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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 | 1239 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1262 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.23 | 1172 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.27 | 332 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.23 | 574 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.24 | 397 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.36 | 114 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.22 | 420 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.25 | 205 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.23 | 213 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.22 | 232 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.24 | 147 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.18 | 268 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.13 | 420 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.23 | 131 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.14 | 316 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.15 | 243 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.18 | 172 ratings
ISA
Enslaved
4.19 | 151 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.29 | 80 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade
4.14 | 216 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.22 | 103 ratings
THE OUTER LIMITS
Voivod
4.49 | 39 ratings
ELVENEFRIS
Lykathea Aflame
4.08 | 506 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.14 | 176 ratings
THE SHAM MIRRORS
Arcturus
4.15 | 150 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.34 | 52 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.26 | 60 ratings
VISIONS FUGITIVES
Mekong Delta
4.09 | 143 ratings
THE MACHINATIONS OF DEMENTIA
Blotted Science
4.06 | 202 ratings
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
Animals As Leaders
4.16 | 81 ratings
COLORED SANDS
Gorguts
4.06 | 173 ratings
AFTER
Ihsahn
4.05 | 174 ratings
AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI
Enslaved
4.20 | 56 ratings
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst
4.09 | 98 ratings
THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE
Control Denied
4.07 | 114 ratings
EXIVIOUS
Exivious
4.17 | 61 ratings
VIIDES LUKU - HÄVITETTY
Moonsorrow
4.01 | 218 ratings
THE GREAT MISDIRECT
Between The Buried And Me
3.99 | 289 ratings
COLORS
Between The Buried And Me
4.07 | 106 ratings
VERTEBRAE
Enslaved
4.02 | 172 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.21 | 48 ratings
SONGS OF DARKNESS, WORDS OF LIGHT
My Dying Bride
4.18 | 51 ratings
DEATH OF A DEAD DAY
Sikth
4.09 | 82 ratings
BELOW THE LIGHTS
Enslaved
3.98 | 243 ratings
COAL
Leprous
4.05 | 112 ratings
CONTROL AND RESISTANCE
Watchtower
4.00 | 185 ratings
RIITIIR
Enslaved
3.94 | 948 ratings
WATERSHED
Opeth
3.94 | 1023 ratings
DAMNATION
Opeth
4.23 | 42 ratings
AT THE DREAM´S EDGE
Chimp Spanner
4.00 | 142 ratings
FROM MARS TO SIRIUS
Gojira
4.10 | 64 ratings
CORTICAL TECTONICS
Canvas Solaris
4.02 | 108 ratings
KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod
3.99 | 153 ratings
WEIGHTLESS
Animals As Leaders
4.65 | 16 ratings
EMBODIMENT
Sculptured
4.07 | 73 ratings
SPHERES
Pestilence
3.93 | 590 ratings
MY ARMS, YOUR HEARSE
Opeth
4.00 | 116 ratings
PORTAL OF I
Ne Obliviscaris
4.09 | 62 ratings
CYBION
Kalisia
4.02 | 100 ratings
ANGEL RAT
Voivod
4.01 | 99 ratings
RUUN
Enslaved
3.97 | 148 ratings
CHAOSPHERE
Meshuggah
3.93 | 327 ratings
BILATERAL
Leprous
4.13 | 48 ratings
BURIED IN OBLIVION
Into Eternity
4.17 | 39 ratings
THEN COMES AFFLICTION TO AWAKEN THE DREAMER
Twisted Into Form
4.13 | 45 ratings
THE TREES ARE DEAD & DRIED OUT WAIT FOR SOMETHING WILD
Sikth
4.03 | 72 ratings
FAS - ITE, MALEDICTI, IN IGNEM AETERNUM
Deathspell Omega
4.04 | 69 ratings
ENERGETIC DISASSEMBLY
Watchtower
4.07 | 57 ratings
PENUMBRA DIFFUSE
Canvas Solaris
4.13 | 44 ratings
VERISÄKEET
Moonsorrow
4.42 | 20 ratings
SPIRITECH
Alchemist
4.22 | 31 ratings
SUPERVILLAIN OUTCAST
Dodheimsgard
4.02 | 75 ratings
THE ADVERSARY
Ihsahn
4.09 | 48 ratings
BLACK FUTURE
Vektor
4.06 | 52 ratings
MONUMENSION
Enslaved
4.20 | 30 ratings
666 INTERNATIONAL
Dodheimsgard
4.17 | 32 ratings
SHIN-KEN
Persefone
4.20 | 28 ratings
FEEDING THE ABSCESS
Martyr
4.00 | 66 ratings
INK COMPLETE
Spastic Ink
4.72 | 11 ratings
MEPHISTO LETTONICA
Neglected Fields
4.52 | 13 ratings
CITRINITI
Citriniti
3.86 | 271 ratings
LEVIATHAN
Mastodon
4.55 | 12 ratings
PREY ON LIFE
Burst
4.28 | 19 ratings
WARP ZONE
Martyr
3.83 | 989 ratings
HERITAGE
Opeth
4.75 | 9 ratings
AS THE ROOTS UNDO
Circle Takes The Square
4.18 | 23 ratings
THE AURA
Beyond Creation
4.04 | 37 ratings
CELESTIAL LINEAGE
Wolves in the Throne Room
3.93 | 67 ratings
INK COMPATIBLE
Spastic Ink
4.20 | 21 ratings
TORN BETWEEN DIMENSIONS
At War With Self
4.02 | 39 ratings
TWO HUNTERS
Wolves in the Throne Room
3.97 | 50 ratings
IRRADIANCE
Canvas Solaris
3.86 | 136 ratings
LA MASQUERADE INFERNALE
Arcturus
4.02 | 36 ratings
DIGITAL VEIL
Human Abstract, The
4.36 | 14 ratings
UNDECEIVED
Extol
3.97 | 42 ratings
LIMINAL
Exivious
3.94 | 52 ratings
TURN LOOSE THE SWANS
My Dying Bride
4.08 | 26 ratings
CORE
Persefone
4.28 | 15 ratings
IV - THE EERIE COLD
Shining
3.93 | 52 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

