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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.32 | 1466 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1506 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1409 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.36 | 151 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.26 | 420 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 485 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.26 | 282 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.27 | 248 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.18 | 942 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.20 | 486 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.23 | 247 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.27 | 162 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.19 | 378 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.25 | 168 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.21 | 240 ratings
THE PARALLAX II - FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.17 | 325 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.39 | 70 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.22 | 170 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.13 | 471 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.33 | 80 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal experts team

LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
MEASURING THE ABSTRACT
Terminal Function

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Sonance by CONTEMPLATOR album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Sonance
Contemplator Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars From Quebec Canada, the band is playing some instrumental Progressive Metal on the technical side and avant-garde style with atonal key signatures. You won't find an instantly hummable melody, but rather an intense atmosphere of dark and heavy music that put you in a discomfort zone. The music is mainly driven by guitars/bass/drums and violin. But there are some passages when the music gets lighter, especially in the first part of the beautiful song "Welkin". The last track "Meridian" is another brilliant song with some nice balance between melody and technique and some tasty string arrangments. If you enjoy the style of bands like Unexpect and Opeth, this has a good chance to satisfy you. You should also check out their first EP from 2013, who is not bad at all and more melodic
 Crimson II by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.65 | 96 ratings

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Crimson II
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars As people run out of original ideas in our current day and age, a sequel is frequently a gimmick for money or attention. The most obvious examples that come to mind exist in the cinematic world, but music contains some as well, such as Queensr˙che's Operation Mindcrime II, or Metallica's three Unforgivens. Fortunately, Edge of Sanity's followup to their esteemed 1996 album Crimson (which I have already reviewed and given an 80%) is a sequel that upholds the legacy of its predecessor. I shall break this down into two sections, one that addresses the sound and the songwriting, and then, of course one that addresses this song as one flowing composition. Naturally, this review will be rife with comparison to the original Crimson.

The songwriting, since Edge of Sanity's last forty-minute adventure, has become less blunt, straightforward, and assaulting, and is now perhaps more, dare I say it, commercial. It's not a huge difference, but it's one worth mentioning. I don't recall keyboards being so integral to the Edge of Sanity sound, and while I am in fact a sucker for keyboards, these don't do very much for me. Swano's clean singing sounds fantastic. Though his growls have also improved they sound disconnected from the rest of the music, which can perhaps be attributed to production. As usual, although it's a concept album, the lyrics are hard to understand both due to the vocal style and their actual phrasing. The riffs, however, are the real point of decline here. While the original Crimson had magnificent riffs of all types abound, this is quite disappointing, chock full of standard melodeath fare, and a few breakdowns. Crimson II lacks the power and memorable riffing of the original, but in other areas, it redeems itself to a degree.

There is still not enough variety to sustain Crimson II as a singular track. Yes, there are soft parts here and there, but mostly Crimson II trudges along at the same speed, volume, and level of heaviness for lengthy periods of time, static. The transitions are often abrupt, but Swano seems to have learned the art of the dramatic ending. The last 45 seconds of the album are quality; if only they went on for longer. A song of length ought to have some payoff or go somewhere, and it's still not quite enough, beginning only sometime during the sequence of Aftermaths, but it is a definite improvement.

Crimson II upholds the legacy of the original; in some places better, in some worse. The sound has declined ? while the original Crimson could have been a classic melodeath album even if it had not been a singular song, the followup is fairly unmemorable when split into parts. As one long song, the second Crimson is better, though the improvements are basic and marginal. I can't really recommend this given it comes out as about average in both sections of the review, though I still liked it and I'm glad Edge of Sanity didn't have to end their career on a sour note.

3.5 stars/75%

 Crimson by EDGE OF SANITY album cover Studio Album, 1996
4.26 | 420 ratings

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Crimson
Edge of Sanity Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

4 stars Crimson is considered Edge of Sanity's crowning achievement, masterpiece, finest work, etc. And even if you don't think that it's amazing, you have to admit that it's an ambitious move: one forty-minute conceptual song, with a push towards a more progressive style. While it's a good song and it's always at least interesting to see a band move outside of their comfort zone, Crimson doesn't quite reach the heights that have been ascribed to it.

