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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

This category lists technical Progressive Metal bands that have roots in Extreme Metal or that are strongly influenced by it. The style developed by the end of the 80s in the Thrash Metal scene when a number of bands stretched the boundaries of their sound by including elements from Progressive Rock. Death Metal followed a similar path in the 90s and by the 2000s, also Black Metal and Metalcore saw an increasing amount of bands taking in Prog influences.

Certain bands like EPHEL DUATH and UNEXPECT developed a style that largely abandoned their extreme metal heritage in favour of a highly eclectic jazz-influenced Avant Metal style. These bands are listed under Experimental Metal.


Progressive Thrash Metal
By the end of the 80s Thrash Metal had diversified its sound significantly to an extent where the originally very direct and uncompromisingly aggressive style had become more sophisticated, boasting challenging technical skills and ambitious song structures frequently surpassing the 6 minute mark. The best known examples are METALLICA and MEGADETH.

The bands listed in this section went one step further and embraced notable influences from Progressive Rock, replacing much of the typical Thrash Metal riffs and rhythms with a more progressive and melodic riffing style, influenced by KING CRIMSON and RUSH. The most well-known of these early bands was VOIVOD, who also brought the early psychedelic sound of PINK FLOYD into their unique mold. Important pioneering albums were released by WATCHTOWER, CORONER, MEKONG DELTA, as well as the debut album of SIEGES SEVEN.
More recent examples of Progressive Thrash are SPIRAL ARCHITECT and VEKTOR


Progressive Death Metal
Death Metal further built on the sound of the most extreme bands of the Thrash scene. Next to the brutal sound, blast beat drumming, complex song structures and multiple tempo changes, the most notorious feature of the style is probably the growled vocals. Death Metal is generally highly technical, making the dividing line between Technical Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal sometimes rather faint.

The bands considered for Prog Archives are those that show significant influences from Progressive Rock and/or Fusion. One of the landmarks in the style is "Elements" from ATHEIST, who mixed their hyper-technical Speed Metal with fusion. Other early albums include "Focus" from CYNIC and "Spheres" from PESTILENCE, where progressive riffing, polymetrics, fusion influences and atmospheric keyboards complemented their brutal Death Metal. Also DEATH, the popular founder of Death Metal, incorporated fusion and progressive elements on their later albums.

A different flavour of Progressive Death Metal came from the European continent, when half-way into the 90s leading death and doom-death bands started expanding their basic metal sound. The most significant album relevant to this section is "Crimson" from EDGE OF SANITY. In typical Scandinavian fashion, their epic approach wasn't fusion oriented but less technical and more melodic, introducing the now typical alteration between brutal Death sections and more melodic breaks with clean vocals; an approach perfected in the next decade by OPETH.


Progressive Black Metal
Unlike Thrash and Death metal, Black Metal is not a technical genre. Originally it was even purposely non-technical and low-fi. By the end of the 90s the genre had developed into various sub-styles, of which some incorporated elements from progressive music.
The bands listed in this section are Black Metal bands that traded the minimalism of Black Metal for a more progressive, technical or experimental approach. This distinguishes them from the Black Metal bands that fleshed out their sound with either post-rock and/or shoegaze influences. Those are listed under Experimental/Post Metal.

One of the earliest and best known example of this style is ENSLAVED, who maintained the harsh atmosphere and aggression of classic Black Metal but extended this with a more textured psychedelic sound, chromatic riffing and odd time-signatures, citing influences from PINK FLOYD, VOIVOD and KING CRIMSON. Also IHSAHN, front-man of EMPEROR, should be mentioned here.

Most artists in this section are Symphonic Black Metal-oriented bands with progressive and experimental influences, but without fully crossing over to either Prog or Avant Metal as they remain oppressively dark, harsh, often dissonant and inaccessible. Their strong ties to Black Metal is why they are featured under Tech/Extreme Prog Metal and not in Avant Prog Metal. Examples are DEATHSPELL OMEGA, MOONSORROW, NEGURA BUNGET and the slightly more accessible theatrical Symphonic Black Metal of ARCTURUS.


