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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 | 1256 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1277 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.24 | 1194 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.27 | 341 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.23 | 607 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.25 | 402 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.36 | 114 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.22 | 426 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.25 | 238 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.24 | 209 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.23 | 217 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.24 | 149 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.18 | 272 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.14 | 428 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.23 | 133 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.14 | 321 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.15 | 247 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.19 | 153 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.17 | 177 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.29 | 80 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.14 | 220 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.23 | 104 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.50 | 39 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.15 | 181 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.08 | 507 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.15 | 154 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.34 | 52 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.26 | 60 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.09 | 143 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.05 | 207 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.14 | 85 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.06 | 174 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
4.06 | 177 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.18 | 61 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.03 | 176 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.09 | 99 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.07 | 115 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.18 | 56 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
3.99 | 293 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.21 | 50 ratings
SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT
My Dying Bride
4.07 | 108 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.00 | 221 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
4.09 | 85 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
4.18 | 51 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.05 | 113 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
3.98 | 251 ratings
COAL
Leprous
3.94 | 1027 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
3.94 | 957 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
4.21 | 43 ratings
AT THE DREAM´S EDGE
Chimp Spanner
4.64 | 17 ratings
EMBODIMENT
Sculptured
4.01 | 145 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.02 | 110 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
4.07 | 74 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
4.09 | 64 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
3.92 | 591 ratings
MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
Opeth
4.09 | 62 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
4.01 | 102 ratings
ANGEL RAT
Voivod
3.97 | 155 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.01 | 102 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
3.97 | 150 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
3.93 | 333 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
3.99 | 117 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.04 | 74 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
4.14 | 45 ratings
THE TREES ARE DEAD & DRIED OUT WAIT FOR SOMETHING WILD
Sikth
4.12 | 49 ratings
BURIED IN OBLIVION
Into Eternity
4.17 | 39 ratings
THEN COMES AFFLICTION TO AWAKEN THE DREAMER
Twisted Into Form
4.41 | 21 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
4.13 | 45 ratings
VERISÄKEET
Moonsorrow
4.07 | 58 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
4.04 | 69 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
4.22 | 31 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dødheimsgard
4.09 | 50 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
3.93 | 190 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
4.02 | 75 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
4.18 | 33 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
4.05 | 56 ratings
MONUMENSION
Enslaved
4.20 | 30 ratings
666 INTERNATIONAL
Dødheimsgard
4.20 | 28 ratings
FEEDING THE ABSCESS
Martyr
4.72 | 11 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
4.00 | 66 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
4.53 | 14 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
4.20 | 26 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
3.86 | 271 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Mastodon
4.55 | 12 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.69 | 10 ratings
AS THE ROOTS UNDO
Circle Takes The Square
4.28 | 19 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
4.03 | 39 ratings
CELESTIAL LINEAGE
Wolves in the Throne Room
3.88 | 138 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
4.02 | 40 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
3.82 | 1002 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
4.20 | 21 ratings
TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS
At War With Self
3.93 | 67 ratings
INK COMPATIBLE
Spastic Ink
4.71 | 9 ratings
RESPLENDENT GROTESQUE
Code
4.02 | 37 ratings
DIGITAL VEIL
Human Abstract, The
3.96 | 50 ratings
IRRADIANCE
Canvas Solaris
4.36 | 14 ratings
UNDECEIVED
Extol
4.08 | 27 ratings
CORE
Persefone
3.94 | 54 ratings
TURN LOOSE THE SWANS
My Dying Bride
4.28 | 15 ratings
IV - THE EERIE COLD
Shining
3.92 | 59 ratings
OUTER ISOLATION
Vektor

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

A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End
WARRING FACTIONS
Ansur
SILHOUETTES
Textures
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 A Furrow Cut Short by DRUDKH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.56 | 7 ratings

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A Furrow Cut Short
Drudkh Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Drudkh's finest release in years, A Furrow Cut Short is a throwback to the band's Forgotten Legends/Autumn Aurora style, but with the added maturity that an additional 12 years' worth of musicianship brings. The album is Drudkh's longest release to date, and the songs are of suitable scale to match; only one track is shorter than seven minutes in length, and only two are below eight. The songwriting is some of Drudkh's strongest in years, possibly since Estrangement or Blood in Our Wells, and the performances are consistently compelling throughout.

The uninitiated should be warned that this is unapologetically a black metal release, so people who aren't fond of blast beats, tremolo picking, harsh vocals, and other hallmarks of the genre won't find a lot to like here. But for those who are fond of the style, this is a superb black metal release with some progressive hallmarks that offers a lot of rewards for listeners.