There is not enough variety to sustain Crimson ' this is the main flaw, and it seems like Swano & Co pieced together about ten or so separate but similar songs in order to achieve the length that they did. Unfortunately the detriments of having full-blast death metal for one continuous forty minute song is that it can become a bit stagnant after a while, not really exploring much new territory even in the depths of the song. They do change it up, throwing in some upbeat and doomy riffs, as well as the occasional soft part, but for most of the track they stick to their principal sound, and in this regard, take no risks. There is nothing wrong with the actual music and the death metal is some of the band's strongest, with riffs-aplenty and quite a few energetically aggressive moments, while still showing off that melodic side. I've never been a huge fan of Swano's vocals but Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth has a guest spot and does a fantastic job, his growls furious and his clean singing pleasant.

The other issue with Crimson is that there isn't really any payoff. The song stops just as Edge of Sanity begins to build up to a big finish, and the grand finale that we do get seems very hastily thrown together after a disjointed previous few minutes. And the very end ' the last few seconds ' are painfully anticlimactic as it just screeches to a halt all of the sudden. I had to listen to this from multiple sources just to make sure the song wasn't getting cut off and I was missing something, but it seems as if they couldn't think of a real ending. The concept of this album isn't very important in comparison to the music although I'd like to address it, and I applaud EoS for this extra effort on top of the fact that they managed to write an album-length song. The storyline combines science fiction and mysticism, but the details are unknown to me because Edge of Sanity doesn't make their lyrics particularly clear and unambiguous, and I don't care enough to look it up. The nature of the growled vocals that are used a majority of the time makes the plot harder yet to follow and I'd like to petition a ban on primarily using harsh vocals for concept albums.

Crimson doesn't work as a forty minute song, despite having very little problem with flow. There are few drastic changes and even fewer distinct movements ' it is based more upon random meandering than musical evolution and real progress. The music behind this is some quality melodeath, and if you don't think of Crimson as one cohesive song, then it's a solid piece of work.

 The Parallax II - Future Sequence by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.21 | 240 ratings

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The Parallax II - Future Sequence
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album has been a real treat to listen to and it has remained on my iPhone ever since I brought it home a couple of months ago. I had heard of the band Between the Buried and Me before and at some point I decided to give them a listen. I don't remember why 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' became the album I checked out on YouTube, but when I gave a quick ear to some random parts and heard the aggressive and technical playing along with the shouted vocals, I figured this was an album to keep for the right time, for when I was ready for it. A year or so later, I found my music preferences leaning towards the extreme metal persuasion, and before long the album finally joined my collection.

I was prepared for the fast and highly technical playing. I was prepared for the heaviness and the brutal vocals. I did not in any way expect the remarkable progressive side of the band. Clean vocals, beautiful melodies, acoustic guitar, synthesizers, and rapidly changing music; it was all such a treat. I almost considered that the album would be better without the emphasis on the aggressive side, but then the progressive side would probably not shine so brightly.

I can't speak for any other albums by Between the Buried and Me, not just yet anyway, but this album keeps pulling at my attention. There's so much happening in the songs here, so much creativity and all of it coming at ultra-high paces so that the music keeps changing like a person with hyperactive disorder on speed. If you're not paying attention, you'll miss something. The music is mainly divided between the two main approaches of technical metal and progressive rock but there are so many little things that get added that crop up unexpectedly and make the listening experience that much more entertaining.

The opening track, 'Goodbye to Everything' features strummed acoustic guitar and clean, melodic vocals. It sounds like a modern British prog band might have come up with this. However, 'Astral Body' begins to sound more like something from the Devin Townsend Project, especially once the screamo vocals come in at 1:53. The guitars and drums play some wonderfully complex music like Dream Theater. There's some clean guitar with a style that makes me think of System of a Down for some reason, even though I'm not so familiar with their music. 'Lay Your Ghosts to Rest' is ten minutes long and largely speedy, technical, heavy music with shouted vocals. Catch how from 5:43 to 5:45 the jaunty but brief guitar riff sounds like it's coming through a transistor radio. After over six minutes of pummeling aggression, the song slows down to a waltz with clean guitar and vocals. 'Extremophile Elite' is another long progressive/aggressive technical track which at 4:23 abruptly changes to an orchestral bit that sounds like a score from a Tim Burton movie before going back to the heavy technical music at 4:53. 'Autumn', 'Parallax', and 'The Black Box' are all very short tracks that are transitional pieces between the longer tracks.

