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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 | 1019 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN IV
Led Zeppelin
4.52 | 259 ratings
BLACKSTAR
Bowie, David
4.36 | 721 ratings
QUEEN II
Queen
4.29 | 853 ratings
PARANOID
Black Sabbath
4.28 | 841 ratings
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Queen
4.23 | 773 ratings
BLACK SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.21 | 713 ratings
SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 595 ratings
ARGUS
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 575 ratings
THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie, David
4.18 | 450 ratings
RISING
Rainbow
4.13 | 668 ratings
POWERSLAVE
Iron Maiden
4.15 | 428 ratings
HUNKY DORY
Bowie, David
4.11 | 652 ratings
MASTER OF PUPPETS
Metallica
4.10 | 673 ratings
SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH
Black Sabbath
4.08 | 531 ratings
RIDE THE LIGHTNING
Metallica
4.15 | 287 ratings
SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)
Bowie, David
4.05 | 768 ratings
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI
Led Zeppelin
4.05 | 662 ratings
MASTER OF REALITY
Black Sabbath
4.17 | 218 ratings
SECRET TREATIES
Blue Öyster Cult
4.03 | 834 ratings
LED ZEPPELIN
Led Zeppelin

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews


 A Night At The Opera by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 841 ratings

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A Night At The Opera
Queen Prog Related

Review by The Jester

5 stars Queen's A Night at the Opera, took its name from the Marx Brothers movie with the same title. It was released on November 1975 and it was the most expensive album ever made. (At the time). It became an immediate success, reaching No.1 at the UK album charts, and stayed there for 4 weeks, while in the States reached at No.4. The musical media praised the album on many occasions, but because the style of this album was not clear, they categorized it from Heavy Metal up to Progressive Rock. Of course, the truth - as usual - lies in the middle? The band was at its best form in this album, with Brian May's guitar leading many songs, or just 'painting' small melodies and solos in others. Roger Taylor and John Deacon hold the background very tight, while Freddie Mercury gives some of the best performances of his career. The album's opens with a three-song medley, including the "noizy" Death on two legs followed by the operatic Lazing on a Sunday afternoon, and closing with the Hard Rock-like, Im in love with my car. The lead vocals on Lazing on a Sunday afternoon, was sung in the studio, and reproduced through headphones in a tin bucket elsewhere in the studio. A microphone picked up the sound from the bucket, which gives that hollow "megaphone" sound. The A-side - of the vinyl edition of course - continues with You're my best friend and 39, both mellow and melodic songs. Sweet Lady, is a Hard Rock-like, distortion-driven song, written by Brian May. Roger Taylor remembers it as the most difficult drumming part he ever recorded. The A-Side closes with Seaside Rendezvous, which was Freddie Mercury's compostion, but although it is a rather unique song, it doesn't add something more to the album. The B-Side opens with the 8-minute-long The Prophet's song, writen by Brian May. It is a heavy Love of my life, writen by Freddie Mercury for his girlfriend at the time. It is one of Queen's most covered songs and one of the most popular songs in their live shows. Good Company that comes next, is a May's composition, but is nothing special. And right after that, comes the album's highlight, which is not other than the extremely famous Bohemian Rhapsody. When it was released as a single climbed at No.1 of the UK singles chart, stayed there for 9 weeks, and within a year sold over 1.000.000 copies. After Freddie Mercury's death in 1991 it climbed again at No.1 and stayed there for another 5 weeks. It is considered to be one of the best songs of the 20th century. and dark track, with a strong Progressive Rock influence and challenging lead vocals. At over eight minutes in length, it was the longest song Queen ever recorded. Next, comes the sweet and mellow The album's closing track is a "rock" cover version of God save the Queen, the Brittish national anthem. Concluding this, the only thing I want to say is that, in my opinion, A Night at the Opera is a must- have for any Rock music fan's discography. 4.5 stars from me

 Heaven And Hell by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.02 | 506 ratings

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Heaven And Hell
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised to find that my snooty, know-it-all assumptions about a classic band are unfounded. For decades I brushed off Black Sabbath as being nothing more than a one trick pony that made a name for themselves by merely being loud, brash and controversial. I didn't give them much credit for being all that talented because all I ever heard on the radio was 'Iron Man' and 'Paranoia' and neither song did anything for me. (Ironically, when I finally got around to listening to the LP those tracks are part of I realized there was a lot more going on than I anticipated hearing and I felt obligated to give it a favorable review. Who'd a thunk it?) While my taste in prog still leans heavily toward the symphonic and jazz fusion ends of the spectrum and always will, there's a part of me that enjoys high-quality hard rock quite a bit. Especially when there's plenty of creativity and imagination tossed into the mix. 'Heaven and Hell' fits that description to a tee.

