Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Proto-Prog definition

The denomination Proto Prog comes from the combination of two words, Proto from the Greek The earliest,. and Prog which as we know is a short term for Progressive Rock, so as it's name clearly indicates, refers to the earliest form of Progressive Rock or Progressive Rock in embryonary state.

These bands normally were formed and released albums before Progressive Rock had completely developed (there are some rare Proto Prog bands from the early 70's, because the genre didn't expanded to all the Continents simultaneously

The common elements in all these bands is that they developed one or more elements of Prog, and even when not completely defined as part of the genre, they are without any doubt, an important stage in the evolution of Progressive Rock.

Generally, Proto Prog bands are the direct link between Psyche and Prog and for that reason the Psychedelic components are present in the vast majority of them, but being that Progressive Rock was born from the blending of different genres, we have broadened the definition to cover any band that combined some elements of Progressive Rock with other genres prior to 1970.

Some of these bands evolved and turned into 100% Prog, while others simply choose another path, but their importance and contribution in the formative period of Prog can't be denied, for that reason no Prog site can ignore them.

Iván Melgar - Morey

Proto-Prog Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Proto-Prog | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.48 | 826 ratings
Beatles, The
4.49 | 488 ratings
Who, The
4.38 | 753 ratings
Beatles, The
4.32 | 1009 ratings
Deep Purple
4.33 | 859 ratings
Beatles, The
4.29 | 1013 ratings
Deep Purple
4.36 | 475 ratings
Who, The
4.30 | 548 ratings
Doors, The
4.16 | 660 ratings
Beatles, The
4.23 | 414 ratings
Doors, The
4.25 | 361 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.13 | 604 ratings
Beatles, The
4.01 | 385 ratings
Doors, The
3.92 | 580 ratings
Beatles, The
3.95 | 459 ratings
Who, The
3.96 | 318 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
3.83 | 678 ratings
Deep Purple
4.12 | 147 ratings
3.94 | 242 ratings
Hendrix, Jimi
4.08 | 157 ratings
Brown Band, The Arthur

Download (Stream) Free Proto-Prog MP3

Open player in a new window

Download (Stream) Free Proto-Prog MP3

Latest Proto-Prog Music Reviews

 Walpurgis by SHIVER, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.00 | 1 ratings

The Shiver Proto-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars Look at the weird art upon the sleeve at first, and keep an ear upon the psychedelic Krautrock prototype next.

This stuff can be called as one of psychedelic progressive / Krautrock legends from Switzerland, veiled in a renowned artistic sleeve drawn by H. R. Giger. Basically non-colourful heavy bluesy rock tinged with dark stoner vibes they launched, but some innovative progressive essence can be heard via such a blues rock authenticity.

The beginning shot "Repent Walpurgis" is awesome indeed. Exactly dark Kraut-ish flavour filled with deep, heavy exaggerate drumming and guitar voltage drives us of surrealism. Psychedelic watery keyboard sound surface is very atmospheric but at the same time very theatrical. Drenched in Satanic majesty like the sleeve painting, this masterpiece enough explains all of their album world, we can mention.

Anyway "Hey Mr. Holy Man" features "Dies Irae" of Gregorian Chant ... I've listened to another Krautrock version of "Dies Irae" by SHANNONDOA, that sounds drier and cooler. "Hey Mr. Holy Man" has notified us of their sticky, depressive appearance covering this whole album. On the contrary other tracks are simply blues rock ones each of which can be listened to at ease comparatively (especially "Ode To The Salvation Army" is impressive, interesting, easygoing).

One of blues rock stuffs "What's Wrong About The Blues" let's us shout the phrases. Old Krautrock, like ACHTZEHN KARAT GOLD or AIR, has exerted such a bluesy texture. Another bluesy kick "No Time" is one of old-fashioned standard numbers that has sung or played here and there (also in Japan ... cannot remember who sings this song in Japanese). Not so special for those days but conventional atmosphere might relieve us I imagine. The last "The Peddle" sounds delicate but cloudy through psychedelic effects ... enough with comfort, reminding us of something like Live Dead.

Totally via the "current" progressive rock guideline it might be a tough call to categorize them as a progressive rock combo, but hey, how do you feel their innovative musical scheme in late 60s?

 Machine Head by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 1013 ratings

Machine Head
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I don't like to review classic albums very much because anything that can be said about them has already been said and everybody already has an opinion anyway. Obscure bands or lesser known albums are more fun to dig up and inform the world of their existence. But today I listened to this album all the way through for the first time in maybe 8 years or so, and I found I heard it in a whole new way.

