Header

TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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

4.32 | 1215 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1240 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.24 | 1151 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.28 | 317 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 498 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.24 | 391 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.38 | 112 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.21 | 417 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.25 | 202 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.23 | 212 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.21 | 231 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.25 | 143 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.17 | 263 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.14 | 414 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.23 | 130 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.16 | 233 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.14 | 310 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.18 | 167 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.19 | 150 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.29 | 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
THE DESIGN
Into the Moat
A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End
OM
Negura Bunget

Download (Stream) Free Tech/Extreme Prog Metal MP3


Open player in a new window

Download (Stream) Free Tech/Extreme Prog Metal MP3

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Pidanoma by RANDOM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.72 | 34 ratings

BUY
Pidanoma
Random Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Argentinian band LOS RANDOM, aka Random, was formed back in 2006. They released an initial EP in 2010, one year after the current line-up of the band was established, which was followed by their official debut album "Todo.s los colores del" in 2011. "Pidanoma" is their sophomore production, and was self released by the band in January 2014.

As this album kicks off with Corto Normal, we're treated to a 6 minute ride through an at times impressive display of dark metal. Brutal thrash metal, stoner metal and doom metal are blended together in a monumental construction of glorious dark and menacing metal, crushing it's way through multiple themes and alterations in pace and intensity in a curiously elegant manner, although this song does start to get a tad aimless in the final few passages. Still, an impressive opening, and a brilliant one for the first four minutes or so. The following atmospheric piece Ojota Y Media is bookended by sampled radio sounds, with distanced metal guitars and rhythms partially hidden behind a noise texture covering the sections in between them. A transitional creation if anything, setting the listener up for what is to come.

This album concludes with three massive creations, clocking in at 17, 16 and 21 minutes respectively. Epic length creations, and rather demanding all of them too. They are also radically different from the tracks that opens this album.

All of these compositions twists and turns through multiple themes and motifs, some more than others. Monumental riffs and intense interludes appear on more or less regular intervals, reminding us that we are indeed listening to music crafted by a metal band. Just about everything else is rather less than conventional however.

I guess the common denominator on all of these three compositions are sequences featuring light toned and often textured guitar details, creating psychedelic, cosmic and post rock oriented vibes. Sometimes as lonely, cold standalone entities of a frail nature, at other times supported by slow drum patterns careful percussion or intense and menacing drum rolls. Occasional jazz-tinged interludes appears, delicate plucked guitar driven passages reminding of Rush in their gentle late 80's phase makes occasional appearances too, and at other times the band will mix one or more of these ingredients with more of a distinct metal touch too. Dark impact riff driven sequenced, harder edged compact riff construction, driving and occasionally funky, booming bass guitar given free reign here and there. There's also room for both a bass solo and a drum solo in these curiously wandering and rather challenging escapades.

Just where to place this band within a genre context is tough, although I guess describing them as some sort of cosmic flavored avantgarde post metal band should be pretty close in terms of giving potential listeners some direction. And while Los Random is a markedly different band in just about all aspects, my gut feeling is that those who enjoyed the escapades of a band like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum might find Los Random to be an interesting band as well. In particular those among them that also tends to enjoy cosmic flavored music and post rock.

 Kindly Bent To Free Us by CYNIC album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.67 | 139 ratings

BUY
Kindly Bent To Free Us
Cynic Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars CYNIC puts out exactly what i personally like in a band, namely quality over quantity and absolutely no one can accuse this unique band of flooding the market with throwaway filler. The mystery with CYNIC has always been since releasing their debut album "Focus" and then calling it a day if they would ever put out another bizarre hybrid recording. After 15 years the answer was yes! reappearing with a followup in 2008 with a new sound in with "Traced In Air" which shifted gears a bit but pretty much carried on a lot of what was expected from "Focus" with the unique death metal / jazz / space rock / ambient thing neatly assembled into a nice little package that only this band could create.