According to what I've read, the boys in Black Sabbath (despite their own share of destructive hang-ups) got their fill of Ozzy Osborne's dreadful habits after making eight albums with him commandeering the mike and kicked him out the door. It just so happened that singer Ronnie James Dio was unemployed and pleased as punch to step in when the invitation was received. Within the first few seconds of the opening cut, 'Neon Nights', one can tell it was a near-perfect, serendipitous match made in, well, heaven. The tune features a driving Deep Purple-ish, Highway Star-like motivating riff that doesn't waste time making a bold statement of purpose. When Dio opens his mouth it's a done deal. He pours uncompromised energy and excitement into the song that announces the group's timely resurrection from the doldrums of burn out mediocrity. But what shocked me most was Tony Iommi's guitar solos. They sizzle and pop like wet bacon on a hot skillet. I wasn't expecting that at all. 'Children of the Sea' is next. Its subtle opening leads to a weighty progression that might've grown tiresome if not for Ronnie's awesome vocal tour de force. And, once again, I was knocked silly by Tony's blazing guitar lead. They also display admirable arrangement skills by letting the track die down a tad in order to set up a power-packed ending. 'Lady Evil' sports a more traditional, straight-ahead rock & roll vibe that does a fine job of keeping the momentum ball rolling at this juncture. The lyrics are pretty lame but who cares? This foursome sounds like a band that's firing on all cylinders. 'Heaven and Hell' follows and, while it starts off like a throwback to their earlier minimalist productions, Ronnie jumps into the fray and gooses it with a freshness and vitality that can't be denied. They rev up into speed metal mode for a spell and then finish with an unanticipated Spanish guitar segment that I found delightful. Overall, this terrific number shows off a great deal of maturation in their songwriting acumen.

'Wishing Well' is a tight rocker from the get go. I get the feeling Mr. Dio brought some of what he learned from fronting Rainbow into the sessions as far as how to structure tunes like this one in a way that isn't overly predictable or patronizing. 'Die Young' benefits from sideman Geoff Nichols' dreamy keyboard contributions and the contrast they add keeps the proceedings from turning stale. (I'm a big fan of variety so the fact that each cut has its own character is a major plus in my book.) The middle section is nice and proggy, too. Gotta say it's hard not to be constantly blown away by Ronnie's incredible range and intensity. The man was one of a kind. 'Walk Away' is next and Iommi's switch to a slicker guitar tone comes at just the right time. It distinguishes this tune from the others right off the bat. It erects a much more radio-friendly aura yet it doesn't detract from the album's central mojo at all. Instead it demonstrates efficiently the versatility that helped keep them relevant in that era. They conclude with 'Lonely is the Word'. Tony, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward combine to present a knock-down-the-walls, bang-your-head arena rock riff that could satisfy any crowd of rowdies anywhere and Dio's voice slices through the din without any difficulty whatsoever. I really like that they tossed in a brief jazzy interlude along the way. Humbly I find it necessary to reiterate that, to my amazement, Iommi had by this time turned into a monster guitarist that I would've bragged about to my friends had I been paying attention. A little late now.

Black Sabbath was either fortunate beyond belief or extremely wise to recruit Ronnie James Dio when they did because together they made a damned good record. The musical landscape was changing rapidly as the 70s came to a close and a lot of their contemporaries were deteriorating into starving dinosaurs as Punk and New Wave were fast becoming the rage. By bringing new blood into their band and letting him contribute and blend his unique artistry into their foundational sound they were able to give their reputation a huge boost as they entered the 80s decade. 'Heaven and Hell' reached #9 in the UK and a respectable #28 in the States, no small feat for an established-but-aging rock outfit in that uncertain era. Sadly, the Dio/Black Sabbath marriage didn't survive past their follow-up LP together but they can be super proud of this one. I can't find a darn thing wrong with it so I give it a solid four-star rating. This is how sledgehammer rock is supposed to sound, kids.