 The Congregation by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.69 | 4 ratings

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The Congregation
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Daggor

5 stars Review Except from Black Wind Metal Full review posted at blackwindmetal.com/leprous-the-congregation/

Coal's introspective, dark aesthetic was controversial, and I recall a lot of disappointment from critics two years ago. I do not expect there to be nearly as much dissent this time around, however. The usual Leprous quirks are present: heavily syncopated riffs, repetitive passages with slight melodic and harmonic alterations, and Einar Solberg's vocal dynamics. On top of that, there is the album's particular sound, which incorporates attempts at a more emotional impact, post-metal tonality and tremolo picking, and a rising and falling of intensity throughout. New drummer Baard Kolstad puts on an absolutely phenomenal performance, similar to and rivaling John Douglas' performances on Anathema's Weather Systems and Distant Satellites.

Opening track and first single "The Price" hints at the band taking a more a djent-inspired direction, and the first minute of "Third Law" doesn't do much to dispel that notion. The band is playing more and more with 7 and 8 string guitars and extremely heavy syncopation at times. It continues in what I can best describe as "Josh Homme singing over Tesseract riffs being played at double speed". This somehow leads into the chorus, which is among the album's most memorable (but of course, like every great album, it is but one of many outstanding choruses). The chorus dominates much of the rest of the song. It also dominates my dreams, my nightmares, and battles for my very soul.

There's going to be a lot of talk about "The Flood", and rightly so. I believe both reviews I've seen thus far have mentioned it as a standout. There are portions that strike a similar vein as Coal's "The Valley" but this song is shorter and more direct. There is a combination of synth effects and an incredibly deep guitar, possibly a down-tuned 7 or 8 string, playing a heartbeat throughout most of the song. The chorus is every bit as massive as anything the band has written yet, and the heartbeat has a tremendously dramatic impact. The bridge is reminiscent of the second half of "Foe", again from Coal, before giving way to the, and I repeat for emphasis: Absolutely. Massive. Chorus. I don't want to give away all the secrets in store, but this song is incredible. All the superlatives you're seeing heaped on it are true. That being said, if anyone has said anything bad about this song, I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about the haters. We've all got to suffer them together.

 Colliding Skies by CHAOS DIVINE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 5 ratings

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Colliding Skies
Chaos Divine Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Australia: Land of Prog. What? In the last few years, the Aussies have been releasing some of the best progressive albums I've ever heard. I could list them all, but I'd rather just spotlight one particular band, Chaos Divine. One could call them some sort of progressive metal, or maybe black metal. Or maybe neither. They actually call themselves "progressive heavy rock". I like the sound of that. Their sound has definitely been progressing lately (imagine that!), and the growls and harsh vocals that were once dominant (or at least on equal footing) are now given less and less time. You know what? Good riddance! There previous album "The Human Connection" was an immense, magnificent ode to fatherhood and gorgeous climaxes, but the harsh vocals always have bothered me slightly.

Chaos Divine plays a progressive metal sound that involves searing guitar work, emotional climaxes, worthwhile lyrical concepts, and especially the explosive voice of Dave Anderton. The band consists of Anderton on vocals, Ryan Felton and Simon Mitchell on guitars, Michael Kruit on bass, and Ben Mazzarol on drums. Their music is a continuous spiral and roller coaster of guitar theatrics, and, this time around, the drums and bass keep up, too. There is also a surprising amount of melody that works its way into the music, making Chaos Divine more dynamic than heavy and more elevating than grounded. There is certainly an ethereal quality to their sound that can often be difficult to corner.

What did I like about this album, "Colliding Skies"? First off, Anderton makes this album, and I say that with the greatest respect for all the other bands members. Anyone that knows me will say that I love vocals too much, and Anderton's vocal performance on this album is simply out of this world. He has such a strong tone, but he consistently hits highs that just blow my mind. This guy doesn't just hit them once or twice, though, as many of the choruses (catchy as hell, by the way) are completely built around explosion, emotional vocal lines that still come across as nuanced. This year has been a great year thus far for vocals, and Anderton is at the top, for sure.

As far as songwriting goes, the album is very accessible. It might be slightly less progressive in structure, but the album hits again and again with song after song that will get caught in your head. "Landmines", "Badge of Honour", and my favorite, "Painted with Grey", begin the album, and they are simply breath-taking at points. The single "Soldiers" is somewhat normal, but still great. My second favorite, "Mara", ends the album along with "With Nothing We Depart", which, again, are two amazing songs back to back. The latter song even features some great sax!

