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PROG RELATED

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Prog Related definition



No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.
Being influenced by progressive rock is hardly the only factor we look at, and in some periods of musical history it is almost meaningless, but still, it is almost a given that most of the artists listed in prog-related were influenced by the development of progressive rock.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture.
A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
- Easy Money

Prog Related Top Albums


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

4.38 | 985 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.36 | 701 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.52 | 215 ratings
BLACKSTAR
Bowie, David
4.29 | 837 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.27 | 812 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.23 | 759 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.21 | 697 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 583 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 543 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.17 | 438 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.13 | 651 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.15 | 404 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.11 | 627 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.10 | 663 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.18 | 265 ratings
SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)
Bowie, David
4.05 | 740 ratings
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI
Led Zeppelin
4.08 | 506 ratings
RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Metallica
4.05 | 649 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
4.17 | 213 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue ÷yster Cult
4.02 | 806 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 Coaster Coat by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Coaster Coat
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars BUCKETHEAD - PIKE 93 - Coaster Coat 52nd album out of 60 in 2014 and 122nd overall All sounds brought to you by Buckethead and all instrumental This one clocks in at 32:46 One of two PIKEs that spells BUCKETHEADLAND in Japanese katakana on the cover

"Coaster Coat" (12:43) starts out with a steady beat and beefy bass with a space rock guitar riff in a mid tempo march and develops an easily digestible melody right off the bat. The guitars remain clean with a warm tone and it evolves into a more subdued section before picking up steam again but it never really heats up past simmer. While Pink Floyd is the usually suspect for space rock influence, this one doesn't sound anything like them although it does have the same general feel. Close to the four minute mark the tempo picks up a bit and a guitar solo wails away. It is rather bluesy and gains intensity with the help of some electronic effects but after it runs out of gas it gets calm and placid again. The melody always remains in the same mode and this doesn't jump around randomly like the previous PIKE did. As it continues it basically trades off more rockin' passages with slow breakdowns. The upbeat segments include guitar soloing over the riffs. This one is a fairly decent example of BH creating a highly accessible meandering but melodic track. It goes on a bit too long but has some nice moments, especially some of the guitar work towards the end

"Flying Cat" (9:00) begins totally differently with a funky bass and heavy drumbeat mixing with slap happy guitar funk. After a fairly straight forward intro it does some time sig tricks. It then returns to the funk rock and then has a staccato guitar attack before bringing in da funky part once again. It continues with slight variations of the general theme and alternates the familiar for a few measures with something improvised off it for an undetermined amount of time. A fairly straight forward but fun track

"Coastline" (11:03) is once again different than the others. This one begins with clean dreamy guitar parts without percussion or bass. It develops a very strong and spacey melody and does bring some Pink Floyd to mind and also has some cool slide guitar. In addition to the two guitar parts (one rhythm, one lead) there is plenty of background ambience to give the whole thing a airy ethereal feel. Usually i don't like these tracks because there is cheesy percussion that ruins it but i'm liking this one. The lead guitar parts become more bluesy and Floydian as the track progresses. This one remains in dream state and simply focuses on a recurring melodic loop that slithers along at a snail's pace. It's very soothing

This is a cool PIKE that focuses strictly on melody rather than the bizarre and avant-garde. While i prefer the latter, this one is a very nice accessible slice of BUCKETHEADLAND. Perhaps not the most original release and could use a little more coal in the fire but a very pleasant listen

3.5 rounded down

 Hunky Dory by BOWIE, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.15 | 404 ratings

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Hunky Dory
David Bowie Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This early work by Bowie has irresistible charm and depth, sticking to that sort of energetic mid-tempo pop-rock that appeals to pretty much everyone. Not yet the "glam rocker," Bowie here has crafted some handsomely arranged rock n' roll that wraps up a variety of styles and tones - from the boogie-woogie, to folk, to western, to classical, and back to rock n' roll again. It's a great listen, often lush and always emotive.

A handful of standouts, like the immensely likable "Changes," intricately composed "Life on Mars?", and experimental "Andy Warhol," grab one's attention. The other songs, while offering many points of interest for the careful listener, do drift somewhat into the background of acoustic and string textures. For me, the impression is that Hunky Dory would make excellent dinner-party music; inoffensive in its mild tone but also fun for its genuine charm. There's a timelessness here and in Bowie's performance. Bowie's voice and lyrics are of course excellent, as is the songwriting in general. Instrumental work is fine; not much to laud but effective overall.

