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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 | 2091 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.28 | 2161 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2: SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.27 | 1207 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.25 | 919 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.23 | 786 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr che
4.22 | 932 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.21 | 848 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.19 | 913 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.19 | 830 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.13 | 1463 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.16 | 529 ratings
V: THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.21 | 227 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.18 | 289 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.11 | 1539 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.12 | 692 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.16 | 268 ratings
PARALLELS
Fates Warning
4.11 | 538 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.14 | 292 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.17 | 192 ratings
A SOCIAL GRACE
Psychotic Waltz
4.12 | 344 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.17 | 188 ratings
INTO THE EVERFLOW
Psychotic Waltz
4.17 | 181 ratings
TEMPLE OF SHADOWS
Angra
4.13 | 270 ratings
A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY
Fates Warning
4.10 | 446 ratings
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT 2
Liquid Tension Experiment
4.18 | 152 ratings
STREETS - A ROCK OPERA
Savatage
4.10 | 414 ratings
ENTROPIA
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 113 ratings
MERCY FALLS
Seventh Wonder
4.12 | 261 ratings
DISCONNECTED
Fates Warning
4.12 | 242 ratings
TYRANNY
Shadow Gallery
4.08 | 429 ratings
THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY
Symphony X
4.11 | 240 ratings
THE BLACK HALO
Kamelot
4.05 | 702 ratings
SHRINE OF NEW GENERATION SLAVES
Riverside
4.29 | 70 ratings
RITUAL
Shaman / Shaaman
4.06 | 417 ratings
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Ayreon
4.15 | 130 ratings
THELI
Therion
4.11 | 163 ratings
A GENTLEMAN'S HURRICANE
Mind's Eye
4.08 | 212 ratings
CRITICAL MASS
Threshold
4.17 | 100 ratings
THE TOWERS OF AVARICE
Zero Hour
4.13 | 118 ratings
VOVIN
Therion
4.08 | 154 ratings
THE ORIGINS OF RUIN
Redemption
4.06 | 193 ratings
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Seventh Wonder
4.02 | 325 ratings
MARCH OF PROGRESS
Threshold
4.03 | 245 ratings
SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE
Arch / Matheos
4.13 | 101 ratings
PARADOX
Royal Hunt
4.04 | 198 ratings
TALES OF THE SANDS
Myrath
4.16 | 82 ratings
DELUSIONS
To-Mera
4.03 | 215 ratings
BURN THE SUN
Ark
4.21 | 63 ratings
GRITAR╔
Matraz
4.07 | 137 ratings
IN SEARCH OF TRUTH
Evergrey
4.03 | 200 ratings
NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH
Blind Guardian
4.03 | 182 ratings
CHRIST 0
Vanden Plas
4.20 | 62 ratings
MENTAL TORMENTS
Spheric Universe Experience
4.00 | 259 ratings
RAGE FOR ORDER
Queensr che
3.98 | 392 ratings
ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE
Pain Of Salvation
4.04 | 155 ratings
HOLY LAND
Angra
4.24 | 52 ratings
COSMOGENESIS
Gru
4.06 | 134 ratings
CELESTIAL ENTRANCE
Pagan's Mind
4.05 | 126 ratings
CALLING THE EARTH TO WITNESS
Darkwater
3.98 | 277 ratings
PROMISED LAND
Queensr che
4.09 | 94 ratings
ABYDOS
Abydos
4.25 | 46 ratings
JOURNEY OF A ROUGH DIAMOND
Mind Key
4.19 | 57 ratings
INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Shaolin Death Squad
3.99 | 183 ratings
UTOPIA
Distorted Harmony
4.00 | 152 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Blind Guardian
4.04 | 108 ratings
EDGE OF THORNS
Savatage
3.94 | 437 ratings
THE ODYSSEY
Symphony X
3.97 | 208 ratings
SYNTHETIC
Hemina
3.98 | 178 ratings
OCEANBORN
Nightwish
4.02 | 121 ratings
GUTTER BALLET
Savatage
4.03 | 109 ratings
JEREMIAS - FORESHADOW OF FORGOTTEN REALMS
Circle of Illusion
4.02 | 116 ratings
FIVE DEADLY VENOMS
Shaolin Death Squad
4.02 | 116 ratings
TRANSCENDENCE
Crimson Glory
4.03 | 105 ratings
HOPE
Myrath
4.00 | 139 ratings
HARVEST AORTA
Ephemeral Sun
3.96 | 211 ratings
HYPOTHETICAL
Threshold
4.01 | 118 ratings
A SENSE OF CHANGE
Sieges Even
3.90 | 1241 ratings
A DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS
Dream Theater
3.98 | 146 ratings
IMAGINATIONS FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Blind Guardian
4.03 | 90 ratings
IN YOUR MULTITUDE
Conception
3.98 | 138 ratings
BEYOND DAYLIGHT
Vanden Plas
3.96 | 155 ratings
SING-ALONG SONGS FOR THE DAMNED & DELIRIOUS
Diablo Swing Orchestra
4.32 | 29 ratings
TO DIMENSION LOGIC
Vauxdvihl
3.94 | 192 ratings
SUBSURFACE
Threshold
3.93 | 219 ratings
DARKNESS IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT
Fates Warning
4.03 | 80 ratings
NEBULAE
Hemina
4.09 | 57 ratings
JUST THE TWO OF US ME AND THEM
Mindflow
4.12 | 50 ratings
5TH SEASON
Dreamscape
3.95 | 152 ratings
VOICE IN THE LIGHT
Amaran's Plight
3.98 | 110 ratings
UNDERWORLD
Adagio
3.95 | 143 ratings
FOR THE LOVE OF ART AND THE MAKING
Beyond Twilight
3.96 | 134 ratings
THE TIDE, THE THIEF & RIVER'S END
Caligula's Horse
4.00 | 89 ratings
SECTION X
Beyond Twilight
3.95 | 145 ratings
PARAMOUNT
Sieges Even
4.07 | 58 ratings
MI KUBBESI
Nekropsi
3.95 | 129 ratings
HARVEST MOON
Votum
3.99 | 90 ratings
ANDROMEDA UNCHAINED
Anubis Gate
3.99 | 87 ratings
SANCTUS IGNIS
Adagio
3.91 | 197 ratings
AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN
Fates Warning
3.95 | 116 ratings
KARMA
Kamelot
3.94 | 126 ratings
EXILE
To-Mera

