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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.32 | 1362 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1403 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1300 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 791 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.38 | 132 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.24 | 453 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.25 | 375 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.27 | 268 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.20 | 461 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 241 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.24 | 238 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.25 | 158 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.22 | 192 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.17 | 304 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.16 | 354 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.23 | 157 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.21 | 163 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.13 | 452 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.17 | 215 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.16 | 245 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
OM
Negura Bunget
THE HINDERERS
Daath
CITRINITI
Citriniti

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Back To Times Of Splendor by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.21 | 163 ratings

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Back To Times Of Splendor
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by RuntimeError

5 stars This is one of those 'hidden gems' that people sometimes rave about.

Completely unheard of, the band 'Disillusion' released a masterpiece of aggressive and challenging piece of progressive metal that combines elements from bands such as Opeth and System of a Down. The album opens with 'A Mirror Cracked' - which has become my favourite song in this album. When I first listened to this - the vocals seemed to annoy me but not completely kill the mood. The riffs are absolutely killer, the drive is fantastic and songwriting is phenomenal. The clean section after the 2nd chorus is just so gorgeous. There are obvious Opeth elements but they are quite transparent - anyhow, this certainly should appear to 'Opethians'.

'Fall' continues the riff madness. Instantly you are swept into magnificent progressive metal riffing and absolutely fantastic vocal performance by the frontman 'Vurtox' (yes the vocals are sometimes a little flat but it doesn't really matter at all here) . There is not a single bad moment in this shorter piece - magnificent!

'Alone I stand in Fires' is probably the weakest of the album. While it continues with much of the same mood than the previous songs, it doesn't really do anything special. There is one very cool super heavy section in the middle of the song which is really cool.

The album centerpiece and the title track 'Back to Times of Splendor' opens with a theme violin melody. Yes, the first 3 songs are super heavy blasting progressive metal and then you get a freaking violin opening up a song. The song then evolves into very Opethian riff and aggressive heavy vocals. There are so many fantastic riffs building up this song into the chorus which utilizes the theme melody with the violin. The song goes through many fantastic movements and melodies. The highlight of the album certainly - while the first song is perhaps my favourite, this is in terms of aesthetics a better song.

As the end of the album nears. 'A Day By the Lake' is given. It is a fantastic mellower song that builds itself into a fantastic climax. Starts slowly with echoed guitars and superb drumming. The bass line is fantastic as well (booooaahh boing). I love this song to death.

The final song 'The Sleep of Restless Hours' is another long epic. Going through various stages like it's predecessor 'Back to Times of Splendor'. This song is another killer track which seem a little streched at the end. But the riffs here are again 5/5 and the clean vocal melody is very nice. The final 3-4 minutes is an instrumental, while it's good it doesn't really do much other than fill the album.

In overall, this is a must have for Opeth fans. The harsh vocals are going to annoy you at first but once you get over them, you are in for a treat. The production is a little too loud for my taste and the audio seems to clip a little here and there. In any case, easy 5/5.

 Dreamless by FALLUJAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.92 | 3 ratings

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Dreamless
Fallujah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is my first album for from Fallujah, and it does not disappoint. It is brutal, melodic, and sublime all at the same time. There are times when I am listening to unbelievable death metal, and other times I am into some trance beats. They mix it up, but create music that is fresh and original. While they cross genres to a degree, the musicianship in all flavors is top notch. I look forward to future releases, and I expect to check out their previous efforts. Anyone that likes music super frantic at times should pick this up today. Dreamless is an excellent release and highly recommended.
 The Children of the Night by TRIBULATION album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 5 ratings

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The Children of the Night
Tribulation Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Children of the Night" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Swedish progressive extreme metal act Tribulation. The album was released through Century Media Records in April 2015. Since forming in 2001 under the Hazard monicker (they changed their name to Tribulation in 2004), Tribulation has gone through quite the musical development, starting out as an aggressive death/thrash metal act on the "Putrid Rebirth (2006)" EP, changing their sound to a more old school death metal oriented one on their debut full-length studio album "The Horror (2009)", and then morphing into a rather adventurous progressive and psychadelic tinged death metal act on their sophomore studio album "The Formulas of Death (2013)". So naturally it´s not easy to predict the musical direction on "The Children of the Night"...

