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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)
Louis (rdtprog)

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

4.30 | 1525 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1570 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1465 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.35 | 161 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.24 | 438 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.23 | 506 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.27 | 261 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.25 | 294 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.19 | 505 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.19 | 398 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.22 | 257 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.15 | 1000 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.25 | 175 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.22 | 178 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.16 | 349 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.20 | 175 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.31 | 85 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.12 | 490 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.14 | 328 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.15 | 279 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal experts team

INTEGERS
Collapsar
CITRINITI
Citriniti
MEASURING THE ABSTRACT
Terminal Function
A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Automata II by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.06 | 9 ratings

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Automata II
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars Automata Part II is a big step up from Automata Part I, but the combined effort is still lower than their masterpieces. The Proverbial Bellow and The Grid are standard, well executed, Between The Buried And Me tracks that can fit with their best albums. Glide is a filler track, and the standout on this EP is Voice of Trespass which sounds like something Diablo Swing Orchestra would have created. I do not have an issue with them copying the style as it has been done by other groups. They did a stellar job with the track, creating the most complex arrangement on the EP. Most important with this release is that it has the energy that was missing from Automata Part I. Can it elevate Part I? Maybe. Now that we have a complete album, it will take some time to evaluate it as a whole. I really do not like this two part release process and wish they would have waited until the entire album was done. Also, I wish it was available on Bandcamp like their other albums. With all of that being said, it is another quality release that can only be marred by the stellar releases it follows.
 Āmr by IHSAHN album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.22 | 26 ratings

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Āmr
Ihsahn Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars There are some musicians who have had such a major impact on a genre that they have the right to be viewed in a different manner to mere mortals, and Ihsahn is surely one of these. He originally came to prominence as frontman, guitarist and keyboard player with legendary Norwegian black metal pioneers Emperor. They released classic albums like 1995's 'In The Nightside Eclipse' and 1997's 'Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk' before initially calling it a day in 2001, although they have returned a few times since then and are currently active again. However, Ihsahn (Vegard Sverre Tveitan) has gone on to release solo albums that have shown amazing diversity that look back to what he has achieved in the past while also looking ahead into pastures new, creating sounds and songs that captivate anyone who hears them.

With just drummer Tobias Ørnes Andersen, and a guest guitar solo on one number from Opeth's Fredrik Akesson, Ihsahn has created what to my ears is his most diverse and powerful solo release yet. There are songs, and sections of other songs, that could easily be played to a listener and they would have no comprehension that the man behind them has also produced some of the most amazing black metal anthems ever, as it bears no relationship to them at all. But, there are also times when he lets his past come back into the present, to create something that is taking the essence of Emperor and turning it into something new. Some of the songs may have gruff vocals, while other shown Ihsahn in a few more melodic and contemplative mood. It is this refusal to sit within any implied structure or rigour that makes this such an outstanding piece of work. One just never knows what is going to come next, what twist or turn is going to take place, and the result is a progressive metal album that is true to both words.

This is progressive music in its truest sense, attempting to take a genre and twist and meld it as opposed to siting inside one particular genre or another: the music is a breathing living beast and Ihsahn is sat there guiding it further and further into the dark bleak void. Ihsahn says, "Knowing that the form would be somewhat similar to what I did on the previous album, and given that I write stuff in a certain way, I wanted to change the wrapping this time. So instead of going with my go-tos of strings and orchestration, I focused on analog synths and more in-your-face sounds. It goes back to the beginning of Emperor, when we brought in strings and horns inspired by orchestral movie scores by John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, but at the same time we loved all those eerie synth soundtracks of f.ex John Carpenterīs Halloween. I've also been listening to some contemporary r'n'b and hip-hop stuff with those deep, deep 808s. It's just somehow darker than a lot of metal or black metal. It has a depth and an energy to it that I find captivating, so I wanted to explore those arrangement styles as well."

Listen to the delicacy of his vocals on "Where You Are Lost And I Belong", contrast that to what is going on musically, which is jagged and sparse, and there is no doubt that this is yet another classic that fans will be talking about for years to come. Ihsahn is undoubtedly one of the most important musical talents to come out of the Norwegian metal scene, and this is an essential release.