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

PATHOSRAY
Pathosray
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Ice Age
DARK DECEIVER
Zero Hour
WAVES OF VISUAL DECAY
Communic

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Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Horizons by ANUBIS GATE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.73 | 70 ratings

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Horizons
Anubis Gate Progressive Metal

Review by Dr÷mmarenAdrian

3 stars Progressive metal is metal music which has big progressive influences. Anubis Gate is one of those bands that belong to this genre, which is relatively new to me. "Horizons" is their sixth studio album; their first was released 2004. They come from Denmark and are actuelly one of the country's most favmous prog bands.

The cover of "Hoizons" is subtle and mediates other thoughts than metal albums use to do. The line up is Michel Bodin on guitar, Kim Olesen on guitars, Morten Gade S÷rensen on drums and Henrik Fevres who sings. Without having a bassist or a keyboardist they immediately become an odd bird in the prog fauna. My preconception of prog metal is that it should be a very heavy music but I don't really think you could say that about this album. The typical metal attributes are there of course such as the fast beating drums and the music is totally guitar driven. Though must I say that it is something more delicate over this after all. The lucid vocals and the moments of acoustic music bring you happy. The music contains a lot of stuff I have harder to acquire too. When the singer sonds like the singer of Dream Theater in the rougher parts or when the band gives me the feeling of alternative rock/indie rock which happens from one time and another. As a whole though must I say this is a pleasant album, I especially think you would think that if you are a fan of the subgenre.

My favourite song is "Breach of Faith" which contains a Mozart melody and is particularily nice(7/10). The long story of "A dream within a dream" would I recommend too(6/10) as well as "Airways"(6/10), "Destined to remember"(6/10), "Hear my call"(6/10) and "Horizons"(6/10). My song to song rating gives an average of 2.8 stars which will make the whole a three star rating. Had I been a metal fan would there perhaps have been one more.

 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.28 | 2159 ratings

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Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by gavharr

2 stars DT were, according to history some kind of pioneers in this genre. And they can play their respective instruments. Still I think this band and, especially this album, is seriously overrated. That does not mean I find it completely uninteresting. I just think that there are many albums in this genre that shows better songwriting, more tasteful soloing and musicianship in general.

"Regression" is not musically of interest, but is important because of the concept.

"Overture 1928" Has the very memorable intro with Portnoy hitting the snare accompanied by a cheesy synth theme. The guitars enter and we are in for some wankery, adding nothing of interest.

"Strange Deja Vu" Is partially good, and would have been even better if this band had a good vocalist. That said it's a track with some good riffage and not too much wankery. I really don't think it contains very memorable melodies, but it has a nice flow, and an interesting structure.