...but what we have here is yet another change in musical style. The band still uses death metal elements (most obvious in the use of growling vocals), but I´d probably call this progressive extreme metal over death metal. The use of melody is also very prominent. The many melodic and very well played guitar solos deserve a mention, but there is also use of piano/organ/vintage keyboards, vibraphone, and xylophone in the music, which provides it with a nice organic touch. I´m sometimes reminded of "Wildhoney (1994)"-era Tiamat, although Tribulation is generally much harder rocking than their fellow countrymen, but an act like Hail Spirit Noir could also be used as a reference (I actually hear a bit Amorphis too).

I feel like Tribulation is closer to finding a unique sound on this album than on any of their previous releases (although "The Formulas of Death (2013)" is also a pretty original sounding release), or at least to finding a sound which they feel comfortable playing. It shows in the conviction of the delivery and the quality of the compositions. In many ways "The Children of the Night" is a less complex album than it´s predecessor, but somehow it still feels more progressive. The fact that the instrumental part of the music doesn´t feature many death metal elements anymore, also makes "The Children of the Night" a very different sounding album to it´s predecessor.

One of the things I had a slight issue with on "The Formulas of Death (2013)", was the fact that the growling vocals weren´t placed high enough in the mix, which occasionally provided them with a monotone sound. They simply didn´t stand out as anything special, but that has been changed on "The Children of the Night", which features fully intelligible growling vocals placed high in the mix. To my ears it makes a world of difference and the impact of listening to the vocals is huge compared with what the vocals gave to the music on the predecessor. The music is generally more catchy too, although the album still requires some spins before all tracks settle.

"The Children of the Night" features a well sounding production. It´s raw and organic, but also highly detailed, which makes it easy to hear all instruments and vocals in the mix. So "The Children of the Night" is through and through a high quality release and it´s yet another testimony to how innovative and adventure seeking Tribulation is. With their stylistic history I won´t be surprised if their next album sounds vastly different from this one, but until then "The Children of the Night" is highly recommedable to fans of progressive extreme metal with great melodic flair, yet still featuring a credible amount of darkness for those who crave that. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 My Arms, Your Hearse by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.93 | 637 ratings

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My Arms, Your Hearse
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by RuntimeError

4 stars Raw, unpolished diamond that drags you deep into the depths of anguish.

Opeth's first epic record 'My Arms, Your Hearse' offers us the heaviest of all Opeth records. Gone are the overly repetitive slow riffs from 'Morningrise' - the album opens with 'Prologue' to setup the dark mood and immediately after one minute as 'April Ethereal' drags us deep into the void. I would argue this is the first time we are introduced to the "Opeth riffing" style as the song progresses through many stages and going through extremely pressuring atmosphere. Ã?kerfeldt definitely had aimed to develop his screams here (and clean vocals as well, although they're now quite stellar here yet) and it shows. They are raw and have a nice raspy style of tone in them. The ending of 'April Ethereal' is one of Opeth's finest moment.

If you thought the previous song is heavy, it was Disneyland heavy compared to 'When' - after the intro clean guitar we are dragged to deepest hell as a magnificent riff starts to to drive the song forward while the growls push the mood to extreme. While the start of this song (and ending) are superb, the middle section is unfortunately not Opeth's best songwriting moment.

'Madrigal' serves as a cool opener for 'The Amen Corner'. 'The Amen Corner' is probably the heaviest song on the album and again it offers some superb moments and some not so great moments. My biggest gripe with this song is that it's mostly more of the same that was introduced in the first 2 epics.

'Demon of The Fall' requires no introduction. Opeth has made some outstanding songs in their long career, and this song remains in the top 5 along with 'Blackwater Park', 'Godhead's Lament' or 'Ghost of Perdition'. The songwriting is superb, the riffs are outstanding and the growls - the first time you hear the chorus you will most likely wet your pants. At the intro the growls are downtuned to increase the effect of 'the demonic voice'. Outstanding song, period.

Credence is a fantastic continuation for 'Demon of The Fall' as Mike gets to sing here the first time. I'm not aware if this song is ripped off from some other artist like 'Benighted' is from the next album - but this is a fantastic clean song with many changes and emotions.