Modern Phase
In the 2000s trends became more diffuse, introducing bands that had some of their stylistic features in common with the extreme metal genres without fully belonging in any of them. Some of them continued the strong fusion element and hyper-technical approach from ATHEIST and CYNIC. Instrumental acts such a as EXIVIOUS, CANVAS SOLARIS and BLOTTED SCIENCE received lots of critical acclaim from progressive metal fans.

A new trend was set by MESHUGGAH, one of the most defining bands of this era. At the end of the 90s their eclectic mix of Death, Thrash, Avant, Fusion and Prog laid down the groundrules of Extreme Metal for the next decade. Another well known band to take a similar eclectic approach to Extreme Metal was GOJIRA.
In the second half of the 2000's, many young bands copied MESHUGGAH's guitar tone and rhythmical riffing style, giving rise to the so-called 'djent' movement. Many of these bands belong in Tech/Extreme, such as ANIMALS AS LEADERS, CHIMP SPANNER etc.


Progressive Metalcore
The second half of the 2000s also saw the rise of a new generation of Progressive Tech/Extreme acts with roots that lay in Metalcore, Mathcore and Technical Sludge, rather then the 'classic' Extreme Metal genres. Their music is inherently technical and complex and has quite a number of formal features in common with Progressive Metal such as odd time signatures and non-standard song formats.
Prog Archives only lists these bands that go beyond the default expectations of the genre and bring in distinct non-extreme Prog influences. Some of the most eye-catching bands in this area are BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, PROTEST THE HERO, BURST, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and MASTODON.


--- Definition by Karl and the Progressive Metal Team, January 2012 ---

The Progressive Metal Team
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Alex (Rune2000)
Thanos (aapatsos)
Dave (Prog Sothoth)

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.33 | 1197 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1219 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.24 | 1135 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.28 | 312 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.25 | 434 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.40 | 109 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.25 | 382 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.22 | 410 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.25 | 198 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.24 | 205 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.22 | 223 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.27 | 138 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.18 | 260 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.14 | 409 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.15 | 306 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.33 | 75 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.23 | 126 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.16 | 229 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.19 | 165 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.19 | 148 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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SILHOUETTES
Textures
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
THE DESIGN
Into the Moat
CITRINITI
Citriniti

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 The Outer Limits by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.23 | 98 ratings

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The Outer Limits
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Voivod - The Outer Limits (1993)

Well this quickly became one of my favorite Voivod albums. The production is sharp en professional, the band enthusiastic and the songs relatively catchy. The balance between the innovative forces and the melodic forces is finally in place. Voivod playes its own brand of progressive metal with a major role for the innovative odd guitar chords of Denis d'Amour, the punky vocals of Denis Belanger and the sci-fi lyrics and atmosphere of the music. I found earlier progressive albums to be a bit poorly produced, but since Nothingface - another favorite - the band has done fine. Between these two albums we find the peculiar 'Angel Rat' album, which focusses more on art-rock songwriting in the tradition of seventies Alice Cooper. 'The Outer Limits' sees Voivod returning to their progressive metal basis, albeit a bit more polished (which a minor listener of the heavier forms of metal can find very pleasing).

On this album the main progressive force is the seventeen minute 'Jack Luminous', which many have pointed at as being a highlight of the progressive metal genre. On other tracks Voivod can be surprisingly simple and effective, whilst giving most songs some original twists and innovative instrumental sections. The opening track 'Fix my Heart' is quite approachable for newcomers and it reminds me a bit of the poppier work of Megadeth, especially when it comes to the vocals. 'Moonbeam Rider' introduces the abstract atmospheres of Voivod in a relaxing sci-fi mood, I simply love this track! They should use it for a sci-fi or racing movie. 'Le Point Noir' is a strong with a strange clean section and a brilliant heavy refrain theme which reminds me a bit of the later works of King Crimson. 'The Nile Song' is no favorite of mine, but it works fine as a Pink Floyd cover and it is defenitly way better then the underproduces original. 'Time Warp', 'Wrong-Way Street' and 'We Are Not Alone' are all more conventional tracks that are very enjoyable.

Conclusion. If you can do without the trash-element of Voivod you're left with perhaps their finest progressive metal album. A great place to start in their discography it would seem. Four stars for this one!

