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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.33 | 1287 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1322 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.24 | 1225 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 662 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.39 | 119 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.25 | 418 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.24 | 361 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.22 | 437 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.26 | 252 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.24 | 221 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.23 | 228 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.18 | 283 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.24 | 153 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.23 | 142 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.15 | 334 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.14 | 434 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.18 | 184 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.15 | 228 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.19 | 154 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.17 | 181 ratings
ISA
Enslaved

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 ObZen by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.68 | 189 ratings

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ObZen
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

1 stars Keep in mind that my rating is actually 1.5 stars for this one.

If there's anything a band like Meshuggah's especially known for, it's how consistent they've been with their sound over the years. Much of their work has used their second effort Destroy Erase Improve as the general template, subtly evolving in different ways with each passing record. Unfortunately, one negative aspect of such a strategy is the band's tendency of sounding a touch too repetitive and sometimes resting on their laurels. Their 2005 album Catch Thirtythree, while boasting hints of jazz fusion, was a good example of the group's sound starting to become somewhat stale. So what did the Swedish metal legends unleash with 2009's Obzen? Absolute trash.

Meshuggah have always been a highly regarded group in terms of the instrumentalists' talents, but that does have the occasion of backfiring on a band; unfortunately, that is exactly the case with Obzen. Everything sounds too calculated, too artificial, too cold. While this style is present in other genres/bands (obviously technical death metal is generally infamous for such an approach), almost all of Obzen sounds as if it wasn't recorded by a band, but rather an assembly line of musical parts. The semblance of passion and general energy of previous records is replaced by robotic, by-the-numbers extreme metal that's almost completely devoid of any surprises or stand-out moments (or stand-out tracks, for that matter).

Fortunately, the shining light leading the darkness is the opening number "Combustion." The track is reminiscent of older Meshuggah records such as Contradictions Collapse or the aforementioned Destroy Erase Improve, opting for an extremely thrash-esque method of starting the album. Jens Kidman's voice sounds as angry as ever, and the musicians play with an exceptionally commanding presence. The solo is also a nice aspect, highlighting Frederik Thordendal's agility while also showcasing a nice sense of variety in his playing. Unfortunately though, the song only lasts four minutes. The album that follows is an overly homogeneous trainwreck that is only saved by a few choice moments.

While the band members do nothing particularly offensive to get such a low rating, my biggest criticism comes right down to the songwriting itself. Much of the album appears to be on autopilot, right down to the riffs that these songs revolve around. Let's take the title track, for example; while the doomy nature of the opening A- tuned riff is promising, the first "verse" section is completely uninteresting and leaves a lot to be desired. Jens' vocals sound too aggressive for what's being played, and lack of any embellishments to add to the precise riff make the portion sound unfinished and even unneeded. Moments like these are littered about the album, perhaps reaching a peak with the biggest travesty on the album, "Bleed." "Bleed," considered by many to be one of Meshuggah's greatest songs in their most recent work, leaves me completely baffled about why it is so revered. While repetition can be done extremely well in music (see: Opeth, Earth, Lightning Bolt, etc.), "Bleed" preys on one's boredom much more quickly. The main motif is very bland and leaves little to the imagination, and while Thomas Haake's drumming is usually a highlight in the band's music, it's tough to get invested in his drumming on this one. Even when the song speeds up, everything sounds just as mechanical as it did before. The polyrhythms in the song aren't particularly interesting, especially when the band pounds them into your head 50,000 times, and the solo happens to be one of the tune's only saving graces. On top of all this, the song is over seven minutes long... again, not a very wise investment in the long run.

Considering so much of the review was spent on just a few songs and the vast majority of the album contains the same style, you can imagine I have an absolute trove of problems with this record. Judging by the 1.5, this is definitely true, but I must mention that I didn't want to hate this album. You may not take issue with what criticisms I brought up, and if not, more power to you; the album certainly managed to strike a chord with a large amount of metal fans. I, for one, find it to be a pretty atrocious and dispassionate piece of blandness. Despite the band members' talents, the record they made is an exercise in pure frustration and unnecessary repetition.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Psycroptic by PSYCROPTIC album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.82 | 3 ratings

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Psycroptic
Psycroptic Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Psycroptic" is the eponymously titled 6th full-length studio album by Australian death metal act Psycroptic. The album was released through Prosthetic Records in March 2015 and is the successor to "The Inherited Repression" from 2012. While especially drummer David Haley has been quite busy in recent years with other projects (Pestilence, The Amenta, Ruins... among others), he and the other three guys in Psycroptic have still found time to have a relatively steady release cycle for Psycroptic. They've also managed to have a steady lineup since "Symbols of Failure" from 2006, when Jason Peppiatt replaced original singer Matthew "Chalky" Chalk.