Luckily the world would not have to wait another decade and a half for a followup. The band was ready for some serious business and began releasing EPs. With "Re-Traced" we got a taste of CYNIC dropping a huge swath of their metal sound and then with "Carbon-Based Anatomy" where they cemented the toning things down in the metal department by going down an atmospheric post rock and ambient path.

That brings us to their much awaited third album KINDLY BENT TO SAVE US arriving 21 years after the debut and 6 years after their second. Anyone who follows CYNIC should expect the unexpected by now. The band has their influences dipped in so many cocktails that strangeness is guaranteed to emerge in unforeseen ways and ideas evolve as sporadically as their songs shifting from one complex time signature to another with as many tones and styles to match.

KINDLY BENT TO SAVE US may have jettisoned all traces of death metal growls and replaced them with indie rock type vocals but the musical compositions remain as complex if not more so than anything the band has released before. It's too much to grasp on a single listen. This one has taken me a while to appreciate because it is so dense and, well, unique. Of course there is a lot of what came before but on top of the sci-fi and Buddhist inspired lyrics, we get plenty of progressive metal, clean guitars, lots of staccato, complex rhythms that fuse the world of rock and jazz so seamlessly that it deserves some kind of new designated style nomenclature.

Overall, this album is a mixed bag with me. I agree with all the others that this is not as memorable as the first two releases in its scope or intensity but i totally disagree with anyone who writes this off as mere crap. The sophisticated approach on this release is phenomenal. I enjoy every single track musically and the only reason i cannot rate this album higher is because of the vocals of Paul Masvidal which don't have the inspiring effect that the music does. The consistency of the clean style of vocals just seems a bit weak in the mix. I do miss the growls for they added some much needed contrast that matches the music.

If there were to be a huge swath of vocal influences on top of the music maybe like that of bands like Darkology or Hell, then this could have been another full-fledged masterpiece of epic proportions, but that it is not, yet i really enjoy this album a lot despite the disappointment factor and my own desire to micro-manage the project to please myself. Despite it all i am certainly not sorry it was released but i hope they can improve upon this formula in the future.

 Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.33 | 7 ratings

BUY
Freak Guitar - The Road Less Travelled
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Finding the time between his main gig of frontman for Freak Kitchen, MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH saved his best ideas for himself and the journey continues five years after his first bizarre concoction of musical madness with his second release under his own name - FREAK GUITAR: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED. Right from the start this album sounds better in every way than the last and that's saying a lot because the first was utterly brilliant. The music is better written, better produced, the cast contains guest musicians playing the real thing instead of merely synthesized versions and best of all - the experimental factor has been turned up to 11!

The leading title track sets the stage for EKLUNDH's unique blend and tug-of-war between jazz, gypsy swing, metal, Zappa-esque humor and avant-garde weirdness. Slave to the melody, rarely does dissonance rule the roost and saved only for contrasting effects. The tracks are generally short and to the point but contained in each one of them is a wealth of musicality and influences with a healthy dose of highly innovated imaginative embellishments. Contained on this near hour experience is a totally ingenious way of melding progressive ideas into digestible packages. Even in the less than two minute songs you will encounter a gazillion influences and original ideas packed in together so tightly you might mistake them for a twinkie addicted prostitute stuffed into a dress several sizes too small.

The most creative ways of writing a song are EKLUNDH's specialty. On 'Print This' the entire tune is written around a printing machine which serves as the main instrument. On 'Insert Coin' it is the video game that dictates which notes are placed where. There are two excellent covers as well. An all instrumental version (mostly instrumental album) of 'Smoke On The Water' is' well, smokin! Enough to light that lake on fire under its own power. The guitars take the place of the vocals and probably the best cover of the track i've ever heard. Likewise, the cover of Django Rheinhardt's 'Minor Swing' is not only true to the original but off the charts in creative embellishments. Also is a brilliant cover of the 'Fletch' theme that is one of the rare examples of virtuoso guitar abilities mixing with a catchy groove that could get your booty in action on the dance floor.

