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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 | 1378 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1416 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1315 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 813 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.37 | 136 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.26 | 381 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.24 | 460 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.27 | 274 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.21 | 465 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 240 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.24 | 241 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.27 | 161 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.22 | 192 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.18 | 308 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.16 | 359 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.23 | 157 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.21 | 163 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.13 | 458 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.17 | 221 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.16 | 248 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.47 | 47 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.31 | 77 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.22 | 119 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.35 | 63 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.12 | 287 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.16 | 172 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.09 | 540 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.14 | 196 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.28 | 65 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.07 | 363 ratings
THE CONGREGATION
Leprous
4.17 | 95 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.17 | 92 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
4.10 | 148 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.21 | 70 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.10 | 127 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
4.06 | 179 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.03 | 312 ratings
COAL
Leprous
4.09 | 131 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.02 | 327 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.11 | 106 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.03 | 235 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.02 | 244 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
4.04 | 171 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.02 | 221 ratings
COMA ECLIPTIC
Between The Buried And Me
4.07 | 117 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.40 | 31 ratings
NESPITHE
Demilich
4.19 | 56 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
4.07 | 114 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.11 | 82 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
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
3.94 | 1016 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
3.94 | 1108 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
4.03 | 127 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
4.09 | 81 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
4.11 | 69 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
4.12 | 61 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
3.98 | 184 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
4.06 | 83 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
3.93 | 644 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
4.01 | 107 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
4.13 | 50 ratings
BURIED IN OBLIVION
Into Eternity
4.22 | 36 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
3.92 | 388 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
4.08 | 61 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
4.04 | 80 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
3.96 | 162 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
4.12 | 46 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
4.23 | 31 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dødheimsgard
3.94 | 190 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
4.27 | 26 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
4.01 | 72 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
4.23 | 29 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
3.93 | 155 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.04 | 54 ratings
TERMINAL REDUX
Vektor
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
4.61 | 13 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
4.67 | 12 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
3.93 | 120 ratings
ANGEL RAT
Voivod
4.00 | 65 ratings
OUTER ISOLATION
Vektor
4.03 | 53 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.52 | 14 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.29 | 21 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
3.99 | 60 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
3.85 | 1072 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
4.20 | 25 ratings
IN HARMONIA UNIVERSALI
Solefald
4.00 | 55 ratings
VERISÄKEET
Moonsorrow
3.86 | 288 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
3.88 | 149 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
4.78 | 9 ratings
PLAGUE SOUNDSCAPES
Locust, The
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

ANGL
Ihsahn
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
EXPRESSIONIST
Beltane
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 I - Within Deep Dark Chambers by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.99 | 10 ratings

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I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars There are some people who are just born to be unhappy despite living in the most fortunate of circumstances. For some reason, Scandinavia has plenty of unhappy souls despite having one of the highest standards of living in the world. Such is the case with young Niklas Kvarforth who started his depressive black metal band SHINING (the Swedish band, not the Norwegian jazz-metal group of the same name) at the tender age of 12. Depressive black metal set itself apart early on in the 90s distinguishing itself other black metal in that it doesn't focus on misanthropy or Satanic themes but rather on self-destruction and all the negative emotions associated with suicide and self hatred. WITHIN DEEP DARK CHAMBERS is the full debut album by Kvarforth who contributes vocals, guitar and keyboard with his lineup of other sickened souls: Tusk on bass, Ted Wedebrand on drums and additional disturbed vocalizations by Andreas Classen.

This debut album is pretty much in line with the depressive black metal scene of the 90s in that it utilizes an overall repetitive, hypnotic and monotonous feel that incorporates the wall of sound guitar frenzy with atmospheric keys, occasional chimes and midstream drums meaning that blastbeats are uncommon and the drums lazily accompany the fuzz feed frenzy. Perhaps the most "depressive" aspect of SHINING's first album is not only the uncompromising fury of the music but mostly of Kvarforth's anguished and tortured vocals above all else. This is one of those albums that simply excels in distressed fury and keeps me on pins and needles wondering if dude isn't gonna do himself in on the final track just to have a musical place in history. Fortunately not so as i like future SHINING albums better than this one. But wow. This definitely fits the depressive black metal bill. Not recommended as music for grandma's funeral.