'Telos', 'Bloom' and 'Melting City' form a wonderful suit of three segued tracks that speedily cover such an array of aggressive music but also includes a laid back part that reminds me of Pure Reason Revolution in 'Telos' and an rushed technical/progressive take on 50's twelve-bar blues based rock and roll in 'Bloom'. 'Melting City' concludes with a wonderful bass-led instrumental section that slowly builds to a climax when the vocals return. These three tracks make up such an amazing display of this bands talent. 'Silent Flight Parliament' is the longest track at over 15 minutes and continues to be packed full of head-spinning technical, progressive metal/rock. The album wraps up with 'Goodbye to Everything Reprise', a track with a very suitable slow closeout.

You'll need to be one to handle the speedy, technical and aggressive side of the album before you can appreciate and enjoy what 'The Parallax II: Future Sequence' has to offer. But if you can take that side of the band, then this album will continue to reward after several listens. Prepare yourself by listening to Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Haken, and maybe just a little uneXpect.

 Watershed by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.95 | 1078 ratings

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Watershed
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Watershed" is a crucial turning point in the musical trajectory of Opeth. A major line-up change saw the departure of long-time guitarist Peter Lindgren (since before the debut) and drummer Martin Lopez (since the third album "My Arms, Your Hearse") and the recruitment of drummer Martin Axenrot and guitarist Fredrik Åkesson. Keyboardist Pir Wiberg who joined the band for the previous album "Ghost Reveries" remained on board.

With "Watershed", Mikael Åkerfeldt and company developed the band's two sides even further. The death metal side shows its fastest and most aggressive-sounding ever in the songs "Heir Apparent" and "The Lotus Eater". However, Opeth's progressive side, which I felt really began to broaden on "Ghost Reveries", pushes the envelope even further hear, and in fact, I feel there are hints of the album "Heritage" that would come three years later.

The album opener is the surprising all-acoustic track "Coil" which includes not only some beautiful woodwinds with the acoustic guitars but also the guest vocals of Nathalie Lorichs, the girlfriend of Martin Axenrot at the time. A lovely though curious first track, the album's real worth for me lies in the next two tracks, "Heir Apparent" and "The Lotus Eater" which, as I stated above, not only includes some of Opeth's fastest, most aggressive metal to date, but also some fabulous progressive parts that go beyond what the band has managed before. Just listen to that funky dual keyboard passage with the groovy wah-wah guitar and drumming!

"Burden" is a classic, seventies type of heavy and slow number with harmony vocals and an organ. It's almost so perfectly written that I feel it's too much like stuff I've heard many times before on much older albums. Nevertheless, it gets some pretty good ratings on Opeth song ranking sites. "Porcelain Heart" is the third killer track for me. Slow and heavy and showing more technical playing in parts, it's both haunting and brooding.

The last two tracks seem to me like the band is trying to decide where to go next. "Hessian Peel" is more like several short songs stitched together to take us on a journey that includes progressive acoustic-type music as well as heavy metal with death vocals. I might add here that Mikael's vocals sound deeper and more sinister on "Watershed" than they do on most older recordings. It took me time to warm up to this track but I can finally appreciate and enjoy it. The final track, "Hex Omega" though is a little of a disappointment. I feel it has no solid direction and even after many repeated listens, I can't keep my concentration on the song if there are any distractions. The one impression that remains is the sparseness employed in one part, which I recognize from a couple of tracks on "Heritage", except that I rather like them on that album. Here I think the album is left to close with a song that begs the question, "Where are we going now?"

So here we see an all new Opeth (two new key members) taking bold steps but still keeping their death metal sound but for the last time. As history has shown, no future albums over the subsequent ten years ever included any death metal, but instead saw the band plough full onward with their progressive rock styling.

