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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 are: (15/1/2021)
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Mike (TCat)
Sebastian (Kempokid)
Cristi
Nick (nick_h_nz)

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

4.29 | 1715 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.36 | 193 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.24 | 1669 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 1786 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 586 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.29 | 222 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.23 | 485 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge Of Sanity
4.26 | 321 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.22 | 463 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.22 | 318 ratings
THE PARALLAX II - FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.20 | 346 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.19 | 405 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.16 | 557 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.19 | 288 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.13 | 1184 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.18 | 321 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.15 | 533 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.13 | 651 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.15 | 396 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.20 | 198 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion

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

WINTERSUN
Wintersun
WARRING FACTIONS
Ansur
THE HINDERERS
Daath
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Ghost Reveries by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.24 | 1669 ratings

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Ghost Reveries
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

3 stars Ghost Reveries kinda feels like a more diverse, less heavy Blackwater Park, and I blame that on the keyboards which make the whole album sound alot more cheesy. This album also sounds a lot like Dream Theater (a band I'm personally not very attracted to, most of the time) with its pompous riffs and keyboard solos. Surprisingly, even though the album isn't too unpredictable, there's still some amazing tracks in it.

The opener Ghost Of Perdition is probably the best song the band has ever made. It perfectly synthesizes what the album and Opeth are all about. Heavy riffs, mellow sections, Growl vocals, soft vocals, dark lyrics, all in one song. The Baying Of The Hounds and Harlequin Forest are very solid and diverse tracks, with the latter having a great acoustic section in the middle. Beneath The Mire and Grand Conjuration are good metal tracks, but they're on the worse side of the album, the latter being very repetitive and uninteresting. Hours Of Wealth and Isolation Years are great mellow ballads. Atonement is the worst from the album and honestly really bad.

I would still recommend it if you like growls, but I don't think this is one of Opeth's best releases.

 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.24 | 1786 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

4 stars One of my favorite Opeth releases. A truly ass-breaking experience that caught me off-guard when I first listened it. As always, Opeth utilizes its musical knowledge to make songs very different from each other, while also being dynamic. The three +10 minute tracks in the album are the three best songs in my opinion, with the title track being their second best song to date. Bleak is a very catchy and brutal track that works very well and Harvest works as a great ballad. Dirge For November and The Funeral Potrait are tracks that feature mellow and heavy sections, the main riff in Funeral Potrait is great! Influences in this album include Porcupine Tree And Dream Theater.

Works very well when doing full listens, I recommend you this album if you don't find growls to be annoying.

 Glow by COUNTLESS SKIES album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Glow
Countless Skies Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have a little problem with this Glow from Countless Skies. I love the music it includes, but I always notice a lack of originality that prevents me from enjoying the album as much as I should.

Because let's face it: Glow sounds like the bastard brother of Devin Townsend (Tempest, Summit, Moon), mixed with influences from Opeth (Glow - Part 1) and with pieces of Amorphis (some parts of Zephyr and Glow - Part 2) and some other bands.

However, and despite the wonderful compositional work behind all the songs of the album, I miss the authentic personality of this band beyond its influences. Maybe in their next work?

In any case, if you like the groups named above (especially Devin Townsend and Amorphis), you will surely enjoy this Glow!

Best Tracks: Tempest, Summit and Zephyr.

My Rating: ***

 The Ultimate Multiverse by CHAOS OVER COSMOS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.43 | 4 ratings

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The Ultimate Multiverse
Chaos Over Cosmos Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars One of the indicators of a brave new world is the fact that bands can now congregate remotely and create albums together without the members ever even meeting in person! Such is the case for the Polish / Australian project CHAOS OVER COSMOS which is the brainchild of guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drum programmer Rafal Bowman (the Polish side of the equation) who created his project in 2017 and has released two full albums and two EPs. Originally pairing up with Spanish vocalist Javier Calderón, in 2019 Josh Ratcliff replaced Javier and together the duo set forth to craft one of those what i call space metal albums. You know, the kind that mixes the clean vocal driven complex compositional approach of progressive metal along with the immediacy and abrasiveness of metalcore, death metal and power metal. Add to that an eerie atmospheric presence sweeping the backdrop of the stellar guitar workouts and you are in for the perfect metal soundtrack for a journey to the farthest reaches of the solar system and beyond!