This album packs in so much creative energy it should be prohibited by law! I have been listening to this album for over ten years now and it still blows me away on every listen. It stands out from absolutely anything else that has ever been recorded and blends the most extreme technicalities without removing the ferocious fun that music is supposed to evoke, at least in my book! This is a true masterpiece of epic proportions and although it has been known in the guitar nerd world for a decade, it is so ridiculously accessible and catchy that even my totally non-musical friends really dig this one. I could go on and on and on with this one but you really must just listen to some tracks and decide for yourself. EKLUNDH is a musical genius who graciously spends more time as a guitar teacher doing workshops than releasing albums like this, which i selfishly say waaaah!

Favorite tracks: The Road Less Traveled, There's No Money In Jazz, Print This!, Caffeine, Fletch Theme, Chopstick Boogie, Smoke On The Water, Insert Coin, Minor Swing, One-String Improv, Asteroid 3834 and the rest :)

 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 971 ratings

BUY
Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ieshee1i

2 stars This album had Opeth's fans divided before its first notes were even out there. Basically, one part of the fans were die-hard (black / death / whatever) metal fans who took it as a personal offense that their favourite band would "betray" them or their "community", while the other part consisted of people who were excited that this wonderful band would just follow their music wherever it took them, not caring too much about people's opinion (I'm reminded of Metallica as I write this ...). For some reason, this change of direction was less well-tolerated than the one they tried on their previous experiment -- Damnation. My guess would be that everyone saw Damnation as just that -- an experiment; whereas the direction they picked for Heritage sounded like a permanent change.

I guess you could put me in the second category. I was not at all repelled by the idea that one of my favourite bands would get rid of the heavier metal part of their music, especially at a time where I began to explore other musical horizons myself, including prog: while I still enjoyed the metal sound, no matter how heavy, the whole scene was beginning to sound extremely repetitive to me and Opeth were one of the very few metal bands I was still listening to.

However, I had my doubts.

What I always found interesting in Opeth's music was their way of switching from very heavy parts to softer and moving ones; their mixture of progressive elements with straightforward and brutal ones; the blend of acoustic guitars and distorted ones; and so on. Deciding to give a more progressive aspect to their music and dropping the metal elements was a courageous move, but would they be able to make it sound interesting?

Well, I was surely interested in finding out, so I went for the limited edition and refused to hear anything from that album before it showed up in my mailbox. And then I played it, and ...

... and boy, what a disappointment. I must have played the album in its entirety only two or three times, and I had to force myself to keep listening all the while. I'm forcing myself yet again as I write this review, hoping to hear something that will prove me wrong, hoping to understand all those positive reviews that I've read. But I can't hear anything remarkable on this record. Yes, they are trying to sound different, but that's exactly the point: you can hear that they're trying, and exploring new musical grounds without really knowing where they're headed. Although, to be fair, I must admit that I enjoy it a little bit better than back at the time of its release; maybe I've grown more indulgent towards it, and I must admit that there are a few enjoyable moments, but nothing that will keep me coming back to it. I still have to force myself to keep playing it, and I usually either stop after the first three or four songs, or I start skipping. This piece of music may sound impressive to someone who is just discovering that there is a whole musical world outside (black / death / whatever) metal, but if you come from a more eclectic background, let alone a progressive one, you'll find there is nothing here to write home about.

I don't want to be too harsh on Opeth. I'm fond of what they were previous to that album, they still are wonderful musicians, and they deserve praise for fleeing their comfort zones and trying to reinvent themselves. But still, I can't figure out why so many reviews (not necessarily on PA) praise this as a masterpiece. If anything, it's merely a good first step in the right direction, but I'll take Transatlantic any day over this. That's not what Opeth has to become, of course, but I think I'll wait a few more albums before I give them another try. Meanwhile, I'll keep spinning their previous records.

 The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild by SIKTH album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.13 | 45 ratings

BUY
The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild
Sikth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is the debut full-length studio album by UK, Watford based progressive metal act Sikth. The album was released through Gut Records in August 2003. Sikth was active from 2001 to 2008 and released two full-length studio albums in that period.

