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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)
Louis (rdtprog)

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.31 | 1382 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1421 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1324 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 829 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.37 | 138 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.25 | 381 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 460 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.27 | 274 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.21 | 467 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 241 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.24 | 241 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.27 | 161 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.19 | 359 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.25 | 156 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.22 | 192 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.18 | 308 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.22 | 163 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.39 | 63 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.13 | 459 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.17 | 222 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.16 | 248 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.48 | 47 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.31 | 77 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.13 | 288 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.16 | 172 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.09 | 542 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.14 | 197 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.28 | 65 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.16 | 120 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.17 | 92 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
4.16 | 97 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.21 | 72 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.10 | 148 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.10 | 127 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
4.03 | 368 ratings
THE CONGREGATION
Leprous
4.03 | 313 ratings
COAL
Leprous
4.06 | 179 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.02 | 328 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.09 | 132 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.11 | 106 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.03 | 245 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
4.03 | 235 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.04 | 172 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.40 | 31 ratings
NESPITHE
Demilich
4.07 | 117 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.19 | 57 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
4.11 | 83 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
4.07 | 114 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.65 | 19 ratings
EMBODIMENT
Sculptured
4.18 | 54 ratings
AT THE DREAM´S EDGE
Chimp Spanner
4.18 | 55 ratings
SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT
My Dying Bride
4.04 | 127 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
3.95 | 1020 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
3.94 | 1112 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
4.09 | 81 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
4.11 | 69 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
3.98 | 221 ratings
COMA ECLIPTIC
Between The Buried And Me
4.12 | 61 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
4.07 | 84 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
3.98 | 184 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
3.93 | 646 ratings
MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
Opeth
4.18 | 43 ratings
THEN COMES AFFLICTION TO AWAKEN THE DREAMER
Twisted Into Form
4.09 | 61 ratings
MONUMENSION
Enslaved
4.15 | 47 ratings
THE TREES ARE DEAD & DRIED OUT WAIT FOR SOMETHING WILD
Sikth
4.13 | 50 ratings
BURIED IN OBLIVION
Into Eternity
4.01 | 107 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
4.20 | 37 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
4.08 | 61 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
3.92 | 390 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
4.04 | 80 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
3.96 | 163 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
4.12 | 46 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
4.23 | 31 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dødheimsgard
3.94 | 191 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
4.02 | 73 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
4.27 | 26 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
4.23 | 29 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
3.93 | 156 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.21 | 28 ratings
FEEDING THE ABSCESS
Martyr
4.16 | 33 ratings
666 INTERNATIONAL
Dødheimsgard
4.68 | 12 ratings
AS THE ROOTS UNDO
Circle Takes The Square
4.00 | 69 ratings
OUTER ISOLATION
Vektor
4.61 | 13 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
4.67 | 12 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
3.93 | 120 ratings
ANGEL RAT
Voivod
4.03 | 53 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.00 | 61 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
4.52 | 14 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.29 | 21 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
4.00 | 59 ratings
TERMINAL REDUX
Vektor
4.00 | 57 ratings
VERISÄKEET
Moonsorrow
3.85 | 1077 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
4.20 | 25 ratings
IN HARMONIA UNIVERSALI
Solefald
3.87 | 290 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Mastodon
4.24 | 22 ratings
AGONY
Fleshgod Apocalypse
4.22 | 23 ratings
TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS
At War With Self
3.97 | 60 ratings
LIMINAL
Exivious
4.78 | 9 ratings
PLAGUE SOUNDSCAPES
Locust, The
3.88 | 149 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
3.97 | 55 ratings
THE WEIGHT OF OCEANS
In Mourning

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

WARRING FACTIONS
Ansur
INTEGERS
Collapsar
RUUN
Enslaved
A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Damnation by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.94 | 1112 ratings