Psycroptic started out playing a relatively brutal type of technical death metal, but they've slowly changed their style over the years towards a more groove oriented techncial death metal style with "core" leanings. The core element is mostly due to Peppiatt's vocal style which ranges from brutal growling to more aggressive core tinged vocals. The instrumental part of the music is groove oriented technical death metal. While listening to the album I pictured what it would sound like if Decapitated and Lamb of God teamed up for a project.

Psycroptic are very skilled performers and while the core tinged vocals is probably an obstacle for some, the execution of the music is really something to behold. These guys can both groove and do it while playing some technically advanced riffs and rhythms. There's an organic atmosphere to the proceedings which is greatly enjoyable, and which is helped further along by the well sounding and for the style rather organic toned production.

The material on the 9 track, 37:45 minutes long album is also relatively varied, and it doesn't take more than a few spins to be able to tell the tracks apart. This is one of the issues I've had with some of Psycroptic's earlier releases, but they've stepped up here, and this self-titled release is overall a really strong effort by Psycroptic. A 4 star (80%) rating isn't all wrong.

 Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue) by BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2006
3.71 | 31 ratings

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Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (Re-issue)
Behold...The Arctopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

4 stars Before anything else, this HAS to be said first. Brooklyn, New York is the last place you would expect to find a technical/prog band. New York, however, has covered some prog bands, and some quite successful ones at that, including Dream Theater and Spock's Beard. They've both received lots of attention, even the former getting MTV airplay. What makes Behold... the Arctopus different, though, is that they break any conventions of aforementioned two bands, and instead take a more technical route.

So before the review, be warned that this is not exactly as much an album as an E.P. with demos and live songs.

The album opens but very harshly and aggressively, signalling that this band will be very unexpected. The beginning pounds out of the gate with drums blasting, and guitars and bass/warr guitar taking the forefront. Exospacial Psyonic Aura sets the tone quite well. After the brutal opening, some speed metal riffing takes place, along with jazzy rhythms to support it all. In the middle of this song, there's a very neat jazz interlude with subdued textures. This portion of the song can remind one of the early tech/death bands such as Atheist, Death or Cynic. Don't hold your breath for too long, though, as the intensity builds back up for a smashing conclusion to a great opener.

Estrogen/Pathogen Exchange Program is very... interesting. The Estrogen part is mainly comprised of dark, brooding synthesizers, with some bass mixed in. Soon enough, the guitar enters and makes this song even heavier. After a long dissonant chord at 2:32, the bass and drums kick off to the start off Pathogen Exchange Program. The rest of the song is standard tech metal fare, but of course with BTA's signature style. The next song Sensory Amusia begins abruptly, just as the first. In fact, this song is very closely related to the first, for this reason and for another jazz interlude in this one too. Again, the intensity builds up, but this time a crazy fuzzled noise part comes in, and some listeners may want to avert their ears.

Then it leads to the highlight, Alcoholocaust. This song is very short, at a mere 2:50, but not to worry because there is a LOT going on in this song. It begins with a very technical riff that could remind someone of Mick Barr's work, notably with Orthrelm. After this though, it turns into one of the most melodic songs here, with melody and technicality sharing equal aplomb. When it gets to the solo, everything just gets chaotic, with Mike Lerner's wild guitar parts going all over the place, while bassist Colin Marston provides a good backbone. It then just goes for a melodic conclusion. Great song.

Finally, we get to the last studio track, You will be Reincarnated as an Imperial Attack Spaceturtle. Phew, long name! Anyway, this song is the longest one here, clocking in at 8:27. Once again, a melodic prog metal riff strikes first, but soon gets intensely technical. The interesting part about this song is the "Pause, start, pause" method they use in the middle, when they keep stopping their playing for a short period of time. A nice bass solo also accompanies this song in a 4/4 spot. Plus, there is another break just for Mike Lerner when he does 9 arpeggio chords.

The last four tracks are just live versions of these songs minus "Estrogen...". These are ok live, but they have much worse quality, and it would've been great to hear some new material by the band, instead of a rehash. However, Skullgrid, their first full album, came out already, and apparently has new songs.

