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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: (9/10/2023)
Gordy
Cristi
Sebastian (Kempokid)
Brendan (Necrotica)

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

4.39 | 248 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.28 | 1814 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1883 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.28 | 660 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.26 | 1760 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.27 | 530 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge Of Sanity
4.25 | 533 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.29 | 266 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.24 | 361 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.21 | 463 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.20 | 378 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.20 | 366 ratings
THE PARALLAX II - FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.16 | 1261 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.16 | 557 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.15 | 705 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.15 | 594 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.16 | 380 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.19 | 260 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.45 | 54 ratings
NESPITHE
Demilich
4.19 | 205 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
THE AURORA VEIL
Ne Obliviscaris
RUUN
Enslaved
OM
Negura Bunget

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 ┌pal by KOSTNATěN═ album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.04 | 4 ratings

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┌pal
KostnatěnÝ Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars Brashly making his presence known on the black metal stage in 2023, the mysterious D.H. aka Hornet Murmuration delivers a new slice of his one-man band KOSTNATĚN═ fueled with Deathspell Omega inspired black metal enshrined with Turkic folk music exoticism and technical wizardry workouts. Alternating between EPs and full-length releases, 2023 finds at the second album's worth of diabolical dementia in the form of ┌PAL which in the Czech language means "Heatstroke" and given how scorchingly hot this release is, one must be cautious as not to descend into unintentional self-immolation.

Yes you read correctly. KOSTNATĚN═ hails from Minnesota in the USA but adopts Turkic folk scales into his technical black metal furor and although black metal lyrics are rarely intelligible without the proper written accompaniments, in this case D.H. has found a unique gimmick by screaming, rasping and wheezing his blasphemous subject matter at full decibelage in the national tongue of what is today the Czech Republic leaving us only to speculate his true heritage and why anyone would even bother unless they were already well steeped in this tiny niche in the greater Slavic family of languages.

┌PAL features seven tracks that see session drummer Andrew Lee of Azath, Disincarnation, Ghul, Ripped To Shreds, Serpent Rider and Skullsmasher at the percussionist's throne and delivers some drum kit abuse par excellence giving the album more of a band effect than would otherwise be reflected by the mere backdrop of programmed drum machines or a lesser talent. As far as the rest of the instrumentation goes, D.H. proves to be a beast on guitar, bass and tortured vocals thrashing around like a hideous monstrosity from Hades itself where he found the portal into our world and is now engaging in aural atrocities.

While KOSTNATĚN═ may at times evoke a deep sense of Deathspell Omega worship as heard on classic recordings such as 2010's "Paracletus," this act keeps itself relevant and out of the clone labeling department by distinguishing itself with the lush exotic musical arrangements as heard in Anatolian rock, folk and all things inherited from the former Ottoman Empire. The fusion is seamless with blistering jittery riffing frenzies doused in dissonance and utter evil commingling effortlessly with the pleasing Turkish sounds of the Orient. The blistering abuse and bantering bravado take up a traditional album's length of nearly 39 minutes no weak spots warranting an early departure.

While the black metal churns on like the most frenetic of the lot, the moments of slower folk-fueled moments such as the opening parts of the track "Opßl" allow a bit of a break from the boisterous bleakness of the sonic raping of the senses. While the Deathspell Omega influences can be a bit in your face with those infamous jangle guitar tones and jittery math rock unease, D.H. manages to walk a pretty decent tightrope act between the two opposing forces that make an unlikely truce in the sonic war at play. For my liking this is an excellent album that cuts through the din of the competition to stand out in one of the metal world's most crowded nooks. Each release showcases an increase in competency and originality so it's fair to say that KOSTNATĚN═ is only getting started.