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Damnation
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I am a rather latecomer to Opeth, only coming to them after Mikael Åkerfeldt dropped the death metal monster growls and were going for a heavy prog approach, so naturally it was Heritage that I bought first, then going for their next effort Pale Communion. Damnation, I realized was a stark contrast to its sister release Deliverance. Both recorded at the same time, supposed to have been a double CD, but instead released separately several months apart. Damnation really has much more in common with the likes of Heritage and Pale Communion a decade later. A more proggy approach, not as so heavy guitar playing, more acoustic, and no monster growls. While Heritage and Pale Communion had alienated many fans, at least with Damnation, the fans felt this was a one-off effort and it was back to heavy stuff (and it would be until Åkerfeldt felt he was no longer improving on his growling vocal technique), but it did bring in some of the prog faithful who was otherwised put off by the death metal approach. In fact, many, both its supporters and detractors felts that Opeth was turning into Porcupine Tree. It helps that Steven Wilson not only produced the album but even appears on the album even sings, so the Porcupine Tree sound could not be avoided. After buying their two recent albums, I was totally flattered how similar Damnation was to their recent material. If you want Opeth to be heavy, this isn't it, if you want to hear the more mellow side of them, the more prog oriented side, just like the recent efforts, then this comes recommended.
 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.24 | 828 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I wasn't one of those people who knew of Opeth from Day One, after all death metal has never been my music of choice. I heard their name, often in collaboration with Steven Wilson, which was causing the group to go more progressive, but the death metal was still there. In 2011 I learned that their new release Heritage dropped the monster growls, and I took a chance on it. To my ears it has some nice stuff, but sounded like it needed room for improvement. For me, I am, like some people, find the growling vocals a bit hard to take them seriously (of course, many of the fans want those vocals). So it's little surprise those who felt alienated with Heritage will probably swear them off completely on Pale Communion. To be fair these efforts aren't too terribly different from Damnation, but then that was the "light" contrast with the "darkness" of the super-heavy Deliverance. I also have Damnation, mainly because it's more in tune with what they're doing now, despite being recorded during the very same sessions that brought you Deliverance (and released a few months after Deliverance). Apparently Mikael Åkerfeldt stated his growls have not improved so that's why he dropped them. Anyways, I am really delighted over Pale Communion. Make no doubt about it: they are now a heavy prog band. This album may still have heavy riffs, more more in tuned with heavy prog than death metal. Plus the album has its share of acoustic material, and even a wonderful orchestral piece (with Hatfield & the North and National Health's Dave Stewart conducting). "Eternal Rains Will Come" shows the group is totally at home with prog material, really like the nice keyboard work from newcomer Joakim Svalberg (Per Wiberg left following the released of Heritage,, hence the tree depicting one of the heads falling on the ground, that of Per Wiberg). Sampled Mellotron makes its presence felt on the album (Heritage did use a real Mellotron, an M600 that Per Wiberg was so happy to show on the Making of Hertage bonus DVD, included if you own the special edition CD of that album with the lenticular gimmick cover, but Pale Communion did feature the new keyboardist who hasn't yet had access to a real Mellotron). Also Hammond organ and MiniMoog Voyager is also used, showing how they're not afraid of prog. "Goblin" is in tribute of the famous Italian band of the same name, "Voice of Treason" has a rather Middle Eastern feel to it, while "Faith in Others" is a great closing piece, a moody orchestral number with help from Dave Stewart (as mentioned before).

As before, some long-time fans will be scratching their heads over this. Some felt betrayed by Åkerfeldt's clean guitar playing and vocal approach. I can only say, if they change, they better be good at the change, and that's what they deliver here. It's the change into a good heavy prog band, which I'm happy with. So if you enjoy heavy prog, I highly recommend this, even if you weren't exactly keen on the band in the past because the vocals or death metal approach.

 Infamia by INFAMIA album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Infamia
Infamia Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars There's technical death metal that is pretty much "normal" death metal with some technical frosting on the cake and then there's just crazy tech death and the obscure Italian band INFAMIA from the lovely gondola filled waterway city of Venice is indeed the latter. Out of all the unlikely places, this was home to one of the wildest and most experimental bands to fall under the death metal banner. So wild and ahead of their time that they only managed to release a couple demos and this one full eponymously titled album in 1994 before disappearing into the metal ethers leaving nary a detail of their existence. The band consisted of Emanuele Ferrabo on vocals and structure guitars, Christian De Bortoli on emotive guitar, Michele Conte on free bass and Marcello Cuppone on intricate drums. Their only album came out on the Zasko Lab label and has only ever seen but one initial pressing. The album is a short one and only barely clocks in over the 26 minute mark.