CITRINITI
Citriniti
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
WARRING FACTIONS
Ansur
EXPRESSIONIST
Beltane

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Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 TĂU by NEGURA BUNGET album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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TĂU
Negura Bunget Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Lear'sFool

— First review of this album —
4 stars In part a step down in quality from their earlier work, yet more atmospheric and grim than ever, Negura Bunget have created a fine, folky monster of an album. The sound does feel less powerful and inspired, much as it wonderfully balanced metallic sections and sparse, darkly ethereal sections complete with obligatory chants. The result has already turned off quite a few fans, and that is something to keep in mind when listening, but in all likelihood you will find enjoyment. In spite of splits in the band, this is still good work, and tracks like "Nametenie" make for good listens. Don't expect the next best thing to "OM", but expect some good atmospheric black folk metal.
 Kivenkantaja  by MOONSORROW album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.34 | 52 ratings

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Kivenkantaja
Moonsorrow Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Alucard Draco

5 stars I am currently listening to a heck of a lot of Black Metal music and to me it's one of the most diverse genres of extreme metal out there. It's a varitety of sounds from Atmospheric Black Metal, Pagan/Viking Black Metal, a combination of Death and Black Metal, Gothic Black Metal and a bunch of other sub genres. Kivenkantaja is most definitely the Viking kind but a most Melodic one indeed. It's really a combination of Folk Metal and a Celtic style mood but done most epically.

The reason I rate Moonsorrow so highly - especially this album is that it's good music - death growls and all which create such an atmosphere that imagining the lands and culture from just listening to this album is so easy to conjour up in ones head and to me I think it's one of the most accessible of Black Scandinavian Metal.

It perfectly creates the loud and epic moments and merges the quieter more traditional folky moments together without ever seeming out of place. The band have got a fine keyboardist and multi instrumentalist in the form of Henri Sorvali from Finntroll, which is one way to make epic even more epic.

I personally rate every song as necessary and so perfectly formed and arranged that Metal as a whole is so much healthier for it and I have no hesitation in given this album the maximum rating of five. Also check out the following albums as Moonsorrow are no one hit wonders and keep getting better and better whilst adapting different styles at the same time, so treat yourself to this wonder of Extreme Metal.

