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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.32 | 1352 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1395 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1294 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.24 | 784 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.38 | 132 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.25 | 451 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.25 | 375 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.27 | 268 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.20 | 459 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.24 | 240 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.24 | 238 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.25 | 158 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.22 | 192 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.17 | 304 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.16 | 354 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.23 | 156 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.13 | 451 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.17 | 213 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.16 | 245 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.20 | 161 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.14 | 282 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.29 | 80 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.35 | 63 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.45 | 47 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.21 | 117 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.14 | 195 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.08 | 533 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.16 | 165 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.27 | 65 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.06 | 332 ratings
THE CONGREGATION
Leprous
4.18 | 91 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.17 | 90 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
4.10 | 146 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.21 | 70 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.06 | 178 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.09 | 124 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
4.02 | 322 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.02 | 305 ratings
COAL
Leprous
4.06 | 165 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.11 | 106 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.04 | 201 ratings
COMA ECLIPTIC
Between The Buried And Me
4.03 | 229 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.02 | 239 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
4.07 | 117 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.19 | 56 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
4.07 | 114 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.05 | 129 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.40 | 29 ratings
NESPITHE
Demilich
4.18 | 54 ratings
AT THE DREAM´S EDGE
Chimp Spanner
4.10 | 79 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
4.18 | 55 ratings
SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT
My Dying Bride
4.65 | 18 ratings
EMBODIMENT
Sculptured
3.94 | 1003 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
4.09 | 81 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
3.94 | 1092 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
4.03 | 125 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
4.11 | 67 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
3.98 | 182 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
4.06 | 83 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
3.93 | 632 ratings
MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
Opeth
4.10 | 61 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
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
4.22 | 36 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
4.01 | 107 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
3.97 | 158 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
4.04 | 77 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
4.08 | 60 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
3.98 | 118 ratings
ANGEL RAT
Voivod
3.94 | 186 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
4.13 | 44 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
3.91 | 381 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
4.23 | 30 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dødheimsgard
4.27 | 26 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
3.94 | 151 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.01 | 72 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
4.23 | 28 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
4.21 | 28 ratings
FEEDING THE ABSCESS
Martyr
4.16 | 33 ratings
666 INTERNATIONAL
Dødheimsgard
4.61 | 13 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
4.67 | 12 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
4.03 | 53 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.02 | 55 ratings
CITADEL
Ne Obliviscaris
4.56 | 13 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.29 | 21 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
3.85 | 1053 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
4.67 | 11 ratings
AS THE ROOTS UNDO
Circle Takes The Square
4.21 | 24 ratings
IN HARMONIA UNIVERSALI
Solefald
4.24 | 22 ratings
AGONY
Fleshgod Apocalypse
3.99 | 58 ratings
OUTER ISOLATION
Vektor
3.86 | 286 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Mastodon
4.22 | 22 ratings
TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS
At War With Self
4.78 | 9 ratings
PLAGUE SOUNDSCAPES
Locust, The
3.98 | 56 ratings
LIMINAL
Exivious
4.25 | 20 ratings
ON LONELY TOWERS
Barren Earth
3.88 | 147 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
3.98 | 55 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
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

THE AURORA VEIL
Ne Obliviscaris
RUUN
Enslaved
A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End
THE DESIGN
Into the Moat

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Il Était une Forêt... by GRIS album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Il Était une Forêt...
Gris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Depressive black metal which draws strongly on the atmospheric potential of the genre and featuring superior quality production values isn't exactly a unique sound, but Gris pull off one of the better realisations of that sound on this album. With mild folk influences here and there to keep things interesting, Icare and Neptune make a case for their status as a bit more than mere Quebec answers to Sweden's Shining, and throw in some interesting twists and turns along the way - like at least one song that is presented as though it is recorded live before a rapturous audience, whose clapping and cheering sits dissonantly next to Icare's depressed mutterings.
 À L'Âme Enflammée... À L'Âme Constellée by GRIS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.95 | 2 ratings

