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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 | 2686 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.29 | 2744 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2 - SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.26 | 1585 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.23 | 973 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr˙che
4.23 | 1148 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT - PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 1077 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.21 | 1195 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.20 | 1075 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.19 | 1100 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.21 | 357 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.13 | 1842 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.17 | 357 ratings
A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY
Fates Warning
4.14 | 663 ratings
V - THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.14 | 700 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.11 | 1956 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.17 | 287 ratings
THE FULLNESS OF TIME
Redemption
4.15 | 383 ratings
PERFECT SYMMETRY
Fates Warning
4.11 | 826 ratings
BE
Pain Of Salvation
4.24 | 137 ratings
PARADOX
Royal Hunt
4.12 | 534 ratings
THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY
Symphony X
4.13 | 413 ratings
ROOM V
Shadow Gallery
4.16 | 229 ratings
TEMPLE OF SHADOWS
Angra
4.15 | 244 ratings
A SOCIAL GRACE
Psychotic Waltz
4.09 | 645 ratings
LOVE, FEAR AND THE TIME MACHINE
Riverside
4.12 | 355 ratings
PARALLELS
Fates Warning
4.15 | 227 ratings
INTO THE EVERFLOW
Psychotic Waltz
4.10 | 532 ratings
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT 2
Liquid Tension Experiment
4.15 | 207 ratings
STREETS - A ROCK OPERA
Savatage
4.10 | 517 ratings
ENTROPIA
Pain Of Salvation
4.07 | 957 ratings
SHRINE OF NEW GENERATION SLAVES
Riverside
4.23 | 104 ratings
THE TOWERS OF AVARICE
Zero Hour
4.15 | 166 ratings
MERCY FALLS
Seventh Wonder
4.09 | 297 ratings
THE BLACK HALO
Kamelot
4.13 | 169 ratings
THELI
Therion
4.24 | 84 ratings
RITUAL
Shaman
4.07 | 328 ratings
DISCONNECTED
Fates Warning
4.03 | 571 ratings
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Ayreon
4.11 | 167 ratings
LEGENDS OF THE SHIRES
Threshold
4.06 | 271 ratings
CRITICAL MASS
Threshold
4.06 | 277 ratings
SYMPATHETIC RESONANCE
Arch / Matheos
4.09 | 189 ratings
A GENTLEMAN'S HURRICANE
Mind's Eye
4.06 | 287 ratings
TYRANNY
Shadow Gallery
4.10 | 158 ratings
VOVIN
Therion
4.08 | 197 ratings
HOLY LAND
Angra
4.39 | 43 ratings
LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN
Katatonia
4.05 | 252 ratings
NIGHTFALL IN MIDDLE-EARTH
Blind Guardian
4.22 | 72 ratings
GRITARÉ
Matraz
4.07 | 191 ratings
THE ORIGINS OF RUIN
Redemption
4.68 | 24 ratings
THE DANCE OF LIGHT AND SHADE
Soul Doubt
4.05 | 235 ratings
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Seventh Wonder
4.08 | 152 ratings
CELESTIAL ENTRANCE
Pagan's Mind
4.07 | 160 ratings
HARVEST MOON
Votum
4.08 | 132 ratings
CALLING THE EARTH TO WITNESS
Darkwater
4.19 | 67 ratings
BILO 3.0
Micic, David Maxim
4.02 | 233 ratings
BURN THE SUN
Ark
4.07 | 141 ratings
JEREMIAS - FORESHADOW OF FORGOTTEN REALMS
Circle of Illusion
4.53 | 27 ratings
SONGS FOR INSECTS
Thought Industry
4.06 | 149 ratings
A SENSE OF CHANGE
Sieges Even
4.00 | 321 ratings
RAGE FOR ORDER
Queensr˙che
4.04 | 166 ratings
IN SEARCH OF TRUTH
Evergrey
4.00 | 257 ratings
AWAKEN THE GUARDIAN
Fates Warning
4.09 | 102 ratings
DELUSIONS
To-Mera
4.01 | 215 ratings
CHRIST 0
Vanden Plas
4.05 | 142 ratings
TRANSCENDENCE
Crimson Glory
3.98 | 406 ratings
MARCH OF PROGRESS
Threshold
4.07 | 111 ratings
ABYDOS
Abydos
4.15 | 67 ratings
MENTAL TORMENTS
Spheric Universe Experience
4.16 | 64 ratings
MI KUBBESI
Nekropsi
4.00 | 228 ratings
OCEANBORN
Nightwish
4.08 | 100 ratings
SECTION X
Beyond Twilight
4.02 | 152 ratings
EDGE OF THORNS
Savatage
4.02 | 163 ratings
GUTTER BALLET
Savatage
4.18 | 56 ratings
JUST THE TWO OF US ME AND THEM
Mindflow
4.00 | 182 ratings
THE TIDE, THE THIEF & RIVER'S END
Caligula's Horse
4.01 | 155 ratings
BEYOND DAYLIGHT
Vanden Plas
3.95 | 525 ratings
THE ODYSSEY
Symphony X
3.97 | 264 ratings
HYPOTHETICAL
Threshold
4.52 | 23 ratings
MODS CARVE THE PIG
Thought Industry
3.98 | 244 ratings
TALES OF THE SANDS
Myrath
4.24 | 43 ratings
VIVA EMPTINESS
Katatonia
3.95 | 349 ratings
PROMISED LAND
Queensr˙che
4.05 | 99 ratings
SANCTUS IGNIS
Adagio
4.02 | 122 ratings
UNDERWORLD
Adagio
3.98 | 179 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Blind Guardian
3.97 | 202 ratings
UTOPIA
Distorted Harmony
4.10 | 68 ratings
COSMOGENESIS
Gru
4.07 | 76 ratings
WIZARD'S EYES
Inside The Sound
3.99 | 136 ratings
FIVE DEADLY VENOMS
Shaolin Death Squad
4.24 | 37 ratings
TO DIMENSION LOGIC
Vauxdvihl
3.95 | 224 ratings
SYNTHETIC
Hemina
3.97 | 171 ratings
VOICE IN THE LIGHT
Amaran's Plight
3.91 | 482 ratings
ONE HOUR BY THE CONCRETE LAKE
Pain Of Salvation
3.94 | 242 ratings
SUBSURFACE
Threshold
3.94 | 226 ratings
QUIET WORLD
Native Construct
4.15 | 47 ratings
NIGHT IS THE NEW DAY
Katatonia
4.15 | 47 ratings
JOURNEY OF A ROUGH DIAMOND
Mind Key
4.06 | 69 ratings
INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Shaolin Death Squad
3.96 | 150 ratings
FOR THE LOVE OF ART AND THE MAKING
Beyond Twilight
3.96 | 151 ratings
HARVEST AORTA
Ephemeral Sun
4.00 | 97 ratings
IN YOUR MULTITUDE
Conception