 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 574 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Heavy electricity is the first thought that comes to mind when hearing Opeth's latest, critically lauded release, "Pale Communion". The haywire activity is tempered by a softer side, a detail-oriented recall of other styles well within the prog frame work, certainly more focused on creating melancholic moods and more solemn atmospheres. Like a few fans, I prefer the melodic swoon of past albums like "Damnation", a clear influence on this recording, as leader Mikael Akerfeldt opts for a more symphonic situation to expound on his internal frailties.

"Eternal Rains Will Come" possesses a doomsday disposition, morose and apocalyptic, a cauldron of slithering sounds that weave between despair and delirium, impossible swirls of bombast coupled with serene, almost medieval sections, muscled by a tight rhythm section with newcomer Martin Axenrot supplying some terrific propulsion. The main mellotron-doused melody is an emotional bulldozer, profound and forlorn, with Akerfeldt's voice delivering intensely.

The heavier "Cusp of Eternity" flexes some serious tendons, the chorus in particular grabbing one's immediate attention, as the vocal veers near hypnotized prayer, or at least some semblance of forgiving finality. Lead guitarist Fredrik Akesson does some Holdsworthian stylings that are a joy to behold, the crew tight as a screw, Joakim Svalberg's smoking mellotron oozing hymn-like splendor and the nimble Axenrot doing some clanging damage on his cymbals.

The first major epic is the 10 minute + hurricane "Moon Above, Sun Below", a platform for the Swedes to get hot, oiled and bothered, sounding close to their Polish pals in Riverside but ruled by a dense onslaught of symphonic keyboards. This is balanced by another Renaissance-style acoustic guitar-led etude that shines ever so brightly, buoyed by another fragile Akerfeldt vocal. Slowly, the tension is upgraded into another delirium-infested intervention, including a disturbing organ lead that seems to have been plugged into a cemetery socket. Shifting gears on a straight ahead musical highway only heightens the sense of unending adventure, exhilarating and intrepid. The piano finale is beyond beauty.

The softer side is elegantly anointed with a rather stunning piece, "Elysian Woes" has a near early Genesis feel, what with rich acoustic guitars weaving a sleek tapestry of sound, all delicacy and substance. The gentle drums enter, a refined mellotron in tow and a powerful vocal that is literally dripping with melancholia and pain.

The aptly titled "Goblin" provides an instrumental jam that seeks to underscore the musical talents available, an almost jazz-rock section led by a furious e-piano (love that instrument) with a manically repetitive guitar riff that paralyzes the defenses, as the boogie-woogie roller organ kicks in with unrelenting determination. Absolutely riveting stuff.

The controversial "River" is considered as one of the highlight moments on a set list of highlight tracks, offering up a curiously more country-like feel, almost like British band Traffic or the Allman brothers with tons of slick organ frills, rebellious guitar licks, as well as sublimely solid bass lines from Martin Mendez and Axenrot's flexible drum beats. The magnificent mellotron creeps in again to further confound and excite the senses. The raucous finale is shoved along by some massive vocalizations that reach for the stars.

The murky, doom-laden "Voice of Treason" infuses a Middle Eastern tinge, perhaps a musical discourse on current times and ongoing millenary issues. Axenrot supplies a dynamic binary assault that really stands out in its simple complexity, the bombastic synthesized electronics given this 8 minute piece an ominous almost grisly tone, pained vocals only adding to the impression. The reptilian bass shows little mercy, the chorus is nearly celestial with Akerfeldt going into overdrive and the sincerity utterly apparent, especially the broken and fragile outro. Gulp!

I am a sucker for anything even remotely resembling King Crimson's mythic anthem "Epitaph", as I, among many others, view this symbolic track as a prog icon of the highest standing. "Faith in Others" supplies some similar features, everything from the galactic mellotron rushes, the achingly gorgeous vocal and the simple funereal beat. This is all about feeling, a sense of reverential acceptance, a hymn of unmitigated power and seductive charm. The piano and vocal section is painfully tragic yet utterly beautiful in its breathtaking simplicity. The bluesy guitar cadence, the 'oooh-oooh' choir , the mellotron cascade all combine to rekindle memories of the Crimson King's Court, audaciously even daring to replicate an effect ?laden chorus . I could listen to this track on an endless loop and still be completely satisfied! The 'oooh-oooh' choir returns with some classic orchestrations to give this a totally symphonic veneer and a gentle, misty wave goodbye.