I became a fan of Deep Purple back in '84, only a couple of months before the reunion album "Perfect Strangers" was released. I loved it! But DP albums were not easy to find on cassette back then. I was lucky to find "Burn" and "Fireball" but "Stormbringer" and "Come Taste the Band" were not available. After "House of Blue Light" I lost interest for many years. Ian Gillan was gone then back. Then Ritchie Blackmore was gone. But in 2006 I was curious about "Rapture of the Deep" and I liked it enough to go and buy all DP's studio albums on CD. All of them!

Then for the last nine years or so, I haven't listened to any album from start to finish except for maybe "In Rock", which is still my favourite. But last night I was suddenly struck with the desire to hear "Machinehead" again and this morning in went on play.

From the start, "Highway Star" seemed to be lacking something. There was a lack of bass depth. My ear buds? The music is fast but basically very simple-sounding. The lyrics are like something a bored person would write when half drunk and just taking the piss on lyric writing. The only place I felt the song really shines and shows what the band is truly capable of is in the guitar and organ solos. Here we get a glimpse of the musical prowess of the band. But "Highway Star" is a rock classic, and for speed and Gillan's soaring screams at the start, the proto-metal element is sufficiently there.

"Maybe I'm a Leo" is strangely my favourite track. It has this funky drop down groove and the music is full, rich in bass, and sounds wonderful. The guitar solo comes in with style and smoothness. The 30th anniversary reissue includes a disc of remixes with alternate guitar solos and the solos for this song and "Smoke on the Water" just don't have the same articulation and style. They are just lead guitar solos. On the originally released version, Blackmore goes for style and feel rather than technincal skill or speed and it just works! Jon Lord's organ sound on his lead part is not really a favourite of mine but he makes it work for a simple but appropriate bluesy solo. Ian Paice still has his chops, putting in fills and doing great stuff on the drums. This would slowly disappear from his drumming with Deep Purple and be almost absent for many years.

"Pictures of Home" is one of three songs the band wrote about their experience recording in a closed down hotel (closed for the season) at Lake Geneva. It opens with a drum intro and features solos by Blackmore, Lord, and Roger Glover (bass) as well!

The original side one closes with "Never Before". It has another funky groove to the intro. It's here where I began to really notice how the band was playing their music. Everybody has a part and each part seems independent in that each musician has his own riff or rhythm bit to do. But they of course put all their parts together to make the songs. This is what I was missing on "Highway Star". Now the band are like different components of a machine all moving in their own functional space but all responsible for making the machine work smoothly. It's not rhythm guitar, organ, and bass all playing the same thing to a 4/4 beat. This is prog style composition. And the remarkable thing is that Deep Purple, on "Machine Head" for sure, are playing heavy rock with blues and funk and classically-influenced solos, composed with prog thinking and coming all together in songs that became radio hits and fan favourites. I've been listening to an awful lot of proto-metal and prog from the 1969-1974 period (I don't mean the music is awful) and I think I can finally appreciate just what a feat Deep Purple accomplished with this album. When David Coverdale joined the band, he said in an interview that he had played with great musicians before but this was a whole knew level. I'm starting to appreciate that.

"Smoke on the Water", everyone knows the riff, everyone knows the story in the lyrics. But what about the riff during the verses and chorus? Again, each musician has got his own thing going on. It's not as simple as one might first think. The guitar solo is really so well laid out, especially how it wraps up as the lead riff returns. The organ solo is left until the end and Paice puts in some tasty drum work as the song slowly fades out. The band never intended for this to be a single. They had high hopes for "Never Before". But the audience told them that this song was the ticket! On YouTube I saw a video of songs Deep Purple allegedly ripped off and the "Smoke" riff apparently already existed in some jazz piece, but in another interview, Blackmore said he got the idea by reversing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony intro notes. Whatever the case, the "Smoke" riff along with "Satisfaction" by the Stones have been recognized as the two most well-known riffs in rock history. Elementary school students in Japan who haven't the first clue about anything other than The Beatles (and only if their parents like them) know the "Smoke" riff. Like Beethoven, Blackmore's riff may just live on for centuries.

"Lazy" is a clever piece with a classical organ intro that slides into a grumbling blues. The whole instrumental first half of the song has the band putting out so many moves shifting between straight ahead blues and blues-based rock. The song itself is alright and Gillan brings back his scream vocals. It wraps up like a blues club act.

The album closer "Space Truckin'" is where the band probably reach their most metal point. There's this awesome groove where the drum beat and the guitar/organ notes alternate and it gives the song a terrific charged feeling. Gillan goes full force at the end and the blues-based heavy riff is really a peak point on the album.