 Oheň ho​ř​Ý tam, kde padl by KOSTNATěN═ album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2022
4.09 | 3 ratings

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Oheň ho​ř​Ý tam, kde padl
KostnatěnÝ Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

4 stars KOSTNATĚN═ is the one-man band of Dillon Lyons better known as D.L. who has played in Glass Shrine, Hornet Murmuration, The Outer Rim and Voidbringer. This project which means something to do with "bone" in the Czech language features D.L. channeling his inner Deathspell Omega styled progressively infused black metal only set to Turkish musical scales. The results are fascinating and nuanced and offers a competent black metal experience in the growing world of Deathspell Omega inspired acts.

"Oheň hořÝ tam, kde padl" which is Czech for "The fire burns where it fell" is D.L.'s third release as KOSTNATĚN═ following his debut EP in 2018 and the so-far only full-length "Hrůza zvÝtězÝ" from 2019. This short but caustically sweet experience features only three tracks that steal 19 minutes of your life energy but oh what fun it is to be suffocated by such sonic renderings. This is the kind of DSO inspired orotundity that delivers all of those ominous dissonant microtonal yet existential moments of proggy black metal ferocity and then fortifies them with the ancient pacifying sounds of traditional Turkish folk music.

Extreme black metal mixed with traditional folk music is nothing new under the sun but when integrated together competently can be utterly brilliant and KOSTNATĚN═ has indeed not only mastered the art of the most brutal aspects of technical black metal but the sensual musical approach of Turkish folk sounds. This isn't one of those Secret Chiefs 3 inspired projects that adopts traditional musical instruments from other cultures. No way. This is a brutal black metal release that just happens to forge all that chaotic causticity into a Turkish musical procession. Sort of like what BaK is to classic heavy metal with its Middle Eastern folk sounds, KOSTNATĚN═ has proved that there are many other metal hybridization possibilities to be found.

All in all this is an extremely interesting example of ethnically infused black folk metal at its finest. There is no compromise in the black metal department as D.L. has mastered the art of DSO's jangled guitar fueled tech black metal perfectly and the added elements of the timeless sounds of Turkish folk found in the mix offer a bizarre clash of two disparate titans. This is the kind of gem that immediately makes me want to track down the other releases because it's just that appealing. While folk metal can become a bit cheesy if overdone, the Turkish folk elements are more subtle than domineering. This is a brutal black metal release through and through.

 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.28 | 1814 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by theaqua

5 stars Still Life, Blackwater Park, Ghost Reveries, the 3 albums that I always see many have one of them as their favorite, I met Opeth this year, dazzled and in love with the heavy and and beautiful sound, and then I started listening to the albums, I remember that when I finished listening to My Arms Your Hearse (my favorite album) I went straight to Still Life and I thought... strange, I mean... it was good but... something was missing... and that something took a while to appear, I went listening to Blackwater Park, I loved it, Ghost Reveries, I loved it, Orchid, I loved it, and then, in the end, the last album left to finally finish listening to the heavy ones, it was Still Life, and I've already tried to give it a chance a few times , but there was always something missing, but it grew on me, and after the last time I heard it, it happened, and nowadays Still Life is one of my favorite albums alongside My Arms Your Hearse and Blackwater Park, Still Life took time and mental effort to be able to appreciate it, its sound is quite complex and difficult to digest, and as it is one of Opeth's most popular albums, it was a shock, but it was all worth it, to talk about Still Life, first, its concept, is a concept album that revolves around the story of an unknown man, who was banished from his village because of his faith and who consequently returns to it because of his beloved, Melinda, the theme of the album ends up being loving and tragic, remembering me Romeo & Juliet and then, the music... god... THE MUSIC, every song here, is incredible, absolutely incredible, with complex structures, beautiful acoustics, heavy riffs, with a mix of death metal and progressive rock it's natural and well done, giving a sound that is unique and shows a lot of maturity, the sense of journey I had with this album was really cool as I listened to it more often, always noticing some part I had never heard before, be it the initial jazz section of ''The Moor'' which is one of the most powerful album starts I've ever heard or the country pop section of ''Godhead's Lament'' is so subtle, but once you notice it, it's so interesting that it ends up being an aspect that I really like about this album, the more you listen, the more you understand the album and it becomes like ''Wow, I didn't notice that before'', the without death vocals ''Benighted'' and ''Face of Melinda'' the melodic ''Moonlapse Vertigo'' the overwhelming ''Serenity Painted Death'' and the sensational ''White Cluster'', all the songs on this album are of the highest level, none are weak, and it ends up being difficult to say which one I prefer, most likely you won't like it at first, that's what happened to me and many people had a case similar, but anyway, listen, this album is phenomenal, it may not even be my favorite album, but Still Life is one of the greatest masterpieces ever released by Opeth, tragic, heavy and beautiful.
 The Flesh of a New God by BEKOR QILISH album cover Studio Album, 2023
4.08 | 3 ratings