Again, while this is a short album/long E.P., it provides quality work from a growing band. Sure, there are some rough patches here and there(especially on Sensory Amusia), but it still does not take away from how great this band's potential is.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Target Earth by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.89 | 65 ratings

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Target Earth
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

4 stars Few metal bands have inspired as much intrigue as Voivod; the progressive thrash outfit were responsible for some of the most unusual records of the 80's and 90's. Combining the ferocity of speed metal, the eclectic and technical nature of progressive rock, and fascinating lyrics about science fiction and war, Voivod seemed poised to revolutionize the metal scene. While they didn't exactly connect well with the mainstream crowd during their "heyday" (their most successful record, Nothingface, reached only 114 on the Billboard 200 chart), they certainly gained a bevy of loyal hardcore fans nonetheless. Even with a few weak experiments here and there (the band's industrial years come to mind), fans of progressive rock and thrash alike were starting to notice Voivod's efforts one-by-one. Perhaps that's why the death of the group's legendary guitarist Piggy in 2005 resonated with so many of those fans. Piggy was practically the sound of Voivod, giving that atonal, angular sound that made the band so notable in the first place. So what was next? Would Voivod be gone forever? Would they create a record that would completely alter their sound altogether and alienate their fanbase?

Thankfully, neither of these scenarios are the case here. Recruiting new guitarist Daniel Mongrain (a.k.a. Chewy), Voivod decided to press on and released a record of all-new material, Target Earth. Thankfully, Chewy has a style very similar to Piggy, so his work feels warmly familiar when trying to fit in with the other members. Musically, Target Earth strikes a balance between the aggression of 1987's Killing Technology and the dark, atmospheric side of 1989's Nothingface; as such, the whole experience sounds like a reboot of the band's old discography, as if the industrial 90's records never existed. The band also return to the sci-fi lyricism and eerie guitar dissonance as well, along with irregular drum patterns an unorthodox bass lines. With all of this in mind, Target Earth is something of a rehash, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; in this case, it's welcome for the most part. Songs like the opening title track, "Warchaic", and "Kaleidos" exhibit these familiar strengths in full form, with all of Voivod's expected quality present. While the instrumentation is more of the same, Snake's vocal attack is, well, just that. An attack. The vocalist hasn't sounded this confident and energetic in years, and he displays a great deal of the thrash style he utilized on old Voivod records such as War and Pain and Rrroooaaarrr. Along with this, he also brings out the progressive years of the band, with his spacey droning mixing in with the aforementioned thrash barks. This results in a great deal of vocal contrast and diversity. "Empathy For the Enemy" sees both Snake and the instrumentalists going for a creepy atmosphere, with drawn out clean guitar lines and unpredictable drumming patterns mixing with Snake's Pink Floyd-esque spacey vocal work. Then there's "Kluskap O'Kom," which opts for a direct speed metal assault; the aggressive vocal style is mixed in with 80's thrash with hints of progressive rock and punk music, and the song moves at a wonderful pace.

Unfortunately, the album has its flaws. The biggest one is the fact that so much of the record sounds so familiar to the band's heyday. It shouldn't be a big problem, but it gets frustrating; there were numerous instances where I was able to pinpoint what would happen next in the music because it's, well, same ol' Voivod. There are definitely differences, such as a bigger emphasis on jazz fusion with this record, but they're still overshadowed by familiarity in the end. Also, while Chewy is a great guitarist, Piggy's absence is definitely felt. Only Piggy himself was capable of utilizing his trademark guitar work to full effect, and even Chewy fills his spot effectively, it just simply doesn't sound the same.

Even with that said, Target Earth does manage to be a great return to form for the boys in Voivod. They've come a long way, and it's remarkable to hear such a good record from a band who lost their most important member. Even with Piggy's death, the band were still able to churn out an excellent record out with their trademark style and lyricism. With all the members turning in solid performances and the compositions being familiar-yet-fresh, this is one of the first great albums of 2013. Voivod, I applaud you for continuing to press on and release such high-quality material.