What didn't I like? While I adore this album, I do feel there are two things that detract from the experience. Most importantly, the album does get a little "same-y". The songwriting isn't particularly diverse, and many of the songs between tracks 5-8 tend to blend together in my mind. That isn't to say the songs are bad, but they just aren't that different from one another.

My second problem involves the production. While the cover is probably the most gorgeous piece of art I've seen this year, the audio is lacking, just like on their past albums. The swirling guitars, bass, and drums tend to succumb to the "white noise" effect at times, though the vocals never do. I will say that the sound is definitely better than on "The Human Connection", but not by a huge amount.

Overall, this is an extremely solid release from one of my favorite Aussie bands. They have the emotions, the class, and the chops to create very special albums, and "Colliding Skies" certainly is that. The band definitely put their all into their music, and I have great respect for that passion.

 Circadian Rhythm Disorder by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Circadian Rhythm Disorder
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

— First review of this album —
4 stars This new release from Glenn Snelwar and his project AT WAR WITH SELF in 2015 ,is something trully amazing and sensational under all aspects!First of all,the whole music on the album is composed of one monster track,divided into many smaller musical parts!The title of the album speaks itself about the high complexity and sophisticated music that we have on this material!German drummer genius Marco Minnemann is the author of the track,basically it's a monster composition of about 50 minutes of drumming wizardry,and Mr Snelwar managed to include some other nstruments,like guitars and keyboards,to give the product a very clever and complex final form!Definitelly,this is the most ambitious,complete and complex material to date for Glenn,and shows his amazing capacities to make a very complicated and diverse musical arrangement,based on the drum structure of a song!Trully crazy idea,...but,in the end...the final result is astonishing!Fantastic,very good production too,all the instruments sound excellent,and the cohesion,symbiosis,the organic structure of the drumming with the guitars and percussion instruments provided by Mr Snelwar is impressive!All the tracks ,even they are short and weird,give to the album a unitar structure,that's trully amazing how Mr Snelwar managed to gave such a cohesion to the drumming structures,in combination to the other instruments!Musically speaking...it's very complicated technical ,prog metal,and many auditions are 100 % necessary to fully understand the message of such ambitious piece of true art!!!The clever mix between electric and acoustic guitars,some amazing percussion instruments and great keyboars sounds-everything is a very intense and mature musical experience,not an easy listening at all,but ,in the end,we have the satisfaction and excitement of a great musical adventure!4.5 stars and a sincere BRAVO to the authors of this amazing album!
 Ghost Reveries by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.24 | 1194 ratings

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Ghost Reveries
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album has already been reviewed a lot and it's a good thing to see Opeth getting the attention they deserve. Although I am not a fan of the growling vocals, everything else about the band is awesome and I really can overlook it when the vocals have that growling sound because the rest of the music is top notch heavy progressive metal of the highest caliber. And Mikael's voice is actually excellent when he sings normally. I know it adds to the evil aspect of the music that the band focuses on, but, as the band has discovered with the almost simultaneous release of the companion albums "Deliverance" and "Damnation" (one very heavy and one mellow), music doesn't have to be loud to be evil.

The release of those albums was an excellent way to hear both sides of Opeth. But in this album, the best of both worlds come together. They have mixed sounds before, but this time around, in this album, it seems more natural and not as choppy as when it has been done before. Now, when the moods shift within a song, which is often on this album, it flows easily from one section to the next. The band has obviously perfected it's sound for this album. One of the reasons for the better transitions on this release is that the songs on this one were created outside of the studio and perfected and practiced before recording them. This method has definitely improved the overall sound of the band.

The sound of this album really varies a lot. You get hard and extremely heavy passages that are black metal and other sections that are more black-folk sounding with acoustic instruments. Ok, so far that sounds like the last few albums for Opeth. This time, like I said before, the transitions are better. But the other factor is that now they are utilizing and experimenting with other instrumentation and more keyboards, and it is done tastefully. One excellent example of this is in "Baying of the Hounds" which is also the most progressive of the tracks with ever changing rhythms, patterns and moods. But the softer sections include amazing sounds which are unlike anything the band has done before, and they do them well. It even approaches a light jazz fusion feel, but remains loyal to a great progressive sound with excellent dynamics.