 Pike 264 - Poseidon by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Pike 264 - Poseidon
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 264 - Poseidon / 21st release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 6 tracks all titled 'Poseidon' / Clocks in at 30minutes 18seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead. Like many of these same track named PIKEs, this one's playlist runs together fairly seamless merely passing the melody baton onto the next track

'Poseidon Part 1' (6:12) begins with clean guitars that echo in response to ambient backgrounds. And then heavy grungy guitars start in and create an industrial metal type playfulness with the ambience. Then it turns into heavy alternative metal riffing for a while before it slows down to a placid respite in aggressiveness with clean mellowness. Of course it picks back up with crunchy riffing and some melodic solos that aren't fast but complementary. There is a nice mix of melody and virtuosity on this one. An excellent track that takes different aspects of previous PIKEs and stitches them together in a rather pleasant way

'Poseidon Part 2' (3:10) continues melodically from the previous track but after a grungy sustain emerges a clean echo guitar that carries the melody until another crunchy metal guitar riff picks up again. Like the last track it is sort of in the mid tempo range but still rather forceful in delivery. The emphasis remains on the melody which makes this PIKE so far an easy pill to swallow.

'Poseidon Part 3' (4:01) picks up the melody and creates a more sophisticated interaction between rhythmic and soloing dynamics. Lots of staccato riffing with melodic guitar sticking its nose in every little crack it can sniff out, ooooo baby. Nice melodic guitar solos are flowing like fruit of a cornucopia. Bravo!

'Poseidon Part 4' (4:36) seamlessly transitions tracks with a crunchy guitar riff and licks but slows down for a while into near ambience only until it picks up the crunchiness once again and alternative bands head for a while.

'Poseidon Part 5' (6:32) at this point i've had a few beers and anything sounds good but it continues the [%*!#]ing album in a pleasurable weigh. I want to insert floppy discs into my smart phone

'Poseidon Part 6' (5:47) makes me think that i liked Wanda Sykes as the voice of the skunk in 'Over The Hedge' for no particular reason actually

POSEIDON was the Olympian god of the sea, earthquakes, floods, drought and horses. He was depicted as a mature man with a sturdy build and dark beard holding a trident (a three-pronged fisherman's spear). God of drought AND horses? Who made this [&*!#] up. How about god of draught and porters. My kinda god. I rarely drink, i swear

 Evolution by JOURNEY album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.17 | 90 ratings

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Evolution
Journey Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

2 stars For a brief time in the mid-eighties, Journey were a favourite band of mine. I had only four albums - Evolution, Departure, Escape, and Frontiers - but those four cassettes got played an awful lot for a few months. I never knew about their prog rock fusion beginnings nor their story of how Steve Perry came in, took control, and wrote the band into success. When I started buying CDs, the only Journey I got was Escape, and that's how it stayed for almost two decades. Finally last year, I bought the debut album but was not completely won over.

Then it happened that I heard Dream Theater's Big Medley which included a segment of Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' and I recalled that old classic song. I thought back fancifully to Evolution and considered that it may have actually been my favourite Journey album. So I ordered a remastered copy of the album on CD.

At first, it was almost disappointing. What was wrong with the sound quality? I remembered that songs sounding stronger, the guitar playing more exciting, and Perry's vocals - fantastic in their white soul feel - not going shrill at times. When I read the reviews on PA, I was both shocked but not really surprised to read so many 1 star reviews. Basically, fans of the pre-Perry albums were not ever going to accept the band going... commercial. Although some still gave their approval begrudgingly to Infinity, Evolution was considered a giant leap backward.

Truth be told, Evolution does spend most of its energy on more straightforward rock. Though this is obviously a band with musical talent, there is little to no effort spent on creating the more progressive style of jam band that Neil Schon and Greg Rollie had set out to create after leaving Santana. In an interview with both members I watched very recently, both of them were against bringing a crooner into the band and wanted a screamer. But their manager insisted and Perry became the new vocalist. An ambitious writer, Steve Perry transformed Journey into a sing-along rock band without the prog.