(Note: this review was originally published in 2013)

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Heritage by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.84 | 1015 ratings

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Heritage
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

4 stars On September 14th, 2011, Opeth brought forth the unexpected. Once a group supposedly impervious to criticism and showered with praise from critics and fans alike, their tenth effort Heritage displayed to us all that even the most sacred of musical cows could be brought down to size. It's not like a more subdued style wasn't tried before by the band, judging by the even-softer Damnation back in 2003 - what caused the backlash here? In fact, Heritage has much stronger roots in classic progressive rock, each song sounding as if it's a tribute to Mikael's past influences - hence the album title. Each song exudes either classic 70s progressive rock, folk, jazz fusion, metal, or a combination of any (or all) of these influences to create a more satisfying and diverse package than a number of the band's previous efforts, each song an interesting experiment in the band's fresh new direction. The lone piano of the intro tune is an immediate sign of Opeth's change in pace, but "The Devil's Orchard" comes out of the gate with its toned-down guitar distortion and precise rhythms of drummer Martin Axenrot - and that's where you start to notice the serious changes in style.

The band aren't letting their musical fury loose with any massive death metal segments on this record (or perhaps anymore, given the sound of the new release Pale Communion), instead preferring more balanced and natural dynamic variations within each piece. One of the common complaints given to Heritage is that things tend to "blend together" after a while, but this is ironically one of its greatest assets. Gone are the abrupt changes in tempo and volume to slide each musical "block" into its compositional slot, each song instead balancing its changes more fluidly. "I Feel the Dark" eventually reaches a climactic flourish of heavy guitars and keyboard chords, but it has an entire quiet acoustic guitar portion to build up to this moment. Either this, or the songs are simply consistent with their moods and styles. Closer "Marrow of the Earth" is just fantastic in the way it concludes things in such a melancholic fashion, the sparsely adorned instrumental folk ballad serving as a reflection of all that was heard on the record prior to it. Or there's "Slither" which garners the title of being the heaviest and most straightforward effort here, much of the guitar riffing and drum work resembling classic speed metal. While the more long-winded tracks tend to lose their way or end up being slightly boring (I'm looking at you, "Famine"), they don't detract a whole lot from what's on Heritage. When you're walking along a sunny road and suddenly it snows out of nowhere, what do you do: adapt with the weather change or give in to your struggle with the elements? Opeth, musically speaking, were presented with a similar scenario with Heritage. Do they take the progressive elements of Watershed and reconstruct those influences into something really different, or do they continue making the same progressive death metal that has served them well over the years and give in to what the metal-oriented fans want? Thankfully, Opeth adapted to the stylistic changes featured in Watershed and took them to a new level of adventurousness with Heritage. If you didn't like it the first time around, I implore you to try it again... it takes a while to unravel, but ends up being one of modern progressive rock's more rewarding gems.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.76 | 742 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

2 stars It's fair to say that some bands are better within their comfort zone than others; from the moment Opeth's debut Orchid came out, their goal has presumably been to bring 70s progressive rock and folk-oriented beauty to the normally extreme nature of death metal. Whereas bands like Tristania and Within Temptation would use the "Beauty and the Beast" approach to contrasting vocal dynamics/styles, Opeth essentially brought this concept to their instrumentation. In one song alone, you could get a fast death metal riff, a soothing acoustic segment, some light jazz touches here and there in the soloing, the occasional classical detour, some occasional black metal screams (mainly in their early work), the list goes on. Well, around the time the band's fourth effort Still Life came out and had a more polished sound, it felt as though we were entering a new chapter in their career. While Blackwater Park was a more than solid successor to Still Life, sadly the following two efforts weren't.

Deliverance and Damnation were released to showcase the band's heavy side and light side, respectively. While Deliverance has a few songs similar to Damnation, its main focus is on heavy distorted riffing and an emphasis on Mikael Akerfeldt's inhuman growling. Damnation, on the other hand, was more focused on mellotron-laden 70s progressive rock with a strong emphasis on its melancholic atmosphere. While both albums are terribly flawed, Deliverance seems to be the weaker effort in the long run; why? Well, to get straight to the point, the album is split into two halves. One of them is great; the other one's awful. It's one of the very few albums I've ever heard where it's literally split down the middle in terms of quality, and it makes for an extremely frustrating and ultimately average experience.

