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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

4.32 | 1440 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1479 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1386 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.38 | 146 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.27 | 405 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 472 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.26 | 280 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.27 | 244 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.20 | 480 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.18 | 914 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.23 | 244 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.27 | 162 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.19 | 369 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.25 | 165 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.17 | 318 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.40 | 67 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.22 | 167 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.13 | 468 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.32 | 79 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.15 | 257 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.16 | 235 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.17 | 194 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.13 | 300 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.26 | 97 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
4.45 | 48 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.15 | 204 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.08 | 551 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.15 | 177 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.28 | 65 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.14 | 135 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
4.15 | 123 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.22 | 73 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.10 | 150 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.13 | 103 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.02 | 402 ratings
THE CONGREGATION
Leprous
4.03 | 339 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.04 | 254 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
4.12 | 110 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.08 | 140 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.03 | 252 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.04 | 187 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.04 | 185 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.38 | 34 ratings
NESPITHE
Demilich
4.00 | 330 ratings
COAL
Leprous
4.07 | 118 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.64 | 20 ratings
EMBODIMENT
Sculptured
4.19 | 57 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
4.11 | 87 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
4.10 | 88 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
3.95 | 1160 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
3.95 | 1064 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
4.17 | 55 ratings
AT THE DREAM´S EDGE
Chimp Spanner
4.03 | 130 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
4.11 | 71 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
4.13 | 63 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
4.13 | 61 ratings
SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT
My Dying Bride
4.05 | 89 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
3.98 | 188 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
3.93 | 681 ratings
MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
Opeth
4.22 | 39 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
4.05 | 87 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
3.96 | 238 ratings
COMA ECLIPTIC
Between The Buried And Me
3.93 | 404 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
4.14 | 49 ratings
THE TREES ARE DEAD & DRIED OUT WAIT FOR SOMETHING WILD
Sikth
4.18 | 43 ratings
THEN COMES AFFLICTION TO AWAKEN THE DREAMER
Twisted Into Form
4.01 | 111 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
3.96 | 167 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
4.13 | 49 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
4.08 | 63 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
4.07 | 65 ratings
MONUMENSION
Enslaved
4.06 | 67 ratings
TURN LOOSE THE SWANS
My Dying Bride
3.99 | 117 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.10 | 53 ratings
BURIED IN OBLIVION
Into Eternity
4.23 | 32 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dødheimsgard
4.26 | 29 ratings
FEEDING THE ABSCESS
Martyr
4.02 | 76 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
3.93 | 160 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.31 | 23 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
4.24 | 27 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
4.18 | 32 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
4.16 | 34 ratings
666 INTERNATIONAL
Dødheimsgard
4.61 | 13 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
4.09 | 41 ratings
THE VIOLENT SLEEP OF REASON
Meshuggah
4.67 | 12 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
4.50 | 15 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.03 | 54 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.59 | 13 ratings
AS THE ROOTS UNDO
Circle Takes The Square
3.98 | 73 ratings
OUTER ISOLATION
Vektor
3.95 | 96 ratings
TERMINAL REDUX
Vektor
3.99 | 65 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
4.01 | 59 ratings
VERISÄKEET
Moonsorrow
4.19 | 27 ratings
IN HARMONIA UNIVERSALI
Solefald
4.21 | 25 ratings
TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS
At War With Self
3.88 | 194 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
4.24 | 22 ratings
AGONY
Fleshgod Apocalypse
3.98 | 61 ratings
LIMINAL
Exivious
3.89 | 153 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
3.84 | 1128 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
3.86 | 299 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Mastodon
4.06 | 38 ratings
AUTUMN AURORA
Drudkh

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

FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
LEAVING LOTUS
Counter-World Experience

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Phobos by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 58 ratings

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Phobos
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "I just picked up Phobos, its just like Negatron!"
"Thanks for the warning."
"What do you mean by that?"
"..."