Recommended but not essential. Hunky Dory is great if you're interested in Bowie the musician, or for thoughtful pop-rock that proves that the '70's really are the time to go for creative and genuine music.

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

 Pike 92 - The Splatterhorn by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.86 | 2 ratings

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Pike 92 - The Splatterhorn
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars BUCKETHEAD - PIKE 92 - The Splatterhorn 51st album out of 60 in 2014 and 121st overall All sounds brought to you by Buckethead and all instrumental This one clocks in at 30:12

'Horn 1' (2:39) starts out with jittery metal chords that jam on for a bit then a strange little lick and then jumps into an echoey riff and then funk! It goes back into metal and then a break of static and then back into sludge metal and then adds some industrial noises. Drums are lazy

'Horn 2' (3:07) begins with jangly clean guitar chords that carry on for a while and then it gets into weird time sigs as the snail's paced riffs just march along in an aimless matter before finally a steady bass line comes in as training wheels and let's a ripping guitar solo sizzle out of control for a while and then it turns into a staccato chord chugga chug with dissonant guitar jangles accompanying it

'Horn 3' (4:19) starts with clean guitar chords with a whizzing guitar solo in the distant background. It breaks into heavier staccato chord chops and quickly moves on to clean weirdness. This PIKE is creating the most detached and bizarre mood swings. The drums remain lazy as with the previous tracks. Weird honking noises occur in the middle as everything else drops out and then chaotic electronic swirls erupt like fireworks. This one continues to change it up often and ratchets up the intensity and alienating soundscape

'Horn 4' (3:48) starts off with freaky electronic freak outs with a childish playful melody dancing on keys with a steady bass as the ambient background buzzes about. The melody dissipates and a heavy beefy bass ushers in a more industrial sounding groove. Drums are still lazy. It continues in an avant-funk fashion and then changes it up again and again but keeps da funk

'Horn 5' (3:03) begins with a funky guitar lick with highly distorted noise accompanying it in an industrial groove kinda way. It all changes shortly and becomes a heavily chaotic mix of the funk and other violent eddies of sonic weirdness. Several parts are sort of independent of each other but stay together in a recognizable pattern. The funk comes back

'Horn 6' (3:17) begins with a jittery guitar riff and a solo behind it with the industrial noise chords remaining from the last track. They trade off quickly and evolve into a complex tapestry of all three elements but becomes funky metal again. Ends as electronic noise

'Horn 7' (4:02) begins as deformed funk with spidery guitar antics. It twists and turns into irregular musical shapes. The lazy drums keep a steady beat but the bizarrely tuned guitars and off-kilter time sigs keep a freaky tension going. In the middle it turns into a weird avant-garde jazz guitar type of thing but then picks up steam and rock out more with sizzling solos and electronica freak outs

'Horn 8' (3:05) begins with a wildly weird electronic buzz and then starts to sound like a Soundgarden ballad ('Black Hole Sun') with a clean guitar chord sequence that sounds a little Floydian as well. The most melodic thing on the PIKE until it abruptly bursts into cyber-funk again with industrial noises and beefy bass, frenetic layers of time sig overlaps and the same lazy drumming. It ratchets up the weirdness and intensity until you're head wants to explode and ends as some kind of industrial disco weirdness with a guitar lick

'Horn 9' (2:52) begins as a weird dissonant jazz guitar type of track with strange squeals and then picks up a drumbeat and becomes more funky. It suddenly simulates a haunted house with jittery guitar licks and frenetic spastic bass and drum interaction. It goes back into 'regular' funk metal and dances around progressive twists and turns and ends the PIKE as bizarre and angst fueled as it began

Whew! This one was a majorly wild ride. Frenetic, twisted and perfectly simulates some freaky scary attraction at BUCKETHEADLAND. Very creative and unlike any other PIKE. This is one for the most adventurous freaks out there. If you like em wild, weird and unpredictable then this one will NOT disappoint

 Fire Garden by VAI, STEVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.88 | 87 ratings

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Fire Garden
Steve Vai Prog Related

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If you're a fan or electric guitar, it's hard to do better than Steve Vai's signature sound of artsy and playful hard-rock. If you're already a fan of Vai, it's hard to do better than Fire Garden. This record is a total package: it's got memorable songs filled with slinky cool jams and savage riffing, guitar virtuosity that's unabashedly complex and weird and energetic, and an overall style that just plain cooks.