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

LA VOZ DE LOS BOSQUES
Viuda Negra
WALKING ON H20
Mind's Eye
THE GREAT DIVIDE
Ice Age
DARK DECEIVER
Zero Hour

Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 The Journey by KHALLICE album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.82 | 13 ratings

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The Journey
Khallice Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Magna Carta Madness!

Oh all those albums I couldn't afford are now available with the now popular Internets and their world wide webs hoots. You have to pay respect to a person wanting to sound like Rush or Dream Theater. I mean, the time invested and the level of practice are astronomical and could cause a divorce if you're a family man. If you have kids, carry a picture of them because you might not recognize them after all that practice.

Just kidding. Oh it's good to have humor! Especially when listening to that steamy pile of...er...music. Laughing while listening to an album is never good, never. I actually laughed (or cringed, depending) at a few places while playing this record. The instrumentation is fine and the songs kinda make sense; these guys listened to a freakin' lot of Dream Theater. I mean a lot. And frankly, I would be happy to be able to play with such speed, especially in the keyboard department. It's probably their biggest strenght: there is a couple of awesome keyboard licks spread through the (painful) journey they offer us.

The singer made me grind my teeth in almost every song, he's just not cut for it. If you're not capable of imitating Labrie, sing at home and pretend you are. We are not in your home to listen so, it's okay. But doing it for the world to enjoy is taking a big chance at being laughed at. Despite all this, some moments are not so pumped from Rush or DT and could be a product of their own brains (like Turn the Page for instance).

The songs are ripoffs, the artwork kindergartenish, this record made me swear (lightly though) but I wish them all the best in the world. At least they tried.