 Esoteric Malacology by SLUGDGE album cover Studio Album, 2018
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Esoteric Malacology
Slugdge Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars They advertise an unnatural interest in gastropods, but there is nothing unnatural about it. A group and albums concept based in nature. The music is some of the best progressive black metal ever created. Every album is phenomenal, and there is no reason not to give the first three a shot since they are free on Bandcamp. I opted to support the band by buying a compilation of the first three albums called The Cosmic Cornucopia. Esoteric Malacology has more Progressive Metal elements and may be softer than the previous three, but preserves the incredible harmonies, excellent musicianship, and stellar songwriting. I find their music to be addicting high energy, and I can easily listen to all four albums in one sitting at work or on the go. Anyone that craves heavier music should definitely give them a listen. From War Squids to Limo Vincit Omnia, there is plenty of prog for progressive ears.
 Sleepers In The Rift by MORBUS CHRON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.87 | 4 ratings

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Sleepers In The Rift
Morbus Chron Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Sleepers in the Rift" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Morbus Chron. The album was released through Pulverised Records in August 2011. Morbus Chron hails from Stockholm and were formed in 2007. They released the "Splendour of Disease" demo in 2010 and the "Creepy Creeping Creeps" EP later that same year. "Sleepers in the Rift" was recorded and mixed in 5 days in November 2010 at Gutterview Recorders and produced by Morbus Chron and Nicke Andersson (Entombed, The Hellacopters).

The choice of one of the forefarthers of Swedish death metal as co-producer and the choice to record and mix "Sleepers in the Rift" in 5 days, have payed off big time for Morbus Chron, who has ended up with a pretty great product. The basis of the music is old school Swedish death metal with an authentic, raw, and organic sounding production, which brings exactly the right atmosphere to the music. While that all sounds tried and true, Morbus Chron still manages to put their own spin on the sound though, and "Sleepers in the Rift" is therefore slightly more interesting than your average old school Swedish death metal release. To some extent Morbus Chron have more in common with the darker and slightly more twisted Norwegian death metal style of the early 90s, and artists like early Cadaver and early Darkthrone, than they have with the contemporary Swedish scene. I hear a nod or two toward Autopsy too.

So they have that ekstra something, which is required to stand out on the scene, and the fact that the music is well performed (the growling vocals are performed in a shouting reverb laden style, which suits the music well), and as mentioned above, well produced too, arenīt exactly issues either. All things considered "Sleepers in the Rift" reeks class, and although there is still space for improvement in the songwriting department when it comes to catchiness and memorability, itīs still a very interesting album as it is. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Fever Kingdoms by PYRRHON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Fever Kingdoms
Pyrrhon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

— First review of this album —
2 stars Tech metal is one of those nebulous areas of music that i still find very difficult to figure out why some bands totally work for me and others don't despite all the tech chops being checked off like clockwork. While bands like Deathspell Omega and Gorguts have soared to the top of the charts for their innovative and creative avant-garde take on established sub-genera of the metal universe, others sorta fall between the cracks. PYRRHON is one such band that despite cranking out all the expected techy aspects in abundance, sorta fail to inspire beyond a certain level and that is no more apparent than on their debut EP release FEVER KINGDOMS which came out in 2010.

The band was founded all the way back in 2008 when guitarist Dylan DiLeila and bassist Mike Sheen met by happenstance on a subway platform and then found drummer Alex Cohen to join the crew. Along the way they found Doug Moore to join in as vocalist. While PYRRHON has in recent years upped their game and joined the ranks of the more known ranks of the tech death metal universe alongside other surreal noisemakers such as Portal, Ulcerate or Mithras, on FEVER KINGDOMS they take a rather generic sounding approach with a sound that somehow finds itself somewhere between death metal with the gutteral growls and frenetic angular riffs but with more of a mathcore in yer face grind that churns on relentlessly in full extreme metal fashion.

While these elements are not that bad within themselves, this EP unfortunately lacks any sort of variety or attention grabbing ideas. And along with that, i find the drumming style of Alex Cohen a little lackluster for the type of tech death they are trying to capture. Another band that is similar is Gigan who master the surreal and detached psychedelic metal sound that they strive to create. In their case the musicians are bombastic and unapologetically ferocious and have the chops to pull it off as well as an imagination that allows a flexibility that is needed for the cosmic metal ride. FEVER KINGDOMS seems to just plod along predictably with each of the five tracks sounding alike with the same riffs recycled.

What it boils down to with PYRRHON's debut is that something is woefully missing to give this sonic noise parade some sort of spirit. It plods along checking off all the boxes of extreme tech metal but doesn't deliver in anything that is very satisfying. In the tech death universe where sonic maelstroms can easily resemble any other, the differences are very subtle and the tight wire act between something outstandingly original and woefully cliche and lackluster can be a very small margin of differences and in the case of PYRRHON's FEVER KINGDOMS falls short of the interesting mark and leaves me quite unsatisfied especially after experiencing their more mature albums first.