"Through My Words" Nice little piece with piano and vocals. Good in context, but it isn't a track you would play by itself.

"Fatal Tragedy" This track is significantly insignificant. No memorable melodies, and unconvincing wanking. In fact half of the songs 7 minutes are wankery. Not my kind of prog...

"Beyond This Life" This track is mean in a good way! Tha starting riff makes me want to (Head)bang. Not a big fan of the synth sounds, but the guitar playing makes up for it. I don't like LaBrie's voice, but in this track I think he conveys the lyrics in a convincing and good manner. Thumbs up. I also think the soloing in this song(for the most part) is good. It fits the sinister vibe of the song. STILL, I wonder how good this song would be if these guys knew how to restrain themselves. They could have cut it down 4 minutes, and end up with a better track.

"Through Her Eyes" WARNING: This song contains memorable melodies! And I quite like that. Also I like the piano and the fretless bass. Still, I wonder how this would have sounded with a guy like Daniel Gildenl÷w behind the mic. Easy on the ears this one, which is great after the last one.

"Home" Nice intro with some eastern influences and a Tool-like bass riff. Then along comes Portnoy with a comical take on drumrolls. This guy could'nt play a decent drumroll if his life depended on it. That said, he is a very creative and powerful drummer. Overall an OK track.

"The Dance of Eternity" HORRENDOUS! Is this actually music. It holds no value to me. It's like a bad version of Toto's "Dave's Gone Skiing" on speed. Still I know people which I like and respect who loves this piece of S**T.

"One Last Time" LaBrie's best performance on the record. I can in fact hear every word he is singing. Also this song is short, which in this case is just fine...

"The Spirit Carries On" This song is alright. It has guitar soloing that actually resembles melody and is kind of soothing to listen to. I know many people have a problem with the gospel. I don't. I like it. This is probably one of the best songs on this record. It showcases songwriting more than skill. No "Take The Time", but still quite enjoyable.

"Finally Free" This title kind of sums up my feelings at the end of this listening experience. This track is not too bad though. But overall this album is not up to par even with the best from this band, and miles away from records like Symphony X's "V" or "Pagan's Mind's "Celestial Entrance"

That said it is ok. Not good though, so I'll give it 2 stars.

 Italic by LOREWEAVER album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Italic
Loreweaver Progressive Metal

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars LoreWeaveR is a promising italian progressive metal band with strong female vocals. Their second album, 'Italic' is nothing revolutionary within this realm, yet it is quite enjoyable despite some flaws.

As specified earlier, the great thing about LoreWeaveR is that they have a singer with a staggering voice (a good comparison would be Patricia Tapia of spanish melodic hard-rock band Nexx). However, she doesn't reach the high notes as often as expected, preferring instead the wounded whispered chant. The first two songs might get on your nerves with their bland rehash of Dream Theater-like prudent rhythm patterns blended with the sinister and hesitating guitars akin to djent metal, another over-used feature of modern progressive metal. These two tracks are saved by a catchy chorus showcasing great vocal performance and by more inspired bridges. The band really sounds like a cover band on these songs, which is a pity because the remainder of the album is pure gold. And, indeed, "Lionheart" denotes a very dynamic side with faster pace, swirling and orchestral keyboards, together with daring vocals: there you feel that the band has a true personality. From this track on, drums are more colorful and more creative, keyboards deliver a broader range of sounds, while the voice of Barbara Rubin flies towards unreachable skies. As an illustration of wider keyboard array, lend an ear to the cabaret-like piano on "Vae Victis", but also those accordion-like layers on "Angry Tears", or even the eerie layers reminiscent of Pieter Nooten on "The river suite". The guitar riff of Pantera's "Walk" all along "Vae Victis" comes a bit surprising, just as the pop vibe instilled by the impassioned duet in italian language on the bonus track "Soldatino industriale", but they spice up the music without making it sound too goofy.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about this album. It doesn't start in the most inspiring way, but then quite unexpectedly a boost of energy and creativity makes sparks fly and a smile comes back on our face. I would rate it 4/5 but with regard to my complaint on the first two songs, and a preference of the vocalist for whispered chant, it's rather a solid 3,5.

