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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.30 | 1585 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1532 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.25 | 1640 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.33 | 173 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.22 | 532 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.23 | 452 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge Of Sanity
4.26 | 284 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.22 | 312 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.26 | 193 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.18 | 526 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.19 | 418 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.15 | 1058 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.21 | 270 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.16 | 367 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.21 | 183 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.16 | 290 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.12 | 501 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.14 | 350 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.31 | 86 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.18 | 186 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget

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

FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
CITRINITI
Citriniti
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Mass Grave Aesthetics by DEATHSPELL OMEGA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
4.76 | 19 ratings

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Mass Grave Aesthetics
Deathspell Omega Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

5 stars DEATHSPELL OMEGA are notorious for releasing EPs between their full-length albums, however this band has also released non- album material on multi-band splits starting as far back as the year 2000, the same year as the band's debut album "Infernal Battles." The sprawling sonic banter that has been titled MASS GRAVE AESTHETICS made its first debut all the way back in 2005 on the four-way split album "From The Entrails To The Dirt" which was featured as the last track following the bands Malicious Secrets, Antaeus and Mütilation. While this originally was released between the first two installments of the Satanic trilogy albums, the 19 minute 43 second track was released independently as a 2008 EP between the second two episodes of 2007 "Fas-Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum" and 2010's "Paracletus."

The track's epigram was directly taken from the writings of the French satirical poet, anarchist, polemicist, essayist, and translator, Laurent Taihade whose works caused quite a societal stir in 1890s Paris. This excellent track would make Monsieur Taihade proud as it showcases DEATHSPELL OMEGA's supreme rule over the black metal domain with yet another chilling and crushing mix of dark ambient atmospheric creepiness in unholy cahoots with highly technical buzzsaw pyrotechnics blessed by dark angels and Satan himself. The mid-2000s were DSO's most innovative time when they found their own calling and the right techniques for breaking through the crowded black metal world. MASS GRAVE AESTHETICS sits comfortably side by side with "Fas-Ite.." as it incorporates all the same diverse masteries of dark psychological warfare via fear porn in the form of sonic intensity.

MASS GRAVE AESTHETICS begins with crackling static as if Satan himself had portaled from the depths of hell to attend the performance. The now-standard jangly dissonant guitar riffs that take a post-metal cyclical loop build the tension until the sudden onslaught of dissonant bombast allows vocalist Mikko Aspa to narrate the darkened Satanic diatribe and ratchet up the tension while the nuclear blasts of distortion and percussive pummelation are dropped like a bomb. Sudden stops allow the ethereal surreality of choirs tucked away in the background to shine through for brief moments but when the black metal frenzy begins again, the intensity is increased exponentially as every possible juggernaut of black metal fury is implemented. The pattern continues throughout this near 20 minute experience as dark ambient interludes allow blood-curdling industrial sounds to terrorize and gestate fear but always lead back to the most technically demanding and bombastic black metal outbursts of the entire metal universe.

DSO are masters of contrast and on this one-shot track that contains a whole album's worth of intensity, the listener is treated to a series of stylistic shifts with an infinite number of guitar variations, bass grooves and percussive outbursts. The band changes things slowly at first like a slumbering salamander creeping through the dampened forest leaves that have dropped as winter approaches yet can burst into uncontrollable rage at the drop of a hat with impeccable time signature changes finding each musician in tandem and delivering lethal doses of orotundity. This is amongst DSO's most developed works and sits amongst the very top of their canon in terms of not only intensity and technical wizardry but in sheer compositional prowess unlike any others. Like its counterpart "Fas- Ite," MASS GRAVE AESTHETICS is one of the most frightening musical experiences that one can possible imagine where the darkness recesses of the human mind are pried open and sonic demons are allowed to impishly play mischievous tricks on the frail human psyche. Of course i looooove it!

