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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

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Experimental/Post Metal definition

 

Experimental Progressive Metal

Experimental progressive metal is a sub-genre of progressive metal characterized by the incorporation of innovative, eclectic elements, large-scale experimentation and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Experimentation in the music is a major criteria to define the genre where artists often add unique elements to the overall sound, while progressive metal usually has more focus on traditional metal instrumentation and higher levels of technical complexity.

It's nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of Experimental Progressive Metal since experimentation is common in all music genres. Still it is clear that experimentation in the progressive metal sub-genre has slowly but steadily grown in popularity ever since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s.

Just like any other style, Experimental Progressive Metal has a few defining moments that have changed the rules for its sub-genre for years to come. Two of such moments are the releases of the debut album by MR.BUNGLE of August 1991 and its iconic follow up "Disco Volante" of 1995. MR BUNGLE became notorious for their heavy sound and mid-song shifts of musical style. The band has later spawned an array of established avant-garde side projects such as FANTÔMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3 and ESTRADASPHERE but also inspired new Experimental Metal acts to take the music scene to new heights.
Another crucial artist in the development of Experimental Progressive Metal was the leading Avant Metal band of the 80s, CELTIC FROST. Their eclectic mix of Thrash, Doom, Symphonic and Goth Metal created a dark theatrical mystique that became a major influence among the experimental Extreme Metal bands of the 90s such as MY DYING BRIDE, ULVER, ARCTURUS among others. These bands served as an important source of inspiration for the experimental movement within extreme metal.

The bands listed under Experimental Progressive Metal have all, in various degrees, shed their extreme heritage in favor of embracing influences of the eclectic style going from art rock and ethnic up to free-jazz and even modernist music.

Art Metal
Art metal is a direct continuation of progressive metal but with the longing to expand the themes and styles of music while maintaining the technical complexity of the sub-genre.
These bands are more artistic than their progressive metal peers and tend to experiment, to a certain extent, but not as openly as the bands of the eclectic and avant-garde metal styles. Art metal comes in many shapes and forms. The virtuosity and complete unpredictability of DEVIN TOWNSEND, OSI and TOOL always manages to draw attention of both fans of traditional metal as well as the progressive music audience, while bands like ANATHEMA, DEADSOUL TRIBE and GORDIAN KNOT attract many fans of groove and atmospheric music into their vibrant soundscapes. Other notable acts include GREEN CARNATION, DARK SUNS and ANTIMATTER.

Eclectic Metal
These bands often add unconventional elements to their metal sound, whether it's experiments with various new sounds and styles that are otherwise uncommon in metal or by blending many styles, with metal being the referential core. Whether it's the ethnic elements of ORPHANED LAND's music that combines Middle Eastern folklore with the more traditional progressive metal sound or a completely unique mix of atmospheric, almost ambient, elements fused with metal that can be found in the sound of THE GATHERING, eclectic metal artists will always certainly bring a host of different styles and ideas to the table. Experimental metal can be found in numerous forms while featuring notable acts like INDUKTI, IN THE WOODS... and MAUDLIN OF THE WELL.

Avant-garde Metal
This style is generally considered to be more extreme in both its arrangements but most importantly extremely complex and unpredictable song structures. Compositions have the ambition of trying to breach boundaries of music and generally have significant experimental approaches to metal music. Most of this music borders on the realms of pure avant-garde while still maintaining a solid foundation in metal with technical instrumental prowess. Notable acts include UNEXPECT, EPHEL DUATH and VIRUS.


Post Metal

Post metal arose following the subsequent emergence of numerous newer, grittier metal genres like sludge, stoner, doom, and drone in the late 80's and early 90's, as well as the budding post-rock scene that emerged in the early 90's in Europe and North America. The scene's origins can be heard in several distinctly like-minded, moderately experimental groups in the early 90's, ranging from the noisy grind of GODFLESH, the sludgy, melodic, sometimes punk-like riffs of the MELVINS, and the proggy time signatures and grungy riffing of TOOL or HELMET, to the textural work of DON CABALLERO and the more melodic moments of early BARK PSYCHOSIS.