The music on the album is a highly energetic form of progressive metal with elements of all sorts of other music styles. Most notably mathcore, NU-metal, alternative metal and hardcore. Imagine how a combination of The Dillinger Escape Plan, System of a Down, Mr. Bungle, Devin Townsend, Protest the Hero and Shaolin Death Squad would sound like and you're half way there. At their most melodic (like on "Peep Show") I'd even pull out The Mars Volta as a reference.

Sikth features two vocalists. I'm not completely sure who sings what, but there are several different vocal styles featured in the music. It often sounds like a group of mad men shouting, screaming, fast talking, hysterical, whining and occasionally singing more clean melodic type vocals. There is a girlish quality to the clean vocal delivery that'll probably be a little off putting to some, but you can't deny that the vocals are delivered with fierce conviction and great skill. The point is the vocals are most likely an aquired taste. The instrumental part of the music is played with militant precision but features a delightfully chaotic sound. The technical level of playing is incredibly high. Both guitarists play very challenging riffs and themes, the bassist is thankfully placed high in the mix and he plays some really busy stuff throughout and the drummer is a tech metal monster. Contantly changing rhythms and time signatures and constantly shifts between energetic aggressive sections and more melodic atmospheric ones. This is at the same time very challenging and very catchy music.

"The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is a self-produced affair (mixed by Colin Richardson) and it's obvious the band are very skilled at this. The album features a very well sounding and powerful sound production, which provides the right space for all instruments and vocals in the soundscape. Another great asset is the album's flow or in other words how the tracklist is put together. It's an album full of surprises. Not only are the material really eclectic in nature, we're also treated to great changes in mood and atmosphere throughout the album.

The first part of the album (the first seven tracks) are wild, energetic and chaotic in nature, with the occasional more melodic section thrown in, but when the eigth track "Tupelo" kicks in, it's also the beginning of around 18 minutes of experimental, atmospheric music that is completely different from what came before it, yet somehow Sikth manage to make the transition in a seamless natural fashion. After being bombarded with technical playing and a very high energy level during the first part of the album, it's initially a bit of a culture shock to be met with the atmospheric sound of "Tupelo", "Can't We All Dream?" and the short piano interlude "Emerson, Part 2". It's perfect though and while the craziness continues on those tracks too with odd theatrical poetry recital and other types of obscure vocal artistery, that part of the album does work as a little breather, because when "How May I Help You?" kick in we're back in high energy chaotic territory again. That continues until the closing track "When Will the Forest Speak...?", which brings us back into odd poetry recital territory.

At 60:34 minutes (and that's excluding the Japanese bonus tracks), "The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait for Something Wild" is a long album, but because of the eclectic nature of the music and the great flow of the album, it's not a minute too long. This is a progressive metal album in the most true sense of the word and when that amounts to a greatly adventurous, well played and well produced end product, as the case is here, a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

 L'Enfant Sauvage by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 60 ratings

BUY
L'Enfant Sauvage
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by SteveG

4 stars Members familiar with this French band will know that they play Progressive Death Metal with a heavy emphasis on Thrash. Their last studio album, 2012's L'Enfant Sauvage, is as good as it's predecessor, 2008's The Way of All Flesh.

The big jump in the quality of the band's music from 2005's From Mars To Sirius was that it was improved by two factors: better songwriting and greatly improved production values. The improved production values remain for 2012's L' Enfant Sauvage as does the improved songwriting. My only problem with this is that it feels like the band might have hit their plateau in progressing, which always gives me cause for concern with Progressive Death groups.

What is an improvement over 2008's The Way Of All Flesh is the band's improved playing skills. These four gents are firing on all eight cylinders and songs like the lead track Explosia are just what the name implies. The playing, songwrting and vocal performances are explosive on several tracks of this album and are evened out by relatively 'calmer' numbers like Born In Winter before the fireworks start up again.