Unfortunately 'Karma' has never kept my attention, as this song is much more the same as in 'Amen Corner' - the riffs aren't as good as in 'When' or 'April Ethereal' and simply fails to keep my full attention for the whole song.

The album is closed with 'Pink Floydish' epilogue, it's a nice tune that closes the story very well and the guitar harmonies are fantastic.

Conclusion: not a masterpiece in terms of songwriting and coherence, but it is still essential for anyone to venture to darker side of progressive metal. This album is followed of course by the masterpiece 'Still Life' that has many of the same elements as here, but executed better.

The production is decent, however the overall spectrum is very thick and sometimes it's hard to separate the instruments from the overly distorted guitar.

4+ stars (whatever that means).

 Arktis by IHSAHN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.11 | 29 ratings

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Arktis
Ihsahn Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Blackwater Floyd

5 stars Great riffs, dark and beautiful melodies, eerie atmosphere, what more is there to ask? I've had Ihsahn on my radar for quite some time, even back in 2006 when I was just getting into metal (via DT), but knowing he came from that infamous Norwegian early 90's black metal scene, his music didn't call to me, so I never got around to listen to any of his solo work.

Recently, having acquired some more "extreme metal" tastes (such as Opeth, Meshuggah, Death, Mastodon, Cynic, Leprous), I decided to give his music a little go. First I listened to his early solo work, but those few songs I heard where just enough for me; so I moved to Das Seelenbrechen and was pleasantly surprised by the complexity and the emotion of his songs. Didn't listen to the whole thing though, in fear that black metal style tunes would come up and "ruin it" for me. Einar Solberg's presence on this record and Ihsahn's collaborations with Leprous is what ultimately brought me to "Arktis".

I never really liked black metal per se, but some of it's elements present in other genres of metal (little blast beats here and there in prog metal for instance; growls) seem to be appealing. That's what makes Arktis such a good album, it doesn't rely on some formula to work on so many levels; each song is unique. There's brilliant musicianship throughout the eleven tracks, but the thing that got me was, the context. This "unsettling" feeling I got when I finished listening to it, brought me the sensation of actually being in the north, aimlessly walking on the ice and snow. The bitter cold, the whiteness... Progressive doesn't mean technical, and though "Arktis" is no stranger to technical prowess, it certainly does not need it to be as compelling as it is.

2016 is getting a lot better now! This is a solid five star album, any prog fan should give it a go.

 Spiritual Healing by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.39 | 120 ratings

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Spiritual Healing
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Spiritual Healing is an awkward spot in the Death timeline; they hadn't quite abandoned their old, more straight-ahead death metal style here, but on the other hand hadn't entirely embraced the technical death metal direction they would latch onto on Human.

It's the more straight-ahead death metal numbers which suffer the most here, with the least progressive songs tending to be the least accomplished. This isn't just a style thing - the sections in question just aren't quite as good as, say, the material on Leprosy, and at points sound like polished-up rejected songs from Scream Bloody Gore. The album is saved by Chuck beginning his introduction of more technically intricate techniques into his performance and songwriting, the title track here perhaps being the best example of this.

Between this and the lyrical shift from overt shocking gore to more contemplative examinations of weightier issues, it's quite clear to me that this more technical, almost progressive material was where Chuck's heart was really at by this stage of the band's existence, his tastes having evolved away from the group's earlier style. Between that and the decision of the rest of the band to tour Europe without Chuck, it's no surprise that this lineup (a mildly tweaked version of the one that did Leprosy, with Rick Rozz gone and James Murphy in his place) didn't last, or that Chuck would switch to working with session musicians rather than running Death as a band project in future.

 Pleiades' Dust by GORGUTS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.94 | 5 ratings

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Pleiades' Dust
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars If you're reading this, you probably already have an inkling of Gorguts' general sound. If the name wasn't itself a giveaway, take the noisiest, most dissonant, most technical death metal you've ever heard, and then multiply that by a factor of five; you probably haven't heard anything of the intensity of Gorguts. That's the sound they established on their classic Obscura, and they've spent the time since varying it in many different ways, but always remaining rooted to the same core aspects.