While this album excels at keeping every shimmer of light from entering the boarded up windows and screams a razor blade, case of aspirin with vodka and carbon monoxide party, the music is fairly straight forward as this was before SHINING started experimenting with more progressive elements as to add more sophistication to self-hating pity party. The music here has the regular black metal buzzsaw grunge, where the guitars and bass are one and the raspy vocals wax and wane between traumatic black metal tantrums about how horrible the world is with utter resignation to the life sucks affirmations. The weakness here is the percussion as it is as languid as a salamander in the arctic and merely keeps the beat and not much else. Overall, this is a decent slice of depressive black metal but some of the tracks which hint towards progressiveness such as "Stonelands" and "And Only Silence Remains?" tend to meander for far too long, however the inclusion of church bells and slow parts in the latter does make it a bit more interesting at times. 3.5 rounded down

 Dreamless by FALLUJAH album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.58 | 12 ratings

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Dreamless
Fallujah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There are times when the cover art of an album is enough to convince me that I have to buy it, and even if I don't totally get into the music after a trial listen on YouTube, I feel that artwork must be mine and I will somehow appreciate the album's musical content no matter. I'm pretty open-minded that way. (snicker) So when I saw this album cover here for Fallujah's third album "Dreamless", I felt compulsively that it had to get into my collection.

The music is both simple and difficult to describe. Basically, it is heavy modern metal with aggressive blast beats, heavy guitar played both with speed and slower ponderous chords played at non-standard intervals in a bar. "Ba- downg, downg... downg... downg, downg-ba-downg..." The vocals are that bellowing/roaring/growling style more commonly known as death vocals or death growl. It often sounds to me more like Beelzebub is trying to talk through a hurricane. There is, however, another factor to the music and this is what sealed the deal for me, so to speak. There is a lead guitar that either wails hauntingly over the aggressiveness of the rest of the band or it plays lead-like melodies of great dexterity. Okay, the guitar doesn't play it; let's give credit to Scott Carstairs or Brian James, the band's two guitarists, though I'm not certain who takes the lead if not both.

Describing the music further, the rhythm guitar seems to follow one of two approaches: either a thrash-like attack on a chord or variations on a finger configuration based on a chord. My friend and I used to do this on our guitars back in the nineties. We'd play a standard bar chord but remove the finger of the lowest string alternately, occasionally using that finger to bend the string, all the while never changing the position of the other fingers. It sounded really heavy and cool but in those days we didn't think that was a real riff and nobody would ever think to create a song around that playing style anyway. Well, in actuality it might not be as simple as I've described it but it still sounds cool. And these days, lots of people are doing this it seems. So basically we have much of the band going for full-on aggressive metal with those roaring vocals. But this other guitar really adds a layer of beauty that is quite ear-catching. I don't know if this is a new trend among metal bands but it's the first I've heard it. There are also moments where the intensity is dropped and clean, delayed guitar notes and chords add a new dimension. There's also a song or two that feature soaring, aethereal female vocals which really adds a wonderful contrast, and one song that actually includes a more normal-sounding male vocal contribution.

There are two things to say in critic of the album. The first is that I find the roaring vocals too prevalent. A little more of non-death vocal style would have given the beautiful and haunting lead guitar parts more purpose. The songs with the female vocals sound the best in this way because they complement the higher guitar part while the gruff death vocals go with the aggressive rhythm guitar. And hey, if you're going to take the time to write lyrics then why not be sure that they are at least to some degree discernable. I mean, near the end of one song, all I can make out is, "STRAAWWW. QUAALM!" Actually, I think this is the song "Scar Queen".

The other point is that all but two tracks follow a similar formula. Yes, checking out any one song or two makes this album seem like a treasure of audio delights. But as I listened to the album the other morning while out walking and my thoughts became distracted, when I returned my attention to the music after a few minutes I felt I hadn't missed anything. But I have to consider that this is the band's third album and in many cases, it is the third album where the band have really found out where they want to be and some of the most highly rated albums in rock history have been the third album.