The 30th anniversary edition includes "When a Blind Man Cries" and is the third song about the Swiss experience. Though it wouldn't have really had an appropriate spot on the album, it makes a great bonus track. Gillan is so smooth and Blackmore's guitar solo is full of emotion.

I was originally disappointed with this album, way back in 1984 when I first got it, because it didn't rock out with that same wrecking ball assault attack that "In Rock" did. This album is smoother, cooler, groovier, and more mature. It's very cleverly composed songs and music. It's not heavy as in metal very much and it's not prog like their first three albums were more like. It is a classic album for a very good reason, though. It's some damn fine music!

 Near The Beginning by VANILLA FUDGE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.31 | 47 ratings

Near The Beginning
Vanilla Fudge Proto-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Vanilla Fudge hit on something special with Renaissance, especially with their haunting take on Donovan's Season of the Witch which closed out the album and could almost be seen as a precursor of Black Sabbath's early doom style.

Unfortunately, with this album they lost all the character and atmosphere and presented a rather generic psychedelic rock record crammed to the gills with somewhat aimless noodling. Break Song, in particular, is a side-length live jam that just consists of wanky solos of a type we've all heard before dozens of times (including an absurdly overlong drum solo) which more or less encapsulates all the worst aspects of that particular performance format.

This is an album which time has not treated well; it's dated extremely badly, particularly now that if you wanted you could get similar live jams from better performers in massive quantities at a very reasonable price. Thanks, guys, but no thanks.

 Deep Purple by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.61 | 505 ratings

Deep Purple
Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

3 stars What we have hear is possibly the finest example of proto-prog that Deep Purple ever put out. But, as experimental and original as the music on this self-titled release is, it is not quite up to the same standard as what would come with the band's Mark II era.

Even though "Deep Purple" has numerous tracks, ranging from "Chasing Shadows", which sounds like an early demo version of Uriah Heep's "Look At Yourself", to backwards tape experiments to folk-ier acoustic ballads to typical blues rockers, but the one that should be on everyone's mind is "April". Indeed, if there's ever a reason to buy this album, that would be it. A 12 minute suite, "April" was probably one of the finest prog tracks when it came out, perhaps even one of the first prog epics, period. The first section is classic British prog-folk, with Ritchie Blackmore offering beautiful pastoral guitar and Jon Lord complementing him with his signature distorted Hammond organ. If you're a fan of early Genesis or just a fan of the general pastoral English vibe with blues touches going on in a lot of the prog of the time, these 4 minutes alone are worth investigating. From there follows some orchestral string interplay, before a haunting bluesy conclusion wraps up the album.

If only "April" had been revisited later with the Mk II era and included on one of their phenomenal albums; unfortunately the rest of the material on "Deep Purple" is too forgettable to give this album over 3 stars. Still a great disc to look for if you're into turn-of-the-70's proto prog, a la "Salisbury". Good, but non-essential.

 Tommy by WHO, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.95 | 459 ratings

The Who Proto-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars As someone who is familiar with the Who from hearing their handful of hits on classic rock FM, it's a nice surprise to find Tommy, a thoughtfully composed and well played concept album. There's a lot to like here, and I think the reviews here on the Archives speak the truth in that one's enjoyment of this album will depend on taste and biography. For me, Tommy is a mixed experience.

It's at its most enjoyable when the band is playing ambitiously, such as on songs like "Overture," "Underture." These songs have dynamic energy and very skilled delivery. The band sounds great, and it's fun to hear music from the most classic or classic rock era so skillfully played; it's a vintage sound that stands the test of time. For me this is light-years more enjoyable than anything the Beatles ever put out.

I suppose it's not a coincidence for me that my favorite songs are both instrumentals, because I found the story, lyrics, and vocal inflection bland. This is definitely a "rock-opera" album, which is a euphemism for "musical with electric guitars." I do not like musicals, and the amount of storytelling that the Who crams into this album is cumbersome and distracting. The best concept albums allow their concept to drift in and out of the abstract, so that the listener can chose to be all in to the story, or enjoy songs individually without loosing much. You can't do that with Tommy, because every song is narrative.

The rave reviews of this album often have phrases like, "when I first heard this," or, "I remember when," which points strongly towards the high marks on this album coming from nostalgia. I don't have a problem with nostalgia, because it colors much of what we like and dislike, but because I am nostalgia-less when it comes to the Who, my experience listening to Tommy was one that grabbed hold of the great moments, and was left waiting during the downtime. The flow and momentum is too weird to be a straight ahead rock album, but not so well composed to be a true prog-rock album.