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The Flesh of a New God
Bekor Qilish Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by TheEliteExtremophile

4 stars I do my best to avoid falling into ruts on this site. I'm purposely vague about what constitutes "progressive rock," "progressive metal," or any other "weird and/or experimental" music I cover on this site. This approach also extends to my attempts to highlight a lot of different record labels. At times, I feel like this site can border on being a showcase for Spinda, Karisma, or InsideOut. One of those labels I frequently feature?and possibly my favorite metal-focused label at the moment?is I, Voidhanger. This Italy-based label focuses on experimental and extreme metal, and their page always makes up a significant portion of my Bandcamp wishlist. I've covered multiple acts of theirs in the past, including Creature, Neptunian Maximalism, and Fleshvessel.á

Bekor Qilish is another of I, Voidhanger's acts that I've covered before. Their release from last year, Throes of Death from the Dreamed Nihilism, was one of my favorite short releases of 2022. The Flesh of a New God continues in a similar sonic vein, featuring scourging black metal and rich keyboard tones.

"Defaced Background" opens the album with a tumbling, dissonant riff beneath some hoarsely-gurgled vocals. The rhythm is all kinds of weird, and it keeps the listener off-balance in an engaging way, where you're not quite sure what comes next. This overall weirdness eventually morphs into something more marching and stolid, but things hardly ever sit still for very long. In this song's second half, synths become more prominent and contribute a lush spaciness.

The riff that opens up "Unobtainable Transformations" has a doomier atmosphere and a halting, awkward cadence. This slower pace also serves to add more weight to the synth pads when they emerge. The unusual chords add to the anxious mood as well, and this cut has an especially powerful conclusion, with a piercing, soaring guitar solo.

"Unearthly Dominion" features twisting, arpeggiated riffs that give the music a descending, swirling feel. This song features some metrical madness, as riffs lurch from time signature to time signature. Lush, dramatic synths bloom about midway through this track, and they lend this once-earthly cut a celestial character. The solo which follows is melodic and reminds me a lot of Cynic.

Synths continue to be prominent on the instrumental "Unaware Gods". It's a thrilling piece that gives the feeling of riding a rocket through space. It's almost like if Hawkwind played black metal. Following this is "Enshrouding Wrath", one of the more straightforward cuts on the album. Yes, the riffs are complex, inventive, and dissonant, but there's nothing too terribly unexpected here. That's hardly an indictment though; it's still stellar, proggy black metal. Until the final minute or so, at least, when it plunges into some exceptionally weird territory.

"The Flesh of Terror" is a breakneck, full-throttle piece that wastes no time getting to the point. It features a synth solo early on that is tense, tight, and panicked. Before this piece even hits the two-minute mark, things suddenly get stripped back to some rolling toms and a synth drone. That, in turn, leads to a shambolic, tumbling doom riff. It's a whirlwind cut that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The opening lines of "Infinite Self-Reflecting Circles" are relatively slow, by Bekor Qilish standards. The drums are still frenetic, but the guitars have a more methodical pace. The keyboard tones here bear some resemblance to a church organ, which lends some weight. Unexpectedly, a saxophone solo shows up, and it works quite well.