 Leng by ACOLYTE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Leng
Acolyte Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

— First review of this album —
3 stars Lately I've been spending time at the unreviewed albums section of Prog Archives, looking for albums to review. I wouldn't spend my time reviewing an album that's been reviewed 100 times, and more skilfully, by my fellow reviewers. I don't think I would have anything to say that hasn't already been said. By the way, I was very happy that the unreviewed page even exists; it took some digging to find! , So, I found Acolyte's Leng, which I already owned and listened to attentively.

I'm giving the Leng EP 3 stars. I think this band has real potential, but Leng doesn't give us everything that they're capable of. Acolyte does play an interesting variety of black-metal influenced rock. The melody and groove makes this more enjoyable than other black-metal bands. The contrast between the more intense and quieter sections of their songs helps too. At first, I found Leng hard to listen to because of the sound quality, so it took me a few tries. It sounds like a lot of black metal. My favorite track is "Sunrise", because of the variation throughout the song. "Leng" is a little too long and monotonous for my tastes. I hope that the Alta album and future releases show a greater variation in sound and a greater variety in JT's singing. I am very interested to hear what Acolyte does next.

 Language by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.46 | 13 ratings

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Language
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars The source of a prog metal era

The Contortionist is one of a slew of tech prog metal bands that came out in the mid-2000s as a solution to the believed lack of Meshuggah impersonators. It turns out that all along, no one really wanted a bunch of neu- Meshuggah bands, but nevertheless, dozens upon dozens of 'djent' bands as they were called emerged onto the scene. Some of these bands, such as Periphery and TesseracT, did good with the style and furthered the prog metal genre by taking after Meshuggah's signature sound. Many (many) other bands, however, such as Volumes, Monuments, and others, simply made a mockery of themselves by producing immature, flat music that never wavered in style, timbre, or direction. For half a decade, these bands churned out album after album of this music, and eventually, the market for djent more or less closed.

The bands which understood djent had to be dynamic in order to be sustained, such as the aforementioned Periphery, TesseracT, and others, added new elements to their music, such as ambience, melody, and other styles to make it more interesting and sustainable. The Contortionist, which started originally based in deathcore djent more than anything else with their first album Exoplanet, picked up on this very quickly and more or less abandoned the djent sound with their second album Intrinsic in 2012. While they still had the heavy djenty sound on much of the album, it was clear the band was headed in a much more ambient and atmospheric sound culture than a djent one. Their music still contained elements of riffy djent and death metal, but after the addition of Mike Lessard on vocals, whose strength is in clean vocals rather than screams, the band's music lightened significantly.

With the release of Language in 2014, it was clear The Contortionist had made a stylistic shift. The band released the first part of the self-titled track as a single several months before the release of the album, and just from there, I knew I was hooked. The song is airy, gentle, and ambient in the beginning, with dreamy, almost psychedelic guitars that still maintain the almost robotic precision that was present in the technicality of their previous work. From there, the vocals come in, adding an even dreamier quality to the music. Mike's melodies are soft on this track, giving the song a remarkable flow (purposefully, I assume, as a motif of the album is the ebb and flow of life). The song builds and builds and builds, until it breaks into an absolutely infectious groove which, on the full album, leads perfectly in the clearly much heavier second part.

The entire album acts like this. It (again) ebbs and flows into periods of dreamy atmospheres and then into moments of progressive death metal that still has an ambient and dreamy feel to it. Never on the album do the moods seem over the top, however, and when it feels like they've gone too far with a heavy bit, they transition effortlessly into a softer passage.

The album, however, is not without flaws. At times the album can seem to lose direction, with a guitar riff seeming a little loopy or amelodious, very rarely does a passage sound out of place. Take the beginning of "Integration," for instance, where the entire intro is a steady buildup to a grooving riff-based song. Almost the entire first two minutes, however, has little to no melodic direction or structure. While the song is not bad in any way, it's just a little awkward to listen to, especially after the perfectly executed title track that plays before it. It isn't until almost halfway through the song does the track really gets going in terms of groove and syncopation. The lyrics at many points on the album seem half-baked at best. While it's understandable that they were written when the band was completely baked, at times they don't seem to make any sense at all.