Vai opens the album with three fantastic hard-rock songs. The rip-roaring "There's a Fire in the House," solo-heavy "Crying Machine," and many-textured "Dyin' Day." Great stuff, busy and personality-filled, with a crisp production. A few heavy, experimental, and romantic moments follow this completely instrumental first half, culminating in the massive "Fire Garden Suite." It's the album's showcase, and may be the most 'prog' sound that Vai has yet produced. It sprawls across sounds and influences rapidly and with gusto, cramming tons of wonderful moments into its 10-minute running time. One of the best song's that Vai has recorded, which is saying something.

The second half is slightly more "normal," with Vai handling vocal duties, quite well, with the ballads "All about Eve" and "Brother" standing out. Instrumentally this album is pretty much flawless. Vai's supporting band is great, but stick to the background, while the songwriting varies. This is especially apparent in the second-half, which strikes me as being the left-over ideas. However, even the more conventional songs are completely energized by Vai's guitar playing and the band's overall feel.

By the end of Fire Garden you'll be a believer. A great starting place to discover this exceptional musician.

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

 On Air by QUEEN album cover Live, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

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On Air
Queen Prog Related

Review by Kingsnake

— First review of this album —
5 stars This is a treat for Queen fans big and small, young and old.

We already had Queen at the Beeb for a few decades, wich combined two shows, the band recorded for BBC. Now finally Queen Productions collected and remastered all the songs they did for BBC (sans Mach of the Black Queen).

It's a wonderful collection of songs, where there are a few songs very rare (We Will Rock You (fast) and What a Fool I've Been). Mostly the band plays over the same backing tracks used for the studio-albums. So in fact some songs sound more like a different studio-version, than an actual live version.

The latter songs from (Queen II up to News at the World) sound more live, and have alternate versions of well known songs. All in all, this is a must-have. The 2cd and 3lp version contain all the BBC-recordings, whereas the boxset contains radio-interviews and some live-shows.

Thanks fo releasing this, and a must have for any Queen fan and a musthave for any serious rockfan.

 Pike 239 - The Mermaid Stairwell by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Pike 239 - The Mermaid Stairwell
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars B U C K E T H E A D PIKE 239 - T H E M E R M A I D S T A I R W E L L 20th album by BUCKETHEAD in 2016 (released on Nov 25) Clocks in at 28:23 ALL instrumental

"The Mermaid Stairwell" (12:04) welcomes you to dreamland where soft plushy ambient effects caress your soul as a tinny guitar lick lollygags into melodic form. Yep, it's one of those soft, slow and soothing PIKEs where nothing is in a hurry and floats buy like a tropical island breeze. While this is very much like similar PIKEs of the past, the new production process that BH has been utilizing as of late is of superior technological value, either that or the missing gap of PIKE releases in 2016 has been all about mastering advanced techniques and it has certainly paid off. No more are the canned drums that usually accompany this type of track. The atmospheric accoutrements are crisp and clear and the tones and timbres are about as sharp as anyone could hope for. However this is still one of those long meandering tracks that continues a melodic loop with a few melodic twists and turns and never really develops into anything different. Of course these make a good contrast for the super frantic PIKE that preceded but these just happen not to be my favorite types. Not because they are slow and breezy but because they sound too much like the other similar PIKEs of this sort that have already come out. Point blank, nothing original here and as usually with these types when they are of such time length, outstay their welcome. Meh

"Dancing Sparkles" (6:02) sounds like sparkles dancing of course! Much more upbeat and bouncy. Sounds like rather jazz funky like something Herbie Hancock would have come up with in the late 70s. Much better than the snoozer that preceded. This is a rather catchy straight forward electro funk type number with some sizzling guitar contributions. Rather repetitive but decent

"Fairy Boat" (6:57) starts out completely different with slow grungy guitar chords and then turns into an alternative rock type of track with a steady drum and bass that play with a the guitar lick creating the melody which is much like the first track except this one rocks but not crazily so. This one is also repetitive and not very exciting. Meh

"Silver Upon The Ocean" (3:20) picks up the speed with a funk rock guitar riff and heavy bass and drums to back it up. This one keeps the repetitive funky beat going and also delivers a trade of some guitar and bass improv. Almost sounds like a more rockin' version of something George Clinton would conjure up. Definitely better than last track

I like the two funk tracks and couldn't care less about the longer ones. The two tracks i do like are nothing out of this world and don't save this PIKE from being decent but forgettable. I've heard worse but this one will not be near the top of my list for sure