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À L'Âme Enflammée... À L'Âme Constellée
Gris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having made their name with the previous album, Gris don't rest on their laurels but press on with this followup, offering an epic journey through melancholic soundscapes with dark folk and post-rock influences creeping into their sound. The use of violin, in particular, adds a particular plaintive note and spices up proceedings considerably. Admirably refusing to stand still, Gris advance their sound on this one and whilst incorporating such post-rock influences into a black metal sound isn't exactly unheard-of these days, there are plenty of groups out there who don't pull it off nearly as well as they do. Keep something cheerful nearby for when the misery gets too much.
 The Shape of Colour by INTERVALS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.29 | 5 ratings

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The Shape of Colour
Intervals Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Immaculately played, intense instrumentals

Intervals is a well established jazz fusion metal/math/djent project from Ontario, led by Aaron Marshall. Their 2nd full length release "The Shape of Colour" was birthed after some significant turmoil in the group, including an entirely new line-up (except for Marshall) and the change to an entirely instrumental release. Reading a bit about them online the reviews of "Colours" are mixed but more positive than negative. Most the negative ones came from those who really enjoyed the previous incarnation and vocalist-since I've not heard that album I can enjoy this one on its own merits. And I did enjoy the ride.

"a delicious blend of metal, jazz, and virtuosity -- the crunchy grooves will grab you; the melodies will serenade you; and the power plays will enrapture you. Each track has its own flavor, whilst maintaining Intervals' confident sound, rhythm, and strength." -Jonathan Lin

Lin's flash assessment is good and I mostly agree. This is highly technical instrumental rock with those furious, shredding solos on every track that recall Satriani or Chris Poland in their purity and blaze. Though the players are all so technically gifted that as crazy as it sounds, it can sometimes get bit mechanized in feel. But it's a two way street and if you happen to like listening to highly proficient players shred wall to wall, floor to ceiling, this is your album. The music itself was pretty good in my book: melodic, engaging, hard hitting and consistent. The songs have moments of groove, even dreamy sections, but usually such intricacy/space to breath moments are steamrolled pretty quickly by the occasionally annoying technical rigidity and heaviness. Because of the relative uniformity of the tracks I think some listeners will find the album unmemorable. But for me there were more than enough beautiful moments of spirited interplay and melodic fusion to put this band on my radar, and I'd recommend to fans of instrumental rock without hesitation. 7/10.

 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.32 | 1352 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO / Avant / Zeuhl Team & Moderator

4 stars Prayer for our still life. Regardless of my first OPETH, I could not help feeling as if this album should be one of my musical roots. Based upon melodic core metal, they keep sending out fresh troops of sensitive sound shower. Their musical box is full of sound essence of Swedish metal scene ... heavy riffs with grindcore vibes, sensitive melodic Fantasia, refined chorus along with strict rhythm section plays, extreme sharp-edged guitar solos ... all of OPETHeoretical energetic progressive strategies would be accumulated and integrated like a powerful pyramid.

On the other hand, I guess they might play fully with artistic delight for letting the audience listen to their complex melody lines in such a complicated manner, of course their playing skill, instrumental technique,or composition faculty should be awesome though. We can get immersed in their world just as if we would fall into catastrophic illusion via this massive production.

Cynically mentioning aside, their theatrical schemes and movements can be felt pretty innovative. Assume that such a death-metallic style could be heard via North European progressive metal originated with the giant vanguards in North Euro melodic (non-progressive) metal scene ... basical metal sound visions with explosive loudness and deathcore voices would be shifted to mystic gorgeous rock phrases tinged with classical flavour somehow. The first repetitive confusive conductive phrases, beautiful acoustic storytelling, aloud hardcore voices plus deep explosive phases, and polished chorus or verse ... they all hold their hands and merge themselves into others completely. There is no useless tone nor unnecessary sound. On a natural course.

We cannot frequently come across such a colourful creation filled with nonpartisan sound variations, let me say. Afraid there might be pros and cons for / against this album but this innovative cornerstone was / is another multi-flavourful gem.