Despite the warning, something made me go ahead and purchase it from the $3 used rack. This was after the abomination that was Negatron, knowing that the line-up had not changed. Well, I'll be honest. The key selling point was the 21st Century Schizoid Man cover. Having heard them cover 2 Pink Floyd tracks that I didnt really care all that much for as originals, I figured the chance of hearing what Piggy could do with a true prog anthem was worth the $3. I was not disappointed.

I cannot put my finger on it. Either it was the overall music structure that made Eric Forrest's vocals more tolerable on Phobos, or perhaps he settled in and chemistry improved. Pound for pound, his vocals are really no different. There appears to be a slightly different approach to recording him than on Negatron. That is, he appears to be mixed thin. Most of the time he sounds like he is singing through a transistor radio. And...it works! Consider communication on any moon in our solar system, such as is Phobos. Likely to be radio communication, right?

Where Negatron was just an amorphis, chunky pile of metal, Phobos actually moves in different directions in an allusory manner. And the ubiquitous sci-fi themes now have symbiosis with the music. The recording lacks clarity for sure, but it is largely made up for by the interesting song structures and ominous textures. And the drums no longer have the clicky bass.

Finally, we arrive at the coup de grace, the cover of 21st Century Schizoid Man . I have heard complaints that Voivod does nothing innovative with the song. Well, sometimes you just play the song, you play it well, and that is enough. And Voivod does, very well. Not a streamlined, watered-down radio edit. They rock it. And if that was ever a time that Eric Forrest's vocals shined, it was on this cover. This is an album that I rather enjoy. I understand that it does not carry the sound quality that would keep many listeners happy, and while I find Eric Forrest's voice to work much better with this album, it would likely still annoy others to no end. Therefore, 3 stars. Good, but if you think it sucks, I understand.

 Negatron by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.37 | 56 ratings

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Negatron
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

1 stars In my review of Voivod's The Outer Limits I equated the big sell on the packaging to seeing an ex and running off to the sack for a romping revisit to the glory days that ultimately was a little different, but satisfying. Well, as it turns out, I was drunk, and went to bed with The Outer Limits, but then I woke up with Negatron. Now, before I get beat up too much for my analytical objectification of what you are correctly assuming is the analogy of a female, be aware that I am self-delegating an appropriate punishment. Yes, I am actually getting drunk and climbing back into bed with Negatron, again. This time I am looking her in the eye. And you know what? This was a terrible idea.

First off, lets do just that, look Negatron right in the eye. By the eye, I mean the cover. See that robo-ant. Even the ant has no idea what's going on. That robo-ant (it occurs to me, that robo-ant *is* Negatron) with its shizzlebytes of memory and espialagogahertz of processing power is still oblivious. Seriously, look closely at the attached picture of the cover. He is absolutely doing this guy:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And what is more metal than an "I-dunno-shrug robo-ant"?...oooooh, wait! I just got it! I dunno=Negative response=Negatron.

Well, its entirely possible Negatron the robo-ant doesn't know what is going on because he is receiving his verbal instructions from new Bassist/Vocalist Eric Forrest. Now here is a guy with some big shoes to fill. Both Denis "Snake" Belanger and Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault replaced by a single robo-ant confusion specialist. With his two screaming volumes of "on" and "more on", he is impossible to understand at times, and impossible to not understand the rest of the time. Mostly, he's just impossible.
The sci-fi approach so familiar to our favorite Canadian cyber-punk-punk-metallers is obviously there. Negatron the I- dunno-shrug robo-ant is not just sexy, he's sci-fi, and he is metal. That much we can re-assure him of. Its how he's drawn.What we can't reassure him of is that anything about the music conveys the sci-fi theme. It is 90% straight forward metal. There are moments of Denis d'Amour's sinister dissonance, but it misses the mark on pushing the sci-fi agenda. Any lyrics from emo, to black metal, to gangsta rap to country and western-tear-in-the-beerisms could be thrown in, it would make just as much sense. Other confusion ensues with the drum recording. Through much of the album it sounds like the drum track was lifted straight from the master tapes of Metallica's ...And Justice For All. Bass drums are not supposed to go "click-a-click-a-clickity-click". Oh outrageous fortune! Is this the harbinger of the band's eventual attempt of fixing everything by adding Jason Newstead 5 years later?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is hard to understand how things went so wrong, so quickly. The session bass player on The Outer Limits was proficient and didn't degrade the the presentation at all. Its unfathomable that Denis "Snake" Belanger was such an important force in the character of the band, but it is the only variable outside of the producers and studio. Whatever the case, what occurred on Negatron applies some perspective on Angel Rat, another of my least favorite Voivod albums. There was at least an understandable logical progression to that point. Negatron is like a Star Trek transporter accident. The matter is just randomly scattered on arrival. It earns the coveted 1 star. And I've earned 600mg of ibuprofen.

