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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 | 1115 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1142 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.23 | 1067 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.26 | 301 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 369 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.20 | 394 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 191 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.33 | 101 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.23 | 199 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.18 | 215 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.13 | 403 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.15 | 253 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.20 | 138 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.13 | 295 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.21 | 122 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.15 | 149 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.12 | 223 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.12 | 207 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.14 | 163 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.22 | 90 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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THE AURORA VEIL
Ne Obliviscaris
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
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ANGL
Ihsahn

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Aeolia by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.72 | 63 ratings

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Aeolia
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars Aeolia is disrespected by several fellow reviewers on PA. Since Leprous was apparently quite reluctant to release this to the general public, the band members seem to feel the same way about it. I frankly don't understand it. I don't see Aeolia as a flawed precursor to Leprous' official releases, and I'm giving it four stars.

I think the sound quality on this "demo" is perfectly acceptable. I can hear all the instruments, and that's all I care about. I'm not an audiophile, and practically every kind of music player available today allows you to adjust the sound quality of what you're listening to. Therefore, you can change the sound of the music you're listening to as you see fit. I've heard all of Leprous' albums, and I recently listened to Coal before I started composing this review. Some folks say that Aeolia is too scattered, too "weird". That's what I like about Aeolia; I found Coal, which is regarded as more focused, dull by comparison.

Leprous' musical abilities have been well covered by others, so I won't. "Disclosure" and "Eye of the Storm" are a couple of my favorite tracks, but there aren't any bad ones on "Aeolia". I thank God that someone talked the band into releasing Aeolia so we could all enjoy it. This is definitely an 4 star "excellent addition to any collection".

 Under the Moonspell  by MOONSPELL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Under the Moonspell
Moonspell Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy

3 stars If the cover of UNDER THE MOONSPELL looks familiar its because the album "Under Satanae" has a very close variation of the cover from this debut EP. That is no coincidence since that much more recognized release contains remakes of many of the tracks on this EP. Despite the fact that many of these tracks have been rereleased and improved upon that doesn't negate the fact that these first editions are fairly well constructed tracks themselves. MOONSPELL proved from the getgo that they were a talented and unique entity in the metal world by creatively fusing folk, black and gothic elements together to suit their own purposes. The result is a very successful hybrid that delivers melody, aggression and vampire inspired themes.

MOONSPELL is probably one of the most famous metal acts to emerge from Portugal and on this debut album they lay it all down without hesitation. We hear all the elements that make great metal music churned out in a carefully crafted format. This music really floats my boat as it takes all the elements of the aforementioned metal subgenres and blends them together into a satisfying cohesive whole. Despite the unintelligible lyrics we get the lyrical themes of dark folklore and macabre poetry in both English and Portuguese. In a country where I would expect influences from such homegrown music as Fado and the like, MOONSPELL surprises by integrating a more Celtic folk sound with their blackened Gothic metal in a way that is obvious as to why they have become a major force in the metal world. 3.5 rounded down

 Naturbňl by VINTERSORG album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Naturbňl
Vintersorg Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars 20 years ago, Black Metal was still confined to its established codes and any attempt to merge it with other musical styles was rare because often not well perceived by its afficionados. Time passing, it was noticed that this extreme form of music, by breaking its chains, was able to give birth to many interesting things, and Vintersorg, with his last album entitled 'Naturbňl', is a good example of this opening to other musical genres. We are indeed invited to dive in an unexpected blend of pop in the vein of Ultra Bra (Finnish band who used to craft catchy music with many prominent choruses), the most extreme Black Metal (martial-like as the band Axis of Advance), and elements of folk (the lyrics in swedish and instruments of traditional folk), Renaissance music and dynamics borrowed to progressive rock. Magical orchestrations, very creative and ubiquitous drums, upbeat choruses, male and female voices, blast beats with tortured "black"-oriented or more bestial "death"-oriented chant, harpsichord and instruments of a bygone age, we attend a festival of cathartic sounds within a music full of enthusiasm. The transition between upbeat and gloomy sections, or even their amalgamation, is astonishingly mastered, both worlds overlapping perfectly in a bazaar of ideas in all kinds. This was made possible not only thanks to a strong knowledge of the ranges, with vocals as convincing when they are "bestial" as when they are clean, but also thanks to unparalleled sense of tempo and musicality. One can only greet with respect so many passion spread all along the album by the artist (Vintersorg is driving almost alone his whirling merry-go-round) to share his love of musical universes that may seem unrelated to one another at first sight. The music, both dynamic and full of contrasts, could be compared to a journey full of hazards, like Orpheus in greek mythology facing sirens' chant with his enchanting voice and his lyre or leaving the world of the living to brave Hades and bring back Eurydice to his world. Fantastic landscapes alternate indeed with Hades fires in our mind. In a nutshell, a wonderful work by an artist who never ceases to delight our ears.
 Orchid by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.19 | 445 ratings