As far as I am concerned, this is the Opeth I prefer, not caring much for their other albums except for the previously lauded "Damnation". Not surprising then that this has garnered so much attention and adulation.

4.5 timid intimacies

 Pale Communion by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.23 | 574 ratings

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Pale Communion
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I still regard OPETH's "Damnation" album as my favourite but "Pale Communion" really impressed me, and no i'm not surprised that it garnered "Album of the Year" here at Prog Archives. What a beautiful recording this is with Akerfeldt's haunting vocals and a lineup that instrumentally doesn't play second fiddle to any band out there. This album was produced by Akerfeldt and mixed by his good friend Steven Wilson and I have to say that this couldn't possibly "sound" more incredible.

"Eternal Rains Will Come" hits the ground running with such an impressive instrumental intro. The drumming is crazy good and I have to mention the organ here as well as being simply outstanding. A gorgeous calm arrives 1 1/2 minutes in that is very "Damnation" like. It then kicks back in a minute later before we get vocals for the first time after 3 minutes. Love the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in and the sampled mellotron is a nice touch after 5 minutes. "Cusp Of Eternity" has a cool rhythm to it as the vocals join in well before a minute. The backing vocals really add to the sound here. Nice guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes then it ends with lots of vocal melodies.

"Moon Above, Sun Below" has such a good mood to it and the vocals are reserved, almost spoken to start. Some good contrasts on this one between the mellow and the more intense passages. Mellotron rolls in around 1 1/2 minutes followed by a calm after 2 minutes as we get another "Damnation" like section with picked guitar and more. It then kicks in fairly hard with vocals 4 1/2 minutes in as the guitar rips it up. Another calm arrives as contrasts continue. A spooky calm 6 1/2 minutes in then a cool organ/drum section takes over as vocals join in. "Elysian Woes" is my favourite track with those "Damnation" like vocals from Akerfeldt as picked guitar helps out. I think that's flute before 2 minutes after the vocals have stopped. It's absolutely beautiful(gulp) before 3 1/2 minutes with mellotron.

"Goblin" really sounds like it has an electronic vibe to it before it becomes a little more intense. Check out the keyboards after 2 1/2 minutes. There's so much going on as we get this tapestry of intricate sounds that are relentless. "River" is a little different with the soft vocals that have an almost Country feel to them and there's harmonies too. A tasteful guitar solo arrives 2 minutes in. I like the keyboard/drum/guitar section 4 1/2 minutes in then mellotron joins in a minute later. A good but not great tune that gets better as it plays out.

"Voice Of Treason" is different with strings helping out. Love the drumming and melancholic vocals. Vocal melodies 3 minutes in then back to that earlier soundscape with vocals. Great sound 6 minutes in. "Faith In Others" opens with strings as expressive vocals join in. Not big on this section that will return later. I like the calm with piano before 2 minutes and the reserved vocals as well. It turns fuller 3 1/2 minutes in and we get vocal melodies as well. Themes are repeated.

Just a fantastic recording that has been simply a joy to listen to this past week despite the extreme cold we've been getting up here in Canada.

 Wintersun by WINTERSUN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.73 | 81 ratings

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Wintersun
Wintersun Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by paragraph7

5 stars "Nothing can never take away, what I've seen with these tired eyes"

The idea of capturing the cold and darkness - of a country that sees less light and more cold winters than others - is an appealing endeavour. Most Norwegian black metal bands have gone to hell and back to acquire this essence, but sometimes have fallen to the traps of politics and religion that are needlessly laid on the table, forsaking the only thing that is relevant in the first place: the music.

With his first album, Jari Mäenpää shows what Finnish Metal is capable of, and furthermore, he establishes an ultimatum to melodic extreme metal: this album is the border; if you want to create something as Nordic and beautiful at the same time, you will have to challenge the juggernaut, Wintersun.

If you are not into extreme metal, and the growls and screams that go with it, I still urge you to listen to the track Death and The Healing, as not only is it sung with a clean melodic voice, it also captures the Finnish winter: white, stark and beautiful.

5/5

 Still Life by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.32 | 1239 ratings

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Still Life
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by paragraph7

5 stars "Searching my way to perplexion..."