Arguably the first true and definitive realizations of post-metal emerged in the mid 1990's. The most concrete example was NEUROSIS, who moved farther away from their crust-punk origins and into more atmospheric territories with releases like Souls at Zero and Through Silver in Blood, the latter album in particular being regarded as one of the most definitive releases in the genre even to this day for its revolutionary blend of dark, spanning atmosphere and massively heavy sludge, something that would later come to define the post-metal genre as a whole (indeed, post-metal is often called "atmospheric sludge" as well). It wouldn't be until the early 2000's, however, that the genre's capacity would be fully realized, with releases like ISIS's "Oceanic", CULT OF LUNA's "Salvation", and PELICAN's "Australasia" paving the way for a true scene to emerge, and post-metal has since become a widespread phenomenon that has captivated the attention of many adventurous listeners worldwide.

Post-metal's unique sound is often very long and extremely drawn-out, utilizing oft-repetitive and simple riffs and guitar texturing to create massive buildups and musical climaxes. At times very emotionally evocative, it can be equally soft and soothing as it can be massively dense and crushing. Vocals are used sparingly, if at all (instrumental post-metal is a popular genre, with groups like PELICAN and RUSSIAN CIRCLES even achieving some degree of mainstream credibility), and when they are, they're usually gruff and barked as opposed to growled or screamed, a signature trait of the genre's hardcore roots.

Variations of Post-metal

While it should be noted that many post-metal bands have their roots in sludge metal, there are many post-metal bands that are rooted in other genres of metal. While post-sludge was an almost uniquely American phenomenon, a number of European doom-influenced post-metal bands have risen to fame, namely groups like ANATHEMA, YEAR OF NO LIGHT and CALLISTO; their slow-churning riffs and depressing mood of doom metal fit very well into the post-metal formula. These groups later gave way to more western post-doom-metal projects like JESU, GIANT SQUID, and MINSK.

A number of post-metal bands are significantly influenced by hardcore and post-hardcore, crafting the melodic elements of modern hardcore into their own brands of textural and atmospheric post-metal. This is exemplified by groups like ROSETTA, THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE, CAVE IN, MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT and BURST.

A subgenre that has emerged to a considerable degree in the last decade is an amalgamation of post-rock and black metal. Black metal has traditionally not been a stylistic influence on post-metal over the years, but bands like ALCEST, FEN, AGALLOCH and ALTAR OF PLAGUES have used the more atmospheric qualities of black metal and the tremolo riffing and incorporated it with a shoegaze-like affinity for heavy, dreamy sounds and guitar effects to create a unique and evocative subgenre that shares many visional and sonic characteristics of post-metal. While the explosion of bands exploring this style is a rather recent phenomenon, there are some instances of this occurring very early in the lifespan of the post-metal genre as a whole. ULVER's debut could be seen as possibly the first album to fall under this definition. For clarification's sake, these post-rock influenced bands are placed in the post-metal subsection of ProgArchives as opposed to the black metal subsection of Tech/Extreme because they eschew much of the harsh tonalities, minor modes, and shrieking vocals of black metal and add a melodic and emotional aspect that makes it much more accessible than their progressive black metal peers in the tech/extreme section.

Today, the most popular post-metal groups are much of the genre's godfathers like ISIS, NEUROSIS, PELICAN, and CULT OF LUNA, though a number of newer bands have risen to fame in metal and prog circles within the last 5 years like INTRONAUT, ROSETTA, and THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE.


--- Definition by Alex and Kevin and the Progressive Metal Team, February 2012 ---

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

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.22 | 1109 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.23 | 528 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.23 | 549 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.20 | 459 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.32 | 95 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.18 | 555 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.26 | 137 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.17 | 246 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 218 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 234 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.60 | 29 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.21 | 105 ratings
SOL NIGER WITHIN
Thordendal's Special Defects
4.12 | 284 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.19 | 117 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.07 | 681 ratings
ÆNIMA
Tool
4.08 | 489 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.12 | 194 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.09 | 279 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land
4.68 | 22 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.08 | 287 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch

Experimental/Post Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Experimental/Post Metal experts team

OMEGA
Cancer Conspiracy, The
SAMUS OCTOLOGY
Irepress
THE TELESTIC DISFRACTURE
5ive
IF_THEN_ELSE
Gathering, The

