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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

4.32 | 1421 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1459 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1362 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.27 | 394 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.38 | 141 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.22 | 885 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.24 | 470 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.26 | 276 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.25 | 243 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.21 | 475 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 243 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.19 | 366 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.26 | 163 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.24 | 161 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.17 | 314 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.40 | 67 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.22 | 165 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.18 | 226 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.13 | 463 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.32 | 79 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade

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

LEAVING LOTUS
Counter-World Experience
CITRINITI
Citriniti
THE DESIGN
Into the Moat
EXPRESSIONIST
Beltane

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Live At Rockefeller Music Hall by LEPROUS album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live At Rockefeller Music Hall
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

— First review of this album —
4 stars This live album is a great place to start for anyone looking to get into Leprous since it is an excellent collection of songs. This Live At Rockefeller Music Hall is an excellent performance, with amazing sound quality. Do not let the Tech/Extreme label scare you off from Leprous since they are very similar to Haken in sound and heaviness. They are a progressive metal group in my book, with a very unique approach to song writing. Expect amazing musicianship, stellar vocals, and the most unique delivery of music in the progressive metal genre. There is absolutely nothing cookie-cutter about them, so they are perfect if you are looking for something new and fresh. Like Haken, they have stunning studio albums in what is still their infancy as a band. I consider them to be a top tier progressive metal group, so you may want to eventually get them all. My review is for the music only since I do not have the video, but the performance is so good that it is likely worth having. This is an excellent addition to any progressive metal music collection.
 Metsä by MOONSORROW album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
2.18 | 3 ratings

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Metsä
Moonsorrow Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars The origins of MOONSORROW go all the way back to 1995 when cousins Ville Sorvali (vocals, bass) and Henri Sorvali (guitar, keyboards) hooked up in Helsinki, Finland to form a simple melodic black metal band. Before they would introduce the Nordic and Slavic folk elements to their music they started out as a run-of-the-mill 90s black metal band as heard on this early demo turned remastered EP "Metsä." At this point the band was merely a duo with the two cousins handling all vocal and instrumental duties.

While the music is the typical atmospheric keyboard drenched buzz saw feedback distortionfest black metal of the era complete with a two minute atmospheric ambient chill out session, there are faint traces of folk influences that would later dominate such as the inclusion of the mouth harp in their otherwise standard Pagan and spiritually themed melodic metal marches. As with all MOONSORROW albums even to this day, everything is totally in the Finnish language, so if you're not hip to this top dog of Finno-Ugric languages then the meaning will be shrouded in incomprehensible mystery however with screeched lyrics like this it would be impossible to discern any meaning.

In addition to the four tracks feeling amateurish, the production value is fairly weak as well which for some may be an attraction, however the great promise of a melodic black metal band is born here and it's clear that even though this is hardly an essential edition of their discography that the song structures are decent and the keyboards provide more than just a subdued frosting to the cake and actually contribute a significant portion to the overall dynamics. Many reviewers compare the vocals to a pissed off cat and i couldn't think of a better comparison myself. Better things were to come but this is an interesting historical artifact for those who like to dig deep.

2.5 rounded down

 Consuming Impulse by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.11 | 36 ratings

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Consuming Impulse
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whereas their debut album had offered a death-tinged take on thrash metal, Pestilence's followup Consuming Impulse showcases them playing a thrashy style of death metal. Those who are especially fond of Pestilence's more technical or progressive takes on the genre, as on Testimony of the Ancients or Spheres, ought to be aware that you really won't find many hints of that here, since this is much more of a straight-ahead death metal album.

To an extent Pestilence could be accused of having followed various bandwagons, at least for the early phases of their career; they debuted with thrash metal in an era when thrash was king, then here they put out some death metal to tie in with the rise of that, then they went technical because that's what was getting fashionable in death metal circles, then they followed Cynic and Atheist into the jazz-death realm, and so on. Certainly, there is no shortage of death metal albums which sound a bit like this one, but it's still a reasonably good example of that style.

 The Violent Sleep Of Reason by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.02 | 16 ratings

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The Violent Sleep Of Reason
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Chugga chugga djent djent, it's the MESHUGGAH train coming back to town and after four long years following their most accessible album of all they return in full fury with their complex tech monster bashing mix of aggressiveness unlike any other. THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON (the 8th full length studio album) is chock full of all the famous time sig torture and mangled mutiny of sonic suffering. The title indicates somewhat of a loose theme that is based on Francisco Goya's painting "The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters" and it can be confirmed on this pummeling yet powerful 59 minute expression of brutality that they surely enter those territories and they are the kind that stimulate the senses in TOTALLY inappropriate ways. I love it!