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Orchid
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ProgolateCookie

2 stars The beauty of hindsight is in credible. My absolute favourite band at the earliest stage. It's hard to imagine that Mike had so much potential brewing in him because this album really is nothing special to me and leans way too closely to the style of Black Metal than I really like. I guess this shows to pay attention to bands when they are starting out because if it wasn't for Still Life maybe none of us would know the band and maybe we would never have heard such gold as Ghost Reveries and Water Shed. I even like their new prog direction with Heritage, its actually stunning.

While there was promise in the long songs and interesting compositions, there was a lot of room to grow for these Swedish boys and boy did they. Confusingly "Under The Weaping Moon" is still a great track to me even though its a bit black metally. Only can give this 1 2 stars unfortunately.

 Focus by CYNIC album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.20 | 394 ratings

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Focus
Cynic Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is nothing short of a prog metal masterpiece. The album is perfect and contains elements of prog and jazz infused with a death metal vibe. The musicianship here is astonishing, and dazzling, and the lyrics are delivered as they alternate between clean and growl vocals. You will not find a 20 minute song or a long album from Cynic, and it is just so disappointing when it is over. Any active prog listening should want more. I love all three of their studio albums, and listen to them straight through in my playlist. This album should not be overlooked by any music lover since there is something for everyone. I bought the Original recording remastered version with Extra tracks, and those tracks are worth it. This is a must buy along with their other two.
 Colors by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.96 | 279 ratings

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Colors
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Jordan677778

5 stars I was first introduced to this album 5 years ago. Being someone who typically listens to hard rock and metal, it still took a couple of tries to get a feel for it. I'd never listened to much death metal or metalcore before. In short, this album expanded my world of music into many new metal subgenres, as well as the world of prog. After well over 100 listens through the years, this album is nothing short of amazing.

The album begins with peaceful and delicate melodies played an piano, but quickly begins its ascent (or descent?) to metal. Unfortunately the second track (as I find with all of their albums for some odd reason) is the weakest of them all. It stands out in a bad way, because it's hardly progressive and contains almost entirely growly vocals which are used more sparingly in other tracks. Really, this song should almost have been left out altogether. That's almost the only negative point I have about this album.

Informal gluttony has an immensely powerful instrumental intro, and eventually settles down into to a hauntingly elegant chorus ("feed me fear..."). This album changes genre/mood often, and on a first listen seems as if they're doing it at random. Except after a couple listens, the album doesn't feel "random". It has a flow almost unlike anything I've ever heard. Some prog albums it feels as if they wrote a bunch of pieces then later strung the medley together with some attached interludes, but this just... grows. It evolves as it goes. The last several minutes of 'Sun of Nothing' leading into 'Ants of the Sky', possibly my favourite part of the whole album, is a great example of this. It starts off with gentle clean guitar and some very light drums, growing into a catchy rock rhythm, further growing into a heavy rock rhythm and growly vocals, and finally evolving into an incredible metal climax that builds into the first riff of Ants of the Sky. They take something that should normally feel strained or forced, and make it feel so 'proper', like it was meant to be. Ants of the Sky continues this feeling, minus the increase in intensity. This song has a vast abundance of instrumental sections, and is easily the best overall track on the album. The "main" riff or refrain that happens in this song only twice is almost reminiscent of "Canon rock" by Funtwo on youtube. Yes, it sounds almost classical amidst a track otherwise seemingly not classical in any other way. But it sounds right at home, which I just can't explain. That's part of the magic of this album.