The overall feel of the album is a great balance of harsh and soft, a lot of extremities, but now they also cover territory in between the extremes. This is a well-produced effort, as most of Opeth's albums are, but it is also very tastefully done and the musicianship is some of the best. Many compare the sound here to Tool, but the real comparison with Tool comes in the structure of the songs, being mostly long epics with many movements, changing melodies and great dynamics. The individual songs are quite elaborate. Opeth does have their own unique sound which is obviously different than Tool, and both bands do what they do in the best manner possible. The comparison is a great one, but, it's all in the structure and not so much the sound. Opeth has more black metal leanings making their music, overall, more harsh. But those quieter passages, which are very abundant on this album, are simply beautiful especially when contrasted with the harshness. And the experimentation and exploration into new sounds for the band is exciting making for a lot more variety in the music and more territory to explore. At the time, this was the best Opeth album to date for sure. 5 stars.

 Leytmotif Luzifer by ABIGOR album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.90 | 2 ratings

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Leytmotif Luzifer
Abigor Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Leytmotif Luzifer' - Abigor (66/100)

Considering how primal and 'anti-art' much of the Second Wave of black metal purported themselves to be, it is halfway ironic- though entirely welcomed- that so many of the bands have since expanded their grasp to encompass experimental and avant-garde territory. Austria's Abigor was founded in '93 as a relative mirror of their Norwegian contemporaries' approach and atmosphere, but nine full-lengths have witnessed an evolution in favour of bleak abstraction. Like Deathspell Omega, Abigor use their weirdest elements to amplify the spiritual warfare and malevolence held sacred by genre-traditionalists.

I have been a moderate fan of Abigor's work since 2010 when they released the impressive Time Is the Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint. In the years since, I've gotten around to hearing most of their work. While I've found most of it enjoyable (with particular accolades going to the above-mentioned and their classic Nachthymnen) I have always had the impression Abigor are nowhere near as good as the bands they're typically compared with. In the case of Leytmotif Luzifer, the chaotic aggression, spastic leads and 'orthodox' spirituality peg them firmly within the neighbourhood of Deathspell Omega. It is worthy of some praise that Abigor have unleashed their most hectic album to date, but they seem to lack something that DSO had plenty of; that being a means of refreshing the effect of their extremity through consistent and dynamic composition.

I do not mean to say that Leytmotif Luzifer was in any way hurried or thoughtless when it came to its songwriting. Black metal as complex and harried as this never blooms without some numberless amount of attention given to it. Each minute of the rushes past in a surge; the faux-chorus of growled vocals alone seem to play the part of an unruly mob-- an impression of chaos in this context only comes from strict order on the band's part. The guitars are fast and biting, and sometimes bolstered with symphonic undertones. Although it may not be fair to liken them too much to Deathspell Omega (Abigor still feel a bit of the Second Wave tradition in their riffs) Leytmotif Luzifer is replete with quick burstfire solos that emerge in virtually every track, exactly alike in tone and context to the leads in DSO's own Fas - Ite, Maledict, in Ignem Aeternum. It's clear where Abigor have taken some of their influences from; they employ the chaotic energy to generally admirable effect, but for music that has taken such great lengths to appearing avant-garde, Leytmotif Luzifer sounds a little too familiar for its own good.

Abigor have charged with such speed and aggression here that it takes several listens to make any sense of it. That feeling of being out-of-control as a listener is part of what can make this chaotic branch of black metal work so well. The band's folly with Leytmofic Luzifer is that they have continued this assault without relent; there is no respite, nor sense of contrast to give weight to the amorphous aggression that runs throughout the album's length. Abigor's dedication to chaos and most forms of extremity work against their own effect. It is not long before the listener grows accustomed to the same guitar patterns and sporadic leads; as any addict will tell you, it's not long before a tolerance builds up. It is such that it actually feels like a [%*!#]ing revelation on "Temptation V: Neglect" when Abigor tone down the chaos for the sake of a quasi-Gregorian vocal hook... "WE PRAISE THEE!!!"

Even when it seems to be an expected prerequisite to have at least a mild fluency in Latin and/or Greek to make a 'serious' anti-Christian statement in black metal, it should be said that Abigor yet stand apart from any of their peers when it comes to their lyrical exploration. Leytmotif Luzifer is not, perhaps, the sort of intellectually and challenging manifesto that DSO produced with their trilogy; it is nonetheless difficult and rare for a band to write Satanic lyrics that feel sincerely religious. Indeed, Leytmotif Luzifer reads like it was drawn from the penhand of a genuine fanatic. It is a shame that the music rarely evokes the same feeling of authentic spiritual evocation.