 The Outer Limits by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.15 | 123 ratings

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The Outer Limits
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Following the lackluster descent to Angel Rat from the twin crowns of Dimension Hatross and Nothingface, there was, in this writers opinion, nowhere to go but up. The sci-fi-prog-punk-space-metal band from Quebec had seemingly gone to great lengths to "normalize". There was now a shift to recapture there stellar form. Still without a full-time bassist, and now without all-world producer Terry Brown, they seemed to have their work cutout for themselves.

The first time I picked up this album at the record store shortly after its release, I was dubious. I had been so disappointed with Angel Rat I didn't see how the band would redeem themselves. The first impression was amusement at the 50's era b-movie poster cover art and logo, then intrigue when I noticed the sticker on the outside wrapper that said "3d glasses inside". Ok, this fish noticed the bait, could they set the hook? That's when I turned the CD over. I read to my buddy standing next to me.
"Hey, Jeff?"
"Yeah?"
"Jack Luminous, 17 minutes..."
Hook set. I mean really, to the 23 year-old self-assured seasoned progger a 17 minute song was a slam dunk, right? Well, whatever the case, the joy was back with Voivod. The Joyvod if you please. It was like seeing an ex out in public and seeing how amazing they are doing and suddenly wanting her again. And I got her home and undressed her and it was amazing...I mean...uh...I got the CD home and unwrapped it. The package was as advertised. Cardboard 3d glasses and a 3d drawing for each song. Drummer Micheal Langevin, as routine provides the art. And the music...well...

That's where you start to realize why you broke up with your ex in the first place. The opener, Fix My Heart, had a moment in the intro with a soaring, reverbed out guitar part that set the familiar Voivod space-metal tone. But the substance of the song was very reminiscent of Angel Rat, if a bit more driving.
[Blank stares] "Ugh, I need a beer!"
"I'll come with you"
"Damn, it was too much to ask for them to redeem themselves."
"I guess, so."
"I brought this movie called 'Profondo Rosso', I hear its pretty cool."[Track 2 - 'Moonbeam Rider' starts playing]
"Yeah, lets watch it...actually this sounds ok, lets give the rest of the album a shot"
The album then begins to take a much more progressive, contrasting feel that was lacking on Angel Rat. And Denis d'Amour's reinserts his sinister high register unorthodoxy, albeit still not dissonant as was his earlier trademark. But certainly haunting. Particularly on the quite parts of Le Pont Noir. His verse parts took on a renewed heavy drive, not to the extent of the bands genesis, but in start opposition to the ultra-restrained tone of the previous album.

Voivod appeared to be back, their ubiquitous sci-fi themes in tow. Complete with stories of space travel, alien society saboteurs, media hypnotism, and unseen stalkers. The big hook that was the 17 minute long Jack Luminous was a good piece sound wise, but as it turns out only had the story as the unifying theme. The song actually felt like four different songs with no recall or codas to tie it together. The real gems of the album were the haunting Le Pont Noir and the driving, sinister Lost Machine. Additionally, for the second time in their career they through in a Pink Floyd cover, Nile Song. And once again, not one of my favorite as an original, so I can take it or leave it.

The Outer Limits was a huge improvement over the disappointing Angel Rat, but nowhere near the epic masterpieces that Dimension Hatross and Nothingface were. This is an essential album to my collection, your results may very. I will ere on the 4 star side given the hideous next 15 years or so for the band.