 Pike 238 - Attic Garden by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Pike 238 - Attic Garden
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars B U C K E T H E A D PIKE 238 - A T T I C G A R D E N 19th album by BUCKETHEAD in 2016 (released on Nov 21) Clocks in at 30:14 ALL instrumental

"Drawer 1" (2:26) starts with a bouncy little guitar groove and then turns into a dark ominous echoey chord sequence and then jumps into heavy metal riffing with little guitar squeals and then starts to change the time sigs up a bit as the fast tempo slowly slows down. The lead guitar creates a thick atmospheric lead as does the ambient background. It changes around again and becomes cleaner and quieter echoey guitars with string scrapes and then just goes full on new age for a while and then ends

"Drawer 2" (3:15) abruptly begins as a heavily distorted grungy sludge metal type guitar riff style with an accompanying guitar solo lick. The general riff melodic development continues but like the first track sort of drifts in and out of "character" only referring to the shadow of what came before. The thick ambient atmospheric backdrop keeps it shrouded in a thick sonic fog as the metal chugs away but also ends in a totally subdued slow and ethereal vibe

"Drawer 3" (4:28) breaks in energetically to announce a new track and is both weird and heavy. The metal is quite the power chug with guitar licks filling crevices in between and sometimes superimposing upon. The harshness abruptly ends and a clean guitar fluffy arpeggio with ambience ambles on for a while before slowing building back up an intense metal experience. It then jumps into sizzling solo virtuosity with some of the most intense guitar workouts BH is capable of. The proggy time sigs become more angular and oblique and heavy but then also fades out in dreamland. This one is really friggin' cool

"Drawer 4" (2:49) also erupts into a metal fury but the progressive touches get more complex at the beginning of every track as the time sigs get more frenzied, the tempos shift unexpectedly as do riffs and guitar solos. And like the rest, ends peacefully in a chilled out echo chamber

"Drawer 5" (3:33) demands instant respect as a circus type rhythm with an insane guitar riff dance together like possessed clowns on the runway. Everything changes as it becomes a chugga thrash metal attack and a bluesy lead guitar sizzles into the stratosphere, until of course it's time to chill for a few seconds in ambience and then jump into angular riffs that quickly alternate with who knows what! It keeps changing it up often and unexpectedly and then just as expected ends in an abrupt drifting into lush clean guitar passages in fluffy cloud skies

"Drawer 6" (2:05) begins less intense as still sort of in dream land but a chugga subdued guitar riff is chomping at the bit to be unleashed and then voila! It severs its tethers and jumps into brutal thrash metal. It gets proggier as it shifts, wends and winds in myriad directions creating a major dystopia before finally fading out in a more nightmarish dream state

"Drawer 7" (4:38) jumps right into oddly timed heavy metal guitar riffs and freaky higher register runs. The chaotic din has amplified and gained self-awareness. Like a little misbehaving moppet it runs around like a Twinkie-fueled tike. It also doesn't know how to stay put and takes the progginess and chaotic elements to higher and higher levels. The music is frenetic and will cause the faint of heart to pass out from exhaustion at this point. Intensity unleashes itself at ever angular ratcheting effects but just when i can't take anymore it ends in a horrendous slow note of dark arpeggios on a haunted guitar sequence that becomes a full-fledged counterpart to one of those countdown to Halloween PIKEs from yesteryear. It drags on in a nail biting sequence for the rest of the track

"Drawer 8" (7:00) jumps into a strangely processed heavy metal type guitar and bass riff sequence with jazzy drum patterned and then a humungous guitar solo. It abruptly becomes some sort of trippy space rock and then back to the carnival music type weirdness and then slow ambient guitar and background rumblings. Whew! This one has basically just left this world and gone on to another dimension where genre styles square dance together and do-si-do around each other. In the middle it turns back into an ominous ambient segment that makes me think early Klaus Schulze has made a cameo and goes on for quite some time and drifts on to the end of the album and then just fizzles out in utter formlessness

This is one that will bedazzle progheads for its untethered adventurousness and genre agglutinating prowess. This one is by far my favorite PIKE of 2016 and highly recommended for anyone who loves the wild and unpredictable. This one has it all. Ample amounts of accessible melodies as well as heavy doses of dissonance, dystopia and the need for dramamine! Bravo, BUCKETHEAD!