Although Abigor have never swayed from their mission of Satanic predication, their grasp o the subject has evolved just as much as the music; as per the best of their contemporaries, they pursue their worship with a poetic depth and conviction that matches the scriptures of those who profess other, considerably more mainstream theologies... Leymotif Luzifer is nowhere near as cutting-edge, nor quite as inventive as it first sounds, but Abigor's latest packs enough of a swirling punch to satisfy most of those who deem themselves fans of this twisted end of the black metal spectrum.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical

 I by MESHUGGAH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
4.16 | 104 ratings

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I
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tom Ozric
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Now, me being a fan of virtually every sub-genre of Prog, even all things regarding Iron Maiden, Henry Cow, Zao, Spring, Fantasy, Univers Zero etc.... Tool, even Mastodon....... I expected something 'special' from this offering. I came across this vinyl release whilst on holiday, courtesy of Euclid Records, Nawlins, - complete 21min. version of this meisterwerk, with 2 live tracks and a studio recording tacked onto the 2nd side of this 12" platter. I am NOT a fan of the 'death growl' style of vocals - I do, however, realise, that there is a bucket-load of talent and control to achieve this 'death growl' vocal. And I can't see someone like Jon Anderson spewing out lyrics convincingly enough to suit this incredibly abrasive music. Within a few seconds of the side-long piece, 'I', I listen carefully ; I'm convinced my limbs would fall off within the 17th bar......... These guys from Sweden need to be aware they need some O2 cylinders in tow wherever they go. This is technically proficient metal, with respect to some of the 70's giants. I really get into this music, but I do find these death-growl vocals somewhat immature. Take my analysis with a grain of sand, but I don't dig it, but I do return to this album, enjoy every minute of it. The sound is crisp, tight and clean by today's standards - really a notch beyond 'mainstream' dark-metal acts, and I can say that upon the first few plays of this album I did think that this is not the styling that is 'me'. Well, doesn't matter ; I honestly enjoy this music : The ambitious 21 min. 'I' track, begins with a harsh barrage of palm-muted guitar chunking in 7/8 time, cacophonous and noisy, breaking into the vocal part that is jagged, yet flows effortlessly blow-by-blow, until a dead-stop offers some strange singular guitar notes, springing up and down, as if being de-tuned, then BANG ! - complex rhythm that recalls Genesis' Apocalypse In 9/8 section, but heavier, more tech-oriented, and the band continue. Simply put : very impressive,. Moving on, the live tracks, recorded during the Ophidian Trek tour 2012-2013, titled 'Bleed' (7:20), and 'Dancers To A Discordant System' (9:51), show that these guys know their material inside-out, have the intelligence and stamina to pull this music off. It's tough, heavy, dark and ferocious......... I don't claim to be a specialist in this style of music, but it does tick most of the boxes for my ears. There is a 3rd track called Pitch Black, at 6 mins long, and features robotic vocals (better than the growl for me), and a repetitious riff, heavy on bass, that reminds me of something the Zeuhl bands indulge in. Oh how I wish this was instrumental. No doubt, EXCELLENT in most ways.

 The Vaulted Shadows by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2014
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Vaulted Shadows
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "The Vaulted Shadows" is a compilation album by UK doom/death metal act My Dying Bride. The compilation was released through Peaceville Records in May 2014. "The Vaulted Shadows" features the material from the two EPs "The Barghest O' Whitby (2011)" and "The Manuscript (2013)". All 5 tracks on the 54:25 minutes long compilation are original tracks only featured on the EPs and on "The Vaulted Shadows". So no previously released album tracks, demo/single material, live tracks, or other types of usual EP material.

"The Barghest O' Whitby (2011)" EP only features one single eponymously titled track, but at 27:04 minutes in length it´s the longest track recorded by My Dying Bride up until 2011. It´s a track which features almost all of the band´s trademark elements like über melancholic violin parts, atmospheric keyboards, crushingly heavy guitar riffing (as well as great harmony work), heavy yet rhythmically intriguing drumming, and of course the growling and clean vocals by lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe. It´s quite an intriguing track but unfortunately also a bit fragmented and at times a bit too repetitive. The fact that the track is divided into two parts to fit the vinyl format, isn´t exactly good for the flow of the track either. When that is said, it´s a track which wins upon repeated listens, and overall it´s a great quality track by My Dying Bride.

"The Manuscript (2013)" features 4 tracks and except for "Vår gud över er" all tracks were recorded during the sessions for "A Map of All our Failures (2012)", but left off the album release. "Vår gud över er" is a harsher and more death metal oriented epic track, than the other three tracks which are more melancholic, doomy, and beautiful in nature. The violin is used extensively on the title track and on "A Pale Shroud of Longing". Although three of the tracks are outtakes from the "A Map of All our Failures (2012)" sessions, the quality of the material featured on "The Manuscript (2013)" is very high throughout.