 Day Into Night by QUO VADIS album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.29 | 13 ratings

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Day Into Night
Quo Vadis Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Yet another death metal band from Montreal, Quo Vadis became my sixth extreme metal purchase from the city of my birth. I had originally put 'Defiant Imagination' in my Amazon shopping cart, reviews all seemed to insist that while that album was really good, 'Day Into Night' was just a little bit better.

The music served up here is mostly very classy, skillfully played, high speed thrash metal with a strong technical side, not unlike early nineties Megadeth. It's nothing like the brutal metal of Cryptopsy, the melodic death of Kataklysm, or the exotic multi-faceted music of uneXpect. Instead it's fast-paced with some ear-catching drumming and some great, fretboard-burning guitar work. Perhaps because of the higher tone guitar sound, I am reminded of early Metallica and Exodus while at the same time thinking of Annihilator and Megadeth for the technical playing.

Most of the album plays through fast, and drummer Yanic Bercier stands out for his speed and skill. One thing to appreciate are the riffs, which come as deftly-played technical riffs, traditional, melodic bar-chord riffs, and simple speedy, thrash-based riffs. Though most of the lead guitar work is not unique, it is nice to hear a band put as much emphasis on lead playing as Quo Vadis do on this album, as several of the death metal albums I have brought home recently don't lean toward solos very noticeably. Aside from speed and blisters, Quo Vadis have a prettier side which they exhibit on 'Dream' and 'Point of No Return: Cadences of Absonance'. There's a puzzling short instrumental called 'Night of the Roses' which seems to be an intro to 'I Believe' but is treated as a separate track for some indiscernible reason.

Muscially, the album is extremely well executed; however, a few words must be said about the vocals. Four tracks, 'Absolution (Element of the Ensemble III)', 'On the Shores of Ithaka', and the two 'Point of No Return' tracks that conclude the album feature both brutal death metal growls and a second vocal that sounds like deep breaths rasped against the back of the throat. I am sure I have heard this vocal style before, perhaps in the late eighties, and for no better comparison, I think the vocals sound like Dave Mustaine attempting death vocals. Now these songs that feature both vocals are, in my opinion, the best ones on the album because I really like the death growls as the lead vocal with the raspy throat vocal as a secondary vocal style. Unfortunately, the other tracks feature only the latter style of vocals and I'm afraid on their own I don't think they sound that great. To my ears, it sounds like someone who can't do death growls but can't do a thrash shout either is trying to make up a style somewhere in between and it doesn't impress me. In other reviews I have read though, people say they really like the vocals of Arie Itman. So it's all a matter of preference really.

All in all, it's a very solid album musically, and if you don't mind the vocals then it's also an album worth checking out.

 Acts Of God by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.33 | 14 ratings

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Acts Of God
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Acts of God" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Indiana based progressive rock/metal act At War With Self. The album was released through Free Electric in April 2007. At War With Self was founded in 2002 by multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar (also known for his work with Gordian Knot) and is essentially a one-man project. Glenn Snelwar handles guitars, mandolin, bass, keyboards, E-Bow, programming and vocals on "Acts of God", but he is helped out by a couple of guest musicians too.

The music on "Acts of God" continues the progressive rock/metal style of "Torn Between Dimensions (2005)", but is ultimately a rather different sounding release. It´s still predominantly instrumental progressive rock/metal with dynamic use of clean/acoustic guitars, keyboards and occasionally heavier guitar parts and solos. The big difference here is in the drum department, where only some tracks feature "real" drums. On most of the tracks the drums are programmed, and as a consequence the music loses some of it´s otherwise organic sound (the sound production is actually more organic than the case was on the debut album). The drums sound like they are programmed (although I´m told that´s actually not the case) which also makes the whole listening experience less band oriented and more one-man project sounding (it was the other way around on the debut album).

The music style is very hard to describe correctly as there are elements from jazz rock/fusion, progressive rock/metal, instrumental guitar music, ambient/atmospheric new age and latin music, featured on the album among other things.