2.5 rounded down

 The Horror by TRIBULATION album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.91 | 3 ratings

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The Horror
Tribulation Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Horror" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Tribulation. The album was released through Pulverised Records in January 2009. Tribulation were founded under the Hazard monicker in 2001 but changed their name to Tribulation in 2004. They initially played a fast-paced and brutal death/thrash metal style, but on "The Horror" things have changed.

Instead of the ultra fast-paced and technically well played death/thrash style of the "Putric Rebirth" EP from 2006, which was the bandīs last release before "The Horror", Tribulation now leans more towards an old school Swedish type of death metal, but if you listen a bit more closely itīs soon revealed that "The Horror" isnīt your everyday retro death metal album. There are still strong ties to thrash metal, and the music is also generally played with great technical skill. Especially the latter isnīt always true on old school sounding death metal releases. Or maybe more correctly, itīs often not the focus.

The material is delivered with fierce aggression and often in an energetic pace, with snarling growling vocals, rhythmically varied beats and riffs, and blistering guitar solos. This is one of those performances where you can feel they really mean it. The sound production is suitingly raw, yet detailed and clear enough for all instruments and vocals to stand out. "The Horror" is a school example of how to make an album with old school credibility, yet with a different enough twist to it to make it stand out on the scene. The very convincing delivery and the well sounding production are also great assets as mentioned above, so a 4 star (80%) rating isnīt all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Putrib Rebirth by TRIBULATION album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Putrib Rebirth
Tribulation Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars "Putrid Rebirth" is an EP release by Swedish death/thrash metal act Tribulation. The EP was released through Blood Harvest in May 2006 and is the bandīs first label release. Itīs the follow up to the "The Ascending Dead" demo from 2005, which was the bandīs first release under the Tribulation monicker. The band functioned under the Hazard monicker in the 2001 - 2004 period.

Tribulation is probably best known for playing old school Swedish death metal with progressive leanings (and later a darker and more gothic tinged style), but on "Putrid Rebirth" they play a technical, aggressive, and ultra-fast death/thrash metal style, which sounds a bit like 1986 Dark Angel on steroids. A reference to their Danish neighbours in Invocator (early) is probably even more valid. This is very raw and aggressive but also played with great skill and conviction. The snarling and vitriol filled growling vocals are very effective and the feature on the EP, which is closest related to death metal. The instrumental part of the music, including the screaming chromatic guitar solos, is brutal and raw thrash metal through and through. The lyrics are your typical death, zombie, and occult themed lyrics.

In addition to the fierce musical performance, and some raw and effective songwriting, the 4 track, 17:53 minutes long EP features a powerful and raw sounding production. I had to look twice when I saw that "Putrid Rebirth" was released in 2006, because the sound is so authentic late 80s/early 90s, that I was convinced I was listening to a lost death/thrash gem from that time. So itīs safe to say the music isnīt very original sounding, but itīs so intense and and well performed that it doesnīt matter much if you appreciate the style. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Scream Bloody Gore by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.96 | 150 ratings

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Scream Bloody Gore
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars When it comes to metal music legends, the story of Chuck Shuldner's epic journey with his influential band DEATH has to be one of the most enduring as Schuldner is not only regarded as the godfather of the entire death metal subgenere but one of the most innovative musical influences in the entire metal genre period ( . ) with each album in his all too short career taking massive leaps of evolution over what came before. When it comes to the origins of death metal, the endless debate will surely revolve around who really created it and the answer will forever exist in the morbid murky nebulous annals of history and the idiosyncratic definitions of when and where the death metal sub actually split off from its parent thrash metal. I have developed my own take on this and instead of assigning a clearcut definition, i prefer to view it from a rather biological evolutionary perspective since musical developments occur in much the same manner as do animal and plant species. One species clearly could not exist without branching off of another and each slight differentiation may or may not constitute a relabeling of its characteristics and corresponding nomenclature.