 Scream Bloody Gore by DEATH album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.91 | 132 ratings

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Scream Bloody Gore
Death Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Before they became a prime mover behind death metal's shift into increasingly technical complex territory, Death pioneered the early genre's rough, thrashy, dirty style with albums like this debut, the culmination of a series of well- received demos. Several of the songs are inspired by the horror films of Lucio Fulci, and appropriately enough they're just as trashy and gorey as the material which inspired them. A product of a time before fancy Florida production chops gave death metal a more polished sound, this is an eruption from the underground which may turn off listeners whose main interest in Death lies in their later, more technical works. If, on the other hand, you appreciate the rougher side of the genre, it's a vital manifesto of that.
 Still by DIONAEA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Still
Dionaea Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars Catharsis

Not since I opened a CD years ago for a band called "The Pax Cecilia" have I been as pleasantly surprised by something so intense. Seriously wild indeed. Dionaea are a 3-piece from Frenchtown, New Jersey. They are still together but have been inactive for several years as life has not yet allowed more time for band work.

"Still" is an ironic title because the music is anything but still. This short album has only three songs but man do they make every second count. They describe themselves as "post grind" and while I'm no expert in these various tags, what I hear is an intoxicating mix of occasionally extreme elements with post-rock and math intricate playing. Furious blizzards of notes, extreme vocals, and blast drumming one moment and then these breaks of ethereal or serene post-rock the next. You are blown ragged one moment by the sheer intensity and given repose the next. Repeating motifs, "layering of harmonics and concentrated chaos" (-GJ), a colorful palette of guitar sound and techniques. Unlike some "post" projects where the music can often drift sleepily into repetitive and very "studio" sounding realms, Dionaea rock like a real band and a kickass one at that.

I feel lacking in ability to put words to what I'm hearing with this group, suffice to say I feel it is profound and that it should be considered essential for lovers of complex, multi-faceted music. Yes parts of it may seem too extreme for some listeners, but like Toby Driver projects, much of it is quite accessible and the mixture is a good one for folks who might otherwise avoid a band out of their comfort zone. I encourage you to try it! It is both musically cerebral and emotional release. It should please those who like "thinking man's music" and those who just want some scorched Earth. The overall effect, primarily of the masterful guitar playing, is one of cleansing while the bass and drums provide thrills. The first and last tracks are mostly smokin' while the middle track serves as the breather of sorts.

Part of the success here is that the shocking and often abrupt changes in ferocity do not sound phony or disjointed. All three tracks flow together into a long piece that is constructed quite beautifully, a word I choose intentionally to describe my overall feelings. Expression varies from being so immediate and on the surface while at the same time the nuances of the playing are deep and require attention. I've heard many bands try to get this crazy and intense who end up sounding contrived and just not that much fun. This one is fun. Active listening music at its finest, 9/10. Still available on vinyl or you can hear on bandcamp or youtube.

 Mut by CODE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.04 | 5 ratings

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Mut
Code Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Mut" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian/UK act Code. The album was released through Agonia Records in February 2015. "Augur Nox (2013)" was more or less a new beginning for the band as only founding member/main composer/guitarist Aort remains from the lineups who recorded the first two albums. Stylistically "Augur Nox (2013)" was still relatively similar in style to the two predecessors though, which meant a semi-progressive black metal style featuring both raspy and clean vocals. Listening to "Mut" it's safe to say that Code has taken a left turn...

...as they now play a dark progressive post rock style with no black metal leanings other than the bleak depressive atmosphere. To my ears it sounds like the bastard child of Virus and Anekdoten sprinkled with a twist of Hail Spirit Noir. The raspy black metal style vocals are now completely gone from the band's music, and lead vocalist Wacian solely performs his haunted clean vocals. The only exception is a short aggressive vocal part in "Affliction". As mentioned the atmosphere is bleak and the whole thing comes off as slightly abstract. Dissonant open chords, mellotron, a raw organic sound, soaring melancholic vocal melodies, and great dynamic playing. It's quite heavy at times, but not in a "metal" fashion, but more in the vein of heavy progressive rock like Anekdoten and Landberk (King Crimson could be mentioned as a reference too). At other times it's pretty mellow and beautiful (the mellotron is a great touch). Tracks like "Dialogue" and "Affliction" also features some rather dramatic sections, so all in all the music is dynamically varied.