Well, I guess it was time for me to start reviewing my personal favorite genre of music, as I previously had steered away from reviewing Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands because I felt that the metalhead in me would explode at the mere thought. I think I'm fine now. Let's begin at the very peak of the genre: Opeth's Still Life

There's probably not much more to say than what has already been said about Still Life. A masterpiece of progressive death metal? Sure. Flawed? Certainly, but sometimes flaws are like the dust and cracks of great work of art that has been left sitting the attic. Since the overblown digital productions of the modern age, Metal as a genre has gone out of its way to fix those minor cracks and the end result has been an overlypolished caricature and mirage. Still Life is one of those rare albums that is only about the music within, and the story to fit the music. It takes you to a haunting Moor in the Medieval ages, bathes you in memorable melodies and destroys your head in a way only Opeth can. All the tracks have their places, although the weakest one is clearly White Cluster. Most people overlook the gems that are Godhead's Lament and Moonlapse Vertigo, but I digress.

With this album Opeth created an atmosphere that is almost unrivalled in terms of Death Metal, and it can be seen as their peak, and although many of the following albums are brilliant as well, they never captured that diamond in the rough sound which already was hinted at in My arms, Your Hearse. This is an album that will not be surpassed in quite sometime. 5/5

 Incubation by SUPURATION album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.82 | 3 ratings

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Incubation
Supuration Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Incubation" is the 2nd full-length studio album by French progressive doom/death metal act Supuration. The album was released through Holy Records in November 2003. It´s been 10 years since the release of the band´s debut full-length studio album "The Cube (1993)", but the band has in the intermediate years busied themselves with (among other things) their other project S.U.P.

The debut album was a really interesting mix of progressive Voivod dissonance and (early) Paradise Lost doom/death metal and that musical style is continued on "Incubation". The dark sci-fi atmosphere is intact too. There´s the occasional goth influenced clean vocal part featured in the music too (and other clean vocal styles) in addition to the predominantly growling vocals, but that was also the case on the debut. In fact it´s pretty amazing how consistent the band are after 10 years. Both when it comes to the musical style and when it comes to the quality of the music. The compositions are adventurous and intriguing, but not as such technical. The band emphasize atmosphere over technical playing, which also results in their music being progressively structured because that´s what the material calls for, rather than being progressive for the sake of it. The lyrics are a concept sci-fi story and all tracks have months in their subtitles to signal a time span of the events taking place in the story.

The sound production is sligthly sharper and more detailed than the case was on "The Cube (1993)" album, but also less dark and gritty, which I personally found rather charming about the debut. Overall "Incubation" is a great sophomore album by Supuration though, and fans of "The Cube (1993)" should not hesitate before purchasing this one. To the more casual listener I´d say that Supuration´s sound is so twisted and different from the norm, that it´s probably very much an aquired taste and therefore a listen before purchase is adviced. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Frost by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.43 | 48 ratings

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Frost
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars Right from the getgo ENSLAVED were reinventing their sound as evidenced by the extreme change from their debut "Vikingligr Veldi" with its long and hypnotic black metal synthesized fury into the more standard second wave black metal on FROST that encompasses a more traditional aggressive sound that can be heard in the likes of Darkthrone and Emperor. The music here has also taken a leap in the progressiveness. Although the tracks are more aggressive and attempt to blend into the second wave of black metal more, it is also a step up from the debut album in how ENSLAVED can simultaneously blend in and blend out. Once again this unique band is proving that it is anything but the norm.

On FROST we get a more furious black metal approach with the inclusion of synthesized interludes and folk offerings to boot. The chord progressions are upped on the progometer as is the enjoyment factor. This second offering took me a little longer than most to appreciate because of the fact i got into ENSLAVED well after this was released, but as a rabid fan of the black metal scene i am quite enthralled by the prowess of delivery on this one. True it may not have hit me upon first listen and actually took longer than any ENSLAVED release to leave its impression but one day i suddenly found myself really in admiration of the musical delivery heard here.