As for my own opinion of Evolution, a third listen to my CD has left me regarding it more favourably. It's because the album is an old favourite that I can't be too critical of it, though I admit it is not an album for a prog list. Actually, I do like Steve Perry's voice very much; Neil Schon, though not a technical wizard, plays with great expression and emotive power; and the songs show a band with an ear for variety. The sound quality still lacks something, I feel; however, with the volume up it's easy to get into those old tunes once more. Hearing this I am now inspired to finally buy Infinity and I think I should get Departure and Frontiers again, too.

I can understand and agree with those who prefer Journey's first three albums. For a more progressive band, that's the place to look. But I think that Evolution is still only part of the journey (so to speak) before the band became the huge commercial success they were in the eighties. This album still retains some of that seventies' magic. I give it a personal rating of three and a half stars as a rock album, but two and a half stars as a prog album, rounding down for this site.

 Sheer Heart Attack by QUEEN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.98 | 532 ratings

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Sheer Heart Attack
Queen Prog Related

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Queen. A classic band with so many huge hits. I never wanted to buy an album. I saw a photo once of Edward Van Halen and Brian May together and I thought, "Why does Eddie like May so much?" Queen and Brain May to me were "Radio Ga-Ga", "Killer Queen", "Another One Bites the Dust", "We Are the Champions", etc. The music could be said to have power but there was nothing in the guitar playing that attracted my ears. Even after I learned that Queen were on PA, I still wasn't convinced.

Two things finally bent my curiosity. The first was the Wikipedia article on thrash metal that mentioned Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy" as an early example of speed metal. The second was a mention in the book "Lifting Shadows: The Authorized Biography of Dream Theater" of DT playing three songs from "Sheer Heart Attack" and Brian May being very impressed. I ordered the album!

"Killer Queen" and the rocker "Now I'm Here" are the only tracks I know, but it's the guitar exhibition of the opening track "Brighton Rock" - a song that sounds like a live version recorded in studio - that instantly justifies any adulation of Brian May's guitar skills. It's easy to understand how Eddie Van Halen was inspired, but also I can't help thinking that "Brighton Rock" must have also inspired Rik Emmett of Triumph when they recorded their second album "Rock and Roll Machine" because the guitar solo in the title track could easily have been an effort to pay tribute to May's work.

I find the rest of "Sheer Heart Attack" to be a mixed bag of tracks that clearly exhibit creative musical thinking and others that exhibit pure genius. Wikipedia states that the early Queen albums were a combination of prog and metal influences, and I don't doubt that much though I do agree with the "Sheer Heart Attack" Wiki article that says the band were heading more into conventional rock tracks. Some tracks feature heavy riffs and searing solos while others seem to have been inspired by musicals. Though all the tracks are short, there is no shortage of creativity. One of my favourites is the incredible "Bring Back that Leroy Brown". A quick-paced 1920's stomper, the song features ukulele-banjo, jangle piano and double bass and some great drum work by Roger Taylor, not to mention the fantastic vocal work. Easily a terrific entertaining number!

If there's any one big criticism it's the production. As this is their third album, it might not be a surprise to hear a weak production that doesn't justly bring out the sound of the music that the band obviously worked hard to record. But still I had imagined better sound quality.

Not all songs impress so deeply, but I am impressed enough that I am now eyeballing two more albums: "Queen II" and "A Night at the Opera". I expect these three will make a good trilogy.

 Intelligence Failure (with Viggo Mortensen) by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2005
1.00 | 1 ratings

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Intelligence Failure (with Viggo Mortensen)
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
1 stars Despite including BUCKETHEAD on almost all VIGGO MORTENSEN's solo albums, for some reason there are only two which give equal billing on the album cover thus officially casting the albums as a full-fledged collaboration. The first was VIGGO's fith release, the 2003 release "Pandemoniumforamerica" and the second was his seventh INTELLIGENCE FAILURE which once again makes a reprise into the world political criticism of failed US policies around the world. Once again this is one of those avant-garde ambient affairs that includes speeches by George Bush, Dick Cheney, C. Ray Nagin, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Cindy Sheehan and Howard Zinn accompanied by sound effects, keyboard swooshiness and other contributions by MORTENSEN's family members as well as Travis Dickerson, our chicken loving guitar hero and we can't forget Brigit!