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Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Adrenaline / Leaves by GATHERING, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1996
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Adrenaline / Leaves
The Gathering Experimental/Post Metal

Review by thwok

— First review of this album —
3 stars I will start my review by confessing that The Gathering have become one of my favorite bands. So, I have to admit some bias toward anything they put out! This EP needed to be reviewed, so I did so. Anneke van Giersbergen had become the lead singer by this EP, Adrenaline/Leaves, was released. She is a very large part of the reason for the band's success. She has a terrific alto voice, although I wish there was more variety to her singing. The band's early material is often considered simple, derivative death/doom metal, and usually not given a lot of respect. However, these songs come from The Gathering's breakthrough album Mandylion, which is excellent.

All three songs are good ones, with "Leaves" probably being my favorite. I don't care for a lot of versions of the same song, but in this case the second version of "Leaves" takes up less than a third of the total playing time. This is a good listen for anyone who is interested in The Gathering and wants a brief introduction. This is certainly not their best EP or single; some greater variety could have boosted the over all rating. Adrenaline/Leaves is a good introduction to the innovative sound that first brought The Gathering to the world's attention.

 Unplugged by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Live, 2011
3.48 | 22 ratings

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Unplugged
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HunterD

3 stars Devin Townsend is an interesting beast when doing acoustic interpretations of his songs, he's never been afraid to tackle his heavier material without an electric guitar, even when it doesn't really work. For this record, you won't be hearing him bust out "Juular" or "Love?," but he does make some gutsy choices, such as "Funeral" off of "Ocean Machine." For the most part, though, he sticks to material that lends itself to acoustic interpretations, consisting mostly of material from "Ki" and "Ghost," so this release appeals mostly to fans of the new age side of Devin. For the crowd-pleaser, he finishes it off with his "More Than Words-esque" ballad, "Ih-Ah!" A soft treat for the fanatical DevHead.
 Physicist by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.01 | 117 ratings

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Physicist
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HunterD

2 stars Like "Ocean Machine," Devin Townsend's "Physicist" was an album that originally began as a separate project, but ended up as another solo record. Originally envisioned as a band called "Fizzicist," the record was going to be a collaboration between Townsend and Jason Newsted, however Metallica's notorious "no side projects" policy of the era prevented the partnership from happening. Never one to let a music-making opportunity go to waste, Townsend assembled his Strapping Young Lad bandmates in the studio to make "Physicist," an album that is to Strapping what Steve Hackett's "Voyage of the Acolyte" is to Genesis.

The thing that jumps out about "Physicist" is that it's probably Devin's worst-sounding record. His talent as a producer has never been in question, however, by his own admission, the production is completely botched here, with many otherwise good songs marred by murky, muddy sound. Townsend would later rectify this error somewhat, by saving the album's most beautiful and memorable song, "Kingdom," from the slop, giving it a polish for Devin Townsend Project's "Epicloud."

"Physicist" is also a torn album. It wants to be an extreme Strapping Young Lad record, but it also desires that spiritual tone of the final act of "Infinity." Songs like "Namaste," "Victim," and "Material" sound like Strapping Young Lad love songs, while "Death," "Devoid," and "The Complex" seem more comfortable with in their heavy shoes. The big, prog finish comes in the form of "Planet Rain," but it's disappointingly tedious.

Ultimately this is an odd duck in Townsend's solo career, there's plenty here to like, but it feels like rushed and confused as to what it wants to be. It's the one album I that comes to mind in Townsend's output that begs for a remaster to fix the dull production and give some of these songs the spit-shine they need.

What did come to mind when revisiting "Physicist," was that it served to highlight that despite Townsend's neglect toward Strapping Young Lad, the specter of his popular extreme metal project would always haunt him, even long after its death.

 Infinity by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.67 | 159 ratings

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Infinity
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HunterD

4 stars The first time I saw Devin Townsend live, I had no idea who he was, I think I'd heard of Strapping Young Lad, but that was about it. When he took the stage, he busted out "Truth" with his band, commanding the audience with his powerful charisma, and I suddenly heard everything that was missing from my life in metal and progressive music at that point in my life. "Truth" was like taking a trip through space, launching me out of the solar system and around the Milky Way. It served as the perfect introduction to Devin Townsend, and it also served as a perfect opener to his first great solo release, "Infinity."