Even with these few flaws, though, the entire album is blissful to listen to. For a primarily death metal based band, the band knows how to perfectly balance their more atmospheric passages with their heavier ones to make an absolutely heavenly listening experience. The mix doesn't make any one element overpowering or underappreciated, so on a nice stereo system, the entire experience is enveloping and pleasant. The warm guitar tones used throughout the album blend nicely and give the entire album a great tone, and Mike's vocal melodies round out the band's sound very nicely. Overall, the album shows a remarkable evolution for a band that was originally almost exclusively a deathcore band, and it shows just what can truly be done with the prog metal genre. 4+ stars.

 Describing The Paradox Vol I by KATHAARSYS album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.67 | 3 ratings

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Describing The Paradox Vol I
Kathaarsys Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars This is a smashing mix of some new and interesting prog metal with all sorts of elements of prog rock, classical piano, and atmospheres. Most of the album isn't metal, but all sorts of lighter rock accented by classical style piano, eventually leading into what metal there is. And the metal itself is some rather interesting and driving stuff, often made without the guitar actually being a part of it. This record is a masterfully done surprise that drifts in heaven with only short but powerful plunges into hell. "Overture" and "Describing The Paradox" are a cut above the other two tracks, with all being varied and excellent. In the end, not so much recommended to prog metal fans due to the lack of metal, but recommended all around - just be careful of the screams and growls the vocalist pulls out at one point.
 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.76 | 707 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by TCat

4 stars Typically, Opeth is a study in contrasts, loud contrasted with soft, dirty vocals contrasted with clean vocals. Their best songs have an excellent balance of both. This album is weighted towards the loud, dirty side, but still has it's quieter and clean moments. The reason why the balance is a little out here is this album concentrates on the hard side while the album "Damnation" which was released 5 months later would be weighted very much towards the softer side. Between the two albums, progressive elements reign supreme. However, having an album leaning to the loud side is a little detrimental to the overall sound of the album. But, not enough of a detriment to still not be considered an excellent album. In contrast, Damnation in my opinion is a 5 star album where this one suffers a little at 4 stars.

It's not that I don't like heavy music, I love it. "Blackwater Park" is the better album out of that one and this one and there is plenty of hard music on that album. The part I don't like as much is the growling vocals. Mikael has a beautiful voice when he sings clean vocals, but I just don't get the harsh growling vocals, to me it distracts from the overall music. But the progressive elements of the metal instrumentals is amazing. The music is ever changing, tricky rhythms, dynamism and challenging at times. That is what makes this album worthwhile. To me, this was the first heavy Opeth album I heard and it was only because it came with the set I got that included "Damnation", which I fell in love with immediately, so naturally I listened to this also, and that opened my mind to other tech metal progressive bands, so this album has it's personal value to me. I actually discovered Anathema, Agollach, Ulver and others through this album.

So, it's not the best of their albums, but is one of the better ones. I give it 4 stars. A good way to introduce yourself to Tech metal along with "Damnation"

 Bilateral by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.93 | 315 ratings

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Bilateral
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars "Bilateral" is the second studio album by the Norwegian metal act Leprous.

I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of the progressive metal genre. There is just something about it that I can't really explain, it just prevents me from really getting into it.

However, I love everything about this band.

Unlike other bands (which I can express some sort of distaste for), this band has done nothing that I really dislike. In fact, most of their releases are perfect, especially this and their most recent album, "Coal". I know a ton of people really like "Tall Poppy Syndrome", but honestly the album didn't really affect me as much as "Bilateral". It could be from the fact that the track 'Acquired Taste' was the first piece of music I heard from the band. I instantly fell in love with it and it's parent album.

One of the things I love about Leprous is the way they can shift and change their music in such a creative way, that their more unique than most bands I can name. This album really expresses that.

While most Leprous tracks are seven to eight minutes, the tracks on "Bilateral" range from three minutes to six minutes. I feel that instead of having an entire album dedicated to long epics, short(er) songs give way for more creative input. Each track has more time put into it and less filler to take up space on it. Even when they do have a longer track on this album, it is done well. The longest track, 'Forced Entry', is pretty great in the way of vocals and instrumental value. Two great songs that are favorites of mine are the previously mentioned 'Acquired Taste', and the titled track 'Bilateral'. Both are great songs and I highly recommend them for anyone wanting to get into Leprous.