In the case of death metal, there can be absolutely no doubt that the underpinnings of the sub originated with the English heavy metal pioneers Venom whose macabre and bantering din laced with the first vociferations of harsh shouted vocals would ultimately blossom into what would later be called extreme metal. In the beginning Venom was in a metal limbo or rather a somewhat embryonic extreme metal stage where thrash, black and death metal were all nestled within the very DNA of the caustic sonic waves that emerged from their baleful expressions of societal contempt and verbal vitriol wrapped up in distorted decibelage and breakneck speed outbursts. Out of this primordial cesspool sprang forth other early degenerates such as Celtic Frost, Slayer and Kreator as they began to diversify the intensity and focus of their bombastic approaches. These could be considered the proto- death metal bands that not only launched the nascent beginnings of the thrash scene but also were ultimately influential for the evil contorts of Bathory which would hatch the wretched spawn of black metal, death metal's evil twin.

The next phase in the development of death metal is undoubtedly the Bay Area's own Possessed who took Slayer's extreme speed and demonic gore to even greater extremities with lightning fast blitzkriegs of thundering riffing, bantering percussive drive and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, a style that to many, defines the very essence of the death metal sub entirely, however musically Possessed were very much still a thrash metal band as they hadn't quite taken that final step into low-tuned tremolo picking riffing accompanied by the double kick blastbeat drumming that utilized the ugliest aspects of minor keys, atonality and wicked chromatic chord progressions. They were still a few baby steps away from what we would call death metal today, but personally i find them to exist in that crucial phase 2 development of death metal much like a tadpole (which would be Venom and friends) would development limbs (the Possessed phase) but still not quite the frog that is free of its fully aquatic features and thus keeps it from being a full fledged amphibian, the completely liberated death metal stage.

Chuck Schuldner's DEATH is where that very amphibian phase of death metal finally came of age. Schuldner had been unleashing his sonic terror onto the world with his many demos (released under the moniker Mantas as well as DEATH) but these too were somewhere in the Possessed camp of proto-death with thrash leanings. Always the visionary even at the young tender age of seventeen, Schuldner set out to evolve his own brand of extreme metal into something even uglier, taking his primary metal influences of Possessed and Slayer to the next level. In the search for the musical talent to take him to this new level, Chuck had one helluva time finding anyone to fill these roles and after moving from his native Florida to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Canada and then back to the Bay Area. After placing an ad or two, Schuldner finally found promise in the 17-year old drummer Chris Reifert but was unsatisfied with the music scene as nobody else fit the bill to fill the shoes of his new musical vision.

Undeterred, Schuldner opted to record his debut DEATH demo 'Mutilation' completely by himself with only Reifert along for the ride, therefore Schuldner performed all lead and rhythm guitars along with bass and vocals. Although John Hand had briefly joined the band, he didn't play on any recordings or participate in any live settings either. 'Mutilation' proved quite the hit on the underground cassette trading community and caught the attention of the fledgling extreme metal label Combat Records which enabled Schuldner and Reifert to record their full-length debut SCREAM BLOODY GORE. The process proved to be more trouble than expected as the album was recorded once in Florida and then by record company demand had to be re-recorded once more in California with Rnady Burns as the producer. While many tracks such as 'Infernal Death' and 'Baptized By Blood' had appeared on prior demos, half the tracks on SCREAM BLOODY GORE were completely new and therefore the album has an interesting range of primal to more sophisticated, albeit nowhere near as complex and crazy as DEATH would become with each subsequent release.

Point blank, SCREAM BLOODY GORE was a shout out to the metal universe that something new had emerged and that something was the equivalent to a nuclear bomb being dropped at a Bon Jovi concert turned horror movie where audience members' body parts rained o'er the blood stained lands. And so it was. Death metal was born on 25 May, 1987 as SCREAM BLOODY GORE made its debut to an unsuspecting public that while unheard by the masses has only gained its legendary status as the following decades ensued. Like many metal fans, i myself had only come to experience the magic of DEATH in a posthumous Chuck Schuldner reality. Despite being the DEATH album with the least finesse, there's a certain rawness and assured certainty in the powerful delivery that infuses the ethos of hardcore punk with the provident shock and awe for an entire branch of the metal universe to spiral off of. SCREAM BLOODY GORE has to be one of the most ferocious sonic attacks of all the 80s, taking the frenetic bantering of Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' and adding a sense of brutality and offensiveness never heard before. Much of the subject matter was inspired by horror movies such as 'City Of The Living Dead,' The Beyond' and 'Zombie' and Schuldner pummeled the senses with a sense of sonic horror hitherto unmatched.