 Legends Of The Shires by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.11 | 167 ratings

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Legends Of The Shires
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Alard Charlton

5 stars The best Progressive Metal in the universe ( my opinion folks, please don't get heated ) are back with what is probably their most ambitious album yet. The first thing you will notice is that vocalist Steven Wilson has departed from the ranks yet again, and back in the saddle is Glynn Ellis who sang on Psychedelicatessen. "The Shire ( part one )" starts off acoustically with sounds of bells and birds and has a distinct Richard Griffee sound to Glynn Morgans voice. We are then into Metallica territory with "Small Dark Lines" a song all about Geoffrey Matnill suffering those lines that he had to write when he was in the juniors. Great aggressive guitars and fine Mitch singing are the order of the day here, and even manages to bring a slight Emma-ness to the table. So to the first of two epics on the album. "The Man Who Saw Through Time" has a great Holly Hospital sound to it and even takes in a little bit of Deaf Marcus ( A Brighton based Metal band for those not in the know ) "Trust The Process" starts off with some angular "In A Bad Mood" guitar playing from Eggheart Bride and some great catchy vocals from Captain Morgan. It even manages to capture some of the essence of Yes in the mid section, with some great vocal interplay between Glynn Morgan and to what my ears sounds like Glynn Morgan. "Stars And Satellites" manages to capture that great Prog essence with great vocal lines that could have easily have come from The Beatles "Revolver" era, and is a timely reminder as to just what a great tunesmith that keys player Fred West is. "On The Edge" is a great contribution from Bass player Jon Anderson with a smashing Michael Curley feel to it, as well as being a song i can well imagine being right up the alley of previous vocalist Damian Wilson. This one smokes and smoulders like a November 5th bonfire being jealousy guarded by Rocking Nobby and Fatty John. So onto disc two then. "The Shire ( part two ) " is basically "The Shire ( part one ) but with added instrumentation and several tea breaks. "Snowblind" is next up and starts off in fine punky Beki Bondage fashion with some great quirky playing from Harl Groomand stellar drumming from Johanne Janes. This song always makes me feel happy - And i like feeling happy. "Subliminal Freeways" appears to be about Glynn Morgan feeling no elation and having nothing in his heart, and because of this, i always cry bitter almond tears whenever i hear it. "State Of Independence" could have easily have been the single from the album, and there are cracking cover versions of it by Jon Anderson and Donna Summer. The 2nd epic "Lost In Translation" is a superb song which takes the listener through many twists and turns, not unlike an earwig moving through and across Macey's brain. This song seems to be about Glynns heart not being able to beat any stronger, and that this life is meant for him. Some great Sandra Hunt and Carole Norley mellow sections meld with some great more driving Jose Mourinho sections which give this song a fantastic typical Threshold sound and to these ears is yet another reason why Threshold are superior songwriting wise to Drear Theater. Finally we have "Swallowed" which starts off in a nice acoustic vein before building up to a nice Pink Floyd like climax. Plenty of emotional Doctor Taylor guitar as this track progresses, as well as some heartfelt David James vocals from Captain Morgan. This album is both brilliant and beautiful and the only problem i can foresee for Threshold now, is how do they top this? Breathtaking stuff which should make you want to put on a nice fluffy patterned cardigan and a hop and a skip merrily along to HMV and order this album. For fans of Threshold, Shadowland, Pendragon, Yes, Pink Floyd and Vice Squad.
 Hipotesis Ubicua by ALY album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.03 | 4 ratings

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Hipotesis Ubicua
Aly Progressive Metal

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Aly was a musical project of Alonso Romero, he was born in Mexico (1979), started to study piano when he was 8 and he is playing guitar since his 13th. He has a varied taste: with the band Toccata he released the album entitled Circe (2005) on which he plays guitar in the progmetal vein but he also made a classical album with flute and guitar.

We can find back this captivating contrast between rock and classical on Aly their instrumental debut album Hypotesis Ubicua. Alonso has invited a wide range of musicians featuring drummer Adolfo Raimundo (who did a tour with the new line-up of Italian progrock legend Il Balletto Di Bronzo).

On most of the nine compositions Alonso delivers heavy guitar work with obvious hints of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, fueled by a thunderous rhythm-section evoking Metallica and Opeth. How exciting and I am impressed by Alonso his furious, blistering and biting guitar runs and propulsive fat guitar riffs. The most interesting element of Aly their music is in my opinion the way he blends the sound of varied keyboards with the powerful guitar work. Often this evokes a lot of tension in the Aly sound. Dazzling interplay with synthesizers (El Aspecto Sombrio De La Desinhibicion and Sirenas Posei­das En La Mente De Omicron). And lush organ waves (Necesidad Ilimitada), dreamy piano work (Instinto En La Nostalgia) and orchestral keyboards (Ocular).