 Angel Rat by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.83 | 123 ratings

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Angel Rat
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Continuing through Voivod's discography we suddenly drop off dramatically from the pinnacle of the band's development that was manifested in their masterworks, Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. All the signs were there for a knockout release: An amazing concept album that was matched in quality and intriguing direction shift by it followup which actually saw the band acheive a degree of popularity. Then the band hooks up with producer Terry Brown, who produced the classic era of prog royalty and fellow Canadians, Rush. With continued major label (MCA) backing the stage was set for something secial. But the magic was not to be. Bassist Jean-Yves Thériault left the band prior to the release, which should have been a warning sign

The product ended up being a very bland output. Shorter songs, pedestrian beats, and a sudden shift toward a very generic chord use and song structure. The only growth that was readily noticeable was the most melodic vocal output from Denis Bélanger to date. But it was not enough to prevent a very uninteresting, lackluster album. Voivod's core story-lines of sci-fi and intrigue was still the motif, but the abandonment of the ritualized dissonance and obtuse rhythm changes distanced the music from the story. The entire project came off as an attempt to be more "accessible" to the alternative college radio crowd that had helped the band achieve the degree of popularity seen on Nothingface. If anything positive could be said of the project outside of Snake's melodicism, it was that the recording quality was top- notch. But it was at best only as good as Nothingface, and if it was in some regard better, it was not so much that one would say, "thank god they hired Terry Brown to achieve this amazing quality".

Angel Rat isn't a "bad" album. It just isn't a good album in the context of what might have been for Voivod. And things would flounder as the years went by with ok, to not so ok, to downright bad albums. It would be 22 years before the band would produce anything close to what they accomplished with Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. There are many who hold Angel Rat in very high regard. I am not one of them. 2 stars.

 Nothingface by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.27 | 244 ratings

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Nothingface
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After going full frontal prog with the outstanding concept album Dimension Hatross, Voivod took another opportunity to tweak their game. Keeping up with the sci-fi theme that had served them so well to this point, they would break almost completely from their thrash metal roots. Well, at least the thrash part. The new formula would lead to the widely acclaimed Nothingface, their most popular release and resident of US college radio top 40 charts in late 1989-early 1990.

From the word go it is obvious Voivod had a far better budget for recording. The thrash sound of the 2 previous albums was accompanied by heavy reverb. Nothingface pulled the sound closer to the listener. The thrashy beat speed is evident on the opener, The Unknown Knows, but gives way on the rest album to a very eclectic rhythm library that play more junctional beats to the overlying guitar riffs. Dennis D'amour's guitar playing, while remaining unorthodox and routinely atonal, tends to be more melodic, arpeggiated and exploring broader chord extensions than at any other point in Voivod's discography. Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault maintains his "blower bass" style, but sounds more defined within the recording. Vocally, Denis "Snake" Bélanger continues to bring what I call his "apocalyptic town crier" vocals to the party, this time appearing a bit less monotone than before.

The overall impression remains high energy, but presents a much more sophisticated instrumental interplay than other Voivod material. The highlight for many, otherwise a sidelight to me, is the inclusion of Pink Floyd cover, Astronomy Domine. This was likely the piece that propelled the album to the heretofore unseen mainstream popularity. As I was not a particular fan of the original, I can take it or leave it. That being said, it was cetainly a more than proficient rendition.

Nothingface and its predecessor, Dimension Hatross, will always stand out as game changers in the prog metal scene. And game changers for the band themselves. While so many rising stars from the thrash metal scene were flaming out, Voivod was carving a niche for themselves as true progressive metal originals. Nothingface is the second consecutive (and last) masterpiece for a unique band among their contemporaries. 5 stars, absolutely essential.

 Dimension Hatross by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1988
4.27 | 162 ratings

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Dimension Hatross
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The flower that is Progressive metal was in its first full bloom in 1988. Its petals many different colors and textures. One of the more unique petals reached out from Quebec in the form of Sci-fi/comic book-esque thrash metallers Voivod. After a decided shift in their approach to thrash metal to a more unorthodox thematic and stylistic production with Killing Technology, the predecessor to Dimension Hatross, the latter takes the change to the next level with a full-fledged sci-fi concept album.