Upon conclusion "The Vaulted Shadows" is what I would characterize as a "must have" for fans of the band (if they don´t already own the EPs), and more casual listeners could well start here too. A great representation of the different aspects of the band´s sound. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Colliding Skies by CHAOS DIVINE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.85 | 5 ratings

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Colliding Skies
Chaos Divine Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by parubio

4 stars Diving into new releases this 2015 I found this by Chaos Divine. As usual, knowing nothing about the band and its music before listening to a new album is the best way to face the opus.

Subgenre labeling can be confusing since Prog Archives categorize artists, not albums, and they keep the one that was assigned at the time of their inclusion on the site. This is no exception, and though it's labeled as tech/extreme metal the sound is very far from that.

Very mature, complex compositions focusing on melody, emotions and atmosphere. Closer to Devin Townsend's post-metal and classic prog metal era mid tempos a la Fates Warning than to their previous "explicit speedy math rock metalcore".

An album that needs to be listened to several times to get all they have to offer.

It's a good album, not essential, but 3 stars don't do justice to this work. So I think 4 stars are well given, it's an excellent addition to any contemporary prog rock music collection.

 In Times by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.89 | 18 ratings

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In Times
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Not being much of a fan of Black Metal I didn't pay a lot of attention to Enslaved's earlier albums, the earliest one in my collection being 2004's Isa. As good an album as that is, to my ears they have got better and better on each subsequent release as the prog quotient has increased to the highpoint of 2012's Riitiir. In Times has a similar lush production to Riitiir but with just 6 tracks they have upped the prog elements even more.

Despite the prog elements Enslaved have still managed to not lose sight of their black metal roots as opener Thurisaz Dreaming certainly demonstrates coming straight in with frantic blastbeats and bassist Grutle Kjellson rasping black metal vocal style. Like the entire album the vocals alternate between Kjellson and keyboard player Herbrand Larsen's cleaner vocal style which has improved greatly over recent releases.

While there are lighter moments black metal fans will be pleased to know that In Times contains some of the most brutal music I've heard from Enslaved, the dynamics of the songs giving the heavier sections even greater impact. The rich production does the music justice, so much better than the thin weedy sound of much black metal, the brutal riffing complimented by the lush keyboard textures. The songs twist and turn through numerous inventive changes keeping it all fresh and captivating, the eleven minute title track being particularly effective.