 Demo by LOINCLOTH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2003
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Demo
Loincloth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars Loincloth is an US technical/progressive metal act formed by members of Confessor and Breadwinner. The band was formed in 2000 after Confessor disbanded and released this demo in 2003. 2 of the 4 tracks on the 11:46 minutes long demo are also featured on the "Church Burntings / New Jersey" single also released in 2003. Those two releases were the only releases by the band for many years as bassist Cary Rowells and drummer Steve Shelton returned to Confessor and focused their energy on that band. Loincloth never officially disbanded though and they finally released their debut full-length studio album "Iron Balls of Steel" in January 2012. The album features the same lineup as this 2003 demo. In addition to the above mentioned rhythm section the lineup also includes guitarists Tannon Penland and Pen Rollings. None of the four tracks featured on the demo appeared on the tracklist for "Iron Balls of Steel (2012)".

Stylistically the music on the demo is instrumental technical/progressive metal played by four very skilled musicians. The rhythm section is on fire, delivering varied and powerful technical playing, and the two guitarists follow suit. There are times when the music sounds like 90s Confessor without Scott Jeffrey's distinct sounding high pitched vocals in front, but this is slightly more focused on technical playing and not as doomy as Confessor. The demo is very well produced, featuring a sharp, powerful, and detailed production, which suits the material well.

The material is well written although not instantly memorable as there are very little in the way of melody featured on the compositions. It's pretty cold and clinical in that way, which also provides the material with a gloomy futuristic atmosphere. There's no doubt it's fascinating and intriguing music seen from a technical point of view, but to those who prefer hook laden or melodic oriented music, this could very well turn out to be a hard challenge. For the style this is a quality release though and considering that it's a demo, this sounds surprisingly professional. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Măiastru Sfetnic by NEGURA BUNGET album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.58 | 22 ratings

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Măiastru Sfetnic
Negura Bunget Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars After the ho hum debut album "Zîrnindu-să," the Romanian extreme metal band NEGURĂ BUNGET found the stars aligning on the following EP "Sala Molksa" with the addition of Sol Faur (Cristian Popescu) as the second guitarist which really lifted the band's sound up several notches. Add to that the more sophisticated progressive songwriting techniques as well as a better integrated strain of local folk music elements finding their way into the mix and the band had successfully strayed from mediocrity to becoming one of Eastern Europe's most innovative atmospheric black metal bands. This trend continued on the second full-length album MăIASTRU SFETNIC ("Masterful Guide").

This album shows an even more progressive development in the songwriting with six long tracks that stretch out over the 9 minute mark with the only exception being the 6 minute "A-vînt în abis." Once again Hupogrammos (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Negru (drums) and Sol Faur (bass, guitars) conjure up an aggressive mystical experience that uses aggressive black metal as the template to create lengthy progressive workouts that result in a creepy journey through the Transylvanian forests with spooky atmospheric embellishments coinciding with buzzsaw guitar riffs and pummeling bass and drum rhythmic sections. The experience is augmented with connections to antiquity through the use of Romanian folklore and traditional sounds that would continue to increase up to the band's most famous offering "Om."

At this point the band exists in a rawer form of adrenalized second wave black metal however the music is enshrouded in a mystical brume of symphonic and artistic touches and overall comes off as rather hypnotic despite the orotundity and rage seeping out of every cadence ready to go in for the kill. The opener "Vremea Locului Sortit" sets the stage for the lengthy black metal workouts but tracks such as the idiosyncratic "In-Zvicnirea Apusului" add surprisingly incongruent extras, in this case the inclusion of theremin sounds which as far as i know had never been used in a black metal context up to this point. Despite the second wave black metal template, the compositions are carefully thought out with the atmospheric elements not simply playing in tandem with the aggressive guitar, bass and drums but rather playing together as partners with a greater focus in mind.

While many an extreme metal band with its eye on the progressive prize were implementing more elements of avant-prog and jazzy dissonance, NEGURĂ BUNGET was taking a different route altogether. This band was opting to retain the melodic and aggressive aspects of bands like Emperor and simply tease them out into much more epic runs, therefore the playing times were lengthening and the compositional sophistication came through the variations between the nooks and crannies. The production while filthy and raw, still feels frosted over by a fresh falling of icy cold snow but also portends that monsters are at large and awaiting any unsuspecting passers-by to succumb to their predatory nature. The music all in all is ominous and creepy but maintains an easily accessible stylistic approach. The vocals while exclusively in the raspy shouted camp are buried beneath the din and emerge from the pits of hell to deliver an anguished torturous frenzy.