THE ULTIMATE MULTIVERSE is a bit confusing in its status as some databases list it as an album whereas other tout it as a compilation. In many ways it is both but in general it's a compilation of the two EPs released before with some changes such as re-recorded guitar parts, better production and an overall tidying up of aspects that perfectionist artists go bonkers about. That seems to be quite the thing in extreme progressive metal. Whatever the case, THE ULTIMATE MULTIVERSE plays as a fully functioning album in its own right with six track that add up to nearly 42 minutes of playing time. The album has found a home on the Narcoleptica Productions label and finds Rafal in good form with an endless array of stellar technical infused guitar chops that exist in the nebulous betweenness of power metal, progressive metal, technical death metal, metalcore with touches of thrash and neoclassical workouts.

Upon first listen i wasn't overly impressed as these types of albums seem to be a dime a dozen as millions of dedicated musicians have crafted some excellent music over the lasts few decades however with a few more spins this all really started to sink in. With most progressively infused techy metal, it requires multiple exposures to really comprehend the true nature of its inner nerdiness. While much tech metal can be completely abstract and take a drive down Meshuggah Avenue, CHAOS OVER COSMOS is careful to keep the melodic aspects of death metal at hand as to create a modicum of accessibility as not to scare off any potential listeners. The beauty is that is is only slightly melodic and the chaotic aspects are not far behind. The melodic touches mostly come from the cosmic synth backdrops that provide the perfect drone effect upon which the rampaging guitars and bass can stomp upon. While there is no drummer and the entire album features drum machines, you'd actually never know it because Rafal has masterfully incorporated it into the fabric of the musical experience.

Generally speaking THE ULTIMATE MULTIVERSE is almost like two albums transposed upon each other. It comes off as a lost Fates Warning album with progressive compositions with clean vocals the allow variations in the dynamics that include space rock sleepy moments as well as heavier metal outbursts that offer power metal sensibilities with classic metal and neoclassical guitar wankery however the extreme parts of the metal are fueled with death metal and metalcore extremities which allow a much faster, louder and more dynamic display of metal aggression. The keyboards are mostly subordinate to the guitar, bass and drums providing an atmospheric backdrop and there are no crazy wild Dream Theater type keyboard solos however this restraint actually works in the album's favor as it forces you to focus on the guitar aspects while the atmospheric flows tweak your perceptions. For basically a one-man project with the addition of a vocalist, THE ULTIMATE MULTIVERSE is an impressive slab of competent metal majesty that comes across as professional and carefully crafted. If there is any weakness of the album at all, that would probably be that this project doesn't stand out of the crowds as much as i would hope so hopefully CHAOS OVER COSMOS will expand its creativity to include a WOW factor that this one is lacking. Still though, excellent extreme tech metal album all the way through. Perhaps bands like Obscura are the closest comparisons.

 ContrAesthetic by MASSEN album cover Studio Album, 2021
4.00 | 1 ratings

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ContrAesthetic
Massen Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by nick_h_nz
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

This is the third review I've written for a Belarusian band in as many weeks. My coming into contact with just one Belarusian band would be impressive, let alone three. While 75% of music broadcast by radio stations in Belarus each day must be Belarusian, at the same time the amount of rock music is limited, in favour of traditional music. This is just one of the problems for a band living in that country, and probably one of the least, given the poor record the country has for human rights. I have been aware of the troubles there since meeting a young Belarusian some fifteen years ago. Alexander Lukashenko has had the country under authoritarian rule since 1994, but the country's plight rarely troubled Western media. Belarus made the news last year, after mass protests occurred following the "re-election" of Lukashenko. But that was soon forgotten, and Belarus probably didn't feature again in people's thoughts until the recent forced rerouting of a plane, in order for the regime to arrest a passenger.

Why am I mentioning all this in an album review? I certainly didn't speak of it at all in the previous Belarusian reviews. Well, it's all down to Bandcamp tags ? often over-looked, but often revealing. One of the tags for this debut album from Massen is "violin of protest". Anyone who has followed the Belarusian protests can't fail to be moved by this. There are many symbols that have been adopted during the protests, from wearing white (for peace, and also for the white red white flag), to flowers (again, often white and red), to music. Simply Google 'violin protest Belarus' and you will find a multitude of stories, images and videos. If the band is going to give themselves this tag, then I am going to mention the need for protest. But now, onto the music?