Ants of the sky also has a beautiful part just past the halfway point where Tommy overlaps his clean vocals with his growl vocals to create something quite beautiful, yet at the same time powerful. It's almost like the listener can choose their preferred vocals and ignore the other. He does it again in the song "Swim to the Moon" on one of their other albums. I've still never heard another band do something quite like that.

Viridian, a relaxing yet intricate bass solo, is a nice change from the intensity of the other tracks on the album. Viridian is very essential actually, particularly it's placement just before the final track. It allows you to prepare for the mind-altering instrumentals at the end of the album. I see it as the quiet before the storm and as such, does not at all feel out of place on this album.

White Walls starts out powerful and is the perfect finisher to this album. In my opinion the section from 1-3 minutes in outstays its welcome. It just doesn't seem to 'add' anything to the song except for some quirky riffs and growls, kind of like the first half of Foam Born: B. But after drum fills take the music back down to some soft guitar and vocals, the song is right where it needs to be. You hear the song starting to build very slowly ("Step back.."). The building is what this album is all about, and is just so deliciously good at it. The middle section all the way till the end of White Walls is my other favourite part of this album. The song reaches an absolutely insane climax followed further by guitar and drum solo's that completely fulfill the standard set earlier in the album. I can never get enough of those beautifully insane instrumentals, and that's what makes this album a 5 from me, though I'd really give it a 4.7 or so. Foam Born: B and a chunk of White Walls hinders this album from being my definition of perfect prog metal(core).

At first you probably won't notice it. BTBAM don't just 'play' metal on this album. They USE metal as a tool to take their music to the next level.

 Kindly Bent To Free Us by CYNIC album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 105 ratings

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Kindly Bent To Free Us
Cynic Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Daggor

3 stars I think when the buzz started around Cynic's new album, Kindly Bent To Free Us, I was probably the only one in need of introduction. The band released a legendary album in the early 90s, titled Focus, that existed more in a death metal-inspired world of progressive music, which is probably why it flew under my radar for so long. After its beloved debut, Cynic returned in 2008 with Traced In Air, which by all indications, lived up to 15 years of hype. By this measure, at the time that the band settled in to release Kindly Bent To Free Us, the hype was absolutely through the roof.

All good things come to an end though, and as I was being introduced to Cynic on the first single, "The Lion's Roar," the very thing that caught my attention about the song was at the same time, alienating hordes of fans. Namely that, instead of technical death metal that embraced jazz fusion, I was met with jazz fusion embracing, well, itself really. I recognized that, in spite of a more streamlined genre approach, the band was brimming with talented musicians and interesting ideas, and so as older fans dropped the hype bandwagon, I was more than happy to pick it up myself.

There's something of a curse to hype, of course, and certainly an art form entirely unto itself when choosing which song to introduce new material to listeners with, especially when that new material is a stylistic departure. "The Lion's Roar" gave me indications of up-tempo jazz fusion, but as Kindly Bent To Free Us really unfolds, so much more of the release is somber, with post-rock leanings. The closing track, "Endlessly Bountiful", in particular stands almost exclusively on the vocal textures of Paul Masvidal's tastefully overproduced voice.