The album ends on a short instrumental, "Beggars". It's slow-moving, and it gradually builds in heaviness across its runtime. It evolves from a clean guitar arpeggio into something heavily distorted, with a thick layer of synthesizer. It's a fitting way to end the record.

The Flesh of a New God is a great record. It features a thrilling blend of black metal, avant-garde flavors, and little bits and dashes of other things. Synthesizers are used often enough to be a key element of Bekor Qilish's sound, but not so much that they become overbearing or a crutch.

Review originally posted here: theeliteextremophile.com/2023/11/27/album-review-bekor-qilish-the-flesh-of-a-new-god/

 My Arms, Your Hearse by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.97 | 873 ratings

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My Arms, Your Hearse
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars Once again Opeth turns to the gloomy and icy imaginary to present "My Arms, Your Hearse", their third album and the first one with a conceptual theme. Set in hostile landscapes of a mouldy and darkened nature very similar to the standards of black and death metal, it configures the ideal framework to develop a story full of anguish, anger and impotence, and where the Swedes led by Mikael Akerfeldt unload their instrumental arsenal with raging forcefulness. And although the acoustic transitions persist, they are brief and less recurrent than in their previous works.

A rainy "Prologue" with its heavy piano notes begins the ghostly story of a soul in pain who, after passing away, is not resigned to leave this world and tries to continue by the side of his beloved companion. And as the story unfolds, the raw "April Ethereal" with the explosive double bass drum of newcomer Martin Lopez, Akerfeldt's guttural vocals and the piercing guitars of the Akerfeldt/Lindgren duo, begins to outline the dark path that "My Arms, Your Hearse" would follow thereafter, underpinned by the desolate "When" and its hurtful guitar riffs that accompany the feeling of anger at the presumption of betrayal, and the volcanic energy unleashed in search of revenge in the ruthless and spiteful "The Amen Corner" and "Demon of the Fall".

And after such an instrumental and emotional barrage, the spectral character understands and accepts his fate on the resigned and anaesthetised "Credence", an unplugged mid-tempo dominated by Akerfeldt's brooding, clean singing, paving the way for the ferocity of "Karma" to set things right and for the protagonist to finally find rest. The instrumental "Epilogue" and its Pinkfloydian airs bring the story to a close with a halo of peace hovering in the air.

"My Arms, Your Hearse" is another thumbs up in the band's career and an ideal preparation for what was to come.

Very good.

3,5/4 stars

 Morningrise by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.74 | 856 ratings

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Morningrise
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

4 stars A few months after "Orchid", Opeth's second album, "Morningrise", sees the light (or darkness...). Keeping that combination of the most inhospitable metal tonalities constantly contrasted and complemented with acoustic oases (or lakes...), the Swedes led by Mikael Akerfeldt deploy their instrumental arsenal over a thematic base that runs through mossy and gloomy landscapes of nature and mortality in extensive pieces with no respite in between. Each song is carefully thought out, and despite their lengthy running times, the band manages to keep them gripping and intriguing throughout.

From the opening "Advent" and its light jazzy touches when the decibels drop in intensity, the confessional melancholy of the black-metal "The Night and the Silent Water", the overflowing and demonic "Nectar", and the versatility of the huge "Black Rose Immortal" that runs through all the metal and folk nuances of epic tinges, the band builds an impassable, hostile instrumental wall that suddenly dissolves to give way to gentle, arpeggiated touches of sanity, and rebuilds again with the same virulence in a cycle that repeats itself over and over again. Akerfeldt again shades his guttural vocals with more passages of clean vocal development, accompanied by Peter Lindgren with whom he shares saturated and bent guitars, Johan De Farfalla's well-assembled bass and Anders Nordin's, at times, less corrosive percussion than on "Orchid".

The album's closing track is reserved for "To Bid You Farewell", an aching ballad unplugged and given over to a sober rhythmic development that towards its last stretch features a dramatic dose of guitars to give it an even greater emotional charge, something that will be repeated in the band's later works.