Immediately from the beginning dissonant chords blaring out of your speakers, the first track "Suffering Information" makes it clear that this band was ambitious in the progressive department and even before we hear the death growl vocals shouted out in full decibelage, we have several time signature freak outs that shift from distorted heavy metal into clean jazz guitar and back again and this schizophrenic musical approach pops in and out randomly throughout the album's run. However, the band manage to churn out some serious death metal riffs and follow through with their head banging rampage before they revert back to some strange guitar lick dueling it out with a clean jazz chord progression or some nice slow post-rock type of guitar run. While the metal and jazz do run independently from each other, they are just as often all mixed up together and even weave in and out of sync.

What we basically get with INFAMIA is Italy's answer to the kings of 90s jazz-metal fusion Cynic with wild ambitious death metal constructs interpolated with healthy doses of jazz guitar and time signatures run amok. While bands like Cynic are the obvious reference point in comparing INFAMIA to the world of 90s death metal, INFAMIA took the much wilder and unpredictable approach and thus have a much more avant-garde sound to their take on death metal. Whereas Cynic were masters of symmetrical compositional delivery, INFAMIA has a much more random feel to their music as track after track seems like a hodgepodge of ideas churning about like clothes spinning around in a washing machine.

This is definitely one for the adventurous metal heads who crave the adrenaline inducing hardcore nature of the death metal scene hand in hand with the most unorthodox jazz inspired musical complexities. While i wouldn't call this debut by INFAMIA a long lost masterpiece by any means due to its inability to coalesce all the parts into a much more satisfying whole such as how Cynic did on their album "Focus," i would call this a highly entertaining and brilliant album that should have served as the beginning stage for much greater things to come, but for whatever reasons that nipped their career in the bud, INFAMIA at least left behind this most intriguing artifact of pure musical madness guaranteed to take you somewhere you never thought you'd go. While not totally cohesive there is more than enough satisfying elements to make this a worthy edition to any progressive extreme metal lover's collection.

 Subconscious Autopsy by INFAMIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
1.00 | 1 ratings

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Subconscious Autopsy
Infamia Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
1 stars INFAMIA was a tech death metal band from Venice, Italy who released only one album in 1994 and a couple demos. One was simply called "Demo" and impossible to find. SUBCONSCIOUS AUTOPSY is the other and it was released in 1992. This one is also quite rare but yet a very tempting tidbit for collectors of rare and obscure tech death metal from the 90s. The good thing about SUBCONSCIOUS AUTOPSY is that there are no tracks on it that are featured on their one and only full eponymous album release. The bad thing is that this was only ever released on cassette and the production is absolutely HORRIBLE! It is more hiss than actual music and sounds like listening to a band practicing in a building across the street with a radio beside you tuned in between stations. Atrocious! But a rare demo so it has to be cool, right? NOT!

The music is also less than stellar. While the debut album caught my attention for its stunning disregard for the norm and delved into jazz infused death metal antics and was Italy's answer to the Florida tech death metal band Cynic, this demo doesn't quite hit all the same notes. The seven tracks on this one are sort of that blurry grey area between tech thrash and tech death and the compositions while decent if given an even remotely acceptable production value would probably garner a 3 star rating from me, but the production is so bleepin' bad that it even exceeds my threshold of tolerance. This one is really forgettable and not even worth the time of day seeking out to listen to. Skip straight ahead to the light years ahead sophistication of the debut album where no hiss will make you think like you've fallen into a pit of cobras and the compositions will make you think of an anarchic version of Cynic.

 Magma by GOJIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.82 | 21 ratings

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Magma
Gojira Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Magma' - Gojira (74/100)

Gojira remain crushingly heavier than the vast majority of "commercial" metal bands today. That said, Magma lends the impression they've come closer to quiet introspection than ever before. With that, I get the mixed reaction from fans. For whatever reason, I'm reminded of the way The Mars Volta reinvented themselves in 2009 with Octahedron; they're simply taking their essential style down a more subdued path than we're used to hearing from them.