The band is actually much stronger with its more subtle passages, interlaced throughout the record, than the overt melodies that made "The Lion's Roar" the standout single that it was, and yet even as Cynic showed itself as being, in fact, more talented than what originally attracted me to the album, I still find its style to be one that is very difficult to fully appreciate. There's a lot of melodic recursion throughout the record, and as framing devices, they're absolutely wonderful. However, the juxtaposition of the different styles is difficult for me to wrap my head around. Similarly, there's moments like on "True Hallucination Speak," where the atmosphere of the song feels like it's aiming to be quite profound, except I'm hearing "Pop, pop snap crackle and pop," and now I'm thinking about breakfast cereal.

Kindly Bent To Free Us is tremendously successful at accomplishing Cynic's "loftier" artistic ambitions, and there's no lack of talent or tact, but on the bottom end I find it difficult to access, and lacking in a more simple appeal to accentuate the more intricate and advanced brilliance. While I can appreciate the accomplishments that Cynic achieves, I'm just not enjoying them very much.

3.0 // 5

Originally posted at www.blackwindmetal.com

 Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
4.50 | 6 ratings

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Emperor / Hordanes Land split CD
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars

EMPEROR

This debut EP by EMPEROR was originally released as a split album with Enslaved's debut EP Hordanes Land but has since been remastered and released independently and together with the demo "Wrath Of The Tyrant." On this release Ygg changed his name to the more familiar Ihsahn and Faust made his debut delivering us to evil with his impressive drumming skills. This would be the last effort for Mortiis who would jump ship only to pursue his dark ambient musical fetish.

On this debut EP by the mighty EMPEROR we hear the transition from the muddy live wire demo band to the in-transit zone between death, thrash and the second wave of black metal but starting here we get a more smoothed out madness with an atmospheric keyboard backing. The music is just as intense and brutal but the symphonic backing adds a rather calming feel that makes this seem a little less startling and less like it was recorded in the depths of hell than the previous demo. The real proof is by listening to the two tracks which appeared on the demo and were re-recorded for this EP. Those two tracks being "Wrath of the Tyrant" and "Night of the Graveless Souls." It's easy to hear how the full debut album "In The Nightshade Eclipse" picks up from here. This is a satisfying four song interlude in their discography that shouldn't be ignored.

ENSLAVED

ENSLAVED's first official release HORDANES LAND came out as an EP just a year after their 2nd demo "Yggdrasill." It was released independently at first and then a few weeks later also as a split with the first Emperor EP. I have the remastered edition that was released in 2004 with the debut album "Vikingligr Veldi." The lineup is the same with the two founders Ivar Bj°rnson on guitar, keyboards and vocals and Grutle Kjellson handling bass. Trym Torson is still on board on drums.

There has been a major leap in songwriting on this first release as the three tracks are much more varied and complex than the demos. The track "Allfß­r O­inn" which is included on this EP was the strongest and most progressive on "Yggdrasill" and the band recognized that and used it as the template for their further evolution down the path of ever more progressive black metal. Already at this stage they have a unique sound that despite keeping the basics of second wave black metal in tact, they offer a whole variety of ideas that is layered upon it.

From the opening track "Slaget..." that offers a somewhat artificial sounding choral chant we get a strange keyboard progression that is actually quite catchy and succeeds in overpowering a brutal buzzsaw wall-of-sound with the typical black metal style of shrieks and growls for vocals. The track also shows a much more epic approach in the music as it is divided into three distinct acts and just creeps over the 13 minute mark. In addition to brutal black metal parts there are slow sections that even have classical acoustic guitar sections in the mix. The other two tracks are no less brutal in their delivery, catchy in their hooks or progressive in their developments. They both are well over the 7 minute mark.

The production is still lo-fi but not as so as on the demos. I find myself listening to this EP a lot for although it lacks the complexity of 21st century releases by the band, it is a satisfying listen that is interesting for its own sake as well as putting the band's history in some sort of context. I enjoy this early period of ENSLAVED just as much as the later releases. This is a surprisingly well crafted musical experience and this is only the band's first release. It demonstrates that the band not only mastered the brutality of black metal but that they could also adapt it to include some truly interesting and diverse elements. For me this is beyond for collector's only and I highly recommend this.