With the participation of the influential and prolific Dan Swano, responsible for the bipolar and very successful production of the album, "Morningrise" represents another step forward in Opeth's career.

3.5 stars

 Orchid by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.28 | 758 ratings

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Orchid
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Hector Enrique

3 stars Originally from the lands that cradled the sordid tonalities of death and black metal, the Swedes Opeth give a twist to the characteristic rispidity of the genre and its gloomy guttural voices, adding folk and progressive elements to conceive "Orchid", their debut album, a novel mixture of chiaroscuro that mutates smoothly from the extreme instrumental gravity to luminous acoustic landscapes.

"Orchid" shows an almost natural inclination for long developments (a characteristic that will be repeated in later works) in humid wooded scenarios and crepuscular reflective moments that Mikael ┼kerfeldt describes with his guttural voice transformed at times into crystalline and peaceful. From the opening "In the Mist She Was Standing", surely the most outstanding piece of "Orchid", the atmospheric "Under the Weeping Moon" and its pinkfloydian airs delays, or "Forest of October" and "The Twilight Is My Robe", the pieces are around ten minutes or more, and resort to the constant play of ┼kerfeldt and Peter Lindgren's raspy riffs combined with their arpeggiated acoustic guitars, sustained by the correct percussion of Anders Nordin and the at times unmistakable double bass drum at the speed of a fugitive pursued by the police, and the almost invisible bass of Johan de Farfalla.

And in between, to give a greater contrast to the album, the interesting piano solo "Silhouette" by Nordin, something unusual being the percussionist of the band, and the very short and acoustic "Requiem", are a breath of classical airs and prepare the onslaught of "The Apostle in Triumph", another powerful theme that refers to nature with mystical touches and that ends the first musical adventure of Opeth.

Still with a sound to be polished and rudimentary at times, but already showing their particular way of doing things, Opeth begins with "Orchid" to outline their own path.

3/3.5 stars

 Angel Rat by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.82 | 172 ratings

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Angel Rat
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Recommended as the favorite Voivod album of my roommate, this was something I couldn't not consider. And frankly, I'm a great appreciator of the band, though neglecting to delve deeper into them, just like a myriad of bands across the spectrum of sound and perceived popularity. And up until today, I've only known the two which preceded it, the beloved and celebrated Dimension Hatross (1988) and, of course, Nothingface (1989). I'm very excited... despite my frustrations to simply sit down with an album and just review it these days (it's been rough); it's been sitting in my queue for months. Early Progressive Metal is very worth 'being about' to me. This release, though... I'm not sure I have the... meanest things to say, at least.

Our '91 release, Voivod's sixth, begins with the short-lived, self-explanatory "Shortwave Intro", opening into "Panorama". This latter track has a surprising amount of classic Metal sonics about: clean vocals and chugging, riffing guitars [the whole album featured this 'surprise']. But then the bridge is quite nice. Progressive? Limited to this section's 6/8 forward drive (the majority is in a quick 4/4). Opening with another classic riff, "Clouds In My House" is next. And the back-glancing doesn't end here at its start. The guitars are slightly overdriven, looking to bands such as Kiss or even Def Leppard (as if I couldn't have said 'even' for Kiss). Signs of its actual time are revealed in its oft-occasioned cool--Dare I call this a reflection of contemporary Alternative Metal?--and instances of pinch squealin' leads. And speaking of, the guitar solo is very tasty indeed. More progressive than "Panorama"? Sure! I guess! Great track nonetheless.