While the material on the 9 track, 35:44 minutes long album is arguably progressive in nature, the tracks aren't especially long, and the song structures aren't overtly complex. It's still quite innovative and adventurous music though, and a surprise is always lurking around the corner. Upon conclusion it's a very interesting development of sound that Code has made on "Mut". All three preceeding releases are also high quality albums, but there's something a bit more special about this one. If you enjoy any of the above mentioned artists, "Mut" is definitely a recommendable release, and quality wise it's top notch release too, featuring high level musicianship, a well sounding organic production, and intriguing songwriting. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

 The Dysentery Penance by PESTILENCE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Dysentery Penance
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars "The Dysentery Penance" is a compilation album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Pestilence. The compilation was released through Vic Records in November 2015. It´s a compilation of the material from the band´s two pre-album demo cassette tapes "Dysentery" and "The Penance" (both originally released in 1987), and two live tracks recorded in Eibergen in 1988. Both live tracks appear in their studio version on "The Penance" demo. The material on the 10 track, 41:35 minutes long demo has been remastered by Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios.

Pestilence is mostly known as a death metal act, and later a technical/progressive death metal act, but on these early demos they played a raw type of thrash metal, which sounds like it´s greatly influenced by "Hell Awaits (1985)"-era Slayer and artists like Sodom and Kreator. So basically old school thrash metal in the brutal and aggressive end of the scale.

The 4 tracks from the "Dysentery" demo are relatively simple, predominantly fast-paced, and aggressive thrash metal tracks, while the 4 tracks (one is a short intro) from "The Penance" demo are slightly more advanced, but still old school raw and aggressive thrash metal. While it´s both raw, brutal, and aggressive there are only few nods toward death metal on the demos. The death metal elements are mostly heard on the tracks from "The Penance". The two live tracks feature a raw bootleg type sound quality and are not the most interesting material on the compilation. The material from both studio demos is relatively well produced considering that it´s thrash metal demo material from 1987. The remaster sound is a little more "polished" and well defined, than the sound on the original cassette tape demos.

So "The Dysentery Penance" is a bit of a mixed bag but if you´re interested in the early beginnings of death metal and raw 80s thrash metal in general I´ve heard worse releases in the genre. Especially the material from "The Penance" is worth a listen. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

 Chronicles Of An Aging Mammal by AZURE EMOTE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.95 | 2 ratings

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Chronicles Of An Aging Mammal
Azure Emote Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars There are quite a few strange experimental extreme metal bands out there these days but even in a crowded room there are still a few that manage to stand out. AZURE EMOTE is one of these strange beasts and their debut release CHRONICLES OF AN AGING MAMMAL caught my eye in the discount bin with their cute little Bhuddist monkey dude in front of an oncoming storm. Lucky for me that this seems to be a little too far removed from the average metalhead's comfort zone and banished to the crevices of avant- garde obscurity making it dirt cheap! But there is a lot to like for an adventurous prog metalhead such as myself who craves new bizarre angles to experience many of my favorite genres mangled up into a musical equivalent of a lava lamp churning through its humble glass abode.

AZURE EMOTE swells from the fertile imaginative and interpretive concepts of Mike Hrubovcak who set forth to create a form of metal that was highly unorthodox and free of those pesky genre boundaries. This is basically his baby as a side project from his other bands which include Monstrosity, Vile and Abraxas with members of those bands lending a hand on some of the instrumental duties. Other help comes from various members of Hate Eternal, Divine Rapture, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Solace In The Shadows, I.C.E., Mourning Todesbonden, Autumn Tears and even more, so this is basically a huge collaborative effort where geeky tech death dudes get to conjure up their wildest aggressive musical fantasies without any constraints. The results are quite bizarre but equally brilliant in how it all melds together. A true work of passion here.