"Infinity" was the first of Townsend's solo albums with Gene Hoglan on the drums, whose presence provides a solid anchor to the proceedings, as a strong drummer with a personality to match Devin's was what "Ocean Machine" needed, but lacked. "Infinity" is also more daring and varied than its predecessor, taking influences from Broadway musicals on "Bad Devil" and "Wild Colonial Boy," and delving into vocal experimentation in the vein of Mike Patton with "Ants." But most importantly, most of the songs feel ironed and pressed, better written and better realized here than before. "Truth" starts us off with an explosive instrumental, before the pop-hooks of "Christeen," into the goofy dance number of "Bad Devil," then finally into the spacey head-banger, "War." Ear-worm after ear-worm.

It's seemingly relentless until "Soul Driven Cadillac" and "Ants" take more experimental asides, before the operatics of "Wild Colonial Boy" and the beauty of "Life is all Dynamics" and "Unity." "Noisy Pink Bubbles" is a coda that recalls Frank Zappa, but "Unity" is such a perfect finisher, you don't need something so strange as a chaser.

Apparently the version of "Infinity" that's out there was put out before it was "finished" due to time constraints, and what the album could have been can be glimpsed on the "Infinity EP." The album that was made is, however, the one that was made, and the power of the songs therein is evident in how they've managed to consistently stick around Townsend's live set. I'd say the songs are perhaps greater than the whole record as a unit, portions of the album seem to go together beautifully ("Life is all Dynamics" and "Unity" could be one song), while songs like "Christeen" and "Bad Devil" feel like independent singles. If there's one thing missing in "Infinity" that "Ocean Machine" had, it's a sense of cohesion, but I suppose that's a problem that comes with releasing a version of the album that isn't the whole you had envisioned.

"Infinity," in its present form, is still a great album, and one of Devin Townsend's signature works that defines this period in his career.

 Ocean Machine: Biomech by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.06 | 225 ratings

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Ocean Machine: Biomech
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HunterD

3 stars Devin Townsend's own counterpoint to his ferocious, metal-burlesque "City" record with Strapping Young Lad, "Ocean Machine," originally conceived as a band called Ocean Machines, morphed into what became Townsend's first definitive solo effort. It's true that Strapping Young Lad's "Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing" was largely written and recorded by Townsend himself as a solo project, however the album felt like an angry diuresis of ideas following his short stint with Steve Vai, rather than a proper record. His "Cooked on Phonics" album under the moniker "Punky Bruster" is usually credited as the first DT solo album, but it was merely a booger, mockingly flicked at the burgeoning pop punk movement. "Ocean Machine," however, was the first exploration of the musical ideas that would come to define Townsend's varied and prolific solo career.

"Ocean Machine" comes at you with a wave of spiritual electric guitars and Devin's god-like layered vocals that run the gamut of emotions. "Regulator" is a standout heavy track that still manages to stun as an live opener to this day, while "Life" fills the space of the cheesy power ballad (Devin often jokes when he plays this song live that it has lamest guitar solo ever written). But it's the heartache at the heart of "Ocean Machine" that sticks with you, "Night" feels like a lonely car ride in a vibrant, neon cityscape, "Funeral" is filled with spiritual longing, and "The Death of Music," a suspect title if there ever was one, surprises with its air of regret. The final track, "Things Beyond Things," labeled a "bonus track," may actually be the most well realized tune on the album, and sonically reminded me somewhat of his obscure cover of Rush's "Natural Science."

Yet "Ocean Machine" has an unfortunate tendency to ramble with its songs, and the album lacks the cohesion that Gene Hoglan brought to Devin's subsequent solo records, prior to the demise of Strapping Young Lad. Drummers like Hoglan and Ryan Van Poederooyen enjoyed long, fruitful relationships with Townsend because they make magic together. Marty Chapman's drumming on "Ocean Machine," along with everyone else on the record, are swallowed up by Devin's mammoth production. "Seventh Wave" is an opener that shoots for cyclopean awe, but falls short, and the lenghty "Bastard" disappears from memory once it's gone.