 Paranoid by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.29 | 837 ratings

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Paranoid
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by ProgMirage1974

5 stars REVIEW #11 - "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath (1970)

After achieving success with their debut album, Black Sabbath immediately got back to producing a new album. With very little material at their expense, the songs on their second album were either quickly written, or built off of improvisation. Still as ambitious as the first album, and more cohesive as a whole, the band would ultimately release what has come to be known as the greatest heavy metal album of all time - instrumental in inspiring subsequent acts. The lyrics on this album are far more serious than those on their debut, with topics ranging from the ongoing Vietnam War to drug addiction, and a change in vocalist Ozzy Osbourne's voice brings an edgier sound to the album , as opposed to the more bluesy-orientated vocals from before.

The iconic intro of the opener "War Pigs" (5/5) greets the listener. A slow bluesy opening with sirens gives way to the lyrics - a protest of the authoritarian figures who dictate war; politicians and generals, who send off innocent people to die doing their bidding. Inspired by the highly unpopular war in Vietnam, this song is one of the most famous protest songs ever created, and one of the most well-known Black Sabbath songs. The song features a slow groovy vocal section, then an extended instrumental section titled "Luke's Wall" that ends the album with a great Iommi guitar solo. The eight-minute song is followed by the shorter and more commercially-viable "Paranoid" (5/5), recorded very quickly as it was intended to be a filler track. Considered to be one of the greatest heavy metal songs of all time, it charted as high as #61 on the Billboard Hot 100. A very fast song and with a distinct, catchy riff, this song still receives extremely heavy radio airplay and is generally the song used to introduce people to the band. Next, in the spirit of the track "Sleeping Village" from their first album, is the calm, psychedelic "Planet Caravan" (5/5). The most "proggy" song on the album due to its unique sound and distortion - it is simply a love song about a couple floating through space. A captivating song, it also adds a science fiction touch to the generally dry concept of love songs - which in turn makes it unique. The album returns to heavy metal with the closing track of side one, the iconic "Iron Man" (5/5). With one of the most recognizable riffs in rock, this song would ultimately be Sabbath's most commercially successful song, peaking at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 despite receiving almost no radio airplay. A story about a time traveler who tries to warn Earth of an incoming apocalypse, but is ignored and ultimately brings forth the destruction that he saw in the future, it is one of the seminal pieces of rock history which cannot be understated in terms of musical genius and relevancy. Through and through so far, a great album - no flaws and impressive musicianship/subject matter.

In side two, you are greeted by the grimy riff of "Electric Funeral" (5/5), a song about the doom brought forth by nuclear war. With a heavier guitar tone, this is a great example of an inspiration to the doom and stoner metal genres. With ominous lyrics of destruction, this song goes well with videos of the Bikini Atoll Nuclear tests, or any other nuclear event. The dark lyrics continue with the following song "Hand of Doom" (5/5), this time about heroin-addicted returning Vietnam War veterans in England. With a quiet bass intro, this song shifts tempos very well. Considered by many to be the best and heaviest song on the album, and an underrated masterpiece, it is a favorite among fans of the band. Next up is the short instrumental piece "Rat Salad" (3/5), a drum showcase for Bill Ward and the precursor to a drum solo at live shows. The only real blemish on the album, it simply does not strike me as an interesting track, although there is nothing wrong with this drum-oriented track. The album finishes off with the solid "Fairies Wear Boots" (5/5), with its solid instrumental intro titled "Jack the Stripper". A song believed to be critical of the skinhead subculture, it has a great chorus and Iommi's guitar is on point as usual. A solid finisher to a great album.

There is no understating the importance of this album to heavy metal. It is an amazing album nonetheless - nearly perfect. Despite not being a true prog rock album, it has its moments (like the debut album) of progginess, and the themes of this album can certainly be described as "progressive" for the time. With multiple famous songs, this album is considered to be the band's best, and launched Black Sabbath into the mainstream. Ranked #131 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, it has garnered critical acclaim, save for the outlying critic or two. It would ultimately become the band's highest-selling album of all time. Black Sabbath would go in an even heavier direction following this album's release - and continue on their journey towards rock and roll immortality. A must-listen album for any rock fan, for it appeals to both the casual and the seasoned rock fan.

OVERALL: 4.75/5 (A+)

 Black Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 759 ratings

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Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #10 - "Black Sabbath" by Black Sabbath (1970)

It is a fact that Black Sabbath is one of the most influential bands that shaped the genre of heavy metal. Considered by many to be the first ever "true" heavy metal album, their eponymous debut is a unique mix of blues and psychedelic rock with a never-before heard level of darkness, gloominess, and raw power. Whether it be the unique voice of vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, or the powerful guitar riffs by Tony Iommi, this album despite not being vehemently prog, still would go on to inspire many prog rock bands, and therefore deserves recognition as part of the genre.