There are many atmospheric metal albums that can sound cheesy but not the case with MăIASTRU SFETNIC which successfully integrates the elements into the filthy rawness without ruining their menacing effect. This is a great album to get lost in as the repetitive tracks meander on but change things up just enough as to prevent tedium from setting in. This is actually a really great black metal album that paved the way for the 21st century scene and single handedly put Romanian black metal on the map. While not as masterful and mind-blowingly beautiful as the band's magnum opus "Om," MăIASTRU SFETNIC is an excellent slice of amazingly consistent black metal that cops an Eastern European epic flair and displays the vast improvement of musicianship since the band's 90s output.

 Season In Silence by SADIST album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.44 | 23 ratings

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Season In Silence
Sadist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Season in Silence" is the 6th full-length studio album by Italian technical/progressive death metal act Sadist. The album was released through Scarlet Records in March 2010. Sadist were formed in 1990 and while they´ve never achieved any notable commercial success, they are still widely considered among the most prolific technical/progressive death metal acts out of Italy. They were originally active from 1990 to 2001 where they disbanded, but reunited in 2005 and released their 5th full-length studio album in 2007 (an eponymously titled release). So "Season in Silence" is their second album after their comeback. "Season in Silence" is a concept album with a lyrical theme involving subjects like childhood innocense, nightmares, and examination of nature.

Stylistically the music on the album is technical/progressive death metal featuring aggressive "core" tinged growling vocals. Keyboards also have a dominant place in the soundscape. The riffs are both culled from the death- and thrash metal books of playing. While the album certainly belongs in the technical/progressive death metal camp, Sadist generally restrain themselves, so this is not a tech metal fest and the song structures are generally not overtly complex. Sadist always favored atmosphere over technical playing and continues to do so on "Season in Silence".

The material on the 12 track, 46:34 minutes long album is relatively well written and effectful, but overall it lacks a bit in the memorability department. The band are very well playing, but it´s like they struggle to come up with some really memorable hooks. The general quality of the songwriting is decent enough, but you just get the feeling that musicians of this high class, could have produced music a little more catchy. "Season in Silence" features a powerful and clear sound production, which suits the music well, so it´s a quality release on most parameters. The songwriting does drag my rating down a bit, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Kur-Nu-Gi-A  by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1990
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Kur-Nu-Gi-A
Edge Of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Kur-Nu-Gi-A" is the 2nd demo cassette tape by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The demo was self- released in 1990. Edge of Sanity were formed in 1989 and relatively quickly released their first demo cassette tape "Euthanasia (1989)". "Kur-Nu-Gi-A" was originally limited to 500 copies, but when they sold out, 500 additional copies were made (featuring a slightly different cover artwork).

The demo features 6 tracks and a full playing time of 20:06 minutes. All tracks would appear in re-recorded (and in some cases re-arranged) versions on future studio albums. "Decepted by the Cross", "Maze of Existence", and "Immortal Souls" on "Nothing but Death Remains (1991)", "Beyond the Unknown" and "The Day of Maturity" on "Unorthodox (1992)", and "Serenade for the Dead" on "The Spectral Sorrows (1993)".

Stylistically Edge of Sanity have now shed all 80s thrash metal influences (which "Euthanasia (1989)" featured in smaller doses) and the music on "Kur-Nu-Gi-A" is 100% pure death metal. Even this early on Edge of Sanity was not a standard old school Swedish death metal act. Their compositions were generally more sophisticated and adventurous (at times even semi-progressive) than what most of their contemporaries produced.

"Kur-Nu-Gi-A" features a raw and lo-fi produced sound quality, which may lack a bit in the detail department, but makes up for it in raw and brutal charm. Dan Swan''s growling vocals are slightly more intelligible on "Kur-Nu-Gi-A" than the case was on "Euthanasia (1989)", but he still doesn't sound as unique as he does on the succeeding studio albums. I'd say he's about half way there though. The band are fairly well playing although especially the guitars sound a bit untight at times. Even a bit out of tune too.