Thrash metal had already reached its crest by this time. The predominant style was obviously fast, heavy and with the standard of root/5th power chords. Guitarist Dennis "Piggy" D'amour made a name for himself by leaving the power chords behind for a lowered 5th that created a dissonant, almost RIO texture to his guitar work. This helped enforce the spacey sci-fi themes that were incorporated into Killing Technology and would define the sound of Dimension Hatross. Coupled with the unmistakably punky thrash grinding rhythms and the grouchy overdriven bass of Jean- Yves "Blacky" Thériault, the sound was rolling thunder. This was a perfect fit for the conceptual theme of a microspopic universe created in a particle accelerator, a profoundly deep concept for a band born of a genre that was better known at the time for its pentagrams and painted witch faces. The story itself is formatted in a classic screenplay style with quality scene setting, character development, protagonist/antagonist, conflict and resolution. Each movement of the concept calculated with music that uniquely conveyed the scene.

Voivod is a band that has had its ups and downs. But it is undeniable that they took thrash metal in a direction it had not gone and created yet another path for prog metal with Dimension Hatross. And they did it without an opulent budget. This is one of the true originals of the sub-genre and a genuine masterpiece. 5 stars.

 Contradictions Collapse by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.15 | 58 ratings

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Contradictions Collapse
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Before I decided to review this, I opted on reading some already existing reviews to get some inspiration. With that in mind, Jjlehto's review translates perfectly what I see in this album, and I won't repeat what has already been pronounced. Instead, I'll recommend you to read his review and give my input on why CONTRADICTIONS COLLAPSE is a masterpiece, but not for progressive metal, as well on some details about the conceptuality.

LET'S START.

Well, first things first: this isn't a Swedish band merely influenced by METALLICA's MASTER OF PUPPETS or ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, this is a blatant copygone right. You can literally hear JAMES HETFIELD on the first track, PARALYZING IGNORANCE. But the difference is that where LARS suck as a drummer, HAAKE nails it.

As an authentic fan of thrash metal, I attest this groundbreaking this is for the genre. It was released in the same year thrash gained mainstream fame with METALLICA's BLACK ALBUM and MEGADETH's COUNTDOWN TO DESTRUCTION, but at the same time, lost its beautiful characteristic that made it so great while underground: aggressivity and an anti-mainstream sentiment. And while the big guys of the genre, by the 90's, started to lack those characteristics, MESHUGGAH comes up and BAM! you get this crushing release. MESHUGGAH came with a very clear message: we are a true thrash band.

Now that's progress to talk about the musicianship. Boy, technicality is beyond absurd, and it sounds delightfully unique for the thrash ears. The way everything's so odd and even and changing and shifting and quick and slow and groovy and heavy and then the snares and beats get confusing... it's innovative in the thrash scene, to say the least. The talent of those guys, in special the drummer and the guitarist, is something to praise a LOT about.

Lastly, as I've made myself clear (more often than needed, I suppose), this is would be for ThrashArchives.org what Pawn Hearts is for ProgArchives. Creative, refreshing, highly-rated, heavily rated. But sadly we're not at ThrashArchives. And bearing in mind this is a PROGRESSIVE focused forum, we can't really attest much progressiveness here. It's more of a "thrash with some progressive elements" than "progressive with thrash core". You can't get a distinctively prog feeling here from aside the polyrhythms and changing time signatures and insane breakdowns. I think that the fairest rating for this would be something around "3.6/5". I... might even quote Jjlehto (he's kind of becoming my hero on this Meshuggah business): "Overall, a great album! Obviously the regular progger should stay away from this. [...] fans of prog-metal this is a good work! It is still very thrashy so it depends on how metal your taste is".

Quality-wise, 9/10. Progressively-wise (what really matters here, folks), 6/10.