Another wonderful contrast on this album is the short track Ocaso Inesperado that contains classical guitar, it sounds very warm. But the highlight is the 'magnum opus progressivus' Meh - Lahn - Coh - Lih Ah, a 25 minutes composition that is divided into six alternating parts. First a majestic violin-Mellotron intro, soaring keyboards with howling guitar runs and an interlude with dreamy keyboards. Then an exciting wah-wah drenched guitar solo with populsive drums, powerful Hammond organ with heavy guitar work (bombastic prog metal climate). And finally a beautiful final part delivering acoustic rhythm guitar and a choir-Mellotron-like sound, goose bumps!

What an exciting debut album, I am sure the progmetal and Heavy Prog fans and heavy metal guitar freaks wil be delighted about Aly their music. Unfortunately it's still silent, after 10 years, no new album by this very promising musician.

 Shadow Border by AURORA PROJECT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.61 | 22 ratings

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Shadow Border
The Aurora Project Progressive Metal

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Dutch The Aurora Project started in 1999, the music was based on having hours of jam sessions. The band its debut was released worldwide in 2006 by Dutch record company DVS Records and was also worldwide highly praised for its 'unique sound'. After releasing the album, they went on tour in order to promote the album. The Aurora Project was invited twice (2005 and 2008) for the prestigious Dutch Progpower Festival, played Dutch Symforce and German Deichbrand Festival, went on tour in Holland and Belgium with Riverside and Van Den Plas and were the support-act of Pain of Salvation, RPWL and Treshold. In 2007 a dream came true for the band when they played a sold-out Paradiso Amsterdam, for 1500 people. In 2008 The Aurora Project went into the studio to record their second album 'Shadow Border'. The album was released worldwide 5th May 2009 by the legendary USA progrock label The Laser's Edge, that successfully launched acts like Riverside, Zero Hour and Knight Area in the past.

On their second album Shadow Border the Dutch The Aurora Project deliver seven melodic compositions that alternate between Heavy Prog, neo-prog and symphonic rock. The music features strong guitar work (lots of howling, sensitive and harder-edged guitar solos along exciting propulsive riffs), decent English vocals and a very pleasant keyboard layering. There is also often a huge tension between the dreamy parts with twanging guitars, soaring keyboards and emotional vocals and the more bombastic, heavy and up-tempo parts with powerful guitar leads and sumptuous keyboards. My highlight is the final epic composition Shadow Border (almost 17 minutes) that showcases The Aurora Project in its full splendour. It starts with Floydian guitar work, then a catchy beat with fiery guitar and a very dynamic rhythm- section, at some moments the atmosphere is close to prog metal. Halfway a part with thunderous drums that support a flashy synthesizer solo, followed by a dreamy climate with warm vocals and twanging acoustic guitars. This turns into a prog metal atmosphere with impressive choir-Mellotron eruptions. The final part delivers a howling guitar solo, lush keyboards and strong drum beats, this is Prog Heaven!

What a very professional and wonderful sounding effort by this Dutch band, it's good to read that The Aurora Project still appeals to many progheads who like their dynamic, modern and melodic progrock.

 Paradox by ROYAL HUNT album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.24 | 137 ratings

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Paradox
Royal Hunt Progressive Metal

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Magna Carta madness continues!

Thru the catalog, it's always a joy to discover something fresh, like a new band. Because of some obscure fate, I never heard of Royal Hunt before. Hold on, there's some impressive facts here: how many albums did they sell? Almost 2 millions?! And the keyboardist claims to have Royal Familiy descendance?! I wasn't sure if I had to laugh or be impressed. Well, the music got me impressed!

The concept of a religion arriving in a foreign and shatter the universe of the poor Primitives is great. The little speeches the First Nations (after River of Pain) saying they will go to their villages and hurt their people is still relevant. It's mind blowing on how history's repeating over and over again.

Setting aside the clever concept, the execution is superior. I mean, if you want to make decent metal, you have to walk the walk with your instrument. And they do. Oh boy, they do! What strikes me the most is the blue blood keyboard player's chops, they're all over the place with satisfying orchestration and mouth watering solos. Also I cannot pass the opportunity to praise the capacities of D.C. Cooper as a singer. He's the man. He's the Ubermensch...and he needs a shirt. Please, give this poor beggar a few coins to buy a t-shirt or something.