This has been the most interesting time to talk about Gojira at least since the release of The Way of All Flesh in 2008. They had fallen off my personal radar for a few years, and I haven't been enamoured as much with From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh since around the time the two came out. A polarized reception like Magma's, if anything, seemed like a sign that Gojira might be reinventing themselves in a way that could make them exciting again. A more melodic, atmospheric and airy album could not possibly have been popular with their fanbase, but that's not to say they don't do it really well.

Of any of Gojira's albums, this is definitely the biggest grower-type they've yet released. Because it's not as intensely heavy and urgent as the others, the layers take more time to grow. Considering I've always considered that their sheer heaviness was one of Gojira's best, it really is refreshing to hear them without those extremes. From this, their other defining traits come through more clearly. Their massive-sounding atmosphere still makes it sound like they're recording in an underwater cavern, the progressive grooves are extremely hooky, and the melodic accents carry their weight several times over. Gojira have effectively channelled the same urgency in tighter confines. The writing isn't quite as consistent as it could have been, but there's more than enough solid material here to suggest their change of pace was a good idea.

The mellower (at least relative to past work) approach works well for Gojira's subject this time around. Although their music's almost always related to their personal convictions, Magma draws the music even closer to home. The Duplantier brothers' loss of their mother affected and moved them a ton; it would be more surprising if their next album hadn't been inspired at least in part by that experience. From this, Gojira's most powerful lyrics have inevitably stemmed; even if their clean vocals aren't quite strong enough to deserve such a prominent role on the album, the words and lyrics are powerful enough to sell it through. Even if Magma was inspired by a real-life loss, they still manage to touch upon grander ideas: the afterlife, the loss of love, and the will to carry on in spite of pain. They're not the sort of lyrics you can fully appreciate on paper alone; the music's celestial atmosphere is what gives the words their spiritual weight.

There are a few fantastic songs here. "The Shooting Star" is a slowburning opener that quickly impresses the fact upon the listener that they're in for a subdued Gojira. "Silvera" was the first song I checked out from the album, and it's still probably my favourite, with punchy dark riffs that sound like they were drawn from The Way of All Flesh. "Stranded" has one of the coolest-sounding riffs I've ever heard from the band, and "Low Lands" is a solid way to climax the album, trailed afterwards by the gently acoustic "Liberation". Although the album has definitely grown on me over the course of listens, I have started to feel that Magma is conspicuously frontloaded when it comes to its quality material. All of the songs here are solid, but I find a harder time in remembering great moments from the second half of the record. I support Gojira's subdued evolution, but the lack of standouts nonetheless puts this below their best work. Other than that, there are no gripes to be had with the band's softer approach. The same intensity as always is here-- it just takes a bit more digging on the part of the listener to get it.

 The Dysentery Penance by PESTILENCE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.00 | 2 ratings

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The Dysentery Penance
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars

PESTILENCE - The Dysentery Penance

OK, class! It's time to do some math today. What do we get when we add:

PESTILENCE - The Dysentery (Demo)

and

PESTILENCE - The Penance (Demo)

Well, PESTILENCE - THE DYSENTERY PENANCE, of course

This album is as simple as that. This is nothing more than a remastered compilation of the band's first two demos PLUS two live tracks which includes "Before The Penance" and "Fight The Plague."

See reviews for the two demos separately. The two live tracks are of inferior quality and don't warrant investigation unless you're a diehard collector who wants to own everything the band has done. While not essential by any means, this is the only way to obtain the band's two demos in a remastered form and on CD. Decent but not OMG brilliant at this point

 The Penance (Demo) by PESTILENCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.95 | 3 ratings

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The Penance (Demo)
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars THE PENANCE is the second demo by Dutch thrash masters PESTILENCE released shortly after their first. While the instrumentalists remained the same, the band found a new member exclusively dedicated to vocal duties. Martin van Drunen helps the band step it up a little bit beyond the generic sounding "Dysentery." Sounding a little more seasoned THE PENANCE is still very much rooted in late 80s thrash metal. It has the classic Metallica influenced guitar riffing. In fact "Before The Penance" at times sounds waaaaaaay too close to "For Whom The Bells Toll." Well, at least they had great heroes to worship. That said, the band deliver a more brutal approach to thrash metal on THE PENANCE and an obvious gateway to death metal.