One thing I'm totally thankful for is the removal of the constant screaming that was highly present in "Tall Poppy Syndrome", along with now absent organ. Now it's in the right place and actually sounds good.

Anyways, I totally recommend either this for anyone who wants to listen to a great progressive metal band like Leprous.

Go give it a listen.

(Originally written for the Metal Music Archives on 2014-10-22)

 Vikingligr Veldi by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.53 | 45 ratings

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Vikingligr Veldi
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ENSLAVED set themselves apart from the rest of the black metal pack right from the getgo and continued to do so with their debut full-length release VIKINGLIGR VELDI. As the title suggests this is Viking metal in lyrical content while existing in the black metal realm musically. The lyrics are mostly in Icelandic (very closely related to Old Norse) and the lyrics of "Heimdalir" are actually in ancient Norwegian, however this IS black metal and even if you speak the languages I would be surprised if you could discern any intelligible meaning from the shrieks and grunts and tortured utterings if you spent the rest of your life trying to do so.

As with their EP "Hordanes Land" the album kicks off with a catchy little keyboard riff that remains the backbone of a massive fury of black metal madness. Although this debut is not totally in the progressive black metal realms that would fully unfold on "Monumension" it is clear by the track times here that the band were carving out a path where they could follow allowing them to unfold their ideas into a more progressive atmosphere. The first track clocks in at 11:31 and despite the band's progressive desires failing to fully measure up to the potential of the time-lengths, there is something of a satisfying result in that despite the ideas becoming repetitive, the keyboards are somewhat hypnotic and lull you into the groove which I find is good enough to keep me entertained. After becoming fully engrossed in it after a while, they suddenly change it up a bit and take you for another hypnotic spin. There are changes but they are subtle despite the aggressive fury occupying every measure and note.

With only five tracks that add up to almost 51 minutes of music, it is clear that ENSLAVED were interested in more sophisticated music than many of the second wave black metal artists. There is however much in common with those acts. The keyboard tracks remind me a lot of Emperor (in fact Tym Torson who plays drums here was in both bands), while the most aggressive ones of Darkthrone. Their sound, although somewhat unique, still sounds very much rooted in the black metal of the early 90s. It would take a few albums for them to really blossom into the totally unique act that they would become. I actually didn't like this album a whole lot upon first listen but after many listens it grew on me and it allowed me to pick up on the subtleties that don't really slap you in the face at first. The music satisfies all those primeval black metal needs but also has a bit more to it. I have grown to like this album more than I thought I ever would and there is a true feel of potential present here even though it hasn't been fully unleashed at this point.

 Monumension by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.10 | 49 ratings

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Monumension
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars One of the first progressive black metal albums, and still one of the best. Enslaved started off as a run-of-the-mill yet excellent viking metal band, in fact pioneering that Norse-centric take on black metal, who then dabbled in proggy elements on "Mardraum". When they then cut this follow up, they dove headfirst into prog complexity, creating a truly unique and spectacular take on their viking music. The harsh chaos of black metal gets crazier, and the band opens up to the idea of run ups and lulls. These are particularly dark and heavy, as per the expectations of their genre, separating them from those of death metal by a country mile. Kjellson's rasps are ever great and mind invading in their element, but it is just a shame almost all the album is English rather than the band's usual Old Norse. And the two guitarists just nail the technical and weighty aspects of the genre mix. "Convoys To Nothingness" is just a wonderful opener that shows off the band's style and grabs hold of a listener; it alone is a black metal classic and proof of this album's excellence. Highly recommended to all black metal and prog metal fans - this was the start of a whole new direction in black metal, and a masterpiece in its own right.
 The Outer Limits by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.23 | 98 ratings

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The Outer Limits
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars As I have said before, there are very few progressive metal bands that I can actually get into. I have about two or three bands that really get me right there, and I can listen to them excessively. VOIVOD, I must say, has earned the right to be one of the few.