The first half is where things really shine; here, we have "Wreath," the title track, and "A Fair Judgement." Every song here exceeds the ten-minute mark, some more deserving of a long length than others. "Wreath" is probably the song that suffers the most from length here, but at least there's enough to keep you on your toes. The beginning riff is definitely an odd way to open up an album for starters; while it has that 12/8 time signature Opeth is obsessed with, the drums are a bit off-kilter when combined with the guitar work. They constantly switch between a weird rhythm with off-beat snare drum placements and the typical swinging rhythm Opeth normally utilize. Anyway, while the beginning sounds quite intimidating, the song quickly goes into a melancholic set of melodic guitar patterns. Unfortunately, this part does go on for a bit too long and even the solos aren't really interesting enough to justify each set of chord changes. Luckily, a pretty nifty speed metal section (!) picks up the pace with a guitar solo that almost sounds middle-eastern in execution. Anyway, the song's flawed but definitely great. The reason so much of this writing was spent on "Wreath" is that the rest of the album is quite similar in style, for better or for worse. The only deviations from this are the more subdued piano-driven "A Fair Judgement" and the interlude "For Absent Friends." The title track, however, is the best example of the Opeth formula done well on this album. With a nice mix between wonderfully dissonant guitar patterns, sorrowful acoustic guitar picking at choice moments, and a healthy amount of tempo changes to spice things up, this song pretty marks the direction the overall album should have taken. The song also showcases Akerfeldt's clean vocals more, since the folkier moments almost always call for them; that's always a plus. The main riff sounds deliciously evil, switching between dissonant guitar melodies in different keys to create a dark and eerie mood. "A Fair Judgement" is the curveball of the album when you get down to it, trading in the growls and overall brutality for a beautiful piano ballad. While it does get louder later on, as power ballads go, the song keeps focus until the very end. Similar to Damnation, this song maintains a consistently sorrowful atmosphere as the cleanly-spaced piano chords are constantly ascending and descending between two keys to create "peaks and valleys" mood-wise. The overall piece is just as well composed as the two that came before it, and serves as a nice conclusion to Side 1.

Unfortunately, here's where the real [&*!#] begins. "For Absent Friends," "Master's Apprentices," and "By the Pain I See in Others" are the songs on the second side, and absolutely kill what the album might have been going for. "For Absent Friends," while refreshingly short, doesn't really have a purpose on the album other than being an average interlude. The continuation of the soft ballad-esque ideas from "A Fair Judgement" is nice, though. However, I can't even begin to describe how awful "Master's Apprentices" is. Not only does it just plod and plod and plod, but nothing about it leaves any impression whatsoever. It doesn't have nearly as much atmosphere as the title track, not nearly as much tempo variation as "Wreath," and certainly not nearly as much interest in dynamics as "A Fair Judgement" did. Most of the heavier portion of the song consists of multiple variations on its already-dull main riff, and the band members sound like they're simply going through the motions as there are never any instrumental surprises. The clean vocals around the 4-minute mark at least offer something different from the monotony, but that more-melodic section's very short-lived. As with many of their songs, the middle contains a folkier segment to lighten up the distortion, but it sounds like it could have been switched out with any other acoustic segment Opeth have performed. There's nothing really noteworthy except for some ambient guitar effects that arch over the acoustic strumming. The entire song is just plain horrendous, and it's baffling to me that it's still so acclaimed by the band's fanbase. "By the Pain I See in Others" isn't much better either, as it could have ended around the four-minute mark. Admittedly, the song doesn't start badly at all; in fact, the melodic line kicking it off sounds very inspired and suitably dark. The verses are a little odd, with distorted growling combined with soft acoustic guitar work, and the "choruses" (if you can call them that) are thunderous and almost akin to speed metal with the tempo they shift to. On top of this, the breakdown that follows is absolutely crushing, combining double bass and fast guitar picking with that speed metal-esque tempo mentioned before. However, this is where the song should have ended. The rest of the song is, for lack of a better way to say it, really damn boring. It rehashes all of the ideas from the previous songs and plods at the same time signature throughout. The soft moments are predictable and the heavy moments are extremely repetitive after being constantly thrown in your face.

It's a shame because this could have been one of Opeth's greatest albums. Unfortunately, this goes down as Opeth's worst effort because the second half brings it down completely. Even worse, Damnation isn't much better than this either; it would take the follow-up Ghost Reveries to get the band back on track before it was too late. As for this album, it's completely average; just download the first half and forget about the rest of it.

(Originally published for Sputnikmusic)

 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.25 | 1322 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

5 stars Rarely does there come a band like Opeth. Opeth present a certain sound and atmosphere that always create a cause for conversation within the rock community, good or bad. Trademarking their style of progressive death metal, they seem to follow the formula better than most, of course creating the frightening metal/soothing prog combo that a fan or detractor can smell a mile away. In essence, they may be the ultimate definition of "love 'em or hate 'em" in the realms of metal. However, there should be no argument on their best album, 2001's Blackwater Park.