As mentioned above "Acts of God" is predominantly an instrumental release, but there are actually quite a few vocal tracks on the album too, which is good for the variation of the album. It´s obvious that Glenn Snelwar is a skilled musician and everything is delivered with tight precision and with the right amount of adventurous ideas, but the compositions themselves are for the most part slightly unremarkable. "Acts of God" is pleasant and interesting enough while it plays, but the material generally doesn´t stick, and that´s a bit of an issue. Even the vocal tracks just plod along without any recognisable hooks or memorable choruses.

Just like the case was on the debut album, I find myself listening for technical details and other performance related features, instead of just enjoying the music for what it is, and that´s always a sure sign that the actual compositions lack something. It´s not a terrible release by any means, but it´s not really great either, so a 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.

 Fragmentary Evidence by AUGURY album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 15 ratings

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Fragmentary Evidence
Augury Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Augury's 'Fragmentary Evidence' is a very difficult album for me to review. I first picked it up some months ago when I had a bit of extra money for experimenting and Augury appeared on a list of suggested YouTube videos. I listened to a couple of snippets of their music and decided it was a challenge I was willing to take. But now, after several listens as well as individual song plays, I am still not sure what to make of it.

Augury come from Montreal, a hot place for extreme metal, and it's no surprise to find similarities in their music with that of recent Gorguts. It's easiest described as complex, technical, brutal, progressive death metal with melodic moments. There are spots where I find myself reminded of uneXpect, also from Montreal, but Augury are not nearly as eclectic in their music mélange. Perhaps another good band to compare Augury to would be Fallujah out of the U.S.

Augury's music seems to be mainly based upon two simultaneous approaches: the total brutal assault of rhythm guitar and double bass drumming and the more technical and often melodic complement of lead guitar melodies and solos along with some adventurous bass work and percussion. In fact, it was how the bass guitar often stamped its presence in the music that convinced me to try the album in the first place.

The brutal part of the music would run dry pretty soon were it not for the more progressive/technical side. Sometimes I feel it's like driving down a gravel road at high speed with a steady pummeling, rumble. At another moment, I likened it to listening to music played either live or from a stereo system that is powered by a gasoline generator. You can hear the melody in the music but the steady chugging cough of the generator rumbles on at high speed. The duality of the more technical part alongside the brutal part sometimes makes the music difficult to figure out and may seem like two songs playing at once. The opening of 'Skyless' really could seem like two songs playing together, and when an extreme music fan friend of mine heard this song he said it was 'stress music' because he feels stress listening to it.

But Augury offer something more interesting throughout the album. There are short surprise bits that show their progressive side such as the opening of 'Jupiter Ignite' or the Animals as Leaders-type of playing at the beginning of 'Oversee the Rebirth'. If you are familiar with uneXpect, then you might notice the similarity to that band when the female guest vocals come in on 'Brimstone Landscapes' or perhaps the beginning of 'Simian Cattle' with the pulled bass notes. It is for these occasional pit stops that I keep coming back to the album to try to better understand it.

As for the vocals, you'll find three basic types: the throat-shredding screamer, the deep, incomprehensible death roar, and a hardcore punk style of vocals that sound like a pirate trying to sing a melody. Especially in 'Sovereigns Unknown' there is a vocal melody that is sung very much like a pirate's ode to the high seas. For my taste, these vocals are the weakest part of the album. At times they're okay but mostly I get turned off by them. There is also the one guest female vocal part I mentioned above and as well a few whispered lines.

I'd say the most difficult thing about this album is picking out any favourites. No songs give me that excited rush or prickle under the skin. This is not music for feeling good or busting out of your stress bubble. This is complex and at times confusing. It's almost like that experimental jazz that sounds like random toots, squeaks and honks except that this is more like seemingly unrelated machinegun blasts, exploding buildings, and pirate chanties. Once again though, I do enjoy the challenge of listening to this album and as I have no favourite tracks it's easy enough to play the whole album through and just go along with the atmosphere. Not an album for just any prog collection but one that includes lots of tech/extreme stuff should take this album in.