MESHUGGAH wastes no time churning out the technical aggressiveness they've been conjuring up for a good twenty years and if you are familiar at all with the band's output then THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON will not sound out of step in any way with their unique take on mutilated thrash metal that has since been designated with the nauseating term "djent" which i rather despise myself. I consider it a guitar style of playing NOT a true genre per se but i digress and nomenclature aside it is the delivery of incessant progressive and aggressive dissonance accompanied by the saturnine atmospheric tone of the brutality liturgy that really delivers a top notch edition of the MESHUGGAH world of chaotic noise and overtly angry sonicity.

THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON was a blatant attempt to get out of the nitpicking neediness of the production that the band found themselves becoming slaves to and as a result this album was recorded totally live in the studio. That means all parts were recorded simultaneously by all members instead of each track separately. This does indeed give a more organic feel and yet the production is totally modern, crisp and clean and allows every little ear shattering decibelage to assault the senses. The spontaneity of what the band sounds like playing together does chime through as the album feels much like a retro 90s MESHUGGAH album i have to admit.

All in all this is a fine and dandy album that delivers all the MESHUGGAH goods and then some. The technical riff abuse is in full attack as Frederik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström are partners in crime on the dual guitar assaults and Dick Lövgren on bass and Tomas Haake on drums absolutely nail the avant-groove antics without hesitation. Jens Kidman delivers the best of his angry anti-relgious and dark cynical lyrics and vocal styles as to be expected. THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON is a fine addition to the MESHUGGAH canon but personally i can't say i like this better than the cream of the crop such as their "Chaosphere" to "Nothing" remake period.

True that they keep their sound together in tact and offer an excellent slice of their homemade musical universe but at the same time they don't really offer anything new to it and with music this brutal and complex it's nice to have some variation involved such as acoustic and ambient passages that were prevalent on their earlier albums (yes there is some but not until track seven "Stifled.") So overall this will not go down as my favorite MESHUGGAH album of all time but nevertheless a very worthy avant-garde progressive thrashy groove metal album for those who have drenched themselves in the chaotic avant-garde jazz fusion techniques of dissonant metal that they churn out so well. It should go without saying that MESHUGGAH is very much an acquired taste and nothing on THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON will attract new followers. If you didn't like them before, you won't like them now but if you have swallowed this Kool-aid then you can happily expect more of the same.

 Post Society by VOIVOD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
3.46 | 11 ratings

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Post Society
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars The Odd Voivods are back with a gargantuan EP, titled Post Society.

Unlike most other bands, Voivod hasn't really lost much momentum as the years have gone by. Owe this to the uniqueness of the band's sound or influence or what you will, but no matter the reason Voivod hasn't (at least to my perceptions) had a dip in stamina.

A lot has changed over the 32 years following the band's debut; Voivod's blurring of the lines between progressive and thrash metal has made fruition of countless genius ideas that seldom other bands have even considered. So with all this taken into consideration- how is their new EP?

For one, Jean-Yves Thériault has been replaced after three decades, instead taking his place is Dominique Laroche. Rocky's metal repertoire is scarce, however he has played for blues musician Steve Hill. Other than that the lineup remains unchanged. Music-wise, Voivod goes back to their roots. The progressive inclinations of prior albums like Nothingface or The Outer Limits are a bit less prominent as they once were. Instead, what Post Society really is is a thrash metal release. This isn't really surprising when looking at Target Earth, an album that was very much just thrash-oriented. The only truly progressive song on this album in my opinion is that of 'Polluted Alcohol', an epic that goes through a variety of different stages in real Voivod fashion. Combine this with the classic monotone vocals of Snake, then you've got a song for the ages. The other songs are good too, but like I said they're all more run-of-the-mill thrash songs (which might I add is not in fact a con) which might be enjoyed more by others. Other than that the Hawkwind single 'Silver Machine' gets a cover on here, also true to Voivod's name. Something I've always praised the band for is their covers, and they haven't disappointed me yet. It is a bit lesser than the original; lacking the space-rock element makes the cover have a more stripped down feel than the original. Nevertheless the band cleans it up and makes for one hell of a song. Fantastic.