What we basically get here is a collage effect that weaves together political speeches, political critique, patriotic musical segments, ambient effects, sound effects such as sirens, soldiers marching etc. all for the purpose of creating a musical counter statement to the criminal behaviors of the US war machine regarding the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There is a fair amount of emphasis on cheesy piano runs and other emotional tugs are designed to pull heartstrings and everything is kept in mellow yellow mode. BUCKETHEAD contributes clean guitars with some really out there reverb moments but really there is really very little on here that is remotely interesting musically speaking and the LAST thing i want to hear when i put on an album is commentary by some of the most heinous political elites ever to walk this planet. It's bad enough to hear these things on the news.

I can understand the emotional reaction of the day and the desire to protest in a more effective way than with picket signs but unfortunately i think the FAILURE part of the title in this one is fairly self-prophetic as it is rather ineffective in keeping my interest in any possible way and THAT's coming from one of the most open-minded music lovers you could ever read a review from. While this one may have been ignited with a passion to protest, it serious lacks the inspiration to pull it off with any conviction and besides ONE of these types of albums was more than enough. If you must check one of these out only, the previous album with both BH & VIGGO in the title "Pandemoniumforamerica" was more interesting but even that one i doubt i'll ever revisit again.

 The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.04 | 5 ratings

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The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars After a dip into a mellower retro 70s vibe on his previous release "Population Override," BUCKETHEAD turned up the adrenaline several notches and returned to a more extreme metal sound with his 13th album THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL which was also his 3rd and final album of 2004. This one has been called one of BUCKETHEAD's most extreme metal releases and that is probably true at least up until some of the later Pikes like "Twisted Branches," however this one dishes out a series of frenetic heavy spastic metal riffs at the speed of light with absolutely no regard to any sort of traditional songwriting orthodoxy. Many of the tracks are quite progressive in their sophistication with time signatures run amok, brutal passages that could at times fit in on tech death metal and avant-garde guitar workouts like there's no tomorrow. Like most BUCKETHEAD albums, this one is totally instrumental with BH abusing the stringed instruments and Dan Monti helping out on drums.

THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL is also one of the more famous BH releases for the fact that it contains the track "Spokes For The Wheel Of Torment" which is one of only four BH tracks ever set to video and i must say that it is one of the coolest videos i've ever seen as it features a semi-animated horrorscape cape set in the Bosch painting "Garden Of Earthly Delights" and the animated segments correspond to the progressive outbursts as heard on the track. There are also two cover versions. One with BH peeking out of a charcoal grey CUCKOO CLOCK on the wall and another with more colorful display of different artistry. Many of the track titles make reference to Dante's Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th century epic poem Divine Comedy.

This album begins with a tick-tocking of a clock and then a CUCKOO bird ushers in an industrial metal riff explosion that fully fueled and head banging to the max. The riffs are followed by a series of guitar solos, funk passages and avant-garde jittery riffing segments which pretty much sets the stage for the entire aggressively delivered progressive punch into the avant-garde metal world. One of my favorite tracks are "The Treeman" which has little guitar runs that sound like insects talking to each other as well as doom-laden crunch slow riffs however it has so many style switch-ups that it's impossible to name them all. A funky bass line is never far behind either. Another favorite is "Bedlam's Bluff" with its off-kilter timings and altering of aggressive riffing with avant- funky licks. "Moth To Flame" has some of the most technically horror filled guitar workouts i've ever heard!

THE CUCKOO CLOCKS OF HELL is a stellar release of avant-garde metal with each track changing things up enough to create its own identity while keeping an overall feel to the entire album. This album displays some of BH's most diverse guitar playing skills with everything from extreme metal and jazz to cartoonish type rhythms as well as the expected invented musical scales that sound as alien as anything you could ever imagination. This one is highly recommended for the adventurous music lover of avant-garde instrumental music that takes all the ingredients of metal, jazz, classical, funk and even gypsy swing and boils them down into a hellish concoction that is quite the adventurous ride.