As you will no doubt have guessed, ContrAesthetic features violin, and it's beautifully played by Karalina Nasko (Kara), who is surely one of the greatest additions to the band - who were formerly known as Massenhinrichtung (initially as a solo project from multi- instrumentalist Aliaksandr Yermak) but have reinvented themselves, in music as much as in name. No longer straightforward pagan folk black metal, the music of Massen is more expansive and experimental, and this has resulted in an addictively engaging aural experience. The beauty is supplied by Kara's violin and the clean vocals of Elvira Stselmashuk. Of course, mentioning clean vocals implies the presence of harsh vocals too, and they are here in force. With three male vocalists, in addition to Kara, the band is able to do a lot with the vocals, and it's something I really like. The ability to blend the different vocals adds a lot to the band's sound.

The album begins with the mostly instrumental The Depth, which is quite beautiful and reminiscent of the atmospheric music of, say, Anathema, than extreme metal. Mumbled spoken word comes in, and it all sounds quite folky, then the guitars become more strident and the music crescendos into heavier territory and harsh vocals - but the melody is never lost, until the very end when all that is left is angry screams. Cold Clouds crashes in, and it's magnificent. The drums pound, the vocals are brutal, and we hear the first of Stselmashuk's clean singing, and Kara's violin. Now this is what the band are all about! Yes, there have been plenty of bands that mix black and death metal with folk, but they usually bore the pants off me. This is just glorious. And I absolutely love that the band sings in Belarusian. I have no idea what's being sung, but I can hear the passion.

A Step to Silence brings in a crust-like punk attitude that plays over the top of some almost symphonic background playing that's full of folk vigour. There's some absolutely stunning shredding and Stselmashuk's singing at the mid-point is simply sublime. There's a neat breakdown with some nifty drumming, followed by a roar from hell, and then we're back into it. The drumming is intense. Stselmashuk's singing is impassioned. How do you follow that? By changing tack completely, with the acoustic introduction to By Water to the Sun. It's a fantastically melodic break from the intensity that preceded it, and boy does it work. The drums give the song some meat, but apart from the drums, this is a pretty low-key affair until the last minute or so when it all kicks into a higher gear. Apart from one slight roar at the end, there's not a hint of harsh vocals either.

But, of course, By Water to the Sun is the exception, and we're back into the thick of things with The Flock of Whores. And if ever the "violin of protest" was in doubt, this is its moment. The violin is played throughout the album, but this song screams protest song, and the violin is absolutely integral to the protest. The Flock of Whores is an absolute stand-out track, and it came as no surprise to me to find it was the lead single for the album. Deservedly so, I would say. It's a statement of intent, and one which is very hard to ignore. It sounds like one big, fat "f*** you!", which is exactly what you want a protest song to sound like.

And with that, the album is almost over - with only the two-part ContrAesthetic left, the first part of which is another standout, and quite possibly my favourite on the album. This is a compact album, at only around half-an-hour, but honestly it's so intense, that I'm not sure I would have wanted to hear too much more. If I have one criticism it's not about the length but the mixing. The violin and vocals (particularly backing vocals) are often swallowed up in the mix, or drowned out by the wall of sound. But that aside, this is an absolutely fabulous mix of sounds and styles and it is hard to give an overall description. I guess that's why the band went for the "avant-garde" tag. They're certainly not avant to my ears, but they are eclectic enough in their approach that it's probably as good a label as any. There's more than enough beauty to offset the brutality. The music is aggressive but diverse, and with a heck of a lot of hooks. And I am hooked. Big time.

 The Assayer by GALLOWS HYMN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2021
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Assayer
Gallows Hymn Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Steve Conrad

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Civilizations held in war"

"Controlled by faith, fear, and lies"

Among the various aspects to the term "assayer", these definitions seem to strike closest to the center of this track from GALLOWS HYMN:

2. To examine by trial or experiment; put to a test: assay one's ability to speak Chinese.

3. To evaluate; assess: assayed the situation before taking action.

4. To attempt; try.

Darkly, Richly Down-tuned and Brutally Complex

And that's because in this new track, GALLOWS HYMN founders Nicholas Spevak and Zach Hornung, along with some talented vocalists, seem to be exploring the divide and contention between spiritual views.