 The Human Equation by AYREON album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.19 | 913 ratings

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The Human Equation
Ayreon Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For me listening to any AYREON album is little like going into a cheese shop. Arjen Lucassen really knows how to extract the absolute sappiest of power ballads and to me seems like a nurturer of 70s AOR / Pop rock bands like Styx into his musical equation. More often than not I am a little put off by his constant infatuation with the power ballad style of musical expression but there are times when his creative juices get flowing and he proves he is capable of something powerful and dynamic. The sixth album THE HUMAN EQUATION is one of those moments and yet another concept album / rock opera where each character is portrayed by a guest starring singer. Lucassen employs the talents of an army of vocalists and instrumentalists to create a musical rotisserie of vocal styles, musical motifs and narrations of a character called Me who is left in a coma from a car accident. Each song consists of one day spent in the coma and represents the spectrum of emotions and memories from his life that are played out by the musical cast. Unlike most AYREON projects, on this one Lucassen had help in the lyrics department from Devin Townsend who pretty much contributed the lyrical content and performance as Rage.

The music is in the vein of the usual AYREON style of part folk, part electronic and part metal. On HUMAN EQUATION there is also a lot of Irish jig music incorporated as well. This was my very first exposure to AYREON and I have to say that I have not been overly impressed with what i've heard on other albums. So far this seems to be the best album that i've heard. With all the praise that has revolved around this I was expecting it to be a perfect album but I find that the album is a little boring on Disc 1. The first several songs are just too folky and lack any bite. I'm not really engaged until track 7 with 'Hope.' Luckily this double discker picks up from here. I find the real treat is on Disc 2. This is where all the creativity and excitement unleashes itself. Songs like 'Trauma' and 'Loser' are utterly brilliant and really the whole disc keeps my attention with so much more going on than Disc 1. Overall I find this album to be partially worthy of the hype surrounding it but as with most AYREON albums it seems too long with some less than captivating material finding its way onto the track listing. I would probably give Disc 1 a 3 star rating while Disc 2 gets a 4.5 so for the whole kit and caboodle I award THE HUMAN EQUATION a whopping 4 stars.

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

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Glorious Collision
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

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

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Momentum
DGM Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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The Inner Circle
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

3 stars The Inner Circle concludes (almost) everyone's favorite trilogy of Evergrey classic albums (In Search of Truth, Recreation Day). I've always thought that Englund's confessional, gruff style vocals and concepts about alien abduction and doomsday cults (predominantly American cultural phenomena) gave Evergrey a certain American feel. That's why the integration of power metal and gospel-like sounds was a good idea. In the Wake of the Weary is a great example of this, while A Touch of Blessing is a candidate for a mid-paced anthem of the year. The rest of the songs get less consistent (always a problem with Evergrey). After that band simplified their sound and entered a period of personnel turmoil and tanked with critics and fans, as evidenced by a drop in their ratings here on PA. However, I think that altering the style was a logical step, since Evergrey gave us three good albums and formula started to wear a little thin.
 March Of Progress by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.02 | 325 ratings

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March Of Progress
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 Evolutionary strides

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

BUY
Recreation Day
Evergrey Progressive Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars On Recreation Day (don't let title confuse you - its about facing death), follow-up to their first nig success, In Search of Truth, Sweden's Evergrey refine their trademark brand of dark, soul-drenching power prog. In Search of Truth is more popular with reviewers here than Recreation Day, but I think the latter is a slicker record, more diverse in sound and tempo (although I'd still like to see more variety here), with songs like End of Your Days, As I Lie Here Bleeding and namesake just screaming to be shouted out loud with your fists in the air, while Your Darkest Hour provides some simple, but appealing keyboard melodies and tempo changes.
 For The Journey by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.59 | 43 ratings

BUY
For The Journey
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by buddyblueyes

4 stars The Snickers of Progressive Metal.

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

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

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

Wishful concert band pairing: Pagan's Mind.