4.5 rounded down

 Population Override by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.21 | 19 ratings

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Population Override
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Even on the earlier albums BUCKETHEAD was trying to please an eclectic crowd of music lovers. For music nerds such as myself, he would release albums such as "Island Of Lost Souls" delving headfirst into experimental nosedives into the unknown that left the uninitiated scratching their heads as to what they were listening to however with the followup his avant-garde expression, BUCKETHEAD released his twelfth album and second of 2004 in the form of POPULATION OVERRIDE which was more of collaborative effort with keyboardist Travis Dickerson and drummer Pinchface.

The album was pretty much a collection of spontaneous riffs that were floating around during the sessions of the Cornbugs album "Brain Circus" and kinda just took off as extended bluesy jams with a funky bass back support system. While originally released in 2004 with only ten tracks, it was reissued in 2014 as a double vinyl LP album that included an extra eight tracks although the extra running time only extends from 55:22 to 70:33 as the extra tracks are fairly short with most running under the two minute mark. The album has a the theme of overpopulation by means of the track titles only since all is instrumental.

The album is supposed to be a tribute of some sort to the great vinyl records of the 60s and 70s and i have to say that the first track "Unrestrained Growth" does very much remind me of something that could have occurred in an alternative universe where the Grateful Dead jammed with Sly & the Family Stone with Hendrix dropping in for some lead guitar support. The album is actually quite varied in sound with some upbeat funk rockers like "A Day Will Come" that sound like Herbie Hancock hung out with Budgie for a few sessions! Slower tracks like "Cruel Reality Of Nature" and "Earth Heals Herself" are space rock numbers bringing classic 70s Pink Floyd to mind without coming off as too derivative since there is always a slightly jazzy blues feel to many of the tracks and many sprinkled with retro mellotron and organ runs.

Overall POPULATION OVERRIDE is a very enjoyable journey into a melodic jam session that runs the gamut of heavier funk-laden rock, bluesy shuffles and space rock to contemplative slower tracks that are more ethereal. All of the tracks have catchy grooves and a sense of lament does permeate the atmosphere which in a way does contribute to the overarching theme. The extra six tracks on the vinyl re-release come from different albums actually. "Inferno," "Braingate" and "CS-118" come from the first Cobra Strike album (side project band) and "Covert," "Blue Crystal" and "Aluminum Clouds" were lifted off of the "Funnel Weaver" album which makes them honestly a ridiculously lame attempt at creating extra tracks for a re-release therefore rather inessential unless you must own every single issue of every single recording of BUCKETHEAD which may either bankrupt you or send you to the insane asylum. Or both.

 Cultösaurus Erectus by BLUE ÖYSTER CULT album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.43 | 119 ratings

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Cultösaurus Erectus
Blue Öyster Cult Prog Related