The heaps of acclaim sitting atop this recording seem overly massive, but it's only because of how true the claims are. This is truly the defining album of Opeth's career, after many high-quality albums that seemed to be building toward this grand moment. The riffs are titanic, the melodies seamless, the vocals heavenly (and scary), and the rhythm section explosive. Basically, imagine if your favorite artist was making an immense mural of the best moments in your musical life; then, somehow, he uses a form of magic to let you step inside and see for yourself.

We start with "The Leper Affinity", most likely the best piece written in Opeth's history. A dissonant chord fades in and introduces the first riff... a massive, pounding, intensely atonal chord progression that really digs into your core. Mikael Akerfeldt's vocals, while gutteral and raging, are also very cold and bone chilling. The sheets of guitar distortion offer a very vivid backdrop of the same effectively hollow atmosphere that haunts this album's duration. Riff after riff pounds the listener into submission until a very neoclassical melody kicks in, leading into the solo. The solo here is absolutely mind-bending, showing that a guitarist doesn't need to show off or wank on the instrument to get the point across. The acoustic section in the middle is also bone-chilling, but for a different reason. It's remarkable how effective such a simplistic guitar melody is when paired up with Mikael's vocals thrown in, and nothing feels contrived whatsoever. Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson leads the song out on an eerie note, with sparse piano notes played for about 2 minutes.

Even with such an amazing opener, the rest of the songs never disappoint either. "Bleak" lends its hand with a dark Middle-Eastern beginning before hellishly crawling across the eardrums in a great 3-minute mosh-fest. Steven Wilson, once again, provides vocals; this time for the chorus. The acoustic passage, once again, is stunning and well-placed as a nice respite from the musical war taking place. Meanwhile, the peaceful "Harvest" gives the listener some good ear-room with nice folk melodies. "The Drapery Falls" begins as more of a power-ballad, before morphing into heavy (but emotional) interlude where the growls return in very nice form.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how well Opeth combine multiple styles together without sounding disjointed in any way. Take the epic title track for instance; the song features many sections of repetition, but they're complimented by the extremely pleasant layers of instrumentation... it's like a monolith that takes many listens to fully open up in full. "Dirge For November" is the same way as well. It begins with an acoustic intro/passage that could've easily fit on Still Life's "Benighted", but then explodes into a fully realized metal song with the same dark guitar sound layering it. While the sound is loud, it also has a magically subtle quality about it, which is absolutely remarkable in and of itself.

The band members are no slouches at their instruments either. Mikael (the man himself!) shows incredible diversity with his vocals and guitar work, ranging from genres like metal, progressive rock, jazz, folk, classical, and more. Martin Lopez gives a suitably percussive-yet-shifty tone that compliments each swift change in the music. Peter Lindgren holds his own very well against Akerfeldt's style, and even throws in some nifty soloing of his own. Martin Mendez is stunningly underrated in this record, giving the dark, swift basslines his own personal stamp of quality as his instrument weaves in and out of the other musical action.

All I can conclude with is this: This is a record that everyone must own. Every generation and every country should adore an album like this, as one like Blackwater Park rarely makes itself known. If you like music and consider it art, this is a must.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 Orchid by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.21 | 506 ratings

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Orchid
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

4 stars Opeth might be considered one of the giants for modern metal, specifically death metal and prog metal these days; However, their influences were a bit different in the early days. Sure they had a similar take on minimalistic, atmospheric progressive metal, their debut album Orchid suggests that the band had roots in other genres as well.

In such an album, you'll find genres like death metal, black metal, folk/neofolk, ambient, classical, and progressive metal. The compositions are still very long, so Opeth fans need not worry; aside from interludes (and bonus track), the shortest song clocks in at about 9 minutes. The album is brimming with the same twists and turns we've come to expect from an Opeth album, with a few interesting surprises of its own. Orchid shows the band in a more acoustic, dark environment here, and the very hollow production offers a lot of support in this way.