While the template of their sound is brutal death metal with blistering guitar riffs, blastbeats and growly vocals, there is tons of other influences on board. The ones i can ascertain include the progressiveness of Enslaved, the industrial spasticity of Strapping Young Lad, the space metal touches of Arcturus and electronica frenzies that can bring bands like Ulver or Coil to mind. I also hear a lot of spoken sampling that actually reminds me of the bizarre industrial deathrock antics of Alien Sex Fiend. The main gist of things is basically an alternating pattern instead of true fusion for the most part. A perfect introduction to this band would be to check out their official video for "Complex 22" which displays their intricate use of electronica, death metal and progressive song construction. Also on display is their sci-fi inspired misanthropic proses of how homo sapiens have been the masters of self-destruction and how the roles of religion and thirst for power have paved this route. While this particular track displays an interesting ratio of death metal with progressive metal and a healthy dose of electronica, it is basically the formula for the entire album with each track having a different emphasis on the various elements.

This is a strange beast indeed as we get the bizarre marriage of genres, avant-garde meanderings, strange time signatures and exotic instruments jumping in from time to time. Despite the avant-garde label there is a strong emphasis on melodic developments with catchy hooks that keep it fairly accessible for being as weirded out as it is. While the hooks are there, this is still a complex release that took me many listens for it to sink in. The hooks are just catchy enough to grab ya the first time but the bizarre interplay between the instruments and unorthodox song structures are what keep me coming back. While widely considered less focused and refined as their second release "The Gravity Of Impermanence," CHRONICLES OF AN AGING MAMMAL is special in its own right. It is the heavier sounding of the two with a more "anything goes" approach creating some intense and interesting music. I'm hooked.

 The Gravity Of Impermanence by AZURE EMOTE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
The Gravity Of Impermanence
Azure Emote Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Due to his involvement with his bands Monstrosity, Vile and Abraxas, Mike Hrubovcak was forced to put his AZURE EMOTE project on hold but in 2011 found the time to bring his ambitions back to life as the inner avant-garde was beckoning to be unleashed. As with 'Chronicles Of An Aging Mammal,' the second release THE GRAVITY OF IMPERMANENCE contains an eclectic posse comitatus of contributions in this case by members of Death, Fear Factory, Tristania, Sins Of Thy Beloved, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Hate Eternal, Yakuza, Visions Of Atlantis as well as by Hrubovcak's other bands. So once again we get a larger than life genre bending mashup of crazy misanthropic infused weirdness.

THE GRAVITY OF IMPERMANENCE embodies a whole new sound and a major shift away from the aggressive debut. While death metal aggression is still in plentiful supply, this album has a slicker and more refined overall sound with a less frantic feel. The most striking of the new sound comes from the addition of violins which add a gypsy flair and can bring bands like Unexpect or Sleepytime Gorilla Museum to mind. The addition of the saxophone adds a hitherto unheard jazzy touch to the mix bringing bands like Shining from Norway or Ephel Duath at times to mind. Most of all the most drastic change is in the addition of the operatic vocals with a verified diva reminding of Fleshgod Apocalypse. Add an occasional harmonica, electronic programming and sampling and we have a veritable even stranger beast than the first album!

Once again the main focus is on the melodic developments and with the addition of the violins and operatic vocals we get an overall slowed down effect that has easier to digest song structures. While the debut was in-yer-face avant-garde to the max, GRAVITY is more elegant in its refined approach of the parade of sounds that find their proper place and bring the right mood inducing timbres to fruition. Fear not metal heads, there are still plenty of killer death metal riffs, growly vocals, sizzling guitar solos and brutal metal to bang yer head to. Just check out 'Conduit To Atrophy' and hear all these elements gnaw off their leash and rock the bleepin' house.

It seems the overall consensus is that this is the more mature album of the two and that it has found a more loyal audience but i personally wouldn't call it better or worse than the debut, simply different. I find both albums are quite brilliant in their own right and the differences are what make AZURE EMOTE proving itself to be a wellspring of creative energy that allows a new assemblage of musicians to synergize their various talents into an imaginative cauldron of productivity. As with the debut the production is also noteworthy as it must be ridiculously difficult to mix all these elements together but the hour long album passes by with nary a glitch and an impressive array of parading elements that seamlessly wends and winds through the lands of opera, gypsy folk, death metal and beyond without ever resorting to sounding like any of the influences that were the inspiration. This second album is just as much a keeper as the first. Anxiously awaiting a follow up.

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