Once again though, despite the progress in their development, PESTILENCE still sounds like an odd mix of early Metallica songwriting, Motorhead inspired punk attitude and some Exodus features as in the vocal phrasings, Slayer and Possessed type brutality. Yes, they stand out a bit with the new singer but ultimately this still sounds like a hodgepodge of metal ingredients sewn together and not properly boiled down into a broth. Pretty much for enthusiasts and not something that will make your stars aligned if you haven't experienced the thrash metal universe as of yet. Still though, not a bad demo. The production is much better than "Dysentery."

 Dysentery (Demo) by PESTILENCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.46 | 3 ratings

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Dysentery (Demo)
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars Raw and unfettered Dutch thrash masters PESTILENCE hit the ground running in 1986 and recorded a couple demos and caught the attention of Roadrunner Records. DYSTENTERY is the first of these demos. Up to date only Patrick Mameli (guitar and vocals sometimes) has been in the band telling me that this is his creation and for better and worse has continued on throughout the thrash history of the last few decades. DYSENTERY is a fast and furious brutal thrash release from the era. It incorporates the speed demon worship of Possessed and a dirty hellish sound of early Sepultura. There is also the inevitable thrash influences from early Metallica in the riff department. I'm also detecting a rather early Exodus vocal delivery system.

Unfortunately i became acquainted with the magic world of PESTILENCE groundbreaking progressive metal album "Spheres" and nothing before quite measures up. This sounds like very generic thrash metal in its infancy, well in PESTILENCE's infancy. Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer had already produced much better metal concoctions at this point. This is a great one for the hardcore fans but not really something anyone else would seek out unless you're totally curious as have been i. In short, well played filthy raw thrash metal demo quality material from the 80s. Nothing more. Oh yeah, the production sucks too if you care about that crap.

 Terminal Redux by VEKTOR album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 59 ratings

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Terminal Redux
Vektor Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Terminal Redux" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Vektor. The album was released through Earache Records in May 2016. One major change has happened since the release of "Outer Isolation (2011)" as the band have moved from Tempe, Arizona to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The lineup has remained the same though, so no changes there. Vektor was formed in 2003 under the Locrian monicker, but changed their name to Vektor in 2004. After releasing some demos the band signed to Heavy Artillery Records for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Black Future (2009)", which almost immediately earned them underground fame and success. A success they followed up in 2011 with their sophomore studio album "Outer Isolation".

Stylistically the material on "Terminal Redux" pretty much continues down the same sci-fi themed technical/progressive thrash metal path as the material on the two predecessors. The band are very well playing, delivering their parts with great precision and skill. Fast-paced and heavy drum parts, thrashy riffs and well played guitar solos, and David DiSanto´s high pitched screaming vocals in front. It´s not easy listening vers/chorus material either, but instead structurally complex and very adventurous tracks, which generally require more than one spin to sink in. But again that´s nothing new if you´re familiar with the two predecessors.

What is new compared to the two predecessors is the use of clean vocals on the two closing tracks "Collapse" and "Recharging The Void". The latter even features some semi-operatic female vocals. The opening track "Charging The Void" also features something new in a choir section, which leads my thoughts toward Devin Townsend and his wall of sound vocal approach. So Vektor have developed some parts of their sound, but they´ve (for the most part) maintained their aggressive thrash metal authenticity. It´s like listening to a combination of "The Sound of Perseverance (1998)"-era Death, late 80s/early 90s Voivod, and some of the mid- to late 80s albums by the German thrash metal triumvirate of Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. I´d say it´s slightly more melodic and progressive this time around, but it´s details and if you enjoyed the first two albums by Vektor, this one should probably make you happy too.