 Eld by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.75 | 56 ratings

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Eld
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Kicking off with a 16 minute composition inspired by the Battle of Lindisfarne, Enslaved's Eld reveals that in the years since the 1994 release of their first two albums the band had not been standing still. Although they had yet to reach the progressive-black metal fusion they would perfect on later albums, prog-inspired song structures begin to play a more prominent role, and keyboards remain a significant part of their sound. Ivar Bj'rnson's stint on the first Borknagar album, which itself was in a similar viking metal vein, means that this release feels a bit like a companion piece to that one due to the aesthetic and thematic overlap.
 Borknagar by BORKNAGAR album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.02 | 27 ratings

BUY
Borknagar
Borknagar Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Black metal supergroup Borknagar evolved over time into a prog metal force to be reckoned with, but on this debut album they showed a much harsher and more primal form. All the participants were members of significant groups in the Norwegian black metal second wave, and the style of that scene is prominently displayed here, with ample folk influences offering a gentler counterpoint.

Though Øystein G. Brun is the unquestioned leader of the project as its founder and main songwriter, the style here makes the band feel like siblings to early Enslaved, whose Ivar Bjørnson plays keyboards here. The combination of progressive elements to the music, proggier albums to come in the future, and a shared fascination with Norse mythology means that Borknagar's debut is a worthy choice for any Enslaved fan, as well as any fan of folk-influenced black metal.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALKALOID Germany
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
APRIL ETHEREAL Poland
ARCTURUS Norway
ARKAN France
ARRHYTHMOGEN United States
ARTCELL Bangladesh
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN United States
AT WAR WITH SELF United States
ATEM Finland
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
ATRORUM Germany
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
AZURE EMOTE United States
BABYLON SAD Switzerland
BARING TEETH United States
BARREN EARTH Finland
BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE United States
BEHEADED ZOMBIE Russia
BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS United States
BELIEVER United States
BELTANE Germany
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME United States
BEYOND CREATION Canada
THE BINARY CODE United States
BISBAYE Canada
BLACK SUN AEON Finland
BLOTTED SCIENCE United States
BLUTMOND Switzerland
BORGIA France
BORKNAGAR Norway
BORN OF OSIRIS United States
BOTCH United States
BURGUL TORKHAĪN France
BURST Sweden
CANVAS SOLARIS United States
CAPHARNAUM United States
CAR BOMB United States
CARBONIZED Sweden
CARCARIASS France
CASTEVET United States
CEPHALIC CARNAGE United States
CEREBRUM Greece
CHAOS DIVINE Australia
CHIMP SPANNER United Kingdom
CHRONOSTASIS United States
CIRCLE OF CONTEMPT Finland
CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE United States
CIRCLES Australia
CITRINITI Italy
COBALT United States
CODE Multi-National
COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS Denmark
COLLAPSAR United States
COMA CLUSTER VOID United States
CONTEMPLATOR Canada
CONTINUO RENACER Spain
THE CONTORTIONIST United States
CONTRARIAN United States
CONTROL DENIED United States
CONTROL HUMAN DELETE Netherlands
COPROFAGO Chile
CORAM LETHE Italy
COUNTER-WORLD EXPERIENCE Germany
CRANIUM United States
CROWPATH Sweden
CRYPTODIRA United States
CUBICAL SPHERE Greece
CYCLAMEN United Kingdom
CYNIC United States
DAATH United States
DARK HERESEY United Kingdom
DARK MILLENNIUM Germany
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
DEMIMONDE Czech Republic
DEMONIC RESURRECTION India
DESCEND Sweden
DEVIUS Argentina
DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Sweden
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN United States
DIMESLAND United States
DIONAEA United States
DIORAMIC Germany
DIREWOLF United States
DISEMBARKATION Canada
DISFIGURING REALITY Canada
DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Austria
DISILLUSION Germany
DISKORD Norway
DIVINITY Canada
DODECAHEDRON Netherlands
DØDHEIMSGARD Norway
DORDEDUH Romania
DOWN I GO United Kingdom
DREAMGRAVE Hungary
DROTTNAR Norway
DRUDKH Ukraine
DRYAD'S TREE Germany
DUOBETIC HOMUNKULUS Czech Republic