Their latest experiments, on the thirty-three-minute EP Pleiades' Dust, are just as fascinating as ever. Here they've tried the single-track, multi-movement suite, an old chestnut of prog (there are seven movements total). The music here is more dynamic than any previous Gorguts recordings; segments crescendo and dissipate over lengthy periods to establish the desired moods. The music is overall still as dissonant as ever, but there are some almost calm passages in between the storms. The composition, if anything, has gotten even more complex, which is fitting given the scope of the song. (In particular, if you can make sense of all the time signatures in this piece, you're a more patient human being than I.) It's too early to tell for sure, as I've only had the EP in my possession for a couple of days as of this writing (I may revise this piece with additional observations after further listening), but this may very well be the most fascinating music Gorguts have ever recorded.

Lyrically, they've created another concept album, this time around focussing on the contributions of what have become known as the Islamic Golden Age and the House of Wisdom to humanity. In the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages descended over Europe and Baghdad became the centre of learning and scholarship. Local scholars preserved countless works for posterity, often translating them into the local language and contributing their own scholarship from the results (we owe such innovations as algebra to this time in history). The rulers of the region valued knowledge more than gold; upon conquering new lands, they would frequently demand books rather than material possessions. From the knowledge thus gained they further strengthened their position.

But, like all great things in history, this period too ended with the overrun of the Mongol hordes. In 1258 Baghdad was sacked, thousands were slaughtered including some of the best minds of the era, and now-lost books were thrown into the Tigris River in such quantities that the river was said to run black with ink. Intrepid citizens of Baghdad salvaged some of the texts before they could be destroyed (Nasir al-Din al-Tusi alone is credited with saving four hundred thousand manuscripts), but the damage was done; one of the most progressive and innovative cities in the world had been dealt a crippling blow, and it would take hundreds of years for it to recover.

The lyrical content of this album is, given the modern narrative of a clash of civilisations that certain political forces would like us to accept, particularly timely. And, as stated, musically this release is staggeringly brilliant. It is one of the strongest releases of this year so far, and I can only give it my highest recommendation.

 Pleiades' Dust by GORGUTS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2016
4.94 | 5 ratings

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Pleiades' Dust
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars Always in a league above the competition, Luc Lemay and his GORGUTS project continue to deliver some of the most innovative and technologically constructed death metal the world has ever heard. Never resting on the legacy of "Obscura" alone, this Canadian band from Quebec always creates exciting releases by combining the most demanding, frenetic and brutal ear abuses while entering myriad intellectual pastures tackling the subject matter of esoteric history in far-flung geographical places such as "Tibet" such as on the previous release "Colored Sands." On the follow-up PLEIADES' DUST, an EP which is basically a solo track clocking in at 32:59, Lemay and company dish out a concept telling the tale of the "House Of Wisdom," which references the rise and fall of a library based in Baghdad in the periods between the 8th and 13th centuries and it's importance in containing ancient knowledge that contributed to many scientific discoveries including algebra, astronomy as well as other disciplines that aided and abetted Europe to evolve past the dark ages and into the Renaissance.

Always based on evocative intellectual subject matter, the likes of which are once again competently accompanied by the signature brutality complete with Lemay's grizzled growls laced with atmospheric passages, exotic sounds of distant lands and the ever graceful dance of melodies and dissonance swirling about like an oceanic eddy, GORGUTS takes the exotic flair of "Colored Sands" and once again creates a meandering flow of sounds that alternates the brutal death metal aspects with softer passages bringing a Middle Eastern dusty caravan to mind displaying guitarist Kevin Hufnagel and bassist Colin Marston dishing out a strong dual string assault with newcomer drummer Patrice Hamelin picking up where John Longstreth left off and easily duplicating and exceeding his technical percussion abusing skills and creating one of the most important aspects of GORGUTS' music.

As heard on the more recent albums, if one has an ear for classical music compositional skills it is apparent that Lemay is a gifted composer who utilizes the techniques of the centuries and applies them to suit his music in a death metal context. While the imagery and brilliant album cover created by the renowned Polish artist Zbigniew M. Bielak sync well with the death metal brutality bash and distortion blowout, the ebb and flow of the musical composition lends more to pre-metal past masters rather than contemporaries in the field continuing Lemay's utter brilliance in juxtaposing these elements into a seemingly effortless manner. The music on PLEIADES' DUST is excellent at the proper pacing of the more energetic brutal passages and the more subdued cadences. It appears that GORGUTS scores once again in creating a memorable soundtrack to some nebulous place and time from the history books. The musicianship is once again impeccably performed and the segments of the album are well connected and despite literally eschewing all the cliches that a 21st century tech death metal band can fall into, GORGUTS still succeeds in delivering all the death metal goods while wowing us with intense musical workouts delivered with outstanding intellectual eloquence.