Fans of extreme prog metal are going to snap this one up and the bar has been set for prog metal album of the year. As usual with this kind of stuff in the prog community the stumbling block for many will be the harsh black metal vocals. If you can get over that however In Times is a stunning album that will reward with repeated listens, quite possibly their best yet. Perhaps it's now time for me to start investigating those earlier Enslaved albums.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
APRIL ETHEREAL Poland
ARCTURUS Norway
ARKAN France
ARRHYTHMOGEN United States
ARTCELL Bangladesh
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN United States
AT WAR WITH SELF United States
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
BARING TEETH United States
BARREN EARTH Finland
BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE United States
BEHEADED ZOMBIE Russia
BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS United States
BELIEVER United States
BELTANE Germany
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME United States
BEYOND CREATION Canada
THE BINARY CODE United States
BISBAYE Canada
BLACK SUN AEON Finland
BLOTTED SCIENCE United States
BLUTMOND Switzerland
BORGIA France
BORKNAGAR Norway
BORN OF OSIRIS United States
BOTCH United States
BURGUL TORKHAÏN France
BURST Sweden
CANVAS SOLARIS United States
CAPHARNAUM United States
CAR BOMB United States
CARBONIZED Sweden
CARCARIASS France
CASTEVET United States
CEPHALIC CARNAGE United States
CEREBRUM Greece
CHAOS DIVINE Australia
CHIMP SPANNER United Kingdom
CIRCLE OF CONTEMPT Finland
CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE United States
CIRCLES Australia
CITRINITI Italy
COBALT United States
CODE Multi-National
COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS Denmark
COLLAPSAR United States
CONTINUO RENACER Spain
THE CONTORTIONIST United States
CONTROL DENIED United States
CONTROL HUMAN DELETE Netherlands
COPROFAGO Chile
CORAM LETHE Italy
COUNTER-WORLD EXPERIENCE Germany
CRANIUM United States
CROWPATH Sweden
CRYPTODIRA United States
CUBICAL SPHERE Greece
CYCLAMEN United Kingdom
CYNIC United States
DAATH United States
DE PROFUNDIS United Kingdom
DEAD LETTER OPENER Australia
DEATH United States
DEATH MACHINE United States
DEATHROW Germany
DEATHSPELL OMEGA France
DELTA CEPHEID Germany
DEMILICH Finland
DEMONIC RESURRECTION India
DESCEND Sweden
DEVIUS Argentina
DIABOLICAL MASQUERADE Sweden
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN United States
DIONAEA United States
DIORAMIC Germany
DIREWOLF United States
DISEMBARKATION Canada
DISFIGURING REALITY Canada
DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Austria
DISILLUSION Germany
DISKORD Norway
DIVINITY Canada
DODECAHEDRON Netherlands
DØDHEIMSGARD Norway
DORDEDUH Romania
DOWN I GO United Kingdom
DREAMGRAVE Hungary
DROTTNAR Norway
DRUDKH Ukraine
DRYAD'S TREE Germany
DUOBETIC HOMUNKULUS Czech Republic
DYSRHYTHMIA United States
EARTH SNAKE United States
ECCENTRIC PENDULUM India
ECHIDNA Greece
EDGE OF SANITY Sweden
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Sweden
ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF Canada
ELECTROCUTION 250 Sweden
ELENIUM Finland
ELENIUM Poland
EMPYREAN SKY United States
ENDITOL Canada
ENSLAVED Norway
ERA VULGARIS United Kingdom
ERYN NON DAE France
ESCHATON Austria
ETERNITY VOID United States
EVER FORTHRIGHT United States
EXENCE Italy
EXIVIOUS Netherlands
EXTOL Norway
THE FACELESS United States
FALLUJAH United States
FARMAKON Finland
FEARSCAPE Australia
FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE Italy
FLOODLINE United States
FLOURISHING United States
FORCES AT WORK Germany
FORGOTTEN SILENCE Czech Republic
FORNOST ARNOR United Kingdom
FRANTIC BLEEP Norway
FROM A SECOND STORY WINDOW United States
FROM THE EMBRACE United States
GIGAN United States
GLADIATOR United States
GOJIRA France
GOLLUM / HADEA United States
GORGUTS Canada
GOROD France
LE GRAND GUIGNOL Luxembourg
GUILLOTINE India
GWYNBLEIDD United States
THE HAARP MACHINE United Kingdom
HACKSAW TO THE THROAT United States
HACRIDE France
HANGING GARDEN Finland
HAUNTED SHORES United States
HELHEIM Norway
A HERO A FAKE United States
HIDDEN United States
HOPE FOR THE DYING United States
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT United States
HUNG United States
HYBRID Spain
HYPNOTHETICALL Italy
IHSAHN Norway
IKUINEN KAAMOS Finland
ILLOGICIST Italy
ILLUMINATI Romania
IN GRIEF Norway
IN LINGUA MORTUA Norway
IN MOURNING Sweden
IN VAIN Norway
INDRICOTHERE United States
INGENIUM Poland