DYSRHYTHMIA United States
EARTH SNAKE United States
ECCENTRIC PENDULUM India
ECHIDNA Greece
EDGE OF SANITY Sweden
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Sweden
ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF Canada
ELECTROCUTION 250 Sweden
ELENIUM Finland
ELENIUM Poland
EMPYREAN SKY United States
ENDITOL Canada
ENSLAVED Norway
ERA VULGARIS United Kingdom
ERYN NON DAE France
ESCHATON Austria
ETERNITY VOID United States
EVER FORTHRIGHT United States
EXENCE Italy
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EXTOL Norway
THE FACELESS United States
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GERYON United States
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GLADIATOR United States
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GRIS Canada
GUILLOTINE India
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ION DISSONANCE United States
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IWRESTLEDABEARONCE United States
RON JARZOMBEK United States
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JOURNAL United States
KADENZZA Japan
KALISIA France
KÄLTER Canada
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KETHA Poland
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KOBONG Poland
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THE LOCUST United States
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LYCHGATE United Kingdom
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MARTYR Canada
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MOON OF SOUL Hungary
MOONLOOP Spain
MOONSORROW Finland
MOONSPELL Portugal
MORBUS CHRON Sweden
MROCTOPUS Portugal
MURMUR United States
MY BITTER END United States
MY DYING BRIDE United Kingdom
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NAMI Andorra
NATURUS Hungary
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NEGLECTED FIELDS Latvia
NEGURA BUNGET Romania
NERVE END Finland
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NEWBREED Poland
NEXT LIFE Norway
NEXUS Australia
NOCTURNUS United States
THE NUMBER TWELVE LOOKS LIKE YOU United States
NUX VOMICA United States
NYIA Poland
OBLOMOV Czech Republic
OBSCURA Germany
OBSIDIAN Netherlands
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OCEANS OF SLUMBER United States
ONCE THEM EDENS Greece
ONTOGENY United States
OPETH Sweden
ORAKLE France
ORGONE United States
ORTHRELM United States
OSIRIS Netherlands
OUTCAST France
OWL Germany
PAEAN Estonia
PAINTED IN EXILE United States
PANDEMONIUM Sweden
PENSÉES NOCTURNES France
PERIHELION SHIP Finland
PERSEFONE Andorra
PESTILENCE Netherlands
PHLEBOTOMIZED Netherlands
PIAH MATER Brazil
PICA FIERCE Norway
PITBULLS IN THE NURSERY France
PORTAL Australia
PRIMO VESPERE Italy
PROJECT 13-5 Germany
PROTEST THE HERO Canada
PSYCROPTIC Australia
PSYOPUS United States
PYRRHON United States
Q'UQ'UMATZ United States
QUO VADIS Canada
RAM-ZET Norway
RANDOM Argentina
RANDOM MULLET Finland
RAZOR WIRE SHRINE United States
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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
SCHAMMASCH Switzerland
SCHOLOMANCE United States
SCLERA Australia
SCULPTOR Serbia
SCULPTURED United States
SERDCE Belarus
SERIOUS BEAK Australia
SHADOWS LAND Poland
SHINING Sweden
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STORK United States
SULPHUR Norway
SUNLESS United States
SUNSET IN THE 12TH HOUSE Romania
SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLES Canada
SUPURATION France
DAN SWANÖ Sweden
SWIM IN STYX France
SYK Italy
T.O.O.H.! Czech Republic
TAINE Romania
TALANAS United Kingdom
TARAMIS Australia
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA Greece
TENEBRIS Poland
TERMINAL FUNCTION Sweden
TEXTURES Netherlands
THANTIFAXATH Canada
THEORY IN PRACTICE Sweden
THOLUS United States
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TREEBURNING Canada
TRIBULATION Sweden
TRINACRIA Norway
TWISTED INTO FORM Norway
ULCERATE New Zealand
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UNDEFINED Spain
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THE UNIVERSE DIVIDE United States
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VEHEMENTER NOS France
VEKTOR United States
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VINTERSORG Sweden
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WETWORK Canada
WHAT'S HE BUILDING IN THERE? Canada
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WRVTH United States
XANTHOCHROID United States
XERATH United Kingdom
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THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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