Townsend wasn't pleased with how this personal effort was met with a shrug, while Strapping's "City," an over-the- top metal goof, was met with adulation and praise. This seemed to drive Townsend to refine his game, creating more sophisticated records with Hoglan as his muse from the "Ocean Machine" blueprint, which still informs his music to this day on albums like "Sky Blue." It also began his trend of actively fleeing in the face of success, ignoring Strapping Young Lad, his most successful project, until 2003, before pulling the plug on SYL entirely in 2007.

While it has some classic Devin cuts, "Ocean Machine" is an album for people who are digging deep into his sizable catalog to see where some of his best ideas came from. It's not a starting place for the new, and it will not interest the casual fan, but it is a worthy entry that shows an artist shedding the shields of humor and anger in an effort to find himself and his potential, in order to create something genuine and sincere.

 The Retinal Circus by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.57 | 23 ratings

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The Retinal Circus
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HunterD

4 stars "The Retinal Circus" is the sort of in-depth, live retrospective that a fan of any artist dreams of, and Devin Townsend does it only as he can, in a silly, surrealist manner. Steve Vai narrates a loose narrative about a dreamer named Harold, tied together by selections from Devin's considerable body of work, and the proceedings are acted out by a Cirque du Soliel slew of acrobats, choir members, and dancers.

When Devin dives into one of his crazy concepts, be it the coffee-obsessed Ziltoid, or the boney landscapes of Casualties of Cool, the proceedings always manage to garner a commitment from his fan base. This is why he can announce something as off-kilter as Casualties, and his fans are more than happy to fork over five times the asking price.

This is why Devin needs to learn not to blink.

"The Retinal Circus" offers a perfect live audio and video experience for the fans. You get the sunny stuff from albums like "Epicloud" and "Ocean Machine," some dark stuff from records such as "Deconstruction," and the goofy stuff from "Ziltoid the Omnicient." God bless him, he even does a couple of Strapping Young Lad songs for headbangers who miss that stuff, and we know he probably didn't want to do that, but thank the good Lord, he grinned and screamed a couple of those old favorites for us anyway. There's nothing from great records like "Terria," but you can't cram 'em all in there.

Yet Devin doesn't seem sure if the whole concept of the show is working or not, and retreats into self-depreciation in that skittish manner he tends to do in interviews. No one's asking him to show Kanye West-levels of confidence in his work, but Devin seems like a guy who has difficulty taking a compliment. He doesn't need to slag off his live concept to appease those who may not think it's cool, it's icing on the music, but he does anyway as an unnecessary defense mechanism. It's the one thing that mars an otherwise brilliant showcase for his unique career.

 The Quiet Offspring by GREEN CARNATION album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.35 | 81 ratings

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The Quiet Offspring
Green Carnation Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

2 stars 10 Years On: Green Carnation's The Quiet Offspring

I don't think anyone really had a problem with A Blessing in Disguise, in the end. Sure, following up an album-long epic that has since become a prog metal classic with a song-oriented album is obviously going to get a bit of backlash, but what else were they going to do to follow it up? Retire? Do another one?

This, however, is not something that needed to happen. A Blessing In Disguise was an exercise in restraint, Green Carnation seeing if they could still make quality material after the non-restraint of Light of Day, Day of Darkness. And they did it well. That album had some incredible songs, with lengths that didn't make you nauseous, being progressive at the same time as being restrained, and was one of the best progressive albums of 2003, the only real sign of them slipping in quality was the really lazy "As Life Flows By" which sounded like a twenty-minute rush-job, with absolutely no complexity whatsoever.

The Quiet Offspring, unfortunately, offers no such compositional quality. Right from the intro we're treated to straight-up laziness. I mean seriously, how long did it take them to come up with the opening riff for the title track? Palm muted chugging in the most basic rhythm? Yeah, sure, this is exactly how we want to open the new record, let's show them how great we are at coming up with guitar riffs! The rest of this opening track is actually not as bad as the rest, aside from a rather edgy inclusion of a few swear words, but boy that intro had me rolling my eyes. It sounds like the sort of riff a 12 year old Slipknot fan would write after playing guitar for half an hour.