Like the eternal beast, Voivod walks on. Is there a stop for them in the future? Who knows. At this rate these guys show no obvious signs of stopping. Post Society is pretty good. Yeah.

 Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture  by AXAMENTA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.68 | 6 ratings

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Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture
Axamenta Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Belgian black metal act Axamenta. The album was released through Shiver Records in May 2006. "Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture" is a concept album divided into three chapters. In addition to the lyrics the booklet features newspaper articles and notes from the protagonists, which along with the lyrics explain the full story. It's a rather ambitious project but it's beautifully done and works really well.

Stylistically the music on "Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture" is a mix of symphonic black metal in the vein of Cradle of Filth and especially Dimmu Borgir (with a slight nod towards Emperor too) and melodic death metal. The tracks are relatively complex and the atmosphere busy and epic, which provide the album with a progressive edge too. The fact that Daniel Gildenl'w from Pain Of Salvation guests with some clean vocals on the ballad type track "Threnody for an Endling" only strengthens the progressive link. This is not more progressive in nature than acts like Dimmu Borgir and Emperor are at their most challenging though, so this is first and foremost symphonic black metal. The vocals predominantly vary between snarling high pitched black metal type rasps and deeper death metal growling, but as mentioned above there are moments featuring clean vocals on the album too.

It's music drenched in synths/keyboards/piano and because of it the soundscape is rather busy at times. The band make it work well though and there is a good coherence between the more "regular" metal instruments, the vocals and the synths/keyboards/piano. This is in large part due to the detailed and powerful sounding production, that helps to bring the best out in the music. The fact that these guys are skilled musicians and songwriters are not exactly issues either.

"Ever-Arch-I-Tech-Ture" is a high quality symphonic black metal album and to be honest that's actually quite a surprise keeping in mind the rather questionable quality of their previous output. This one reeks class and determination though and upon conclusion it's a very impressive release by Axamenta. High level musicianship, a professional, powerful, and detailed sound production, and intriguing songwriting to boot. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

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The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'The Synarchy of Molten Bones' - Deathspell Omega (90/100)

When Deathspell Omega at last completed their definitive trilogy with Paracletus in 2010, it wasn't clear what direction the band would take. They were finally in the wake of their great Work, after all; black metal met its logical pinnacle a decade ago with the perfect Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, and the following album had justified itself based on the fact that it had managed to rein in that swirling perfection with restraint and melody. Now that they had not only touched madness but now harnessed it as well, it could constitute hubris to believe that their sound further.

The following EP Drought amazingly proved that prediction wrong with its slightly reinvented style, now a greater part Dillinger Escape Plan than Darkthrone than ever. Even 21 minutes it not only demonstrated potential beyond the trilogy, but acted as a perfect epilogue to the genre's greatest undertaking. Their exploration of God, Man and Satan was characterized by the image of Lucifer's descent to Hell from Heaven; just as Lucifer fell, it was easy to infer the fall of Man as well from the apocalyptic resolution Paracletus ended on with "Apokatastasis Pantôn", a resignation to the "pit of silence" and (translating the term) restoration of all to its primordial or original state. Where Paracletus might have ended with Apocalypse, Drought offered a glimpse of its result; a spiritual drought as much as a physical one, the annihilation of the sacred, dogs and cats living together; total [%*!#]ing darkness in other words, with all semblance of hope a bygone afterthought, "like Adam and Eve at the end of time..." With Drought DSO essentially achieved for their theological explorations what they had previously done for the music from on Paracletus after Fas, drawing their arc past the point of climax as a sort of denouement. And all that with a refreshed , mathier take on that last album's style without losing the melodic heft.

Because Drought left the irredeemable fate of Man fairly cut and dried, I think it could have been a perfect place for Deathspell Omega to have called it quits. Of course I wanted nothing more for my favourite band to boldly return, I just don't think there was a clear path for them to progress; whether musically or lyrically, DSO pushed it further than anyone ever has (and likely ever will) in black metal. As such, the only places for the concept and music to go were, respectively, rebirth and regression. Those two terms arguably describe the Synarchy of Molten Bones more effectively than all else I could say about it. Deathspell Omega has, in 2016, drawn themselves back to the brink of annihilation and chaos. The album (arguably an EP at 29 minutes) more closely recalls the brutal calculated noise of Fas than anything before or since, to the point where it might be called its spiritual sequel. While there's part of me that bemoans Deathspell Omega not having kept up their innovative streak, or that a four year wait and supposed "full-length" status aren't justified by its runtime, all of it pales in comparison to the awe of hearing these masters in action again.