I just started listening to the other day after hearing that they covered numerous PINK FLOYD songs. Seeing as PF is probably my favorite band of all time, I wanted to see what would happen if a full blown metal band covered the spacey tone of the Floyd. I checked out 'The Nile Song' cover by VOIVOD (on this album), and it was amazing. Seeing as 'The Nile Song' was already probably the heaviest PF song to date, and they just made it heavier. Really neat I must say.

Anyway, on to the rest of the album.

After hearing this album, I thought I would check out VOIVOD's thrash past. I didn't find it nearly as interesting as this, but I must give them kudos for trying. I feel like this album, Nothingface, and Dimension Hatross all exemplify the band more than say War and Pain. I like this album more in a way, I can't really place why though. It might be the fact that this isn't as brutal as some of their other albums. As I said, I can't really put my finger on why this album appeals to me so much.

The album ranges from the sort of mediocre opening of 'Fix My Heart', but quickly moves onto the fast and melodic 'Moonbeam Rider'. It quickly slows back down to 'Le Pont Noir', then thunders back in with 'The Nile Song'. It's a pretty fluid album that retains a sort of wavering effect as you move through the album.

I think this album is totally worth checking out for any metal (or progressive metal) fan.

Go give it a listen.

(Review originally written for the Metal Music Archives on 11/26/14)

 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.93 | 1000 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by TCat

5 stars All I can say about this album is Thank God that it was released. Without it, I would probably have never listened to Opeth or explored the sounds of other bands under the subgenre of Tech/Extreme Prog Metal. People say this was a huge departure away from Opeth's sound. Some blame the departure on Steven Wilson's influence on the album. As for myself, I am a huge Steven Wilson fan, but I honestly didn't know he had any tie in to this album or "Departure" when I first heard them.

At the time of my first hearing of this beautiful album, I was just starting to get to know Porcupine Tree's discography. A friend of mine had bought the box set that had "Blackwater Park", "Deliverance", "Damnation", and "Lamentations". He had been a huge Opeth fan, but he was pissed when he heard "Damnation", enough so to swear off Opeth for good. He gave me this box set. Nice guy, right? Yes. Anyway, the first disc I put on was "Deliverance" and, even though the first listen was not a thrilling one for me, after I listened to "Damnation" I was very enthusiastic about the band and listened to them with new ears after that. Suddenly, the growling vocals weren't so foreign sounding in this or other extreme bands, except for when that is all they do. Because of this album, I now appreciate other bands like Agaloch, Baroness and Orphan Land who I probably would have just written off as useless noise bands otherwise.

It is true that this album is not typical Opeth, but it still has the ingenuity that exists in their harder albums. I don't know why I had to have the growling element taken out to hear how much genius is in their music. But this album strips the noise back so you can hear the interesting rhythms, the changing dynamics and the other prog elements. Some people say this album lacks emotion, but I disagree. The music is still dark, just like it is when it is heavy. The vocals are expressive and beautiful. The guitar is passionate at another level than it is when everything is loud. The mellotron, when it exists, adds a new element not present in their music before. I'm not expecting to sway the lovers of the old Opeth over to the new sound, but I'm hoping that maybe those that are a little afraid of the old extreme sound of Opeth might be convinced to give this album a try and maybe it will become a bridge to tech metal and other talented band the way it has for me.

I call this a masterpiece because it did prove that in a wall of noise, you can still find genius and beauty if you strip it down to the basic elements first, then add them back in. You might be surprised what you discover. 5 stars.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
APRIL ETHEREAL Poland
ARCTURUS Norway
ARKAN France
ARRHYTHMOGEN United States
ARTCELL Bangladesh
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN United States
AT WAR WITH SELF United States
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
BARING TEETH United States
BARREN EARTH Finland
BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE United States
BEHEADED ZOMBIE Russia
BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS United States
BELIEVER United States
BELTANE Germany
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME United States
BEYOND CREATION Canada
THE BINARY CODE United States
BISBAYE Canada
BLACK SUN AEON Finland
BLOTTED SCIENCE United States
BLUTMOND Switzerland
BORGIA France
BORKNAGAR Norway
BORN OF OSIRIS United States
BOTCH United States
BURGUL TORKHAÏN France
BURST Sweden
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