To call this album progressive metal is not just a push, it's a blatant lie. Whenever metal fans use the term "alternative metal", it's always with a bit of elitism, because that term has so often been synonymous with "metal I don't like", but I do like a great deal of alternative metal, and not only is this definitely an alternative metal record, it's a bad one. All the songs have that good old cruchy semi-industrial alt-metal guitar tone, and are chock full with riffs that involve nothing but palm mutes and power chords, and the vocals here go for some buttrock-esque tough guy gruff singing (with equally terrible lyrics). This isn't something I would complain about (too much) if the songwriting was good. But if you've heard the first half of this record, you know that it isn't.

"Between the Gentle Small and the Standing Tall" is without a doubt the worst song Green Carnation have come near, combining bad blues rock riffs with cheap post-grunge "Yeah!"s and "Bring it on!"s, with a rather disgusting pseudo-sexuality that reminds me of no other band but Nickelback. There's a little bit more skill here than most post-grunge bands, and the song's bridge breathes a bit of melodic prog into the mix that is refreshing, but there's no denying the majority of the songwriting is right the way down in the lowest-of-lows within rock music territory. "The Everlasting Moment" is another pretty poor track, as is "Dead But Dreaming", but aren't inexcusably awful like the second track. The former boasts one of the most cringeworthy riffs I have ever listened to, pushing beyond the Nickelback influence I mentioned before into some new territory of corniness that I really can't find a comparison point for. The rest of the song isn't too bad, but a bad riff repeated throughout can easily kill any moments of goodness. "Dead But Dreaming" goes straight back to buttrock though, but in addition to the Nickelback riffs, we get tryhard gruff "I'm a big guy" vocals, and one of the weakest choruses on the album.

Obviously there are little blips of goodness in this section of the album - "Purple Door, Pitch Black" has a really nice chorus, with a melody that reminds me greatly of Amorphis. It's pretty much the first time on this album I feel Green Carnation have done something good, but the rest of the song, being weak and cliched, tries its hardest to contradict that.. "Just When You Think It's Safe" and "A Place for Me" also aren't bad songs, but they not really good ones either. There are no godawful riffs or cheap radio-rock gimmicks in those tracks, but at the same time there's nothing that pulls them out as being a great songs, they're just kind of better than what surrounds them.

But it wouldn't be a bad album without a sudden transition to good for the last few songs. Part one of "Child's Play" hints at this finish, with its use of violin and fingerpicked acoustic guitar being considerably more artistic and sonically interesting than anything else on this record, but the album only really gets good at track nine, "Pile of Doubt". The opening few notes of that track alone have a better chord progression that the entire first eight songs combined, and even when it goes into a bit of power metal-esque riffing which isn't really warranted, it retains that strong melody and emotional link that I feel this album has been missing. The song has a weak verse, as well as some cheap parts reminiscent of the shortfalls of the first half of the album, but a pretty great chorus and an excellent lead melody progression remind me so clearly of the Green Carnation of the past. "When I Was You" continues this progression, being the first actually solidly good song on the album. A slow, building, progressive track, it again shows signs of what Green Carnation were two years prior, and then the album closes off with "Child's Play", part two, another pretty solid piece. None of these songs are groundbreaking or amazing, and in the context of a record like A Blessing in Disguise, they would actually be pretty lowly ranked, but they do show that Green Carnation still have some compositional skill left in them for this record.

The Quiet Offspring is truly a sad record. It's not the worst thing I've heard, and there are some pretty nice parts in it, but it shows Green Carnation regressing entirely from great epic prog metal to great non-epic prog metal to hard rock songs with aims at 30 year old midlife crisis blokes who go out to the pub every night to score underage girls. Or whatever Nickelback's current demographic is. Aside from the choice moments in the last few songs, this album runs between inoffensive boredom and absolutely disgusting degeneracy. Really sad to see coming out of a solid band.