The Synarchy of Molten Bones isn't a game-changer the way Fas, Paracletus, or even some of the EPs were for me, but there hasn't been a doubt in my mind that the album well-deserves its instant acclaim as a masterpiece. I think if you've felt even slightly underwhelmed by the album, take a look at the competition. In addition to a quarter of my own life having come and gone, the time between Paracletus and now has seen a notorious surge of DSO clones. Some have been brilliant and most have been good (few have thankfully been flat-out bad) but I can't think of a single acolyte of theirs that comes close to capturing the technical insanity and atmosphere here. Even if it's 29 minutes long, it never feels that length. Cutting out a lot of the ambient and "mellower" sections from Fas, this is indisputably the most brutal and punishing Deathspell Omega have ever sounded. Nods to Fas are fast and frequent. With "The Synarchy of Molten Bones", the music opens up with discordant symphonic overtones, closely echoing the "Obombration" pair. The odd chord choices, tone, hell-- everything felt instantly familiar to my ears from the first listen, with ominously terrifying guitar screeches tossing a bit of a curveball early on. It doesn't take long for Deathspell Omega to fire up to full speed from there. I think some of the unhinged twang from Drought has found its way into the formula here -- some of the less byzantine moments even recall Paracletus -- but there is little doubt where Synarchy's true loyalties lie.

Conceptually, the album preaches a spirit of rebirth and renewal, though you shouldn't think hope has found a place in that equation. It's like Man has been brought up once more only to writhe in a world made now in Satan's image, rather than God whom He usurped in the last trilogy. Amid numerous references to Greek mythology (an idea I hope they continue to stick with), it feels as if DSO are taking the narrative voice of Satan Himself. There is a common reference to Iatros, that is a healer, likely referring to the continued struggle of God in this cosmic mess. The frequent idea of healing ties in well with the idea that the Synarchy of Molten Bones means to continue the exploration they left off with Paracletus. However, in truly Satanic fashion, even the Godly idea of healing here is twisted. The title "Internecine Iatrogenesis" says everything about DSO's theological concept of rebirth. With iatrogenesis literally meaning "brought forth by the healer" and internecine describing something as "mutually destructive", you can probably come to your own conclusions on Deathspell Omega's theology. Much like Fas, it's often difficult to tell where one song begins and another ends. I laud the return of this unrelenting chaos. There's barely a second for a listener (especially those with weak constitutions) to catch a breath. If you're coming as a returning DSO fan, you know the drill. The sound is constantly rife with blastbeats and frantic drum patterns that defy human understanding. The guitars are immaculately cold and are only sometimes decipherable under the drums and daemonic vocal articulations. Although the guitars and drums are roughly on par with albums past, Mikko's vocals might actually outshine his past collaborations with DSO. Given that the lyrics this time speak directly as Satan, it fits the album's style that his vocals would somehow become even more terrifying inhuman and bold. I do miss the stronger vocal integration on Paracletus, but the disconnect between the vocal phrasing and the frantic instrumentation beneath lends the impression of a Satanic sermon more than a pre-calculated performance purely for music's sake.

It's hard to express in words how powerful the atmosphere in Deathspell Omega's music really is. So many of their core traits have been elevated to the point of being near-clichés, whether by the orthodox black metal scene or the burgeoning wave of experimental metal from the current decade. It is fair to feel disappointed by the fact that the Synarchy of Molten Bones has fallen back on familiar ideas, as opposed to building a new framework for the current generation like I'd hoped, but it's ultimately asinine to criticize a band for sounding like themselves. For everything its worth, the apparent flaws of Synarchy are smoothed out by its depth and repeated listens. I might still consider the new album more as an EP, but for its length it works perfectly; layer upon layer of instrumentation and detail will keep any attentive listener rapt far longer than most albums twice its length. Only the production, which feels a step down from Fas, and a few lower than Paracletus, really stands out as a shortcoming, although it only seems that way in the context of their other masterpieces.

One question remains on my mind: Would people have lost themselves over the Synarchy of Molten Bones if it hadn't been released alongside under the fabled DSO name? I didn't think so, at least at first. But as I threw myself further into the album, listening to it, reading lyrics, pondering its concepts, there is no doubt it can stand on the weight of its own merits. This is the kind of crippling composition and musicianship only they of any are worthy to conjure.

As Deathspell Omega conduct their own rebirth, all others shall pale and kneel.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical.