Two tracks are entirely different and they are "Fidelio" which features some simple but pretty piano with supporting music and a dialogue between a woman and a man about a dream she had (the album is entitled "Dreamless" remember?) and how now that she is awake she is back in reality. The other track is "Les Silences" which is more of an atmospheric electronic piece with drum programming and a man's voice speaking in French. It is a rather intriguing track because it works very well and it delivers a distraction from the formula that comprises the 10 other tracks.

For a listen, you can find some songs on YouTube, and I think I would recommend "The Void Alone" because it includes the lyrics and the female vocals. I think it's a pretty good album for adding some variety to my collection and largely for the combination of that ultra-aggressive style and that sometimes soaring, sometimes technical lead guitar. But in some ways I also find myself thinking that I still love the artwork more than I actually enjoy the music on the whole album. The cover just seems to promise more than what is actually present. Or perhaps just less bellow roaring would have improved my overall impression.

 Colored Sands by GORGUTS album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.17 | 95 ratings

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Colored Sands
Gorguts Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Wikipedia is your friend," my friend always says when we are not sure about some fact. I often consult Wikipedia as a starting point to search for band history and album information. In the case of "Colored Sands", the Wikipedia article was surprisingly indepth and very informative.

Gorguts released four studio albums between the years of 1991 and 2001. During this time the band went on a five- year hiatus between their second and third album, and only founding member Luc Lemay has remained with the band, effectively making Gorguts his band similarly to how Opeth is Mikael Åkerfeldt's baby. With the suicide of a band member in 2003, Gorguts was finally dissolved in 2005. However, Luc Lemay received encouragement to reform the band in 2008. Initially (I'm getting this from Wiki) he did not intend to write any new material because he was satisfied with what the band had achieved; however, he started writing anyway and found it came very naturally.

The theme for the new album was Tibet. It was inspired by a video Lemay saw of colored sand art where images are created using colored sand and then ritualistically destroyed. At first he meant to write only the one song about Tibetan sand art, but his research into Tibet, its culture, history, and religion, inspired him to devote the whole album to Tibet. The album is divided into two parts: the historical, cultural, and geographical side of Tibet and the Chinese occupation. There are four tracks to each part with track five, "The Battle of Chamdo" separating the two parts and being a musical representation of the Chinese invasion in 1950. Impressively, this piece is performed by a five-piece string ensemble including two violins, a viola, a cello and a string bass. The music was composed by Lemay. The concept of the album was to "create a storytelling mood within the music; sort of like a motion picture" (quote by Luc Lemay and quoted from Wikipedia).

Lemay's concept is nothing to scoff at. Colin Marston (bass) and Kevin Hufnagel (guitar) are both classically trained musicians and contributed a lot to the album, writing their own parts together with Lemay. All three members cite classical influences, particularly composer Elliot Carter, and were able to write ideas on paper because they could use "an academic vocabulary". Lemay wanted to avoid writing anything like their second album "Erosion of Sanity", which was more of a typical death metal album, and develop their own musical language. This language was first introduced with 1998's "Obscura", though it is regarded by Lemay as rather simplistic. "Colored Sands" is a "more sophisticated expression" of that language.

All this makes the album sound terribly interesting. With music so intelligent and lyric writing to match, what does the album sound like?

BOM BOM RATATATATAT WHALLOP BOWM! ROOAARR BOM BOM (ting) BOWM!