 Odd Senses by PSYOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.06 | 10 ratings

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Odd Senses
Psyopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars PSYOPUS only took a mere two years to follow up their melody mutilating sonic assault "Our Puzzling Encounters Considered." And although ODD SENSES pretty much picks up where that album left off with their insane mathcore metal that is turned up past 11 and is guaranteed to frighten small animals and parents, there has been drastic changes in instrumental duties! In fact only mainman Christopher Arp is back with his insane guitar antics and all other musicians are making their debut in the strange musical butchery of PSYOPUS. Firstly, Adam Frappolli has been replaced by Brain Woodruff on vocals. Secondly Fred Decoste has been replaced by Michael Horn on bass and finally Jason Bauers has usurped the percussive throne of Jon Cole and also contributes some marimba to the mix. Surprisingly, the band sounds relatively similar to the past in the shredding core elements that would strike fear into any sensitive ears but there are also plenty of fresh new elements on board to make this a worthy continuation of the sonic melody mutilations heard on the first two albums.

While the intro "44" is a short ambient slice of doom and despair, quickly the true opener "Medusa," a track that describes the difficulty of getting over someone when you have to see them all the time, ushers in both the core elements of PSYOPUS but also finds Woodruff adding some death metal growls to the mix. Arp is on fire as he not only displays his hammer-ons from hell but manages to induce a trance-like experience from super-slides as well with as much intensity as you could expect. Despite all the usual mathcore elements on board with the PSYOPUS stamp of approval they add all kinds of new touches to create a more dynamic ear canal assault for the listener to engage in. Tracks 1-5 are pretty much heaviness of the usual PSYOPUS plan with creative new ways to destroy melodic developments and seduce sinister spirits into creating anti-earworms but there are plenty of surprises on ODD SENSES.

"Boogeyman" is quirky crazy as it begins with several members including the girl who left the telephone message on the previous album's bonus track all taking turns reading poetry and each member reciting random words with a music box in the background but alternates with the brutal mathcore assault that we know so well. A tried and true tradition continues with a third installment of "Imogen's Puzzle Pt 3' only this time is recorded with a back backmasking technique without any obvious Satanic messages to be found. Paul McCartney is still alive and only Jay Chou can hear it "只有你能聽得到!" "Choker Chain" is the typical mathcore as usual but also continues the theme of the extended theme of troubles with women as it incorporates the echo effect of the hidden track on "Our Puzzling Encounters." On that hidden track a girl leaves a telephone message and when she says the word ANNOYING it last for 23 minutes. On "Choker Chain" this effect is used repeatedly with irritating cliche clingy girlfriend quotes mixed which finds its way tucked in between the metal outbursts.

"Ms Shyflower" begins with Gregorian chants of some kind and then becomes more of a heavy progressive metal type of music heard from Enslaved but ultimately picks up with the zany aggro vocals however the guitars stay fairly reserved for Arp as it's not about craziness and more about mood setting. Perhaps the most alternative track that utilizes dissonant chords rather than frenetic hammer-ons and finger tapping but still heavy as friggin' hell. "A Murder To A Child" proves to be the most UN-PSYOPUS track of all and all about Arp's delving into avant-garde classical music with dissonant guitar chords and bizarrely structured progressive compositional styles. It's totally a classical acoustic piece with Matt Colbert helping out with classical guitar, Owen Tomaszewski on cello and Adam McOwen on violin. As usual Arp adds on an overly long hidden track that takes up over 20 minutes of real estate, however this one is actually pretty interesting when they shut the bleep up. The music is basically a continuity of different jam sessions that cover the gamut of different types of metal to simply hard rock. Unfortunately it also includes pathetic attempts to be funny with ridiculously stupid skits that are stupid as bleep. This is a good case of why musicians need to stray far from the comedy world and vice verse (hear that Eddie Murphy?) Nevertheless despite this final faux pas of stupidity, i really love this album. Very cool for anyone who delves into the extremities of metal.