I'm frankly happy to have found such a cast of entertaining performers. The album is not 'aggressive' (although sporting the metal tag) but abound in catchy melodies that sticks in your head for days. It's an extremely catchy record filled to the brim and why it's not a classic is beyond me. In 1997, I was knee-deep into Britpop, no wonder this badboy slipped my attention. I also should've dig deeper to find this gem instead of trying to like Falling Into Infinity, the snooze fest Dream Theater gave us during that period.

Give this record a chance, it's just too good. Now that's what I call a majestic album!!

 Journey Of A Rough Diamond by MIND KEY album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.15 | 47 ratings

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Journey Of A Rough Diamond
Mind Key Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Journey of a Rough Diamond' is the debut album by Italian progressive metal band Mind Key. Released in 2004, it bears many similarities to a certain well-known band...

Now, I've always disliked the notion of so many progressive metal bands being labelled as "Dream Theater clones". Yes, Dream Theater are the pioneers of the subgenre, and have remained flag bearers to this day, having laid the foundations and defined the true aspects and qualities of the style. But God forbid, anyone being inspired by this and playing something similar! Why isn't every metal band in history simply regarded as a Black Sabbath clone? Or a Metallica clone? Or a...

Whatever... Back on track... Mind Key are one of "those bands".

Ticking off every cliché from the prog metal guidebook, the music here is highly ambitious, with long track durations, extended musical passages, unparalleled musicianship, and with a vocalist who mostly sings in a higher range. This is prog metal 101.

But is it any good? It's... alright.

I stumbled across Mind Key back in 2010 when I first heard and fell in love with the song 'Secret Dream'. I couldn't wait to hear the entire album, and when I finally managed to get hold of it, it didn't quite live up to expectations. It's good. But it's so incredibly average. I don't expect every band to reinvent the wheel, but for all the musical talent and production values this band has, there's just not a lot here that hasn't been done more memorably by other artists.

Still, there are some solid tracks here. Besides the aforementioned 'Secret Dream', (which is definitely the best the album has to offer), there's 'Love Remains the Same', 'Lord of the Flies', 'Without Ann' and 'Waiting for the Answer'. None of these songs are going to set the world on fire, but in fairness, while my review does seem a bit harsh, these are pretty decent compositions.

But Mind Key just fail to truly stand out amongst a sea of so many "Dream Theater clones". They're good though, and 'Journey of a Rough Diamond' is worth checking out if you're into your prog metal, but there's plenty of similar bands with more memorable and accessible albums.

 Deliverance by AURA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Deliverance
Aura Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars for sure

Aura is one of the unfairly unknown italian progressive metal band formed around 2000 with 3 albums in their pockets so far. When I discovered this band because of their debut A Different View From The Same Side in 2008, i was quite pleasent surprised about their music and skills and decided to check them further if a new album will apear. Well the new album then was released in 2011 named simply Deliverance. From the art work and excellent booklet to music, to me this album is a winner. What is quite diffrent then most of the bands from this genre is that the drumer is also the vocalist, is for sure a winning point because Giovanni Trotta can handle both vocals and druming quite well and with an amazing ease, and above all has a very powerful voice for prog metal. Another highlight for me are the keyboards arrangements and with guitar chops melted together and with the druming and bass lines the result is a quite technical melodic prog metal recommended for fans of the genre. Pieces like opening The Arrival, Egyptian call and the instrumental one show potential in this album, but somehow lost in the hundreds of albums with same attitude in last years. Definetly DT is the main influence but I find a lots of 70's italian prog in their arrangements, specially in keyboards department. All in all for me a total good album towards great, beautifully written, well played, Deliverance can easy be heared by fans of the genre.

 Graceful Inheritance by HEIR APPARENT album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.63 | 11 ratings

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Graceful Inheritance
Heir Apparent Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Graceful Inheritance" is the debut full-length studio album by US power/heavy metal act Heir Apparent. The album was released through Black Dragon Records in January 1986. Heir Apparent were formed in 1983 and released a 1984 and a 1985 demo tape, before being signed by French independent label Black Dragon Records for the release of "Graceful Inheritance". "Graceful Inheritance" generally received positive reviews at the time of release, but as it took the band three years to release their sophomore studio album "One Small Voice (1989)", their window of opportunity had closed, and they never managed to fully capitalize on their good career start. Heir Apparent split-up in 1990.