Who gets to decide what is 'true' and what is 'heresy'?

In this intelligent and poetic exploration, GALLOWS HYMN employs a variety of instrumentation including down-tuned clean guitar passages (opening), deep and resonant bass guitar lines, gritty and mean guitar riffs, and snaky, sinuous lead guitar, plus what sounds like mellotron choral sounds.

The Vocals

Olga Nuit brings her clean, high-register voice, interlaced with Jeremiah Johnson's menacing growling, and enhanced with Laura Gonzalez's additions- to suggest the interplay between those who believe they are competent to determine truth from heresy, those who 'assay' for themselves in whatever ways make sense to them, and meanwhile suggesting that one's truth may look like heresy to another?

The Inquisition

I thought of nothing so much as the destructive and disgraceful ways super-religious folk seek to impose their truth on others- as exemplified among other examples in the long centuries of Inquisition.

This particular track opens with dark down-tuned guitar lines and we hear the punchy deep bass enter, then solemn mellotron choral effects. The clean high-register female vocal soon enters.

This grows and there is that effective call-and-response male and female vocal work. Guitars get heavier and crunchier, and again that soaring female voice.

This subsides, and an active deep bass guitar line underlies echoing clean lead guitar. Again heavy riffs enter and that growling male voice.

Another extended deep bass guitar line intertwines with sinuous lead guitar, and back to those crunchy guitar riffs.

And the ending

In a satisfying way, those grand and solemn mellotron choral effects accentuated by guitar and bass notes bring this complex and rich track to a close.

My Conclusions

GALLOWS HYMN brings mastery, intelligence, complexity, provocative thematic lyrics, and progressive musical ideas, and mixes these into a spiritual brew well worth quaffing. Easily four stars.

 The Madness Of Many by ANIMALS AS LEADERS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.39 | 50 ratings

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The Madness Of Many
Animals As Leaders Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lemarquisat

3 stars There is no doubt that Tosin Abasi is one hell of a guitarist. Their 4th studio album is no exception in terms of great command of instruments of both Abasi, Reyes and Garstka.

On the other hand this album lacks something the first two albums didn't. It's somehow difficult to explain but maybe it's the lack of a variation and experimentation between songs. I tried to find something new, however quite sadly, the songs sounded like repeating each other (with an exception of 'The Brain Dance'). I did manage to finish listening the whole album on my 3rd attempt.

In terms of songs, I enjoyed 'The Brain Dance' only.

The Madness of Many was quite disappointing for me but of course within the standart for a musician like Tosin Abasi. It's always a joy listening songs from such competant artists. That's way my rating is 3 out of 5.

 Vanskapning by SJODOGG album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Vanskapning
Sjodogg Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

3 stars The medical term SJODOGG denotes a variant of the disease Anaplasmosis in sheep and goats. It is also called Granulocyte Ehrlichiosis and is a disease transmitted by the tick Ixodes ricinus. Anaplasmosis also attacks humans, cattle, horses, dogs, cats, deer and small rodents. And if that wasn't wickedly freaky enough, happens to be the name adopted by a Norwegian progressive black metal band that has borrowed every trick in the book from France's Deathspell Omega.

Formed as far back as 2003 in Oslo, SJODOGG released a series of demos from 2004-06 before launching its debut 'Landscapes of Disease and Decadence' in 2008 followed by three more albums. This fourth full-length VANSKAPNING (malnutrition) was released in June 2020 and is the most progressive yet as the album features a single near 45-minute track that really makes you believe that this is the latest Deathspell Omega album as SJODOGG pretty much nails that band's sound perfectly while adding few creative idiosyncrasies to make you believe otherwise.

Unlike France's most famous Satanic theology band, SJODOGG remains an obscurity in the modern world existing deep in the extreme metal underground however this album has been incorporated into the Duplicate Records catalogue with a vinyl, CD and digital release. This band consists of four members: Vulnus (vocals), Dracunculus (guitars), Tetrapus (bass) and Hordeolum (drums). Norway was of course the leader for bringing the extreme shock values of second wave black metal to the world's attention in the early 90s but somehow lost ground a bit in the 2000s when French bands seemed to take the black metal genre into more sophisticated arenas.

