live"

"Somewhere like a scene from a memory, There's a picture worth a thousand words..." ♫♫

Rating - 5 Stars: Essential, a masterpiece of progressive rock music No hesitation here, this is easily 5 stars, top tier Dream Theater music.

 Reality in Focus by MAGNITUDE 9 album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.02 | 23 ratings

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Reality in Focus
Magnitude 9 Progressive Metal

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Melodic progressive metal from the USA. A rare case when highly skillful and technically brilliant musicians know how to write great songs and to dose the right amount of virtuosity not to overblown their performances. In fact, Magnitude 9 sounds more like their english counterparts than to their native colleagues. Sure enough there are hints of Dream Theater and Fates Warning here and there, but mostly their music is closer to the European style of more melodic bands like Threshold. Strong influences of 80┤s power metal is also clear (their faithful cover of Iron Maidens┤s Flight Of Icarus is not coincidence).

Reality In Focus is their second effort but it was the first to be released in Brazil, with a different cover and an altered songs running order. My CD has also two instrumental tracks added: Divided By Three and Mataphysical. Both show their more technical and less melodic side. Those tracks will please those who like to hear more technique and instrumental noodling than "song format" However, the "official" CD is just terrific. I really loved their guitar-led sound and their knack for writing fine hooks and melodies. All tracks are at least very good and there are no lows. Songs like No Turning Back and Lost Along The Way are fine examples of fine songwriting and powerful, energetic delivering of all band members. The star of the show is surely Rob Johnson┤s absolute fantastic guitar lines that dominates most of the tunes, but the rest group is not far behind (Joseph Anastacio Glean is one who knows hoe to put his keyboards in good use all the time). Vocalist Corey Brown has a fine pair of pipes and an emotional delivering that fits well with the high demanding compositions. Production is also top notch.

Although hardly a groundbreaking record, Reality In Focus is a great piece of work. If you like the more melodic, song oriented side of Prog Metal you can┤t miss this one.

Rating: something between 4 and 4.5 stars.

 Theories of Flight by FATES WARNING album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.18 | 79 ratings

BUY
Theories of Flight
Fates Warning Progressive Metal

Review by DeepPurplePL

5 stars Music tablet slowly dissolving in my ears and Dream Theater's nightmare.

That is a very good album and it seems that FW have musically still 'something to say'. I was not impressed by the album teaser available on tube and I think I will avoid listening to 30 seconds excerpts taken out of context in future. I was not impressed after listening to the album once. But I took time and "Theories of Flight" are growing every day. The real Killer is "The Light and Shade of Things" the best over 10 minute long piece since "Child in Time". The main strength of FW (apart from obvious technical skills) is ability to compose music. These guys are nor in their 20's anymore but they are musically young at heart and this album is the best source of evidence. They are not 'speeding', no showing off, every element has its place in this beautiful musical puzzle. I also adore last track that reminds me Kevin Moore's Chroma Key. What an atmosphere, what a climate. I wish there was 40 minutes of music like that even if it would not be classic FW. All other tracks are very good, but 'Like Stars Our Eyes Have Seen' and 'The Ghosts of Home' excel. That is a pity this band is a little bit underrated. I said that many times before that Fates Warning is King Crimson of prog metal genre and I sustain that opinion. Why Dream Theater nightmare? Because DT are speeding last 15 years but create little music. Thank you FW and see you (again) on tour. Bless ya.

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