Much to my continued surprise--but not to my chagrin--this general mode of lighter, Alt Metal-inflection continues on "The Prow". Cool rhythm here. Another great, and, yes, classic Metal guitar solo from Piggy. "Best Regards" is the first track which didn't immediately hook me, if that's telling [despite the lack of bolding I've withheld from the last two tracks, and a few toward the end]. A minute in and I'm just as on the fence; my ass is hanging off to one side in particular... It's punky. Interesting, but nothing fantastic. But this also has one of the most obviously progressive moments in its bridge and latter half... Very conflicting. A lot of great things still. Next is "Twin Dummy". Cool riff here, too, though feeling more like Hardcore Punk influenced? The bass from now-featuring Blacky is warmly rolling and flowing into my eardrums; great stuff. Our context is slightly re-substantiated with this total wash of keyboards, yet only briefly, as we approach 2:00.

To follow is the title track, "Angel Rat", bringing with it a totally other vibe; slower and softly 'doomy'. I welcome reproach, though, as this is probably my least favorite track thus far, ironically. Oh, and now "Golem" is up; and no, this isn't Stone Temple Pilots, sir hahaha! The sonic choices on this album are totally baffling to me, to be completely honest. What a strange time for music; and admittedly very great, too, obviously. Getting into the nitty-gritty, this offers far more promise than I first expected. Pretty dark track. And then this bridge section!!! Good God! I believe, a 'finally' is in order, but I'm now remembering track 5 ("Best Regards" seriously did have some not-so-hidden magic). Sadly, this awesome ends far too quick for my tastes. Cool riff and all, and hell, the vocals are working pretty nice here, too; just wanting quite a bit more. And for more confusion, let's talk the weird Mersey Beat randomness that is the harmonica at the start of "The Outcast". More classic Metalings here, over a hurried basic rhythm. All in all, though, it's a big ol' meh from me, dawg...

As we approach the close, "Nuage Fractal" seems to be offering me more of the same. I am terribly sorry to the real deal fans of this one, because I'm just feeling less and less for it as it progresses [there's almost no progression, again ironically]. What this one does offer is some interesting, almost surf-rock guitar, lightly swinging from ear to ear, and all over a fairly cool riff in the midsection. The vocals weren't working so hot for me here, and the overall composition was just not my thing, I guess. Next is "Freedoom"--surprised I've never seen this neologism before--begun with twinkling post-progressivisms, if I can personally pinpoint it; highly uncharacteristic. I mean, this feels like an Alt Rock B-side. Cool vibe though, end of the day. Finally then, around 2:00 (again?), something does in fact happen, and generally reminiscent to this one band I've heard before, too! Voivod, I think they were called... A surprise highlight, in fact! Finally, we have "None Of The Above". More classic, cleaner things going on here, too. Sorry I don't have more to say. Cool guitar solo, anyways. But the song was wanting. Which is not unique to this track.

Checking out the minority negative and middling reviews here before mine, and... yeah. [Starting with the 3-star ratings to those much worse...] Descriptions given for Angel Rat and its components such as 'disappointing', 'more subtle', 'much simpler', 'radio rock', 'not very progressive in any way', 'just awful', 'transitional', 'Grunge from outer space' [I couldn't have said that much better myself], 'average', 'not very convincing', 'suddenly drop off dramatically', 'very bland', 'pedestrian', 'very generic', 'very uninteresting [and] lackluster', 'Don't believe the hype,' 'a huge disappointment' [not to be redundant], and... *cough cough* 'overrated sh*t'... are certainly more than apt for much of the album. There's a smaller part of me that would consider this closer to 2-star material...

 Morg÷th Tales by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.60 | 9 ratings

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Morg÷th Tales
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Morg÷th Tales" is the sixteenth full-length studio album by Canadian, QuÚbec based progressive metal/thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2023. It┤s the successor to "Synchro Anarchy" from February 2022. "Morg÷th Tales" is not a studio album featuring new original material though. It┤s instead a re-recording album featuring re-recordings of 9 tracks originally recorded and released between 1983-2003 plus one new original composition (titled "Morg÷th Tales").