When all is said and done, one can only bow down to the metal god that was Chuck Schuldner and pay reverence to his pivotal role in the great big bang of the death metal scene. Perhaps other acts such as Morbid Angel or Obituary would have eventually reached similar musical conclusions, but it was Chuck Schuldner who relentless strived to exercise extreme creativity that would ratchet every single album he touched into higher levels of musical expression in his ceaseless reach for the stars and beyond. While no one could ever conflate the magnanimous progressive achievements of albums such 'The Sound Of Perseverance' with DEATH's earliest offerings, there is also no denying that no one quite dished out the old death school charm like Schuldner did on SCREAM BLOODY GORE with not only its landmark old school death metal cover art but also with the pummeling guitar riffs, the frenetic skin punishing percussion or the grim growly gusto of Schuldner's vocal style.

While this debut may not be the my first album of choice for repeated listens out of the septet of DEATH's canon, it is clearly the one that deserves the most respect for paving the way for everything death metal related to follow and remains as enigmatic today as it must've sounded all those decades ago. THIS is truly one of those 'must hear before you die' sort of albums not only for its immortal legendary status of ushering in one of the most popular metal styles of the 90s but must be experienced for its punishing ear assaults that crank out one addictive mutilated groove after another. After recording SCREAM BLOODY GORE, Schuldner would move back to Florida leaving Reifert behind as he would opt to remain in California to create his own band Autopsy. And so the tradition of a new lineup for every album was born along with an entirely new subgenere that continues to evolve in a post- Schuldner world but still carries on his musical DNA in the tapestry of every fiber of the death metal universe.

 Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescense by GIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescense
Gigan Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars GIGAN (ガイガン) took a five year hiatus from the studios but after fan speculation as to whether or not Godzilla finally won the final battle, the mystery is solved as the Tampa, FL tech death metal champs release their fourth album UNDULATING WAVES OF RAINBIOTIC IRIDESCENSE, which once again finds founder and main creative director Eric Hersemann ushering in yet another new lineup of the band. While drum abuser in chief Nathan Cotton joins the cast for a reprise following 2013's "Multi-Dimensional Fractal-Sorcery And Super Science," vocalist Ethan Browne is out and newbie Jerry Kavouriaris is in. However, to be honest despite the rotating cast of vocalists and musicians since the band's inception, all manage to fit their respective roles perfectly and therefore one would be hard pressed to differentiate one vocalist's ghoulish growls from another.

While tech death metal bands in the 21st century are aplenty and many fade into the generic backdrop of this boisterous and noisy nook of the musical universe, GIGAN (ガイガン) have proved themselves as rising above the din drudgery and taking the extreme metal by storm with their utterly unique mix of tech death chops, jittery angularities of mathcore style guitar riffage all packaged with dissonant Gorguts styled progressive freeform compositions laced with exuberant brumes of psychedelic haziness glistening over the bombastic aggressiveness that will somewhat bring other avant-garde noisemakers Pyrrhon, Portal or Cephalic Carnage to mind but only in a "nearest family tree" sorta way.

GIGAN (ガイガン) had been ramping up both their progressive and aggressive metal assaults on each subsequent album and IMHO peaked with their approach on their previous album "Multi-Dimensional Fractal-Sorcery And Super Science" with their hyperdrive relentless speed, churning angularities and psychedelic infusions that created the perfect speed metal mediation session. Hersemann steers his plangent progified beast into somewhat new directions with UNDULATING WAVES OF RAINBIOTIC IRIDESCENSE. One of the most noticeable differences is the abstaining of speed of light tech antics for the entirely of the space metal roller coaster ride.

While Cotton has proved himself to be one of those unbelievably blitzkrieg fast types of drummers who can navigate the percussive constructs like a caffeinated squirrel with an adrenaline rush, on this one he is much more selective in how he unleashes his fury. In fact, much of the time the drumming is more akin to sludge metal bands like EyeHateGod or post-metal bands like Isis. Same goes for the down-tuned guitars and overall feel of the album. It seems that there were no new limits to breach and the only place to go was to retreat to some sort of more familiar grounds and therefore the tempos have been tamed with speedy outbursts only occurring for periods of contrast. "Ocular Wavelength's Floral Obstructions" is the perfect example of this. A down-tuned distortion- fest that runs the gamut of chilled out distorted heavy sludge metal that jumps into tech death overdrive and back.