INITIAL POINT United States
INQUISITOR Lithuania
INTERVALS Canada
INTO ETERNITY Canada
INTO THE MOAT United States
ION DISSONANCE United States
IRON THRONES United States
ISLAND Germany
THE ISOSCELES PROJECT Canada
IWRESTLEDABEARONCE United States
RON JARZOMBEK United States
JESTER'S MARCH Germany
JOURNAL United States
KADENZZA Japan
KALISIA France
KÄLTER Canada
KATABASIS Australia
KATHAARSYS Spain
KETHA Poland
KNIFE THE GLITTER United States
KOBONG Poland
KRALLICE United States
LASCAILLE'S SHROUD United States
LAST CHANCE TO REASON United States
LAZER/WULF United States
LEPROUS Norway
LEVI / WERSTLER United States
THE LEVITATION HEX Australia
LIQUID GRAVEYARD Spain
THE LOCUST United States
LOINCLOTH United States
LOVE HISTORY Czech Republic
LUX OCCULTA Poland
LYKATHEA AFLAME Czech Republic
MADDER MORTEM Norway
MANTRIC Norway
MARTYR Canada
MASTER'S HAMMER Czech Republic
MASTODON United States
MEANS END Sweden
MECHANISM Canada
MEGACE Germany
MEKONG DELTA Germany
MELTINGAZE Germany
MEMFIS Sweden
MENCEA Greece
MESHUGGAH Sweden
METALMORPHOSIS Poland
MINDWORK Czech Republic
MONOGONO Portugal
MOON OF SOUL Hungary
MOONLOOP Spain
MOONSORROW Finland
MOONSPELL Portugal
MORBUS CHRON Sweden
MROCTOPUS Portugal
MY BITTER END United States
MY DYING BRIDE United Kingdom
N.A.M.E. United States
NAMI Andorra
NATURUS Hungary
NAUMACHIA Poland
NE OBLIVISCARIS Australia
NEATH Australia
NEGATIVA Canada
NEGLECTED FIELDS Latvia
NEGURA BUNGET Romania
NERVE END Finland
NEUROMIST Moldova
NEWBREED Poland
NEXT LIFE Norway
NEXUS Australia
NOCTURNUS United States
THE NUMBER TWELVE LOOKS LIKE YOU United States
NYIA Poland
OBLOMOV Czech Republic
OBSCURA Germany
OBSIDIAN Netherlands
OCEANS OF SADNESS Belgium
OCEANS OF SLUMBER United States
ONCE THEM EDENS Greece
ONTOGENY United States
OPETH Sweden
ORGONE United States
ORTHRELM United States
OSIRIS Netherlands
OUTCAST France
OWL Germany
PAINTED IN EXILE United States
PANDEMONIUM Sweden
PENSÉES NOCTURNES France
PERSEFONE Andorra
PESTILENCE Netherlands
PHLEBOTOMIZED Netherlands
PICA FIERCE Norway
PITBULLS IN THE NURSERY France
PORTAL Australia
PRIMO VESPERE Italy
PROJECT 13-5 Germany
PROTEST THE HERO Canada
PSYCROPTIC Australia
PSYOPUS United States
PYRRHON United States
QUO VADIS Canada
RAM-ZET Norway
RANDOM Argentina
RANDOM MULLET Finland
RAZOR WIRE SHRINE United States
THE RED CHORD United States
RED SEAS FIRE United Kingdom
RED TIDE United States
REFLUX United States
RENAISSANCE Belgium
REQUIEM AETERNAM Uruguay
RETARDED NOISE SQUAD Germany
REVERENCE France
REX MUNDI Greece
RIPPED United States
ROLO TOMASSI United Kingdom
LA RUMEUR DES CHAÎNES France
JORDAN K. RUSH United States
SADIST Italy
SAMMATH NAUR Poland
SCHOLOMANCE United States
SCLERA Australia
SCULPTOR Serbia
SCULPTURED United States
SERDCE Belarus
SERIOUS BEAK Australia
SHADOWS LAND Poland
SHINING Sweden
SICMONIC United States
SIKTH United Kingdom
SILENCE THE ARIA United States
SKALDIC CURSE United Kingdom
SLEEP TERROR United States
SOLEFALD Norway
SPASTIC INK United States
SPECTRAL INCURSION United States
SPIRAL ARCHITECT Norway
STARKWEATHER United States
STEALING AXION United States
STONE CIRCLE United Kingdom
STORK United States
SULPHUR Norway
SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLES Canada
SUPURATION France
DAN SWANÖ Sweden
SWIM IN STYX France
T.O.O.H.! Czech Republic
TAINE Romania
TALANAS United Kingdom
TARAMIS Australia
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA Greece
TENEBRIS Poland
TERMINAL FUNCTION Sweden
TEXTURES Netherlands
THANTIFAXATH Canada
THEORY IN PRACTICE Sweden
THOLUS United States
TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR United States
TREEBURNING Canada
TRINACRIA Norway
TWISTED INTO FORM Norway
ULCERATE New Zealand
UNCROSSED Russia
UNDEFINED Spain
UNEVEN STRUCTURE France
THE UNIVERSE DIVIDE United States
UNMOORED Sweden
UNREAL OVERFLOWS Spain
VALBORG Germany
VAZIMBA Madagascar
VEHEMENTER NOS France
VEKTOR United States
VIATROPHY United Kingdom
VIELIKAN Tunisia
VILDHJARTA Sweden
VINTERSORG Sweden
VOIVOD Canada
VORTICE Spain
VUVR Czech Republic
WANZWA United States
WATCHTOWER United States
WETWORK Canada
WHAT'S HE BUILDING IN THERE? Canada
WILD HUNT United States
WINTERSUN Finland
WITHERSCAPE Sweden
WITHIN THE RUINS United States
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM United States
WRATH AND RAPTURE United States
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XERATH United Kingdom
YYRKOON France
THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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