The general quality of the material is decent enough, but it's mostly "Decepted by the Cross" and "Maze of Existence" which showcase the future brilliance of Edge of Sanity. The rest is more standard quality death metal and upon conclusion a 3 star (60%) rating isn't all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Algorythm by BEYOND CREATION album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Algorythm
Beyond Creation Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is the third album from Canadian technical death metal act Beyond Creation, but it isn't hard to also why they are listed on PA as yet again we have a band pushing musical boundaries. While the band for the most part is similar in many ways to the likes of Nile, with complex intertwined blistering guitar passages combined with over the top drum fills, and vocals which are guttural and raw, what really makes this stand out for me is the bass. I guess that Hugo Doyon-Karout knows he is playing in an extreme metal act, but someone seems to have forgotten to have told him what his role is supposed to be, as not only is he playing a fretless bass, but he is all over the place. Sometimes he joins in with the guitars on the complex interchanges, leaving drummer Philippe Boucher to keep it all together by himself, while at others he has the temerity to play lead solos over the top of Simon Girard and K'vin Chartr'. Doesn't he know that the role of a bassist is to provide the platform for others, not be at the forefront of what is going on?

Needless to say, the result makes for an incredibly fascinating and interesting album, as one is never sure what is going to happen next, and the warmth of the fretless bass provides direct contrast to the often-staccato guitars. Due to his role in the band, the bass is also mixed higher than one would normally expect, so the gap is between the drums and everything else, as opposed to drums and bass being kept together. This gives the sound a lightness as the bass is often providing counterpoint as opposed to locking down the sound, this means that when he starts playing in a more normal manner the dynamic contrast is higher than would otherwise be the case. But, notes are still often being slid into as opposed to being punched in the manner one would expect from the fretted instrument. Although it may seem I am saying this is all about Hugo, nothing could be further from the truth as this feels like an incredibly complex structured album where everyone knows their part, it is just a different structure to the norm. Well worthy of investigation.

 Alta by ACOLYTE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 5 ratings

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Alta
Acolyte Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars Acolyte were formed in Manchester in 2008 by guitarist Malekh and JT. After working on music for a while they became a quintet, releasing their debut EP 'Leng' in 2011. It took another couple of years for them to finally release this, their debut album, 'Alta', by which time the line-up was settled with the duo joined by Paul (bass), Brady (drums) and Chris (lead guitars). Although black metal is at the heart of what they do, I have also seen them called "progressive black metal", "blackened groove metal" and "extreme prog metal" so whatever they are doing they don't fit neatly into the normal view of the scene. The reason for the confusion is that although for the most part they do indeed fit very neatly into the centre of black metal, there is more than "just" that going on.

Within their songs they shift from the guttural and abrasive to sections which are far more melodic, almost jazz-like, making one think of the late Sixties scene which is very different indeed to the rest of what is going on. Also, although they are using buzzsaw riffs, they have defined breaks and use stylistic shifts which are far more reminiscent of hard rock than of the black metal scene. Strangely, each time I start playing this album I feel it is far more basic than I remember and not as interesting or dynamic as I remembered, but as it continues to play I shift my opinion and by the end of it I am yet again a confirmed fan. JT may have the gruff and raw vocal attack favoured by many, but he is much more melodic with far clearer diction than many, which also adds to the impression that although they are a metal band, black metal is far more of a passion than it is a defining all consuming genre for them. Overall this is very interesting album indeed.

 Between The Buried And Me by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.94 | 78 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars The debut album by progressive metal powerhouse Between The Buried and Me is a textbook example of a debut putting a band's potential on full display while simulaneously showing a lot of room to grow. Rather than prog metal, this definitely feels more in line with metalcore in its general sound, but it manages to avoid being generic both through the impressive instrumental talents of the band, and the labyrinthine nature of their songs, shifting wildly with reckless abandon, at times only sticking with a set riff for mere seconds before transforming. This proves to be both a positive and negative, as while it sometimes works, there are other times where it feels very much clear that the band still don't quite know how to write effectively at points, leading to certain songs feeling quite aimless.