 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

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The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars A staggering six years after their last full length album and four since their EP "Drought," the ominous and mysterious DEATHSPELL OMEGA has decided to play peek-a-boo with their admiring public by leaving the shrouded mists of their Luciferian whereabouts purportedly to be in their native France in order to drop their newest musical expressions of horror metal that psychoanalyzes the human condition and delves into the deepest recesses of the human mind to unleash their unique brand of sonic terrorism that brashly rips through the soul and extinguishes hope, slays unicorns and obscures light-filled rooms with impending doom and darkness

The title track begins with a short classically oriented soundtrack symphony before the full DEATHSPELL OMEGA fury is unleashed just after a minute cutting to the chase of the better most chaotic and dissonant aspects of "Fas - Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum." Chaotic eddies of sound circle like sharks around the wounded blood-dripping frenetic wretched shrieks that pontificate Satanic litanies and intellectual quandaries of humankind's relationship to the greater cosmos. The many aspects of the previous decade's "Si Momvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice" to "Paracletus" seem to have been unleashed simultaneously and are now battling it out to see who will conquer Hades itself and become the new dark master.

"Famished For Breath" continues the brutal chaotic buzz saw guitar churning out oblique and angular chops at breakneck speed with no apparent song structure other than tortured screaming chants of anguish as the beam of light in the sonic tornado. This track picks up even more steam as well as more bantering bedlam. While on previous releases DSO would unleash dissonant cleaner jangle chords separately from the buzz saw fury distortion of the guitar and bass combo, here they all continue their mosh pit glissade.

After a short respite of simply jangle guitar dissonance "Onward Where Most With Ravin I Meet" continues in full pandemonium by suddenly erupting into tumultuous instrument abuse and anarchic oscillations that churn on for indefinite amounts of time and then suddenly transmogrify into a new form of horror metal yet never simmering down into a digestible orderly fashion. This is chaos but chaos on a leash where the leash appears to be the vocals centering the swarm of sonic madness around its core however the ending of this one surprisingly calms down as if the eye of the hurricane has offered a brief glimpse of placidity between the destructive pummeling tentacles of sound.

"Internecine Iatrogenesis" jumps back into the chaotic frenzy with Herculean percussive pyrotechnics, even more sinuous angular rhythms and a sense of the strongest part of the storm hitting like a category 5 hurricane that parked itself over the village only to obliterate it to smithereens. This "Iatrogenesis" is more than an adverse effect from a medical complication but rather the full wrath of the gods delivering every available lightning bolt and power allowed them for complete and utter annihilation of the helpless masses below.

Whew! This sounds like a Satanic inspired "greatest hits" of sort that takes all the elements of the band's career and throws them at the listener like a juggler pummeling a passerby with chainsaws. While ferocity is common in the heavier arenas of black metal, only DSO juxtaposes intensity with tonal dissonance and a nerve racking jitteriness like no other. Rarely does black metal have a genuine feel that it was directly channeled from the Dark Lord. This is "music" that is guaranteed to stimulate those already indoctrinated into the cult but for the rest who dare not trespass into these arenas, stay far away and if this comes near you, run and hide. A true soundtrack for Mordor here.

 The Synarchy of Molten Bones by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.86 | 9 ratings

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The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars After four years of silence, Deathspell Omega dropped their sixth full-length album pretty much out of nowhere. Stylistically, this album serves in many ways as an effective summation of their styles from 2004 to 2012; it's already been compared by listeners to "a more focused Fas", but one can find elements of Si monumentum, Kénôse, Paracletus, and plenty of other Deathspell releases, as well. However, unsurprisingly, the band also explores some new territory here. It's not as big a difference as Fas was from Si monumentum; it might be about comparable to the difference between Paracletus and Fas. The band remains as terrifying as ever; I once described their music as "controlled chaos", a paradox that seems as accurate as it's ever been. Their music manages to be dissonant while still containing a strange kind of beauty at the same time; a great example comes at the end of "Famished for Breath"

Lyrically, the band remains as intellectual and inscrutable as ever. (Your guess as to what the third song title means is as good as mine; however, the final song title is worth analysing. "Internecine" means mutually destructive, and "iatrogenesis" is an act of attempted healing that proves harmful; thus, "internecine iatrogenesis" is an act of attempted healing that proves destructive to both the healer and the healed.) Early analysis of the lyrics suggests that they've begun incorporating elements of Greek mythology into their world view. The album artwork is currently believed to depict Apollo. Their view of the cosmos remains unflinchingly dark, which perfectly suits their music.