If SJODOGG is an indicator, it sounds as if Norway is now playing catchup as it has lost ground in the world of black metal as many of its pioneering acts have long moved on to other musical genres or hybrids of black metal. VANSKAPPING is uncanny in how perfectly it sounds like one of the Satanic Trilogy albums from Deathspell Omega. Bantering jangle guitars, atonal dissonance, long progressive sprawling motifs that drift and shift without warning, however it is the dead ringer vocal style of lead singer Vulnus that really makes this the ultimate clone band as he sounds EXACTLY like Mikka Aspa with that distinct raspiness and irresolute stylistic approach of semi-reciting / semi-screaming independent of the instrumentation. Even the creepy atmospheres take you into that DOS special place.

Like all such bands, i have mixed feelings about this one. From a delivery standpoint this album is flawless and had it come out some 20 years ago would have surely been catapulted to the top of the heap as a bonafide masterpiece but given that Deathspell Omega has already claimed the throne as top black metal dog in that respective world, this comes off as a cheap desperate attempt to cash in on an already taken stylistic approach. However make no doubt about it, even copying this brand of sophisticated extreme metal is an achievement all in its own so it's hardly something that doesn't have any redeeming value. In fact this album is quite excellent and does offer scant deviations from the DOS playbook even if they are minor (small electronica details and detours in motifs come to mind.)

When all is said and done, SJODOGG crafted a very intense and complex album with VANSKAPNING which is highly recommended for those who can't get enough of Deathspell Omega and don't mind an album that sounds like it came directly from their own demented minds. The too close for comfort derivative nature of SJODOGG is its weakest attribute however the performances here are extraordinary! If only this band could simply tweak the sound a bit to find their own sound it would go a long ways. True that black metal is a world of subtle differences where fans are forgiving and not overly concerned with creativity much of the time but even so this one is the black metal equivalent of Starcastle is you would consider DOS the black metal version of Yes. Oh well, still a great listen.

3.5 but rounded down due to being a shameless Deathspell Omega clone

 The Parallax II - Future Sequence by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.22 | 318 ratings

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

Review by Gorgut Muncher

5 stars Between The Buried And Me went off the grid!!! Parallax II is such an intense and packed album that your head kinda hurts after listening it, if it wasn't because of the short interludes this album would be a nightmare to listen to! Anyways, there's some fat tracks in this album and those are the ones I'm going to talk about. Lay Your Ghosts To Rest is a very fast paced song with a pompous chorus and pretty comical instrumental sections, very fun to listen to (although the part where Tommy starts screaming over and over again makes my ears hurt). Extremophile Elite is that one track in every prog metal album that has middle-east influence, it has a pretty weird chorus. Telos is probably the best track of the album, very balanced, very cool, very awesome! The middle section is without a doubt the standout of the album. Melting City is a very repetitive track with a syncopated chorus and a chill middle section. Silent Flight Parliament is the epic of the album, it's pretty predictable and you can guess from a thousand miles that it's going to have an epic ending, still an amazing track whatsoever. Really like this record, but I recommend to listen it from beginning to end. Five Stars for me!
 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.13 | 1184 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Gorgut Muncher

4 stars Pale Communion is probably the best Opeth album of the second era (their progressive rock era). Very consistent and with no weak tracks. Eternal Rains Will Come is an amazingly beautiful track with a wonderful chorus. Cusp Of Eternity has middle-east influences. Moon Above, Sun Below is one monster of a track! It has an amazing chorus and the ending is very beautiful. Goblin is a fun instrumental. Elysian Woes is kinda boring but still a nice break. River has an awesome instrumental section and a great beginning section. Voice Of Treason has a very suspenseful beginning, only to continue with a great chorus. Faith In Others has a beautiful main melody and closes the album very well. If you want to be introduced to Opeth's second era in the best way possible, you need to start with this one. Four Stars!
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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
ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS United States
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
AD NAUSEAM Italy
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AFTER FOREST Finland
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
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SYK Italy
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TERMINAL FUNCTION Sweden
TEXTURES Netherlands
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