The current incarnation of Voivod have played together for the last 9 years (bassist Dominique "Rocky" Laroche being the last member to join in 2014), and the band have toured quite a lot in those years. They┤ve obviously had a wish to show their fans how this version of the band interprete some of the band┤s classic tracks, instead of just releasing another best-of compilation album (they┤ve already been there and done that). This is also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of the band┤s first demo "Anachronism" from June 1983.

The tracklist is presented in chronological order with the oldest tracks first. "Condemned to the Gallows" opens "Morg÷th Tales". It┤s a track which originally appeared on the January 1984 "To the Death!..." demo, and which subsequently also would appear on the "Metal Massacre V" various artists compilation (Metal Blade Records, 1984), which helped spread Voivod┤s name. Along with "Thrashing Rage" from Voivod┤s second album "Rrr÷÷÷aaarrr" (Combat Records, March 1986) which follows as track number two on "Morg÷th Tales", "Condemned to the Gallows" represents the early punk/hardcore influenced speed/thrash metal years of Voivod┤s discography. Raw, savage, and aggressive. The re-recordings are of course a lot more polished and you can actually hear all details, which isn┤t always possible on the raw early releases from Voivod, and personally I enjoy these re-recordings tremendously...but then again I was never much of a fan of the early Voivod releases, so fans of those releases may find these re-recordings a bit too polished and clean.

The title track from "Killing Technology" (Noise Records, April 1987) follows along with "Macrosolutions to Megaproblems" from "Dimension Hatr÷ss" (Noise Records, June 1988), and both represent the technical/progressive thrash metal part of the band┤s history. Both are great tracks, but I prefer the originals. Then comes "Pre-Ignition" from "Nothingface" (MCA Records, October 1989), with it┤s almost avant-garde technical/progressive metal sound. "Nothingface" is such a weird and unique album, that not even Voivod have ever been able to make anything like it since. "Nuage Fractal" from "Angel Rat" (MCA Records, November 1991) and "Fix My Heart" from "The Outer Limits" (MCA Records, August 1993) represent Voivod┤s psychadelic progressive metal phase and both re-recordings work well. "Rise" from "Phobos" (Hypnotic Records, August 1997) is the only track on "Morg÷th Tales" from the Eric Forrest-led era of the band┤s history, and the re-recorded version actually features both bass and vocals recorded by Forrest. It┤s a decent re-recording but a bit redundant to my ears as the original was already a badass heavy and aggressive song. "Morg÷th Tales" closes with "Rebel Robot" from the eponymously titled album (Chophouse Records, March 2003) and features Jason Newsted on bass, and the new original track titled "Morg÷th Tales". The former is as faceless as the original from 2003 and the latter is a pretty good quality 2023 Voivod track, which pretty much sounds like the material from "Synchro Anarchy" (Century Media Records, February 2022).

Upon conclusion the idea to re-record some of the classics from Voivod┤s back catalogue isn┤t a bad one. Personally I prefer the originals (except for the re-recordings of the early tracks, which are pretty great) but these versions are generally both well performed and arranged too. I have a minor issue with the way the drums are produced as they sound a little thin and clicky, but that┤s probably an aquired taste. Other than that "Morg÷th Tales" is a good quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Obscura by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.39 | 248 ratings

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Obscura
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by theaqua

5 stars Obscura is an album that even after so many years continues to sound so brutal, so unique and so innovative even after its release, this is an experience, which takes you on a philosophical and cosmic adventure with dissonant and technical riffs, schizophrenic rhythm, tortured vocals and abstract and thoughtful lyrics, i feel that every moment here is not wasted unnecessarily, which is impressive considering the scope of this album, everything here is incredible and i didn't find a single flaw, however, it may take a while for you to like this album or to absorb it, you need to have an open mind, it's not for everyone, but faced with something so chaotic and so strange, it's a true essential masterpiece, i especially love the title track ''Earthly Love'' ''Nostalgia'' ''La Vie Est PrÚlude'' and ''Faceless One'', easily one of the best albums i've ever heard.
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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

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1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
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