I've been quite enthralled with Deathspell Omega's past work. After about ten listens, I have already concluded that this may be their finest musical work to date, and of course, it's one of the finest albums of the year. If you enjoyed any of the band's previous material, you will need this in your collection. I can't unconditionally recommend this, because their style will not be to everyone's liking. However, if you are attuned to their musical vision, then I can certainly unconditionally recommend this for you. Works this good don't come out too often, and we're incredibly lucky that this band is still making music. If we have to wait another four years for their next work, it'll be worth it as long as they continue putting out records this good. Five stars.

 Twisted Logic by ATROPHIA RED SUN album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.00 | 6 ratings

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Twisted Logic
Atrophia Red Sun Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Twisted Logic" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Polish death metal act Atrophia Red Sun. The album was released through Empire Records in July 2003. Atrophia Red Sun were formed in 1994 and have quite an interesting history, featuring many lineup changes and also changes in music style. They started out playing doom metal, but changed their style to a more progressive/melodic death metal style and finally after initially splitting up in April 2005, a new lineup was assembled in November 2005, playing purely electronic music.

On "Twisted Logic" the band play a technical/progressive death metal style featuring futuristic sounding synth effects that provide the music with a sci-fi atmosphere. The band are very well playing and deliver their performances with conviction. Lead vocalist Covan would later join fellow Polish death metal act Decapitated for the recording of their 4th full- length studio album "Organic Hallucinosis (2006)", but if you´re familiar with his vocal performance on that album, you might be surprised by how he sounds here, as he predominanly sings in a much higher pitched extreme vocal style, compared to his gruff deep growls on "Organic Hallucinosis (2006)". He also growls deeper on "Twisted Logic" though. There are also quite a few spoken parts and a few clean sung parts too. The latter are more odd than pretty though.

"Twisted Logic" is relatively well produced (the clicky bass drums, could have prospered from a more organic sound though) and as a result of the omnipresent spacey synths, it´s quite an atmospheric death metal album. It´s also relatively original and I can´t mention any specific references (and then again I do hear a couple of references to Swedish technical death metal act Theory in Practice), although Atrophia Red Sun are not completely unique sounding. The material are for the most part pretty intriguing, but not always instantly catchy. Maybe because some tracks are relatively complex and don´t necessarily feature instantly recognisable hooks. Sometimes they just seem to be composed of a lot of intriguing ideas, but not really with an overall structure in mind...

...and that´s probably the most grave issue with "Twisted Logic" and why I´m so biased about it. It features a ton of intriguing and adventurous ideas, but the album ultimately isn´t that memorable because of the way the ideas are put together. From a purely technical point of view/from a musician point of view "Twisted Logic" is still a very interesting album though and I guess a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating isn´t all wrong.