It's too bad, because they hit at just the right time with just the right music style. A type of US power/heavy metal with clear references to artists like Crimson Glory, Fates Warning, and especially Queensr'che, who were all fairly popular contemporary artists (some more popular than others...). The material on "Graceful Inheritance" is in the melodic end of the US power/heavy metal scale and the tracks are generally quite accessible and hook laden. Hard rocking riffs, melodic lead guitar work, a solid rhythm section, and a high pitched and clear vocal performance by Paul Davidson in front. High level performances on all posts.

"Graceful Inheritance" features a clear and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, although by today's standards it lacks some bottom end heaviness. While the quality of the material is generally high, Heir Apparent aren't the most unique sounding act on the scene, and "Graceful Inheritance" therefore doesn't stand out as much as the best releases fromt the contemporary artists mentioned above. It's a solid release, featuring high level musicianship, and a professional and well sounding production, but a more distinct sound could have elevated the material to an even higher level. As it is "Graceful Inheritance" is still a quality debut album though and it's recommendable to fans of the above mentioned artists. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live by AYREON album cover DVD/Video, 2018
4.38 | 6 ratings

BUY
Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live
Ayreon Progressive Metal

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars This show was made possible because of the involvement of 100 people.The musicians are from different Metal bands, some have played with Arjen Lucassen before. Many vocalists were chosen to sing in this almost 30 songs and more than 2 hours of music. This is the first big production in the Ayeron live release with the latest technology, projections, elaborate light show and mixed brilliantly by Arjen himself in stereo and surround. The high definition show showcases the greatest hits of Ayreon with some big Space-Symphonic Metal music with some folk passages. This a collaborative effort, Arjen only played at the end with that energy he is known for. And this is that energy and passion that transpire from every musician during this show. The sound is big, the mix is clear and the picture sharp. The one hour and a half documentary is led by with Arjen and his keyboard player and features mostly interviews with the cast and how Arjen discover them and decided to invite them to this project. The choice of vocalists for each song is spot on and the musicianship is tight with some talented and experienced players. A must for Ayreon's fan and a good place to discover the band.
 Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live by AYREON album cover DVD/Video, 2018
4.38 | 6 ratings

BUY
Ayreon Universe : Best of Ayreon Live
Ayreon Progressive Metal

Review by Revelation_Space

5 stars There are somehow no reviews for this yet, despite it now being out for a couple of weeks. I bought the signed, limited edition 'earbook' version of this set, which has already sold out. It comes with 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and a blu-ray of the concert, along with a nicely finished book full of photographs and information about all participants. Well worth the money.

As for the concert itself, it is apparently the first EVER 'official' live Ayreon concert. There was the 'Theater Equation' from a few years ago, but apparently that wasn't a true Ayreon concert. That's a technicality, but either way this is a wonderful set. No less than 16(!) singers and 8 instrumentalists - plus Arjen himself - perform dozens of tracks from various Ayreon albums with great enthusiasm and obvious joy. The singers act out the various parts, having conflicts on stage where the characters are fighting. This is not a rigid concert at all.

The production values are surprisingly high, with an enormous screen projecting animations to accompany the music. The sound balance is fantastic, and the editing and camera work far better than I had assumed they would be. Arjen even gives a heartfelt speech towards the end, where he confesses to being "scared [&*!#]less" by playing live - presumably the reason it has taken so long for them to get up and do this. I haven't watched the special features yet, but there's a documentary about putting the show together which looks great, along with interviews with everyone involved.

I've listened to this concert all the way through at least 10 times now, and it's fantastic, I wish I had been there. If you at all like Ayreon's music you can't fail to love this.