Gorguts is not only death metal but they approach extreme like few can. Dissonance, double bass blast beats, booming guitars, ferocious roaring vocals, and occasional bass note crashes that sound like BOWM! If my parents, who were fans of 50's jazz, had a hard time making sense of my musical preferences in the mid-eighties, I can almost sympathize with them listening to this album. My first listen through, however, was a blissful ride because it was exactly the kind of music I was up for (having spent the previous week listening to Sarah McLachlan and Supertramp!). The Wikipedia article tuned me into the fact that there was more to this album than just explosive sounds of a heavy metal band in rapid combustion. I listened again with an ear for the complexities of the music and discerned that a score did indeed exist, one that was often difficult to follow for long and subject to violent and brutish upheaval. By the third listen I was struck by two notions: first that there was sometimes little disparity between some songs during the explosive and thunderous BOM BOM BOWM!! moments. The other was that I began to realize that this was not too far away from a Voivod album that I quite like, "Phobos", which I likened to the sonic equivalent of being wacked by a giant tennis racket! As the album wrapped up for the third time in my ear buds (with some songs having been played a fourth time) the similarities between "Dimension Hatröss" and "Phobos" and this album here made the music suddenly become even more accessible to me, or if not exactly accessible at least not so alien. And speaking of alien, perhaps some of Strapping Young Lad's "Alien" had also prepared me for this.

Armed now with a new understanding toward the album, I think I can more easily digest what I'm hearing. Surprisingly, the production is remarkably clear. One might expect the dynamic range to be shattered or a lo-fi production but it strikes me as being very clean and clear. Yes, we are still talking about kilotons of pounding and building-toppling shock waves of guitar distortion and dissonance, but still very well captured in the mix. When the music drops down for a bit of acoustic guitar, the string ensemble, or a chorus of low and ominous "aahhh"s like a note meant to conjure up an ungodly presence, it's all very clear. What a remarkable feat to have recorded an album that often comes across as the musical equivalent to the moon colliding with the earth while maintaining good sound quality.

If there is anything to say that is more critical it would be that in spite of the philosophical concepts presented in the lyrics, such as how did the Tibetans' devotion to peace help them in the end, and the history and culture and all that, the words are not so easy to distinguish from the roaring vocals and crushing sound of the music. It's also an album that won't be easy for a lot of metal fans to sink their teeth into. After listening to this album twice, I went ahead and listened to some classic Slayer and Megadeth and it was like going to pick daisies after having tried to pluck rare flowers from the sheer wind-blasted granite cliffs of some torturously rugged mountain. For more information about the album, please read the Wikipedia article!

 Redefining Darkness by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.96 | 10 ratings

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Redefining Darkness
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I first heard of Shining and Niklas Kvarforth by reading accounts of the ludicrous "Ghoul" stunt perpetrated by the band a while back, but at least they seem to have decent music backing up these stunts. Aside from an obligatory black metal denunciation of Christianity in the final track, For the God Below, the album finds Niklas singing (screaming, roaring, growling, ranting) about depression, suicide, and murder in disturbingly frank terms, backed by dark and dirty black metal thunder from his bandmates. None other than Andy LaRoque - yes, King Diamond's Andy LaRoque - steps in to provide a guest performance, along with a range of other guests, and if the performances occasionally seem to lean in surprisingly commercial directions for a band with Shining's forbidding reputation, this is never so blatant as to disrupt the aesthetic they're going for. An interesting effort which makes me want to plumb the depths of Shining further.
 VI - Klagopsalmer by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.99 | 15 ratings

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VI - Klagopsalmer
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Klagopsalmer finds Shining persisting with the musical approach they'd adopted on Halmstad, and whilst it doesn't quite feel as fresh as it did on that album, it's still nice to hear them really going to town on embellishing the quieter sections of their loud/quiet blueprint. Shining could probably be accused of sticking to their basic formula once again, but the additions to the formula attained during the Halmstad era have clearly stuck, and consequently their sound still feels moderately refreshed here. I don't think this album is the equal of Halmstad, which I would personally recommend to most listeners as their starting point in exploring the miserable world of Shining, but it's not bad either.
 V - Halmstad by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.03 | 24 ratings

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V - Halmstad
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Emerging in the wake of the whole "Ghoul" debacle (in which Kvarforth and Shining tried their best to convince the world that Kvarforth had committed suicide without ever directly stating it for the sake of plausible deniability when the sham was revealed), V: Halmstad reveals a rejuvenated and refreshed Shining. It's not that their formula has radically changed here, but the application of the formula is masterful and compelling. In particular, the band have clearly honed their skills when it comes to the quieter instrumental sections, and the tightened up sound there really helps the compositions hang together. If Kvarforth needed to pull a tasteless prank on the black metal scene in order to produce this album, I'm inclined to forgive him when the results are this good.
 IV - The Eerie Cold by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.21 | 17 ratings