Data cached

Progressive Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
5R6 Ukraine
7 MONTHS United States
7DAYS Sweden
AAXSKFG Italy
ABANDONED STARS United Kingdom
ABERRANT VASCULAR Finland
ABODEAN SKYE United Kingdom
ABSOLACE United Arab Emirates
ABYDOS Germany
ACCOMPLICE United States
ACHING BEAUTY France
ACID RAIN Argentina
ACID RAIN Serbia
ACID RAIN Spain
ACUTE MIND Poland
AD ASTRA United States
ADAGIO France
ADRAMELCH Italy
AEBSENCE Hungary
AEOLUS Netherlands
AEON ZEN United Kingdom
AETHERIUS United States
AFFECTOR Multi-National
AFTER FOREVER Netherlands
AGE OF NEMESIS Hungary
AGHARTA Netherlands
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
AMARAN'S PLIGHT United States
AMARYLLIS Poland
AMASEFFER Israel
AMAZE KNIGHT Italy
AMERICAN HOLLOW United States
ANACHRONOS Chile
ANACRUSIS United States
ANASAZI France
ANAXES Brazil
ANCIENT CREATION United States
ANCIENT CURSE Germany
ANDRAGONIA Brazil
ANDROMEDA Sweden
ANGRA Brazil
ANGUISH Germany
ANIMATIONS Poland
ANNON VIN Germany
ANOMALY Netherlands
ANOTHER LIFE Sweden
ANSATA Brazil
ANTALGIA Spain
ANTHRIEL Finland
ANTHROPIA France
ANUBIS GATE Denmark
ANURYZM United Arab Emirates
ANVISION Poland
FARAZ ANWAR Pakistan
APHELION Italy
APPEARANCE OF NOTHING Switzerland
ARABESQUE Netherlands
ARASHK Iran
ARCH / MATHEOS United States
JOHN ARCH United States
ARCHETYPE United States
ALEX ARGENTO Italy
ARITY United States
ARK Norway
ART OF SIMPLICITY Greece
ARTENSION Multi-National
ARTILECT United States
ASCENSION THEORY United States
ASHENT Italy
ASHLER Ecuador
ASMODEUS Czech Republic
ASPERA / ABOVE SYMMETRY Norway
ASSIGNMENT Germany
ASTARTE SYRIACA Italy
ASTRA Italy
ASTRAL DIVE Italy
ATAR─XIA Spain
ATHEM United States
ATLAS CONCEPT United States
ATMA Canada
ATMOSFEAR Germany
ATOMIC CLOCK United States
ATOMIXYNERGY Italy
AUDIO INSIGHT United States
AUDITORY IMAGERY United States
AURA Italy
THE AURORA PROJECT Netherlands
AUSPEX France
AUTOMATA Chile
AUTUMN HOUR United States
AVALON Germany
AWAX France
AXIAL LEAD Romania
AXIOM United States
SITHU AYE United Kingdom
AYREON Netherlands
AZAZELLO Russia
AZTEC JADE United States
AZURE AGONY Italy
BAD SALAD Brazil
AGAH BAHARI Iran
BALANCE OF POWER United Kingdom
THE BARSTOOL PHILOSOPHERS Netherlands
DANIEL BAUTISTA Spain
BEHIND THE CURTAIN Denmark
BELLA & PUTANA Chile
IVAN BERTOLLA Australia
BEYOND THE BRIDGE Germany
BEYOND THE LABYRINTH Belgium
BEYOND TWILIGHT Denmark
BLACK JESTER Italy
THE BLACK MAGES Japan
BLACK SYMPHONY United States
BLACKKOUT United States
BLANK FOREST Italy
BLIND GUARDIAN Germany
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BLUE GILLESPIE United Kingdom
BOOK OF REFLECTIONS Sweden
BOZZIO & SHEEHAN United States
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THE BRAINWASH MACHINE Colombia
BRAVE United States
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BROADMOOR Denmark
BROKEN MELODY Italy
CHRIS BROOKS Australia
JT BRUCE United States
BUMBLEFOOT United States
BURNING CIRCLE Serbia
BUSHWHACK United States
CALIGULA'S HORSE Australia
CAPRICIA Israel
CARAVELLUS Brazil
CARVING COLOURS Spain
CATHARSIS United States
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CEA SERIN United States
CENTAURUS United States
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CHARLY SAHONA France
CHINESE BEARD Finland
A CHINESE FIREDRILL United States
CHROME SHIFT Denmark
CIRCLE OF ILLUSION Austria
CIRCLES Germany
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CLANDESTINE United States
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CMX Finland
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CUEROCK Germany
HITTAR CUESTA Ecuador
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THE DAMNATION PROJECT Greece
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DARKWATER Sweden
ALEK DARSON Serbia
DAY SIX Netherlands
THE DEADSTATION. United States
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DEELY Poland
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DEIMOS Russia
DELTA Chile
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DEVENTTER Brazil
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DIMENSION34 Sweden
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AN ENDLESS SPORADIC United States
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THE FIFTH SEASON Italy
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FOR ALL WE KNOW Multi-National
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FRAMEPICTURES Portugal
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JACOPO GALLI Italy
GARDEN United Kingdom
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GB ARTS Germany
GENIUS Italy
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TADASHI GOTO Japan
CRISTI GRAM Romania
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THE GREAT GAMBLE United States
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GREY MATTER Canada
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GX Peru
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IVANHOE Germany
IVORY TOWER Germany
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