"Terminal Redux" features a well sounding production, and the musicianship is also of high class on all posts, so upon conclusion the album is yet another high quality release by Vektor. If I have to mention a couple of minor issues, it would be that the tracks are generally a bit too long and that 73:21 minutes is also too long a playing time for the album. If Vektor hadn´t opted to put "Collapse" and "Recharging The Void" (which are two of the most different and varied tracks on the album) at the end of the tracklist, my attention might have begun to wander. So while "Terminal Redux" certainly is a very impressive release, there is still room for improvement in the songwriting department. More conscise material, a few more hooks, and a shorter playing time could have done the trick (less is more). But don´t misunderstand me here, because those are minor issues, and overall "Terminal Redux" is still a very interesting and adventurous release, delivered by skilled musicians and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

 The Congregation by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.03 | 368 ratings

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The Congregation
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "The Congregation" by Norwegian progressive metal band Leprous first caught my attention when I saw it had made the top ten of the Prog Archives Top 100 of 2015. The artwork in particular intrigued me. I had sampled a bit of the band's music earlier after hearing about their album "Bilateral", but at the time there was nothing that bowled me over. After watching the video for "The Price" however, I felt certain that there was something for me on this album and at last I brought it home a few weeks ago.

To be sure, there are many great things to be said about the record. The music is largely if not entirely comprised of drums, bass, two electric guitars, some keyboards, and singer Einar Solberg's voice. There seems to me to very little in the way of overdubs and it occurred to me that there are next to no guitar solos, perhaps none at all. The musical arrangement sounds as if these boys were given an eight track recorder and told to try not to use the extra two tracks whenever possible. Thus the sound is rather sparse with only the five instruments and the vocals, though in at least two songs a rougher, angrier voice comes in which seems to be a guest appearance by Ihsahn.

It's not just the lack of instruments or overdubs that make the music here sound sparse. It's also how the instruments are employed throughout the songs. There are many songs that include simple riffs where the chords are played out in short bursts at odd intervals. The drums are often the busiest instrument, keeping a lively pattern going while the guitars strike with these simple chords: da-daah-dum, da-daa, da-da, da-daah-dum. The keyboards mostly provide atmosphere and sometimes play instead of the guitars so that with a simple bass and a roving drum pattern, the vocals float overtop a barely populated space. This works very well when listening to specific tracks, and for my money, the music reaches is best potential on "Rewind".

There is unfortunately a negative aspect to the album's musical approach and that is that there isn't much else going on. I recognize that this may be exactly what the band were shooting for. I read that they felt "Bilateral" was a little too all over the place in moods and they wanted "Coal" to be more focused and darker. Maybe they were trying to carry that on with "The Congregation". The album cover very well describes the feeling of the music inside. It's grey, there might be animal skulls, or possible some mutation or grafting. There might be a struggle and possibly a strong melancholy feel that needs overcoming. It's possible to pick almost any two or three songs and get a good feel for the album because there is little variety in the music here. It sounds good and creative and interesting. But the formula gets stretched across the entire 11 tracks and the 12 track serving as a bonus track doesn't exactly throw anything new our way.