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IV - The Eerie Cold
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With some of its calmer tracks approaching post-rock territory (complete with found audio snippets a la Godspeed You Black Emperor), Shining's fourth album is a confident application of what had by this point become a tightly optimised blueprint. It's a solid work, though it still doesn't quite represent a major creative breakthrough in the band's music; if anything, it risks creating the impression that the band were stuck in a rut at this point and only just about manages to avoid this. You have to wonder whether Kvarforth's infamous "Ghoul" stunt that followed the release of this album wasn't at least in part motivated by a desire to shake off the cobwebs and do something a little different.
 II - Livets Ändhållplats by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.35 | 8 ratings

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II - Livets Ändhållplats
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Shining's second album is in most respects a reiteration of the formula of their debut, once again offering desperate scrabbling outbursts of black metal in between despairing acoustic passages. The main development here over Within Deep Dark Chambers is in a mildly greater level of polish to the production, and a deadening of the fury of the black metal sections, sinking even deeper into the melancholy, lethargic atmosphere that makes these early albums of theirs a simultaneously fascinating and worrying listen. By the end of the listen most listeners will feel that Kvarforth is badly in need of a hug; whether you consider this a positive or not is probably key to whether the whole "depressive black metal" concept is for you or not.
 I - Within Deep Dark Chambers by SHINING album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.99 | 10 ratings

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I - Within Deep Dark Chambers
Shining Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Shining's debut album mashes up Burzumesque black metal with gloomy, doomy riffs and subject matter to create a sonic journey down into the deepest vaults of depression. There's a certain lifelessness to the album which would be a detriment to most circumstances but works well to evoke the misery they are aiming for - this is music which has to make a conscious effort just to get out of bed and face the day, and is always half-tempted to grab a handful of sleeping pills and not get up at all. Niklas Kvarforth is, of course, still with us (the unspeakably silly Ghoul incident notwithstanding) so clearly the process of making this music is therapeutic to a certain extent, and when I'm in the right mood it's an intriguing and maudlin experience, though I wouldn't want to listen to it too much if I were actually in a major grump.
 Isolated Intelligence by ESCHATON album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Isolated Intelligence
Eschaton Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Isolated Intelligence" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Austrian black metal act Eschaton. The album is a self- released affair, available from March 2012 as a free download on the band´s Bandcamp page. It´s also possible to purchase a physical digipack version of the album. Eschaton was formed in 1998 under the Dominus Satanas monicker, and released a couple of demos under that name before chaning their name to Eschaton in 2002. They released their debut full-length studio album "GodMode" in 2004 and the "An Instrument of Darkness" EP in 2010.

The music on "Isolated Intelligence" is technically well played black metal. Artists like Dødheimsgard, Code, and when things are most technical Drottnar, come to mind. I wouldn´t exactly call the music tech black metal, but the musicianship is certainly on a high level. The vocals are predominantly aggressive raspy sneering delivered in a very convincing fashion, but there are both female and male clean vocals on the album too. They are not dominant though. The riffs are more defined and thrashy in nature than usual for black metal and as the case are with the above mentioned acts, the use of dissonance and open chords is a big part of the band´s sound.

The 46:25 minutes long album features 5 tracks and right from the opening track "Transcending Satanism" we´re treated to intriguing songwriting and powerful aggressive tunes. Eschaton have struck a perfect balance between aggression and more atmospheric semi-progressive ideas. Even the 15:25 minutes long instrumental "The Black Tunnel" is entertaining and interesting all the way through the pretty long playing time.

The sound production is slightly thin and dry sounding (could have used a bit more bottom), but it´s a minor issue and overall "Isolated Intelligence" is a very impressive release by Eschaton. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

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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
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
INI Norway
INITIAL POINT United States
INQUISITOR Lithuania
INTERVALS Canada
INTO ETERNITY Canada
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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
LYCHGATE United Kingdom
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
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
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
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
XANTHOCHROID United States
XERATH United Kingdom
YYRKOON France
THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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