Mikael Akderfeldt's vocals here range from death growls, to black metal screeches, to folk-styled clean vocals, and each style is handled in an extraordinary way. His guitar work evades the usual metal shredding for something more substantial, offering clean runs, sweet acoustics, and even touches of jazz here and there. The other band members have no trouble keeping up with Akerfeldt either; Peter Lindgren is an exceptional player, capable of harmonizing with Akerfeldt's style cleanly while offering a wide dynamic range all his own. Johan DeFarfalla isn't heard a great deal here, but keeps the rhythm in place; Finally, Anders Nordin is a very diverse, talented drummer all his own, as well as an excellent pianist (we'll get to that later).

The material here is presented in a very raw fashion, with the heavier songs boasting buzzing guitars and visceral drumming. The acoustic sections are placed well, and keep a black metal atmosphere about them; The opening track, "In the Mist She Was Standing," is a perfect example of this. The song has absolutely no trouble blasting through the speakers and making its presence loud and clear. After an excellent intro, a full-on vocal attack cuts through the noise, with powerful contrasting screeches and growls. After everything settles down, a very sinister acoustic riff is heard, a premonition of sorts for when the next assault begins. Overall, the track embodies all of Orchid's beauty and visceral power.

Some songs are very differently executed. Take the first interlude, "Silhouette." Anders Nordin switches from the drums to the piano (!) for one of the best short songs of Opeth's earlier career. The song maintains the same dark feel, but adds a dose of the classical influence I mentioned before. It starts out in simplicity, Anders playing a slow gloomy melody; The song soon picks up the pace, sounding like a real old-fashioned classical piece from the likes of Mozart or Handel (except obviously darker than either of their styles). "Silhouette" is a very underrated gem in Opeth's discography.

One of the biggest letdowns here is the pace-killing "Requiem." It's a nice-enough interlude, but it seems really out of place compared to the rest of the album. The band could have at least attempted to make the song a bit longer or more fitting, but instead it acts as a blemish leading into such a great finale like "The Apostle in Triumph." Luckily, it's a small problem in the album, but I simply couldn't ignore it.

All in all, the album is still astounding by any standards, and remains an underrated piece of quality work by Opeth. Later albums like Blackwater Park and Still Life might get the most praise, but we can't simply leave Orchid behind either.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 From Mars to Sirius by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 146 ratings

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From Mars to Sirius
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

3 stars Gojira are something of an anomaly in the metal world; they've influenced countless new extreme metal bands in their wake, and yet very few artists have been able to successfully replicate their style. To the newcomers of the band, they may initially come off as Meshuggah with a more emotional (and of course environmental, when referring to the lyrics) side to them. While this can be true at times, the ambient interludes (such as "Torii" or "The Silver Cord") and moments that showcase the brutality of their classic death metal roots suggest more influences beneath the surface. Additionally, each album has its own personality and sound: Terra Incognita was more akin to the band's demos, containing more full-on death metal than their later releases; The Link had both a more tribal and progressive feel; The Way of All Flesh is extremely grim and focuses on the relationship between life and death; L'Enfant Sauvage has a tighter sound and the songs are less drawn-out. So where does From Mars to Sirius fit in? Well, it's a giant sprawling mess of a record, that's for sure.

The longest album by the band at this point, From Mars to Sirius focuses on longer compositions while increasing the guitar distortion and heaviness to the highest degree. Also worth mentioning is this record's special attention to an environmental message, even going as far as making an album cover that looks eerily similar to the logo of the organization Sea Shepherd, which aims to preserve marine life. The typical Gojira trademarks are all present; you've got the low-tuned chugs, a nice variety of tempos, and melodic guitar lines that cut through the wall of distortion. Unfortunately though, the record also emphasizes one of the band's trademarks a little too much: the repetition. Repetition can be fine if it's executed tastefully, but here it just sounds like it was incorporated to fill up the running time. While songs such as the aptly titled "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe" and the simultaneously melodic and harsh opener "Ocean Planet" do an efficient job of trimming the fat, songs like "Global Warming" and especially "Where Dragons Dwell" honestly don't. The latter is seven minutes long, but while the first half holds a nice sludgy groove with some nice vocal variety, the second half is the same riff repeated... over and over and over and over until it fades out. Other songs are guilty of this as well, and it doesn't enhance them in any way. There aren't any subtle changes in the songwriting except for a few different drum fills here and there or some vocal shouts, so there isn't much to invest in.