If this were a new band with a tight budget, I's say they really worked their way around their restrictions. As for what I actually have here before me, it's a great effort with some quality song-writing. I'd just prefer some other components present to help make a few more tracks really stand out for me.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALKALOID Germany
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
APRIL ETHEREAL Poland
ARCTURUS Norway
ARKAN France
ARRHYTHMOGEN United States
ARTCELL Bangladesh
ARTIFICIAL BRAIN United States
AT WAR WITH SELF United States
ATEM Finland
ATHEIST United States
ATROPHIA RED SUN Poland
ATRORUM Germany
AUGURY Canada
AUTOCATALYTICA United States
AXAMENTA Belgium
AZURE EMOTE United States
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
CHRONOSTASIS United States
CIRCLE OF CONTEMPT Finland
CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE United States
CIRCLES Australia
CITRINITI Italy
COBALT United States
CODE Multi-National
COLD NIGHT FOR ALLIGATORS Denmark
COLLAPSAR United States
CONTINUO RENACER Spain
THE CONTORTIONIST United States
CONTRARIAN United States
CONTROL DENIED United States
CONTROL HUMAN DELETE Netherlands
COPROFAGO Chile
CORAM LETHE Italy
COUNTER-WORLD EXPERIENCE Germany
CRANIUM United States
CROWPATH Sweden
CRYPTODIRA United States
CUBICAL SPHERE Greece
CYCLAMEN United Kingdom
CYNIC United States
DAATH United States
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
DIMESLAND United States
DIONAEA United States
DIORAMIC Germany
DIREWOLF United States
DISEMBARKATION Canada
DISFIGURING REALITY Canada
DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA Austria
DISILLUSION Germany
DISKORD Norway
DIVINITY Canada
DODECAHEDRON Netherlands
DØDHEIMSGARD Norway
DORDEDUH Romania
DOWN I GO United Kingdom
DREAMGRAVE Hungary
DROTTNAR Norway
DRUDKH Ukraine
DRYAD'S TREE Germany
DUOBETIC HOMUNKULUS Czech Republic
DYSRHYTHMIA United States
EARTH SNAKE United States
ECCENTRIC PENDULUM India
ECHIDNA Greece
EDGE OF SANITY Sweden
MATTIAS IA EKLUNDH Sweden
ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF Canada
ELECTROCUTION 250 Sweden
ELENIUM Finland
ELENIUM Poland
EMPYREAN SKY United States
ENDITOL Canada
ENSLAVED Norway
ERA VULGARIS United Kingdom
ERYN NON DAE France
ESCHATON Austria
ETERNITY VOID United States
EVER FORTHRIGHT United States
EXENCE Italy
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
GERYON United States
GIGAN United States
GLADIATOR United States
GOJIRA France
GOLLUM / HADEA United States
GORGUTS Canada
GOROD France
LE GRAND GUIGNOL Luxembourg
GRIS Canada
GUILLOTINE India
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THE HAARP MACHINE United Kingdom
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HACRIDE France
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A HERO A FAKE United States
HIDDEN United States
HOPE FOR THE DYING United States
THE HUMAN ABSTRACT United States
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IHSAHN Norway
IKUINEN KAAMOS Finland
ILLOGICIST Italy
ILLUMINATI Romania
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IN LINGUA MORTUA Norway
IN MOURNING Sweden
IN VAIN Norway
INDRICOTHERE United States
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INI Norway
INITIAL POINT United States
INQUISITOR Lithuania
INTERVALS Canada
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ION DISSONANCE United States
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ISLAND Germany
THE ISOSCELES PROJECT Canada
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KADENZZA Japan
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KETHA Poland
KNIFE THE GLITTER United States
KOBONG Poland
KRALLICE United States
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LAST CHANCE TO REASON United States
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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
LYCHGATE United Kingdom
LYKATHEA AFLAME Czech Republic
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MARTYR Canada
MASTER'S HAMMER Czech Republic
MASTODON United States
MEANS END Sweden
MECHANISM Canada
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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
NUX VOMICA 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
ORAKLE France
ORGONE United States
ORTHRELM United States
OSIRIS Netherlands
OUTCAST France
OWL Germany
PAEAN Estonia
PAINTED IN EXILE United States
PANDEMONIUM Sweden
PENSÉES NOCTURNES France
PERIHELION SHIP Finland
PERSEFONE Andorra
PESTILENCE Netherlands
PHLEBOTOMIZED Netherlands
PIAH MATER Brazil
PICA FIERCE Norway
PITBULLS IN THE NURSERY France
PORTAL Australia
PRIMO VESPERE Italy
PROJECT 13-5 Germany
PROTEST THE HERO Canada
PSYCROPTIC Australia
PSYOPUS United States
PYRRHON United States
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
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SOLEFALD Norway
SPASTIC INK United States
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STONE CIRCLE United Kingdom
STORK United States
SULPHUR Norway
SUNSET IN THE 12TH HOUSE Romania
SUPER MASSIVE BLACK HOLES Canada
SUPURATION France
DAN SWANÖ Sweden
SWIM IN STYX France
SYK Italy
T.O.O.H.! Czech Republic
TAINE Romania
TALANAS United Kingdom
TARAMIS Australia
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA Greece
TENEBRIS Poland
TERMINAL FUNCTION Sweden
TEXTURES Netherlands
THANTIFAXATH Canada
THEORY IN PRACTICE Sweden
THOLUS United States
TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR United States
TREEBURNING Canada
TRIBULATION Sweden
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
WRVTH United States
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XERATH United Kingdom
YYRKOON France
THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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