 The Congregation by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.09 | 344 ratings

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The Congregation
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars In the modern world of progressive metal it seems very few bands can find their footing, much less incrementally improve upon every subsequent release but Norwegian progressive metal band LEPROUS is proving to be the exception by releasing one outstanding album after the other and with their fourth studio release THE CONGREGATION they show no signs of breaking this trend anytime soon despite experiencing a somewhat unstable lineup since their formation. On CONGREGATION we see the departure of bassist Rein Blomquist who is replaced Simen Daniel Børven and the exit stage right of Tobias Ørnes Andersen who is replaced by Baard Kolstad. Both of the new musicians fit it quite well with the style, groove and approach laid out by frontman and guitarist Tor Oddmund Suhke and it could almost be stated that their addition brings a fuller more congruous sound to the LEPROUS legacy.

While not substantially different than "Coal," LEPROUS seems to up their game subtly in every department. First and foremost they excel at strong songwriting with melodic hooks and knowing how to let certain instruments lead and follow. This formula is impeccably utilized throughout the entire album always serving the strong melodic hooks while adding the proper ingredients to wring out every possible potential lurking in the spaces between notes. I have always found LEPROUS masters at this game whether it be there knack for the spastic staccato approach of the chords and riffing or simply the accompaniment of the keyboards creating a counterpoint to the guitars and bass that adds an eerie ambient layer to a strong metal delivery system as well as finding a perfect balance between tempo, decibel dynamics and production effects.

It cannot be stated enough how important a lead vocalist to a really stellar progressive metal band and it is Einar Solberg whose voice is just perfect for this particular brand of prog metal. He has the operatic qualities of the best in the biz yet doesn't sound like he swallowed a cat or has had his male parts pinched in a vise-grip. The interplay of the instruments creating a larger than life melodic delivery is this band's major attribute and despite the album being a staggering hour plus affair, i don't lost interest in it no matter how many times i hear it and actually crave hearing it again. While on paper one cannot state the reasons why LEPROUS is in a league above the competition, however it is utterly apparent when one listens to the meticulously designed unfolding of the tracks on board. Somehow everything is paced and placed in just the right ratios. All elements present themselves in just the right proportions and the band has mastered the art of knowing when enough is enough and changing it up. I resisted LEPROUS for the longest time because i usually find hype to be overblown but in this case i'm on board and am finding THE CONGREGATION to be one of their strongest offerings to date.

For me the real beauty is how the individual parts of the tracks sound like they are so close to clashing and derailing the fragile beauty of the melodic flow but always somehow resolve themselves like a hero saving a damsel in distress being tied to the railroad tracks scenario. While this music can sound stilted and jarring for those used to a more straightforward approach of prog metal, for this who love those little "off" types of features that add tension and distress to their musical experience, then look no further than LEPROUS who once again proves they are on the top of their game putting some true "progressiveness" into their unique brand of prog metal. Vocal harmonics, production, symphonic accompaniments and instrumental interplay all display themselves in perfect tandem for my tastes. THE CONGREGATION is utterly addictive. While most releases contain 11 tracks, there are some with a 12th track titled "Pixel" which is a bonus track on certain editions. IMHO this is not an essential track so don't worry if you skip it. I actually prefer my copy without despite being good.

 Leprosy by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1988
2.96 | 133 ratings

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Leprosy
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Death's debut was a decent blueprint for death metal but didn't have brilliant production; their second album would not only demonstrate that they had a few more technical chops than Screan Bloody Gore might have suggested, but also put the distinctive production style of Scott Burns on the map and made Morrisound in Florida the hub of the late 1980s/early 1990s US death metal explosion. With songs that incorporate a higher degree of technical capability without making technicality the sole focus and a production which teases out the hidden intricacies of the group's playing whilst retaining the fire and fury of the preceding album, it isn't a delicate or shy piece but it is an iconic one.
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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
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