While poising themselves more into an accessible arena that allow certain segments to breath, GIGAN (ガイガン) perhaps are trying to widen their appeal for only a small sliver of us freaks thoroughly enjoy music that pushes the triumvirate aspects of tech metal, progressive constructs and psychedelic detachment to break orbit into freeform destruction, but personally i find that is exactly what GIGAN (ガイガン) achieved with resounding success. For me UNDULATING WAVES OF RAINBIOTIC IRIDESCENSE is somewhat of a step down as far as exploration of taking the aforementioned elements to their extremes. Having disconnected from the world's consciousness being achieved, it seems GIGAN (ガイガン) is more susceptible to finding that happy medium between freeform freedom and audience connection.

As with all GIGAN (ガイガン) albums, UNDULATING WAVES OF RAINBIOTIC IRIDESCENSE requires a number of listens to really sink in for even hardcore and jaded prog saturated metalheads such as myself can barely grasp this on a single spin. There are simply too many elements to keep track of and only patience can yield the proper results even if the process is equivalent to taking a census of hostile asteroids hurling through space in myriad directions. My first impression was of disappointment with the new stylistic approach but subsequent listens have me more impressed with the diversity that has blossomed from the new developments. Jazz infused tech drum rolls still grace the angular sonicscape, the expected guitar squeals still there but simply surrounded by less frenetic Gorguts-ish avant-garde sludgery. Yes, it grew on me. Another winner.

 Multi-Dimensional Fractal Sorcery And Super Science by GIGAN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.83 | 4 ratings

BUY
Multi-Dimensional Fractal Sorcery And Super Science
Gigan Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars GIGAN (ガイガン) forge ahead and create another dose of 21st century technical space death metal on their third album MULTI- DIMENSIONAL FRACTAL-SORCERY AND SUPER SCIENCE. And as the name implies this is indeed a twisted space age fantasy world run amok fortified by the marriage of pummeling brutal progressive death metal bathed in an icy cold space ambience that offers a glimpse into the farthest reaches of the galaxy as if the sonic resonance of an obliterated world had somehow transmitted its fractal based coding into musical form.

GIGAN (ガイガン) for all intents and purposes is really the baby of Eric Hersemann who covers most ground here. He contributes guitar, bass, synthesizers, theremin, xylophone, lyrics and production. Album number three finds two new members join ranks as Nathan Cotton replaces Kesava Doane as drum abuser in chief and Eston Browne taking the vocal parts away from John Collett II. Despite the new team players on this surreal death metal galactic journey, the band continues undeterred as GIGAN (ガイガン) spawns one of their most brutal, most progressive and most surreal psychedelic space metal releases of their career.

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL FRACTAL-SORCERY AND SUPER SCIENCE is in effect a refinement of the style that GIGAN (ガイガン) had begun to develop on their debut EP "Footsteps Of Gigan," that being a definitive style of pummeling brutal yet technical death metal that utilizes aspects of math rock angularity with ridiculously jittery and unrelenting progressive time signature deviations yet soars along at a million miles an hour in a rather calculated manner. Sandwiched in between tracks is the sonic iridescence of frigid spaced out ambience that at it's most intimidating sounds much like when a CD is skipping and when at its most placid more like a space fog or some sort of precognizant whale song being sorted out deep within a beluga's brain.

Either way, the underlying psychedelic ambience seems to anchor the brutality thus keeping it navigating in a comprehensible stream rather than lash out viciously in unpredictable behaviors although the riffs crest out in peaks and troughs like schizophrenic sine waves on steroids. While classified as death metal due to the unintelligible animalistic bantering, screams and guttural growls, the guitar takes many liberties as once it establishes a clear path of ear canal destruction with pummeling extreme metal riffs, it takes little side journeys into angular alley with frenetic finger breaking workouts more akin to mathcore legends Psyopus or Behold?.The Arctopus.

Hersemann had had extraordinary luck in attracting some of the most technically sophisticated drummers in his GIGAN (ガイガン) project with each ridiculously talented member dishing out one pummeling jazzy percussive variation after another as well as bantering blastbeats from the underworld and back. MULTI-DIMENSIONAL FRACTAL-SORCERY AND SUPER SCIENCE finds the overall sound of GIGAN (ガイガン) reaching its creative apex as the fragile production that melds the hyper-surreality of the ambience and the muddled ferocity of the technical death metal find the perfect unison which allows the hyper-frenetic sonic sadism to enter the realms of transcendental metal mediation especially when the seductive riffing repetitions offer the ultimate escape on the zenith of this ultimate GIGAN (ガイガン) album experience.

4.5 rounded down

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1980 France
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