An album with that many highs and lows is worth a rock-solid 3 stars. Check it out if you like the Who's "greatest hits," or if you're interested in the development of the prog-rock movement.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Stormbringer by DEEP PURPLE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.03 | 523 ratings

Deep Purple Proto-Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Easy and approachable, Stormbringer satisfies a hard-rock itch by scratching with the right combination of loud and heavy riffing, rugged vocals by David Coverdale, and Blackmore's signature guitar soloing. John Lord's keyboards, which occasionally drift into the funky lilting of the era's R&B/Soul sound, add an interesting touch as well. Some reviewers describe that Stormbringer is an off putting album because it plays with the Deep Purple formula a little too much; after all, this is Blackmore's last record with the group before he formed the (more interesting) Rainbow. For me, my criticism drifts more to the song writing, which is about 50% creative hard rock or thoughtful balladry, and 50% sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll schlock. A few of these moments will appeal to prog fans, but for newcomers to the band Stormbringer may not be much more than a fun diversion in to '70's hard rock. Which, in scheme of things, is actually a pretty awesome place to be! Check it out after listening the bands more complete and influential works.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Choice Cuts by MASTERS APPRENTICES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 20 ratings

Choice Cuts
The Masters Apprentices Proto-Prog

Review by billwilly

4 stars A remarkable album from this band from Australia. This album brings me lots of memories. I was introduced to this band by a friend of mine when I was at college. At the time I had no idea who they were. As soon as I listened to this album I knew it would be a favourite of mine. I like heavy prog sound and this album takes the best of that subgenre in play. Most of the songs have the power of good guitar riffs and solos and high pitched voices. They maintain the essence of psychedelia but bring forward the darker sounds, blues rock, folk and country elements that define heavy prog. Among my favorite songs are: Our Friend Owsley Stanley III, which has folk elements similar to Jethro Tull but with a heavier sound; Because I Love You is a fantastic acoustically driven song in the vein of Uriah Heep's "Lady in Black"; Death of a King is another wonderful song with excellent changes, mainly in the voices. The rest of the songs are totally the pure essence of heavy prog. An album that is enjoyable from the very first second. Definitely a must for lovers of bands such as Uriah Heep, Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple and many more who appeared in that period (from late sixties towards mid seventies).
 The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown by BROWN BAND, THE ARTHUR album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.08 | 157 ratings

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
The Arthur Brown Band Proto-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle

5 stars The essence of early prog

The music on "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown" features minimalistic eclecticism, something that I admire in music and look up to as a musician myself. This album laid the basis for all organ-driven prog to come - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Carl Palmer played in this band before joining Atomic Rooster, and than creating ELP), Egg, Triumvirat and so many more. Furthermore, this was the first shine of a great keyboardist Vincent Crane. This album is highly influenced by jazz, sould, gospel as well as classical music with an ambitious taste of theatricality, reminiscent of Screamin' Jay Hawkins or a British star Screaming Lord Sutch. Psychedelic elements are also at the first plan. Arthur Brown's concept was all about the beggining of time, gods and mythology. All of this dipped in a bit of psychedelic acid. The frontman recalls: "Seing into people's eyes, I saw all the universes. I saw them being born, saw them die. I would say it was the nearest I came to being able to see god". And this is what it's all about. Excellent, excellent work. "Prelude/Nightmare" opens the album with intelectual-sounding, romantic symphonic bits turning into the proper "Nightmare". And really, this is the essence of the album - has it all: conceptual lyrics, soul feel, a strain of classical music at the beggining, organ virtuosity. Those elements repeat on "Fanfare", "Fire", "Come And Buy", pretty much most of the tracks. Really good stuff. Even though it is kind of monotonous, it definitely is an outstanding experience!

Arthur Brown's music was all about being eccentric. He unconciously sparked something that would influence what we know as progressive rock. Although this is not full-blown prog, this should find itself on a shelf of every prog fan. 9/10!

 Yesterday by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1966
3.29 | 9 ratings

The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Maybe the first time that I listened to anything from THE BEATLES was to a vinyl E.P., released in Mexico, which had almost the same tracks that this British E.P. had, but with "You Like Me too Much" being replaced by "I've Just Seen a Face". All the tracks from this E.P. were taken from their British "Help!" album, but , with all these tracks appearing in the Side Two of that album, none of them appeared in the film of the same name, because only the tracks from the Side One of that album appeared in that film. The cover of the Mexican E.P. also was different, showing individual photo stills from the film of the members of the band, and it was released on the "Discos Capitol" label.