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
ABSTRAKT Poland
ABYDOS Germany
ACCOMPLICE United States
ACHING BEAUTY France
ACID RAIN Argentina
ACID RAIN Serbia
ACID RAIN Spain
ACUTE MIND Poland
AD ASTRA United States
ADAGIO France
ADRAMELCH Italy
AEBSENCE Hungary
AEOLUS Netherlands
AEON ZEN United Kingdom
AETHERIUS United States
AFASIA Italy
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
ALARION Netherlands
ALCHEMY ROOM Italy
ALCHEMY X United States
ALETHEIAN United States
ALEVAS Japan
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
ANIMA TEMPO Mexico
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
ARKHE' Italy
ART AGAINST AGONY Germany
ART OF ILLUSION Poland
ART OF SIMPLICITY Greece
ARTENSION Multi-National
ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE United States
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
ATARÄXIA 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
AVELION Italy
AVIATIONS United States
AMADEUS AWAD'S EON Lebanon
AWAITING DAWN 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
BETWEEN 11 Canada
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
BLIND ILLUSION United States
BLUE GILLESPIE United Kingdom
BOOK OF REFLECTIONS Sweden
LA BOTTEGA DEL TEMPO A VAPORE Italy
BOZZIO & SHEEHAN United States
BRAIN HEART INFUSION Italy
THE BRAINWASH MACHINE Colombia
BRANCH ARTERIAL Australia
BRAVE United States
BRAVE THE VERTIGO United States
BROADMOOR Denmark
BROKEN MELODY Italy
CHRIS BROOKS Australia
JT BRUCE United States
BUMBLEFOOT United States
BURNING CIRCLE Serbia
BUSHWHACK United States
BYOSSO Japan
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CAPRICIA Israel
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CARVING COLOURS Spain
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CHINESE BEARD Finland
A CHINESE FIREDRILL United States
CHROMATIC POINT Macedonia
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CLANDESTINE United States
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CLOSED FOR TONIGHT Canada
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CMX Finland
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COUNTDOWN France
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CRISES Germany
CRUZ D MALTA Mexico
CRYSTAL LAKE / LOGIC MESS Poland
CUEROCK Germany
HITTAR CUESTA Ecuador
CYDEMIND Canada
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THE DAMNATION PROJECT Greece
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ALEK DARSON Serbia
DAY SIX Netherlands
DAYS OF ASHES Sweden
THE DEADSTATION. United States
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DEELY Poland
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DEIMOS Russia
DELTA Chile
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DGM Italy
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DIANOYA Poland
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DIMENSION Mexico
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EDGEND Israel
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EGO EIMI Russia
ELDRITCH Italy
THE ELEMENT United States
ELEVEN STRINGS Brazil
ELEVENTH OCEAN Argentina
ELVARON France
EMERALD EDGE Germany
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EMPHASIS Estonia
EMPTY TREMOR Italy
EMPYREAN SANCTUM United States
EMPYRIA Canada
EMPYRIOS Italy
END AMEN Germany
AN ENDLESS SPORADIC United States
ENIAC REQUIEM United States
ENIGMATIC INFINITY Hungary
ENNEADE France
ENOCHIAN THEORY United Kingdom
ENTER TWILIGHT Australia
ENTRANCE Chile
ENTROPIA Colombia
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ENVINITY United States
EPHEMERAL SUN United States
EPIC MIND Netherlands
EPICA Netherlands
EPICA Italy
EPYSODE Belgium
EQUAL VECTOR Greece
EQUINOX Serbia
ESTYGYA Spain
ETERNAL ESSENCE United States
ETERNAL JOURNEY Germany
ETERNITY X United States
ETHEREAL Portugal
ETHEREAL ARCHITECT United States
ETHEREAL STATUS Greece
ETHEREALITY United States
ETOX Germany
EUMERIA United States
EVEN FLOW Italy
THE EVENFALL Argentina
EVENSTATE Netherlands
EVENT HORIZON United Kingdom
EVERGREY Sweden
EVERWOOD Hungary
EXAWATT Italy
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FALSE CODA Greece
FAR FROM REALITY Canada
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FARWATCH United States
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FATHER GOLEM Spain
FEEDFORWARD Netherlands
GIANLUCA FERRO Italy
FIFTH DENSITY United States
THE FIFTH SEASON Italy
FIG LEAF Norway
FLAMETAL United States
FLAMING ROW Germany
FOR ALL WE KNOW Multi-National
THE FORGOTTEN PRISONERS Italy
FORGOTTEN TALES Canada
FRACTAL CYPHER Canada
FRACTURE Australia
FRAGILE VASTNESS Greece
FRAGMENT Croatia
FRAIL GROUNDS Norway