The album ends on a high note with the strong closing track The Fall. I just hope this band does not get sterile with over producing and other distractions that really is not called for in Extreme/Tech metal.

Now, I have to go back and pretend that I only like old prog. 4 stars for this fine effort.

 Earthborn Evolution by BEYOND CREATION album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.96 | 5 ratings

BUY
Earthborn Evolution
Beyond Creation Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Earthborn Evolution" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Canadian death metal act Beyond Creation. The album was released through Season of Mist in October 2014. Beyond Creation was formed in 2005 and released the generally well received debut full-length studio album "The Aura" in 2011. Bassist Dominic "Forest" Lapointe is also a member of fellow countrymen Augury, B.A.R.F. and Atheretic.

The music on "Earthborn Evolution" pretty much continues the technical/progressive death metal style, which was initiated on "The Aura (2011)". Artists like Augury, Fallujah, and to some extent Obscura are all valid references. What sets Beyond Creation apart from other similar acts is the dominant bass playing by Dominic "Forest" Lapointe, and while the rest of the music is also incredibly well played, it's his playing that's the real highlight on "Earthborn Evolution". It's nothing short of amazing. The rest of the music is fairly standard technical/progressive death metal with tons of tempo- and time signature changes, ultra fast fretboard runs, semi-jazzy guitar solos, and a suiting level of brutality. It's all delivered by true professionals, but the vocals sound a bit soulless to my ears. They are pretty monotone growling, and not even the occasional higher pitched screaming vocal part can save that part of the music from being a bit one-dimensional. Lead vocalist/guitarist Simon Girard gets the job done, but not more than that, and sometimes I get the feeling that the vocals are an afterthought instead of an integrated and important part of the music. That feeling is further enhanced by the fact that there are so much going on at any given time during the albums playing time, that this could easily have been released as an instrumental album.

The material are generally very complex, both in structure and in execution, but that of course won't prove a challenge to fans of this particular death metal style. Not many tracks stand out, as the band focus more on technical playing than they do on hooks, but I'd mention "Sous La Lueur De L'Empereur" as one of the highlights. It's got some memorable themes, and I think the album could have prospered from more tracks like that, featuring more memorable hooks.

When that is said "Earthborn Evolution" is still a high quality release in the genre, featuring high level musicianship, a professional take on composition, and a powerful and clear sounding production, which suits the music perfectly. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Freak Guitar by EKLUNDH, MATTIAS IA album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.40 | 7 ratings

BUY
Freak Guitar
Mattias IA Eklundh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH is a well known guitarist in the inner circles of guitar nerds but hasn't really quite caught on elsewhere and that's a shame because he is so much more than showing off his freakish guitar playing skills. His major influences were Frank Zappa and Ace Frehley of Kiss, so that right there should give an indication of how he loves to mix and meld and since he began music when he was a mere 6 years old, it's no wonder he has become such the accomplished musician that he has. Being from Sweden, MATTIAS has been involved in many musical acts over the years including his first Frozen Eyes to other Swedish bands such as Evergrey and Soilwork. He started his own progressive rock band Freak Kitchen in 1992. That band has released eight albums at the time of this review, but it is his solo albums under the FREAK GUITAR moniker that really get my musical saliva flowing.

Not counting his "real" first solo album under the name Mr. Libido which contained no guitar at all but merely introduced the world EKLUNDH's idiosyncrasies of combining the traditional with the un-, that album was ok but not outstanding, FREAK GUITAR, his first guitar oriented solo album is another case. Although upon first listen i was a tad underwhelmed expecting some bizarre futuristic weirdness of epic proportions, i let go of that but have nonetheless grown very fond of this album over the thirteen years since i first became acquainted with it. Although this is a one-man show, EKLUNDH dedicates extreme scrutiny over every single detail involved here, showing how one man can create a near masterpiece in a bathroom of his parent's house with the most rudimentary of recording equipment. The passion on this one is with a capital P.