As it is now generally known by the public, "Yesterday" is a song which was composed by Paul McCartney. A song that he wrote after he "listened" to it in a dream while being asleep. So he got up of bed and identified the notes on a guitar and he wrote tentative lyrics under the working title of "Scrambled Eggs", wiht him later changing the lyrics and the title to "Yesterday". After several arrangements were tried playing along with the band, it was decided that the best arrangement for the song could be done with recording it with McCartney playing it with an acoustic guitar and singing it, with the later addition a string quartet arranged by Producer George Martin. As it was really a solo recording from McCartney, the band and George Martin didn't want to release the song as a single in the U.K., but in the U.S. it was released as a single. It became one of the most known and covered songs in the world. It also shows one of the very good contributions that George Martin did with the band, helping the band with his Classical Music trainning, doing very good string arrangements and later more orchestral arrangements for many songs of the band.

"Act Naturally" was a cover of a Country and Western song which was sung by Ringo Starr. It was played very well by the band, and it was recorded more as a humorous gesture to the good commentaries about Ringo's very good acting skills in THE BEATLES' s "A Hard Days Night" film from 1964. He really was the best actor from the members of the band in most of their films. This song was recorded to replace a song called "If You've Got Trouble", composed by Lennon and McCartney for Ringo to sing for the "Help!" album which was recorded but was not really considered as being very good to be released. Anyway, it was released until 1996 in their "Anthology 2" 2-CD Set.

"You Like Me Too Much" is a song composed and sung by George Harrison, with some humour in the lyrics. It was one of his songs that was released in the "Help!" album. The other was "I Need You", which was also included in the "Help!" film.

"It's Only Love" is a song composed and sung by John Lennon, with good lyrics and guitars arrangements.

This British E.P. shows each member of the band singing a song from their "Help!" album. An album on which the band started to show new musical influences which were later more developed in their "Rubber Soul" (1965) and "Revolver" (1966) albums.

R.I.P. George Martin (3 January 1926 / 8 March 2016).

 After Bathing at Baxter's by JEFFERSON AIRPLANE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.80 | 103 ratings

After Bathing at Baxter's
Jefferson Airplane Proto-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "After Bathing At Baxter's" seems to be the one a lot of Prog fans enjoy but I have to admit I rate it below "Surrealistic Pillow" and my favourite of theirs "Crown Of Creation". It is commendable that they didn't sit on the success of "Surrealistic Pillow" and just try to do another in that style. They seemed to be aware of what their contemporaries were doing(Zappa for example) and so they tried to make this more experimental and they also included several suites that make up this recording. The suites don't seem legit to my ears for a couple of reasons, and by todays standards this is far from experimental but remember this was 1967. I find the vocals and guitar do get on my nerves at times which certainly doesn't help in my enjoyment of it.

"The Ballad Of You & Me & Pooneil" opens with that extended guitar that is one of my highlights but then it kicks into a standard pop song. Not a fan of the vocals but that brief BYRDS-like guitar is cool before a minute. I also like the percussion/ guitar section around 2 1/2 minutes. The next track might have been something to rave about in 1967 but not now. My two favourite tracks are back to back. First up is "Martha" which comes across as a melancholic Folk song with Grace on vocals. I like the guitar 1 1/2 minutes in.

Next is "Wild Tyme" with Grace's strong vocals and the prominent guitar standing out. He rips it up a minute in. Excellent song. My other top three tune is "Rejoyce" with the abundance of piano and Grace's singing. There's an Eastern vibe around 2 1/2 minutes and I like the flute late. "Watch Her Ride" is catchy and straight-forward with male vocals. I like the bass on this one. "Spare Chaynge" is okay but nothing more. An experimental soundscape of guitar, bass and drums. If you want something like this but better check out some classic Krautrock. The closer is pretty good especially when the slow it down on the second part.

There's just too many negatives for my tastes to give this anything more than 3 stars.

Data cached

Proto-Prog bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANDROMEDA United Kingdom
APPALOOSA United States
BAKERLOO United Kingdom
THE BEATLES United Kingdom
BRAINBOX Netherlands
COVEN United States
DEEP PURPLE United Kingdom
THE DOORS United States
EARTH OPERA United States
FLAMING YOUTH United Kingdom
GATTCH Slovakia
GILES GILES & FRIPP United Kingdom
THE GODS United Kingdom
H.P. LOVECRAFT United States
JIMI HENDRIX United States
THE MOVE United Kingdom
NIRVANA United Kingdom
QUIET WORLD United Kingdom
SALAMANDER United Kingdom
THE SHIVER Switzerland
SPIRIT United States
SPOOKY TOOTH United Kingdom
SWEETWATER United States
TOMORROW United Kingdom
TOUCH United States
THE WHO United Kingdom

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | — the ultimate metal music virtual community

Server processing time: 0.27 seconds