Opening up the album is the added sounds of a thunderstorm, deep in bass and ominous in nature - a foreshadowing of what is to come in the opener track "Black Sabbath" (5/5). Suddenly the listener is hit hard by a loud, slow, heavy guitar opening. Utilizing a simple tritone riff inspired by Gustav Holst's "Mars: Bringer of War" movement (the same piece that inspired King Crimson's "The Devil's Triangle" on their second album released the same year), it sets the tone - dark and forbidding. A reprieve opens up to Osbourne's vocal strength - lyrics based upon a supernatural encounter by bassist Geezer Butler coupled with the vocal emotion makes the song even more haunting. The song goes from fast to slow before hitting a climax with an Iommi solo before abruptly ending. A simple song in scope, yet immensely influential. Next up is "The Wizard" (4/5), a Tolkien-inspired song utilizing harmonica and a faster paced tempo. With a good groove, this song is solid, and the harmonica is a great addition to make the song unique in comparison with the other material on the album. Then comes the heavier "Behind the Wall of Sleep" (4/5), a shorter piece which establishes the tone for the final song of the first side, the hefty "NIB" (5/5). Beginning with a bass guitar solo titled "Bassically" on American releases of the LP, this goes on for about a minute before ending and giving way to an infectious, powerful Iommi riff. With first-person lyrics from the point of view of the devil falling in love, the verses are followed by the same epic Iommi solo - elaborated upon in the song's final hoorah. A six- minute wall of metal, this is the highlight of the album, and one of the band's many classics.

Side two differs depending on the UK and US releases of the LP. In the band's native UK, the listener was given the band's first ever single, a cover of the band Crow's "Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games with Me)" (2/5) which, despite being historically significant, falls extremely short to the other material on the album, due to its inherently commercial nature. Recommended to the band for being a radio-friendly song, the band was not very excited about recording a cover of the song, but went ahead with the wishes of their producer. On the American release however, the listener is given the far superior "Wicked World" (5/5) from the B-side of their first single. A song with cynical lyrics of the world (a sign of what would come on the band's second breakthrough album), the brutal riff coupled with the lyrics make this song a classic, although it is far less known in the Sabbath catalogue. The next track, "Sleeping Village" (5/5) offers a calm reprieve from the action on the album, with ominous lyrics that utilizes great imagery before opening up into a raw Iommi riff that segues into the closing track of the album "Warning" (4/5). An extended ten-minute cover of the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation song, this is the only real example of prog you will find on the album. A much heavier touch on the original, coupled with a very long improv showcase with wild drums and guitar riffs, it is not a great closer to the album, but certainly ambitious and raw.

Black Sabbath's debut introduced the world to what would eventually become the diverse genre of heavy metal. Panned by critics, it also drew criticism to the band for "Satanic imagery", stemming from the lyrical content of some of the songs, as well as the inverted cross featured in the LP's gatefold cover (a decision by the cover artist, not the band). Over the course of the band's history has this criticism existed, despite the fact that every member of the band is a Christian. As a huge Sabbath fan myself, I am very happy with the content on this album - except the Crow cover. Everything else on this album is gritty, rough, and ominously beautiful - from the opener to the closer. It may not necessarily be an example of prog rock, but there is no debate as to whether this album was monumental in giving rise to the modern prog bands we see today. Many rock bands cite Sabbath as their inspiration, as the band, along with other pioneers such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, brought rock and roll into a new era, one which is considered to be a golden age. Any rock fan should give this album a listen out of historical significance alone.

OVERALL: 4.42/5 (B+)

 K-scope by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.39 | 23 ratings

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K-scope
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by DePloy

3 stars Manzanera's K scope starts with a rollicking progfunkrock instrumental title track that makes the listener think "this is vintage Manzanera. I can't wait to hear the rest".

For the most part, fans and neophytes shouldn't be disappointed. The musicians, a similar cast from Phil's other professional work, again display the chops to lay down accessible yet challenging pop/rock. The artists have obviously matured and evolved judging from the song names and themes laid out by the lyrics. Still there are many styles covered here as with all pre 1980 Manzanera works, and the fun the musicians are having shines through. Good late '70's rock and roll. The only errors in my eyes are the cheap Stephen Stills does reggae knockoff Cuban Crisis and the discoish Hot Spot.

3.5 stars

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