The sounds on this one range from the more typical one of the opener "Apparatus" with a hyper-metal attitude with jazz overtones and plenty of eccentric liberties to "Detroit Rock City" which is a Kiss cover only in a Django Rheinhardt gypsy jazz style. The liner notes are meticulous explaining the inspiration behind each track which makes this review easier since there is no guessing involved in the process. Although there are 22 tracks overall, i never get bored with this one. I only ever skip over the intermission piece "Time To Breathe" track which was created to serve as a nice smooth and slow number in order to take a break from the otherwise sometimes frenetic nature of the album. I don't mind a track like this but it is too long and i really don't find this album to be over frenetic in the least bit. In fact i would classify it as a perfect compromise between extreme metal and pop sensibilities albeit in totally original and unforeseen ways.

This album is filled with yumminess. Versions of "La Bamba" and "Detroit Rock City" are divine. There are unapologetic metal rockers a la "Lisa's Passion For Heavy Metal" (Dedicated to a Freak Kitchen track) and "Evil Shower" to weird numbers like "(Friday Afternoon) In A Galaxy Far Away" which is a musical interpretation of a traffic jam (originally titled "A Momentary Extra-Terrestrial Brouhaha On The Corner Of Zfwwapfftz-Street and Pzzfffttt-Street on the relatively Unknown Planet Apple Horn In The Hejsan Svejsan Galaxy." It was supposed to be the single! There are also Swedish folk-metal songs, jazz inspired rock accompanying a narration about "Dr Pangloss Goes To Lisbon" and folky vocal tracks about riding the workplace exercise wheel in "Squirrel." The lyrics, the music and the content in general are brilliant.

Although i really love this album as a whole i do have a few faves of the bunch: "Numb," "The Satanic Moonwalk," "Cornholed," "Evil Shower," "When Sam Played It Again." An absolutely brilliant album that only gets better with time despite loving it upon first listen. OMG! Not only a musician's wet dream but this is crossover enough to really appeal to anybody who has a fetish in the progressive realm of harder edged music. I forgot to mention the more known facts. Steve Vai was so impressed with his musical abilities that he signed him to his Favored Nations label. Enough said. 4.5 rounded WAY up :P

 Blessed He With Boils by XANTHOCHROID album cover Studio Album, 2012
5.00 | 2 ratings

BUY
Blessed He With Boils
Xanthochroid Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Pieromcdo

5 stars What an amazing album probably the best in extreme prog I hear so far this is a requiem a la Opeth with more of a classical side with chord and many different instruments it is just perfect from the smooth soft side to they extreme side Ps there is some growth voice her and there is the rage and the beauty all mix in a perfect matter I got the chance to her a bit off that on bandcamp and it was instant love got both of there album JUST a BIG wow if your a fan of Opeth and you have and open mind for classic music this is a must Just wow wow wow
 The Outer Limits by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.22 | 101 ratings

BUY
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!

Data cached

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
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
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
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
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
DIONAEA United States
DIORAMIC Germany
DIREWOLF United States
DISEMBARKATION Canada
DISFIGURING REALITY Canada
DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Austria
DISILLUSION Germany
DISKORD Norway
DIVINITY Canada
DODECAHEDRON Netherlands
DODHEIMSGARD Norway
DORDEDUH Romania
DOWN I GO United Kingdom
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
GIGAN United States
GLADIATOR United States
GOJIRA France
GOLLUM / HADEA United States
GORGUTS Canada
GOROD France
LE GRAND GUIGNOL Luxembourg
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
INGENIUM Poland
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
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
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
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
ORGONE United States
ORTHRELM United States
OSIRIS Netherlands
OUTCAST France
OWL Germany
PAINTED IN EXILE United States
PANDEMONIUM Sweden
PENSÉES NOCTURNES France
PERSEFONE Andorra
PESTILENCE Netherlands
PHLEBOTOMIZED Netherlands
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
SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLES Canada
SUPURATION France
DAN SWANÖ Sweden
SWIM IN STYX France
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
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
XANTHOCHROID United States
XERATH United Kingdom
YYRKOON France
THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.16 seconds