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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
ALKALOID Germany
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
ATEM Finland
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
ATRORUM Germany
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
AZURE EMOTE United States
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
CANVAS SOLARIS United States
CAPHARNAUM United States
CAR BOMB United States
CARBONIZED Sweden
CARCARIASS France
CASTEVET United States
CEPHALIC CARNAGE United States
CEREBRUM Greece
CHAOS DIVINE Australia
CHIMP SPANNER United Kingdom
CHRONOSTASIS United States
CIRCLE OF CONTEMPT Finland
CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE United States
CIRCLES Australia
CITRINITI Italy
COBALT United States
CODE Multi-National
COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS Denmark
COLLAPSAR United States
CONTINUO RENACER Spain
THE CONTORTIONIST United States
CONTRARIAN United States
CONTROL DENIED United States
CONTROL HUMAN DELETE Netherlands
COPROFAGO Chile
CORAM LETHE Italy
COUNTER-WORLD EXPERIENCE Germany
CRANIUM United States
CROWPATH Sweden
CRYPTODIRA United States
CUBICAL SPHERE Greece
CYCLAMEN United Kingdom
CYNIC United States
DAATH United States
DARK HERESEY United Kingdom
DE PROFUNDIS United Kingdom
DEAD LETTER OPENER Australia
DEATH United States
DEATH MACHINE United States
DEATHROW Germany
DEATHSPELL OMEGA France
DELTA CEPHEID Germany
DEMILICH Finland
DEMONIC RESURRECTION India
DESCEND Sweden
DEVIUS Argentina
DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Sweden
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN United States
DIMESLAND United States
DIONAEA United States
DIORAMIC Germany
DIREWOLF United States
DISEMBARKATION Canada
DISFIGURING REALITY Canada
DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Austria
DISILLUSION Germany
DISKORD Norway
DIVINITY Canada
DODECAHEDRON Netherlands
DØDHEIMSGARD Norway
DORDEDUH Romania
DOWN I GO United Kingdom
DREAMGRAVE Hungary
DROTTNAR Norway
DRUDKH Ukraine
DRYAD'S TREE Germany
DUOBETIC HOMUNKULUS Czech Republic
DYSRHYTHMIA United States
EARTH SNAKE United States
ECCENTRIC PENDULUM India
ECHIDNA Greece
EDGE OF SANITY Sweden
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Sweden
ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF Canada
ELECTROCUTION 250 Sweden
ELENIUM Finland
ELENIUM Poland
EMPYREAN SKY United States
ENDITOL Canada
ENSLAVED Norway
ERA VULGARIS United Kingdom
ERYN NON DAE France
ESCHATON Austria
ETERNITY VOID United States
EVER FORTHRIGHT United States
EXENCE Italy
EXIVIOUS Netherlands
EXTOL Norway
THE FACELESS United States
FALLUJAH United States
FARMAKON Finland
FEARSCAPE Australia
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE Italy
FLOODLINE United States
FLOURISHING United States
FORCES AT WORK Germany
FORGOTTEN SILENCE Czech Republic
FORNOST ARNOR United Kingdom
FRANTIC BLEEP Norway
FROM A SECOND STORY WINDOW United States
FROM THE EMBRACE United States
GERYON United States
GIGAN United States
GLADIATOR United States
GOJIRA France
GOLLUM / HADEA United States
GORGUTS Canada
GOROD France
LE GRAND GUIGNOL Luxembourg
GRIS Canada
GUILLOTINE India
GWYNBLEIDD United States
THE HAARP MACHINE United Kingdom
HACKSAW TO THE THROAT United States
HACRIDE France
HANGING GARDEN Finland
HAUNTED SHORES United States
HELHEIM Norway
A HERO A FAKE United States
HIDDEN United States
HOPE FOR THE DYING United States
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT United States
HUNG United States
HYBRID Spain
HYPNOTHETICALL Italy
IHSAHN Norway
IKUINEN KAAMOS Finland
ILLOGICIST Italy
ILLUMINATI Romania
IN GRIEF Norway
IN LINGUA MORTUA Norway
IN MOURNING Sweden
IN VAIN Norway
INDRICOTHERE United States
INFAMIA Italy
INGENIUM Poland
INI Norway
INITIAL POINT United States
INQUISITOR Lithuania
INTERVALS Canada
INTO ETERNITY Canada
INTO THE MOAT United States
ION DISSONANCE United States
IRON THRONES United States
ISLAND Germany
THE ISOSCELES PROJECT Canada
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE United States
RON JARZOMBEK United States
JESTER'S MARCH Germany
JOURNAL United States
KADENZZA Japan
KALISIA France
KÄLTER Canada
KATABASIS Australia
KATHAARSYS Spain
KETHA Poland
KNIFE THE GLITTER United States