 Lost Signal by CODE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Lost Signal
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

4 stars One of the more interesting and experimental black metal bands around must be Code, and with this new EP they have decided to revisit their last four albums and experiment with songs from each of them. What is a little surprising is that of the six songs on offer, three of them are from their most recent album, 'Mut', with just one taken from each of the others. The result is something that is incredibly compelling, as they mix the emotional atmospheric sounds of BM with Muse to create something that is easy to listen to, yet strangely quite disturbing at the same time. There are elements of Burzum in some of their approach, and it is a deeply compelling work throughout, with the one major flaw being that it is less than thirty minutes in length, which is not nearly long enough. The first three tracks are from 'Mut', then 'Resplendent Grotesque', then 'Augur Nox' before ending with "Brass Dogs" which was originally on the debut, 'Nouveau Gloaming', which came out in 2005.

It is the first three songs on this EP that work the best for me, possibly showing just how far they have come in recent years. But, there isn't a dull moment, and anyone into post rock, BM, experimental prog metal etc. will find a great deal here to enjoy. That they cross so many musical boundaries are a testament to Aort, who has kept the band going all these years, and hopefully it won't be too long until we get the next full-length release. For more details visit the label site at www.agoniarecords.com

 Our Puzzling Encounters Considered by PSYOPUS album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.87 | 15 ratings

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Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
Psyopus Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The mathcore metal mutilators of melody PSYOPUS returned to terrorize the world with their second album OUR PUZZLING ENCOUNTERS CONSIDERED three whole years after their debut. And just like on "Ideas Of Reference" continue their highly technical noisefest led by the avant-shredder guitarist Christopher Arp who frenetically whizzes up and down the scale so fast with his tapping techniques that you have to be nimble minded to keep up with it. While most of the crew signed up for a second album, drummer Jon Cole did not and is replaced by the equally hyperactive freakish pummelations of Greg Herman. OUR PUZZLING ENCOUNTERS CONSIDERED pretty much picks up exactly where you'd expect if you've heard the debut. It unapologetically bursts onto the scene after a brief ambient intro and pummels the senses with extreme technical wizardry and the insane asylum electrocution style vocals of Adam Frappolli who sounds like he's close to puking up his entire digestive system.

Unlike the previous album, this one has a lot more sound effects and while "Ideas" had a few segments of clean guitar jazz-fusion inspired instrumental passages, PUZZLING offers two time outs from the frenetic display of audio apocalypse. "Imogen's Puzzle Pt 2" is pretty much an extended theme of "Imogen's Puzzle" from album one. On this instrumental workout Arp really shines as he not only delivers all kinds of strange chord progressions and guitar tapping but creates a vast array of moods with ambient passages as well as shredding like there's no tomorrow. "Siobhanis Song" is the other piece that slowly builds up from an album defying melodic ratcheting up of melodic harmonies of guitar and builds to higher intensity. It is actually light and fluffy and one of the rare pacifications before the Über-brutal "Happy Valentines Day" jumps back into hardcore extremities.

Obviously this is about as extreme as metal can get with with musicians dishing out a shotgun approach of energy that is designed to irritate and annoy and create the most dissonant and hardcore noise there is possible but this music is not noise for noise sake. These compositions are meticulously crafted in their little nerdy worlds and can be deciphered with great effort. While there is nothing on this album that will convince anyone who has already run for the hills once they heard the debut, this is a highly unique album with all kinds of guitar tricks and trinkets being back up by the absolutely insane vocals, bass and drumming skills of the band. While for the most part you have to enjoy being the ball in the pinball machine that is randomly beat and smacked every which way in random and unpredictable directions, if you have a tough skin you can actual penetrate the musical compositions. While i really love this kind of music when i'm feeling like a middle-finger to the world, there is one highly ANNOYING part and that's the hidden tracks at the end that has a recorded phone message of a girl going on about sheet and when she says the word ANNOYING, it repeats for 23 minutes! And if you have the patience to sit through this (yeah, i did once and only once, there is an unnecessary Red Chord cover song ("Catelepsy") at the end. Only for the most adventurous audio abusers out there.

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