More Of Myself To Kill immediatley displays the wild nature of the compositions, with immediate screaming and switching between 2 separate riffs a couple of times before changing tempo immediately, becoming progressively slower until it resembles slow, chugging djent. Throughout, the drumming is what stands out most to me, going between fast bursts, but never sounding like more of the same, constantly changing time signature and being able to sound amazingly precise and loose at the same time. The song then becomes slower and introduces some clean vocals, which while nothing special, still work really well here, and provide some beauty to the relentless nature of what came before, all before building back up into amazing intensity, but now with some actual riffs to back it up, giving something to latch on to. One issue with this song and future ones is that I do find the harsh vocals to often sound quite poor, and while that works in the context of the very raw sound going on here, I still think that this would sound much better with better vocals and production. Arsonist starts off even stronger, with the first section of the song containing an absolutely incredible riff, with the harsh vocals serving more as mad screams of anger rather than anything coherent, which actually works quite well here. I also find the breakdown halfway through to be amazing, as it somehow intensifies the song further. Aspirations is a definite improvement, showcasing both some parts even more intense and brutal than before, particular in the vocal department, as Tommy Rogers sounds like he's tearing his throat out here, and that moment of softness near the end ties everything together amazingly. What We Have Become is definitely one of the weakest songs here, as it does nothing particularly interesting and becomes very dull very quickly.

Fire For A Dry Mouth is by far one of the angriest songs the band has ever put out, each moment simply radiating pure fury, bordering on becoming scary. The mix on this song actually works quite effectively as well, with the final minute accentuating the bass and providing a different sound to everything else. The 2 minute intro to Naked By The Computer is excellent, both being incredibly beautiful and making for a perfect transition into the madness of the remaining 3 minutes. The song carries more emotional weight than the others as well, with both the lyrics and the music contributing to this, especially the breathtaking final minute. Use Of A Weapon is another lower point on the album, simply because at this point, something new has to be done in order to stand out from the insanity of everything else, and this song simply doesn't do anything special. Shevanel Cut A Flip on the other hand is definitely one of the highlights of the album starting off just as intensely, but with a certain unhinged nature to it, especially noticeable in the random restaurant conversation thrown in before jumping right back in. I find this to be the first proper example of the quirkier side of the band that would be explored in much greater depth on future albums. The best moment for sure however is the gradual removal of all heavy elements until the song becomes absolutely beautiful, keeping nothing more than a minimalistic drum beat and lovely, interweaving acoustic guitar work, as the clean vocals come in and help create my personal favourite moment on the album, along with an incredible way to close it off.

Overall, while I initially had little praise to give this album, after giving it a few listens, it's grown on me immensely. While it's definitely rough around the edges, both the skill of each band member, and the complex, high quality compositions really stand out after a few listens, where everything no longer just sounds like meaningless noise. The album has an excellent duality between looseness and precision, having a very messy, yet calculated sound to everything. While this is the last place I'd recommend someone start listening to BTBAM, I cannot deny the fact that this album is very good, despite the lack of polish it has.

Best songs: More Of Myself To Kill, Naked By The Computer, Shevanel Cut A Flip

Weakest songs: What We Have Become, Use Of A Weapon

Verdict: While a very unpolished album in many respects, everything still somehow falls into place to make a largely great album. I'd recommend this to fans of chaotic, brutal, raw music, as this album contains all the stuff that would be enjoyable for such a crowd.

 Euthanasia by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.05 | 2 ratings

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Euthanasia
Edge Of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Euthanasia" is the first demo cassette tape released by Swedish death metal act Edge of Sanity. The demo was self-released in November 1989. The tape was released with three different artwork colour variations. One with a black/white cover, one with a red/black cover, and one with a blue/black cover.

"Euthanasia" features 5 tracks and a full playing time of 10:52 minutes. "Return of Consciousness" is a short intro, but the remaining four tracks are "regular" death metal tracks. This is of course early death metal and therefore there are strong thrash metal leanings in the music too. Many of the riffs and rhythms are more in the thrash metal camp than in the death metal ditto. Dan Swanö´s vocals are death metal growls though. The intro, "Pernicious Anguish" and "Disrupting the Inhabitants" are exclusive to this release, while "Human Aberration" would appear in a re-recorded version on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Nothing but Death Remains (1991)", and "Incipience to the Butchery" would be featured in a re-recorded version on the band´s second full-length "Unorthodox (1992)".