KOBONG Poland
KRALLICE United States
LASCAILLE'S SHROUD United States
LAST CHANCE TO REASON United States
LAZER/WULF United States
LEPROUS Norway
LEVI / WERSTLER United States
THE LEVITATION HEX Australia
LIQUID GRAVEYARD Spain
THE LOCUST United States
LOINCLOTH United States
LOVE HISTORY Czech Republic
LUX OCCULTA Poland
LYCHGATE United Kingdom
LYKATHEA AFLAME Czech Republic
MADDER MORTEM Norway
MANTRIC Norway
MARTYR Canada
MASTER'S HAMMER Czech Republic
MASTODON United States
MEANS END Sweden
MECHANISM Canada
MEGACE Germany
MEKONG DELTA Germany
MELTINGAZE Germany
MEMFIS Sweden
MENCEA Greece
MESHUGGAH Sweden
METALMORPHOSIS Poland
MINDWORK Czech Republic
MONOGONO Portugal
MOON OF SOUL Hungary
MOONLOOP Spain
MOONSORROW Finland
MOONSPELL Portugal
MORBUS CHRON Sweden
MROCTOPUS Portugal
MY BITTER END United States
MY DYING BRIDE United Kingdom
N.A.M.E. United States
NAMI Andorra
NATURUS Hungary
NAUMACHIA Poland
NE OBLIVISCARIS Australia
NEATH Australia
NEGATIVA Canada
NEGLECTED FIELDS Latvia
NEGURA BUNGET Romania
NERVE END Finland
NEUROMIST Moldova
NEWBREED Poland
NEXT LIFE Norway
NEXUS Australia
NOCTURNUS United States
THE NUMBER TWELVE LOOKS LIKE YOU United States
NUX VOMICA United States
NYIA Poland
OBLOMOV Czech Republic
OBSCURA Germany
OBSIDIAN Netherlands
OCEANS OF SADNESS Belgium
OCEANS OF SLUMBER United States
ONCE THEM EDENS Greece
ONTOGENY United States
OPETH Sweden
ORAKLE France
ORGONE United States
ORTHRELM United States
OSIRIS Netherlands
OUTCAST France
OWL Germany
PAEAN Estonia
PAINTED IN EXILE United States
PANDEMONIUM Sweden
PENSÉES NOCTURNES France
PERIHELION SHIP Finland
PERSEFONE Andorra
PESTILENCE Netherlands
PHLEBOTOMIZED Netherlands
PIAH MATER Brazil
PICA FIERCE Norway
PITBULLS IN THE NURSERY France
PORTAL Australia
PRIMO VESPERE Italy
PROJECT 13-5 Germany
PROTEST THE HERO Canada
PSYCROPTIC Australia
PSYOPUS United States
PYRRHON United States
QUO VADIS Canada
RAM-ZET Norway
RANDOM Argentina
RANDOM MULLET Finland
RAZOR WIRE SHRINE United States
THE RED CHORD United States
RED SEAS FIRE United Kingdom
RED TIDE United States
REFLUX United States
RENAISSANCE Belgium
REQUIEM AETERNAM Uruguay
RETARDED NOISE SQUAD Germany
REVERENCE France
REX MUNDI Greece
RIPPED United States
ROLO TOMASSI United Kingdom
LA RUMEUR DES CHAÎNES France
JORDAN K. RUSH United States
SADIST Italy
SAMMATH NAUR Poland
SCHOLOMANCE United States
SCLERA Australia
SCULPTOR Serbia
SCULPTURED United States
SERDCE Belarus
SERIOUS BEAK Australia
SHADOWS LAND Poland
SHINING Sweden
SICMONIC United States
SIKTH United Kingdom
SILENCE THE ARIA United States
SKALDIC CURSE United Kingdom
SLEEP TERROR United States
SOLEFALD Norway
SPASTIC INK United States
SPECTRAL INCURSION United States
SPIRAL ARCHITECT Norway
STARKWEATHER United States
STEALING AXION United States
STONE CIRCLE United Kingdom
STORK United States
SULPHUR Norway
SUNSET IN THE 12TH HOUSE Romania
SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLES Canada
SUPURATION France
DAN SWANÖ Sweden
SWIM IN STYX France
SYK Italy
T.O.O.H.! Czech Republic
TAINE Romania
TALANAS United Kingdom
TARAMIS Australia
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA Greece
TENEBRIS Poland
TERMINAL FUNCTION Sweden
TEXTURES Netherlands
THANTIFAXATH Canada
THEORY IN PRACTICE Sweden
THOLUS United States
TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR United States
TREEBURNING Canada
TRIBULATION Sweden
TRINACRIA Norway
TWISTED INTO FORM Norway
ULCERATE New Zealand
UNCROSSED Russia
UNDEFINED Spain
UNEVEN STRUCTURE France
THE UNIVERSE DIVIDE United States
UNMOORED Sweden
UNREAL OVERFLOWS Spain
VALBORG Germany
VAZIMBA Madagascar
VEHEMENTER NOS France
VEKTOR United States
VIATROPHY United Kingdom
VIELIKAN Tunisia
VILDHJARTA Sweden
VINTERSORG Sweden
VOIVOD Canada
VORTICE Spain
VUVR Czech Republic
WANZWA United States
WATCHTOWER United States
WETWORK Canada
WHAT'S HE BUILDING IN THERE? Canada
WILD HUNT United States
WINTERSUN Finland
WITHERSCAPE Sweden
WITHIN THE RUINS United States
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM United States
WRATH AND RAPTURE United States
WRVTH United States
XANTHOCHROID United States
XERATH United Kingdom
YYRKOON France
THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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