 Hordanes Land by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
2.95 | 11 ratings

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Hordanes Land
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy

4 stars ENSLAVED's first official release HORDANES LAND came out as an EP just a year after their 2nd demo "Yggdrasill." It was released independently at first and then a few weeks later also as a split with the first Emperor EP. I have the remastered edition that was released in 2004 with the debut album "Vikingligr Veldi." The lineup is the same with the two founders Ivar Bj°rnson on guitar, keyboards and vocals and Grutle Kjellson handling bass. Trym Torson is still on board on drums.

There has been a major leap in songwriting on this first release as the three tracks are much more varied and complex than the demos. The track "Allfß­r O­inn" which is included on this EP was the strongest and most progressive on "Yggdrasill" and the band recognized that and used it as the template for their further evolution down the path of ever more progressive black metal. Already at this stage they have a unique sound that despite keeping the basics of second wave black metal in tact, they offer a whole variety of ideas that is layered upon it.

From the opening track "Slaget..." that offers a somewhat artificial sounding choral chant we get a strange keyboard progression that is actually quite catchy and succeeds in overpowering a brutal buzzsaw wall-of-sound with the typical black metal style of shrieks and growls for vocals. The track also shows a much more epic approach in the music as it is divided into three distinct acts and just creeps over the 13 minute mark. In addition to brutal black metal parts there are slow sections that even have classical acoustic guitar sections in the mix. The other two tracks are no less brutal in their delivery, catchy in their hooks or progressive in their developments. They both are well over the 7 minute mark.

The production is still lo-fi but not as so as on the demos. I find myself listening to this EP a lot for although it lacks the complexity of 21st century releases by the band, it is a satisfying listen that is interesting for its own sake as well as putting the band's history in some sort of context. I enjoy this early period of ENSLAVED just as much as the later releases. This is a surprisingly well crafted musical experience and this is only the band's first release. It demonstrates that the band not only mastered the brutality of black metal but that they could also adapt it to include some truly interesting and diverse elements. For me this is beyond for collector's only and I highly recommend this.

 Yggdrasill by ENSLAVED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
2.47 | 6 ratings

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Yggdrasill
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy

3 stars ENSLAVED made a steady progress from their debut demo "Nema" to their 2nd demo YGGDRASILL. On this release it is clear that the band was setting themselves apart from the rest of the second wave black metal pack by not only adding more progressiveness to their music but by focusing their lyrical content on their Norwegian Viking heritage instead of the majority of other black metal bands of the day who were more interested in attacking Christianity and the rest of the world at large. The title YGGDRASILL in fact refers to an immense tree in Norse cosmology which represents the existence of nine different worlds. Unfortunately all lyrics are in Norwegian and they could be singing about inflatable life rafts as far as I know.

This release is very much second wave black metal with extreme aggression, lo-fi production and all the usual shrieks and growls and blastbeats and buzzsaw tremolo guitar work. On the progressive front most songs are much longer with four out of six hitting the six minute mark. The addition of keyboards is more prominent and the song structures have incorporated interesting changes that display a clearer view of the path the band was embarking upon. The track "Allfß­r O­inn" is so good that the band included it on their first officially released EP "Hordanes Land." This demo shows a mature songwriting that is quite impressive for these young musicians who were paving their own way very early in the black metal game. I suspect the production will scare off many but I have a hi-tolerance for lo-fi and enjoy this release more than "Nema."

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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
ACRIMÍNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
APRIL ETHEREAL Poland
ARCTURUS Norway
ARKAN France
ARRHYTHMOGEN United States
ARTCELL Bangladesh
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN United States
AT WAR WITH SELF United States
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
BARING TEETH United States
BARREN EARTH Finland
BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE United States
BEHEADED ZOMBIE Russia
BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS United States
BELIEVER United States
BELTANE Germany
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME United States
BEYOND CREATION Canada
THE BINARY CODE United States
BISBAYE Canada
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