Luckily the album's strengths do make up for this, if barely. The soft interlude "Unicorn" is a well-paced break from the constant heaviness, and the songs that combine heaviness and frequent instances of melody (like "Ocean Planet" or "Flying Whales") balance the two elements very nicely. "Flying Whales" is certainly a standout in general, with a peaceful clean-guitar interlude setting the stage for the bludgeoning distortion and overall intensity that follows. In fact, "In the Wilderness" ends up being a great follow-up as well, despite returning to the one-dimensional heaviness and having an overly long ending. Luckily, the chromatic riffs and higher-pitched vocals during the chorus are effective and evoke a sense of chaos, saving the tune from the same fate as some of the other ones on here. The lyricism is well-done too; while the environmental message can occasionally be a bit overbearing, it's evident that the band really care about their cause and put a lot of thought into the poetry being sung (or growled/screamed) here. In songs like "Flying Whales" or "Where Dragons Dwell," fantasy themes indirectly provide symbolism related to the environmental theme and are sung with just the right amount of conviction.

There's nothing really terrible about From Mars to Sirius, but it really would have benefited from being pared down. Many of the songs feel a bit directionless because of weak, unnecessarily repetitive endings and their overall length. The album constantly seems to tread the fault line between being resonant and being completely uninteresting. While not a bad record by any means, I can unfortunately call it the band's worst.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

 The Link by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.30 | 42 ratings

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The Link
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Necrotica

4 stars Admittedly, Gojira's first album Terra Incognita, while still solid, suffered from a few inconsistencies. First among them (and most common among many bands) was that they hadn't fully found their sound yet. Also, some parts and experiments were either very awkward or very mismatched in execution. With The Link, though, Gojira have seemed to break away from these issues and have released an album that's fully unique in the metal world.

With the album, you can immediately tell that the band now use more variation to their advantage, bringing a more progressive style and ultimately keeping things fresher. Some sections are very odd for a death/thrash metal band, including the ambient style of the two major interludes "Connected" and "Torii." The former uses a tribal aesthetic, which would be utilized more in the future with the band. The latter has a very soothing quality with a very calm, warm guitar sound to it.

Now, we get to the metal. Wow, how to describe some of it... If you guess that it's brutal, then you're right... but it'd be a MASSIVE understatement. When Gojira need heaviness, they immediately go to work and don't play around. Let's take "Remembrance" for example. After the slow, tribal "Connected," this track comes bursting out at full force and never lets up. One has to commend Gojira for their precision as well. The biggest example is Mario Duplantier, who has an amazing display of variety and speed mixed in with precise machine-gun double bass drumming, almost reminding one of Thomas Haake of Meshuggah.

There's also the single, "Indians," which continues in a typical Gojira fashion, and yet adds the aforementioned tribal elements for quite a nice surprise. The song is also quite progressive, bringing in many off-beat fills and riffs along with nicely varied guitar work. The ending section probably displays the band's technical abilities better than any other part of the album.

If there's a member of this band that's understated, it'd have to be Christian Andreu, the lead guitarist. When he shines, he uses so much variety and skill, and yet he isn't heard all that much. He's more of a subtle musician in the band, and normally I'd say that's fine, but sometimes the band goes through some dull spots of repetition. It'd just be cool to find more of his guitar work somewhere in the record.

Those "dull spots of repetition" comprise my biggest gripe about the CD. When Gojira go all out, they really don't let up. However, as Gojira's been criticized heavily about, the album creates some slightly repetitive grooves that can go on for quite a while. Lets use the last track "Dawn." It starts out as a wonderful instrumental that builds up to nicely crafted metal section, but after this, it just sort of... dies. The song gets doomier and darker, and just sulks in repetitive futility for about 4-5 minutes until it fades.

Other than that, though, the rest of the album is fantastic and unique. Gojira's style, blending Thrash, Death Metal, Progressive music, Groove Metal, and experimental music, is very different from most of the bands today. The Link captures those elements perfectly, and is quite a step up from their debut. Highly recommended.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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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
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
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BURST Sweden
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CAPHARNAUM United States
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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
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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
GIGAN United States
GLADIATOR United States
GOJIRA France
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GOROD France
LE GRAND GUIGNOL Luxembourg
GUILLOTINE India
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THE HAARP MACHINE United Kingdom
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HACRIDE France
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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
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INTERVALS Canada
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ISLAND Germany
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KÄLTER Canada
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KATHAARSYS Spain
KETHA Poland
KNIFE THE GLITTER United States
KOBONG Poland
KRALLICE United States
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LAST CHANCE TO REASON United States
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LEPROUS Norway
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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
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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
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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
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
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
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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
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