Although ENSLAVED have been more known and appreciated for their prog adventures in the black metal world, it is here on FROST where the full fury of black metal can be heard with Trym Torson who is better known with Emperor is on full display with his percussive fury adding the depth of bombast that makes this album oh so satisfying. At this stage ENSLAVED were still very much into their primeval Viking metal that even then set them apart from other Viking metal bands that tended to dwell in the death metal camp. Any way you slice it, this is a decent and satisfying black metal release that early on proved that ENSLAVED were quite capable of delivering a new approach on every single album, albeit not fully realized until the 2000s. Perhaps one of my lesser favorite releases but it seems to me that every release in this prolific band's discography is essential.

 Crack the Skye by MASTODON album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 506 ratings

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Crack the Skye
Mastodon Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by YagKosha

5 stars "Crack the Skye" is a psychedelic progressive sludge metal masterpiece. A trip through time, space, and the mind. Mastodon had been climbing a mountain throughout their career; their first album "Remission," indicated the foot of that mountain, and the following two (Leviathan, and Blood Mountain) were the rest of the upward climb. Whether you think likewise about their two most recent releases (The Hunter, and Once More 'Round the Sun), there's no denying that "Crack the Skye" is the band's time spent at that mountain's peak.

Trippy guitar motifs and interestingly mystical Acappella choruses throughout, Crack the Skye remains one-of-a-kind in the realm of not just progressive rock/metal, but music in general. Here, the classic progressive sludge metal band dug deep to find a sound (hitherto this album's release) unheard of. From introducing banjo riffs to shredding 70s style guitar solos, songs like "Divinations" carry a peculiar power that embodies this album as a whole. With "Quintessence" onward, the band continues their journey- based record with excellently crafted progressive material. Before all these tracks, "Oblivion" opens the album with a concise indication of what is ensuing: trippy guitar works and lyrical themes on out-of-body experiences.

This psychedelic progressive sludge metal masterpiece may not be the album for everyone, but it is definitely an album that should be tried by everyone.

 Deliverance by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.77 | 724 ratings

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Deliverance
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Star_Song_Age_Less

5 stars There are very, very few albums to which I would give a five-star rating. This is one of them. Opeth's 'Deliverance' is among my top five albums of all time, not just in prog, but in all music. And here's the astounding thing - I'm not a fan of death metal.

I can't *stand* most death metal, or black metal - basically anything with those cookie-monster-like growls. Sometimes it sounds so ridiculous to me that I can't stop laughing. And so much of that genre consists of boring displays of pure speed, with little or no thought given to composition. That is not to my taste - that's not what I listen to music for.

Therefore, the first time a friend recommended Opeth to me, I listened to a few bars until the vocals kicked in, said "no thanks!" and turned it off.

What a fool I was.

I had the incredible good fortune to end up at one of their concerts at a small club in NY. Forced to stand there and listen beyond the beginning, I found myself more and more shocked as the evening went on - what musicianship, what precision, what attention to detail, and above all (most importantly to me) what composition! I immediately purchased their most recent album, which at that time was 'Deliverance,' and actually gave the music a chance this time. It's lucky that I did, or I would have missed out on nothing less than a masterpiece. Each song is a study in dark vs. light, and individually I would give all six tracks five stars. However, the five star to end all five stars was track 2: "Deliverance."

My god. That song took me on a dark journey I could never have imagined or prepared to experience: a journey through the thoughts in the mind of a murderer and his realization that by doing these things, which he clearly enjoys, he has both denied deliverance to himself and granted it to the person he killed... which isn't what he wanted. "Deliverance, laughing at me..." I've never looked up whether that's what Opeth intended, and I never will. If it's not, it will ruin the power of it for me. The music is incredibly driven, intense, and forcefully emotionally strained. Impeccable timing and unpredictability add to the composition's power.

I could say all of the general comments above about every track individually, but that would get repetitive. Not only is this album brilliant technically, it's put together so well to tug on the emotions of the listener - and that includes the growls. After my initial reaction was so powerful, and I started listening to more of their music, I realized the growls were an essential part of Opeth's effectiveness, providing contrast between dark and light, strong and weak, even external and internal - they use the growls as a mood-changing mechanism, not to "be death metal." They are as artistically relevant as every other instrument in the band.

And, as a nice bonus - the growls don't sound like the cookie monster. They're much deeper and nastier than that. Mikael Akerfeldt has managed to produce this truly evil-sounding depths-of-hell voice that conveys all the seven deadly sins and more with terrifying effectiveness. And when you're writing songs about evil, that really, really works.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

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

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