The musicianship is decent for a first demo, but not everything is played as tight as it could have been. Swanö had not yet developed his disctinct sounding intelligible growling vocal style either, so his vocals here are more standard unintelligible growling. The material is overall of a relatively good quality and especially the two tracks which made it unto studio albums display that even this early on Edge of Sanity had some pretty unconventional ideas, although in small doses on this release.

The sound production is raw and lo-fi, but the band have gotten the most out of the recording equipment they had at their disposal, and "Euthanasia" is generally listenable. Upon conclusion "Euthanasia" is certainly a promising first demo by Edge of Sanity and considering the time of release, the music is quite advanced for a death metal demo. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Sala Molksa by NEGURA BUNGET album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
2.75 | 9 ratings

BUY
Sala Molksa
Negura Bunget Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars After the debut album 'Z'rnindu-să' was released in 1996, NEGURĂ BUNGET went from a duo to a trio after guitarist Sol Faur (Cristian Popescu) joined the group and offered his own sensibilities which heightened the Romanian folklore and creativity clearly absent from the debut. The new lineup released their first material in 1998 in the form of the EP titled SALA MOLKSA which found not only a better production job that allowed the atmospheric possibilities to match the creepiness of the darkened Carpathian fog from which the band took its name but also found the band incorporating the wealth of Romanian folk music into the compositions that teased the synthesizers into emulating traditional flutes as well as adding more diverse dynamics, tempos and variation.

SALA MOLKSA consisted of five tracks each titled in the impenetrable Romanian language which makes it all the more mysterious and as nebulous as the cloud covered forest that surround the band's native city of Timişoara. With a second guitarist, NEGURĂ BUNGET took the extreme metal to new heights. The guitar fury was turned up to the max, the bass lines were now separated as to be heard under the buzzsaw guitar feedback and the drumming became more ferocious with a new found purpose rather than just keeping the beat. Most importantly the compositions were more nuanced with more progressive developments and most importantly the keyboards were balanced as to provide an eerie sonic haze and evolving light years beyond the cheesy kid stuff from the debut album.

Not only had NEGURĂ BUNGET turned up the black metal riffage to Bathory level but achieved a balance with the atmospheric touches that would make Emperor proud as the symphonic orchestration mix harmoniously with nary a flaw. Best of all the tracks were no longer predictable second wave black metal and each track stood proud on its own as it ferociously fused the fury of the Scandinavian northlands with the dark and macabre folklore of the Carpathian occult world. On SALA MOLKSA, NEGURĂ BUNGET displayed their potential well and were finally hinting at the magical musical mojo was lurking beneath the surface and awaiting a more refined approach that would result in albums like 'OM.' Add to that a huge leap in technical proficiency that showed the musicianship hitting their stride.

SALA MOLKSA is a frenetic beast that no longer feels like the ugly stepchild of the bigger, badder and better produced black metal leaders of the north but rather a declaration that a new brand of black metal has stepped into the ring and taking the roller coaster ride in a new direction. This EP was that statement that launched NEGURĂ BUNGET into the position as Romania's best musical output Timişoara's other claim to fame, the 70s progressive rock band Phoenix. While 'Z'rnindu-să' showed a fledgling band getting its feet wet, SALA MOLKSA shows a band coming of age and although not creating the magnum opus of their career, nevertheless conjured up an excellent slab of atmospherically fueled black metal fury that crafted four strong ferocious tracks and a short ending track that pointed listeners into the direction of where things were going.

Everything about SALA MOLSKA is a step up from its predecessor. The melodies are more hauntingly beautiful, the black metal ferociousness is unhinged and electrified manyfold and the pacing of the tracks keeps this one interesting for its entire run. The EP was released initially on cassette in Romania and the following year found a release on CD. It also was included on the 2004 Box Set in its entirety and after NEGURĂ BUNGET rise to success was re-recorded and released once again in 2008. The EP appears on the band's Bandcamp page and both versions are presented side by side for comparison. Frankly i'm not too keen on re-recordings but whatever. This original is just fine by me. Black metal doesn't need to be and on the contrary actually works better in a lo-fi setting. Musically this one is brilliant and sonically the textures meld together perfectly. A huge leap forward indeed.

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