Review by Humzahj

5 stars In my opinion this is one of the best Blue Oyster Cult albums, I'll proceed to give my opinion on each of the tracks: BLACK BLADE: Not only is this the strongest song on the album but it's also one of BOC's strongest songs, with a perfect mix of rock and roll guitar (showcasing one of Buck Dharma's greatest solos), Eerie progressive synth breakdowns, primitive sounding drumming and sci-fi lyrics this song balances high and low well, the chorus is very powerful sounding heavy whereas the verses have this quirky jumpy sound (even though the dark subject matter contrasts it). The solo sections (guitar then synth) fit in perfectly even though in theory it wouldn't seem to work, even the chords in the song are very strange, it would take a musical mastermind to compose it. MONSTERS: Arguably the second best song on the album, it's easy to imagine the creepy giant monster on the cover whilst listening to this track. Monsters is another musically complex song with a fun "slimy" sounding riff and prog-rock synthesizers, the real uniqueness comes in these well places jazz interludes, which helps make the song so strangely catchy. DIVINE WIND: A grim, angry (almost passive) sounding track with a slow tempo and a powerful riff, lyrically speaks about America during a controversial time with an tyrant from Iran (at least so I've been told) The song is one of the stronger tracks on the album and will leave the lines "If he really thinks we're the devil, Then let's send him to hell" engraved in your brain. DEADLINE: Lyrically it's an ok song, good vocals too. It's catchy but musically straightforward. except the lead guitar licks are very good. Overall it's an average BOC song, but compared to the rest of the album, it's one of the weaker songs. MARSHALL PLAN: Another song to prove the creativity of BOC, this is definitely a more light-hearted song on the album, it's mildly comical as well. The song plays out as a narrative of a boy who has his girl stolen from him at a Rock show and then he get's mad and figures if he picks up a guitar and becomes a rock star he'll get his girl back, so he succeeds, and at the end still doesn't get the girl, but hey "that's the way it goes, it's Rock and roll!" Musically this song is blessed with a very catchy and powerful chorus accompanied by soaring solos by Buck Dharma towards the end, also there is a very clever sample of the infamous 'Smoke on the Water' by rock-giants 'Deep Purple' HUNGRY BOYS: Lyrically straightforward rocker, musically it's a catchy rock song with a chorus made to be implanted in your brain. It's very enjoyable to listen to and the upbeat fast tempo helps to lift your energy. Good song, not the strongest 'cos it doesn't take enough risks or delve too deep musically, but for what it is certainly not a bad song. FALLEN ANGEL: Arguably the most upbeat song on the album, with Joe Bouchard on vocals, this song is a synth-driven song with an infectiously catchy vocal melody. It's a song about satan (I presume) in which case it's the happiest sounding song I've heard about the devil.. Anyways, it's a fun creative track, I enjoy it but it's not my personal favorite. LIPS IN THE HILLS: Catchy song, with a powerful chorus (the chorus reminds me somewhat of the little brother of the monstrous opening song 'black blade') the song is a straightforward rocker. This album has two of those, 'Lips' and 'Hungry Boys', both catchy fun songs that are easy to get into, but not strong enough to make or break the album. Lips in the Hills is a fun song lyrically and instrumentally and fits in perfectly to the album. UNKOWN TONGUE: To me this song musically isn't too memorable, it's alright, not bad. But lyrically this song fares better the lyrics are eerie and dark (reminiscent to the first three BOC albums). Overall good closer to the album, not my favorite or least favorite in the album though.

Overall in my opinion there aren't any bad songs on 'Cultösaurus' it all works, musically creative, lyrically fun, even the album cover art is great at investing an audience. This album is a must-hear, shame it didn't get the attention it deserved.

 Kilroy was Here by STYX album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.13 | 132 ratings

BUY
Kilroy was Here
Styx Prog Related

Review by Corcoranw687

3 stars I always thought everyone was too hard on Styx, but the fact is they sound too much like prog for a radio-rock fan, and their songs rarely inspire the average prog fan. I like to say Styx has something for everybody to dislike, and that is truest for this album, but I think they're great and music like this has great value. Let's look at an album that most would write off that isn't bad at all, the much-ridiculed 1983 sort-of-concept album "Kilroy Was Here". Sure we've heard all we need to hear about the singles, "Mr. Roboto" is pretty repetitive and really does have a comical chorus, but a radio single about an android who is struggling with his identity whilst defending humanity at least sounds like it would be awesome. "Don't Let it End" and "Haven't We Been Here Before" are pretty weak 80s ballads, and I don't often get through "Double Life" either. What's with 3 stars when half the album is questionable, then? "Cold War" is great, a catchy chorus and Tommy Shaw's fantastic vocals keep me interested until the first solo section, where the rest of the band plays a very "Home By the Sea" part, making me wonder what Tony Banks was listening to during those recording sessions. "High Time" introduces a dystopian world with a man who speaks to you on your "laser video", and ends with a huge horn section and Dennis acting bizarre with his stuttering vocals. "Heavy Metal Poisoning" is my favourite on the album and has JY apparently playing Dr. Righteous, possibly the man from the previous song. This song about music ruining the youth's minds is mostly spoken by JY in a very ominous way, but we soon turn to a children's choir screaming "sex and drugs!!" and "Righteous righteous righteous!!", it's great. Another standout is "Just Get Through This Night" which features a neat intro followed by a great Shaw ballad with excellent lyrics, this one really nails it. Overall I think you should listen to this album if you are ever in an 80s mood, some tracks may just surprise you. 3 stars
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