FRAMEPICTURES Portugal
FRAMESHIFT United States
FREAK NEIL INC. Netherlands
FREAKEYS Brazil
FREAKY JELLY Brazil
MARTY FRIEDMAN United States
FROM THE DUST RETURNED Italy
NATHAN FROST United States
FUGHU Argentina
FURY N GRACE Italy
FURYU Italy
FUSEBOXX Philippines
FUTURE IS TOMORROW Italy
FUTURES END United States
GALACTIC COWBOYS United States
JACOPO GALLI Italy
GARDEN United Kingdom
GARDEN WALL Italy
GB ARTS Germany
GENIUS Italy
ERIC GILLETTE United States
GLASS MIND Mexico
FARZAD GOLPAYEGANI Iran
GONE Germany
TADASHI GOTO Japan
CRISTI GRAM Romania
GRAND MASTER Canada
GRAVITY United States
THE GREAT DISCORD Sweden
THE GREAT GAMBLE United States
GREENSLEEVES Brazil
GREY MATTER Canada
GRIMLORD Poland
GROOVE THERAPIST Greece
GRU Poland
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GX Peru
HADEON Italy
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HAGO United States
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HEADLINE France
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HELREIDH Italy
HEMINA Australia
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HEXATONICA Argentina
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HIGHEST PLACE Canada
HIGHLIGHT KENOSIS Romania
HIPERBOREA Italy
HOLLOWAY United States
HOLLOWMIND Brazil
HOOKAH THE FUZZ United Kingdom
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HORIZON'S END Greece
EMIR HOT Bosnia and Herzegovina
HOURGLASS United States
GARY HUGHES United Kingdom
HYDROTOXIN Germany
HYSKAL France
ICE AGE United States
ICYCORE Italy
IDEAMEN United States
ILLUSION United States
ILLUSION SUITE Norway
IMAGES OF EDEN United States
IMMANENT France
IMMINENT SONIC DESTRUCTION United States
IMPLOSION Greece
IN MORPHEUS' ARMS Germany
IN SEARCH FOR Belarus
IN THE NAME Canada
INFINITE HORIZON Germany
INFINITE SPECTRUM United States
INITIAL GRAVITY Argentina
INNATE CONCEPT Germany
INNER ODYSSEY Canada
INNER QUEST Italy
INNOSENSE Greece
INSIDE THE SOUND Ukraine
INSTANT SUPPRESSION Russia
INTENSITY Greece
INTENTIONAL TRAINWRECK United States
INTO MY HOUSES Finland
INTO THE GREAT DIVIDE United States
IRIS DIVINE United States
IT'S.TRUE.MENTALITY Poland
IV LUNA Italy
IVANHOE Germany
IVORY TOWER Germany
JEJE GUITARADDICT Indonesia
JETHZABEL Ecuador
JINETES NEGROS Argentina
JON OLIVA'S PAIN United States
JOSEPH MAGAZINE Poland
JUPITER SOCIETY Sweden
KAELLING Portugal
KAISER AND THE MACHINES OF CREATION Australia
KAMELOT United States
KARMA Brazil
KARMA DEPTH Belgium
KATATONIA Sweden
BABIS KATSIONIS Greece
KHALI Italy
KHALLICE Brazil
KHARMA CODE Spain
KILLBOT ZERO United States
KINGCROW Italy
THE KOLIOS PROJECT Multi-National
KOSMUS Brazil
KOYAANISQATSY Germany
KSIZ France
KURGAN'S BANE United States
JAMES LABRIE Canada
LABYRINTH Italy
LAC PLACIDE France
LACRIMOSA Germany
LAKE OF TEARS Sweden
LALU France
LAMANAĪF Italy
LANFEAR Germany
PETE LARAMEE United States
LAST CRACK United States
LAST SCATTERING Canada
THE LAST THINGS United States
THE LAST VOID Costa Rica
LAST WARNING Italy
LAVA ENGINE Sweden
LAZARO France
LEGER DE MAIN United States
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LETHAL United States
LEVIATHAN United States
LIFE STAGE United States
LINEAR SPHERE United Kingdom
LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT United States
LIQUORWORKS Finland
LIVIT Germany
LOCAL 7 France
LOCH VOSTOK Sweden
LODESTAR DYNASTY United States
LORD BANE United States
LORD OF MUSHROOMS France
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LOREWEAVER Italy
LOST FOREVER Brazil
LOST IN THOUGHT United Kingdom
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KIKO LOUREIRO Brazil
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TONY MACALPINE United States
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MAGG Mexico
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MATHEUS MANENTE Brazil
MANIC DEPRESSIVE PSYCHOSIS Armenia
MANITOU Finland
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MARGE LITCH Japan
MARTONE Canada
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ALEX MASI Italy
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MATRAZ Chile
LARS ERIC MATTSSON Finland
MAYADOME Sweden
MCM United States
MECHANICAL ORGANIC Australia
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HUBI MEISEL Germany
MEMBERS OF GOD Italy
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MENDEL Netherlands
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MOONLYGHT Canada
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NO GRAVITY Multi-National
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NOKK Poland
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STRIDE United States
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