4.8

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 A Fine Day to Exit by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.84 | 390 ratings

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A Fine Day to Exit
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Anathema finally settled in and defined their sound after changing from the doom metal of the early years. This was quite a stretch from their original sound and of course it alienated many old fans. But their sound was now established to a mostly somber and atmospheric sound. The topics of their lyrics were still bleak, but the lyrics were also more realistic and personal than before. Their sound took on the best sounds of Progressive greats like Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd and Opeth (at their most mellow) and even took on sounds of Archive (trip hop-py sound except with less electronics...."Barriers" sounds so much like Archive that you would think it was if you didn't know any better) and there was no more growling vocals. The Cavanaughs were still at the helm as they would almost always be, but other members kind of came and went. But the music was beautiful but still quite dark.

This album was the first of their best work. There were still some weak tracks in the middle as the band explored a few different sounds to keep some variety in the music, but the album definitely begins and ends strong. More keyboards and acoustics are added to the mix and sometimes even drive the sound. The guitar here in this album is more atmospheric and instrumental as the band explores the sounds that they can get out of the instruments.

The best tracks are the ones that have the most feeling and emotion. These are "Pressure", "Release", "Looking Outside Inside", "Leave No Trace", the title track and the hidden acoustic track "In the Dog's House". The rest of the songs are good, but lack some development and are a little hard to remember. But you can hear the effort the band is making in exploring this new sound and it is a very worthy effort. Things would continue to get better with subsequent albums.

This album isn't quite up to masterpiece status yet, but it is close. The album's first 4 songs are worth the price of the album and the weaker tracks really aren't that weak, they just don't have as much of a personality, but they are still good. The improvement in the sound is obvious, it is well polished and the vocals are much much better. 4 strong stars signifies that this is still an excellent addition to your collection. Definitely a band with positive movement.

 Null by INTRONAUT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Null
Intronaut Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Null" is an EP release by US progressive sludge/mathcore act Intronaut. It's their debut release. The EP was released through Goodfellow Records in February 2006.

The music on the 5 track, 28:25 minutes long EP is progressive sludge. The delivery is very convincing and especially the rhythm section of bassist Joe Lester and drummer Danny Walker are really skilled and deliver some impressive playing along the way. The vocals are raw and shouting and there's even a semi-growling nature about a few of the vocal parts. They generally feature a nice bite. It's Intronaut's well balanced songwriting where they both emphasize heavy angular riffing and more atmospheric parts that's the band's finest asset though. They are a really heavy and occasionally raw bunch, but they are still rather sophisticated for the genre. Their occasional jazzy leanings add an even more interesting dimension to an already great release.

The sound production is powerful and raw. It's professional sounding and suits the music well. So you get a strong sound prodution, excellent musicianship, and adventurous songwriting on "Null" and it's hard to say anything else than that this is a quality release. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

 Falling Deeper by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 341 ratings

BUY
Falling Deeper
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After the release of the album "Hindsight" which was an unplugged rendering of previously released material, Anathema fans wanted to know why there wasn't much in the way of representative music from the doom metal albums. "Falling Deeper" was the response to this. The tracks on this album are all orchestral renderings of select songs from the doom metal albums. Most of the songs are led by a piano and some mostly ambient vocals which in most cases do not repeat most of the lyrics from those songs. These are beautiful renderings done with a lot of flourish. But they can tend to come across as quickly composed and arranged. Most of the tracks are just way too short and rushed making them seem underdeveloped. The songs are just not given a fitting tribute and, even though I do think it's a great idea to orchestrate doom metal songs to symphonic songs, I feel the originals are just not given the justice they deserve.

However, it's not a complete disaster here. Like I said, the orchestrations are beautiful. "Sunset of Age" is a well composed and arranged piece with more vocals than the other tracks and the orchestra is given a chance to really develop this version of the song into a piece of it's own. There is also a very nice guitar solo played with the orchestra. The song has been given time to breath and take on a new life. "Everawake" is fronted more by an acoustic guitar and is a welcome variation from the symphonic sounds. This song is also headed by the female vocalist Anneke van Viersbergen who has worked with Ayreon, Devin Townsend, Within Temptation and many other bands. There is more a beautiful piano interlude on "I Made a Promise" that tends to take the rushed feeling of the album down to more relaxed feel. Anneke also sings lead on "Alone" which is also the only other track besided "Sunset of Age" over 7 minutes. The longer songs are so much better because the tracks seem so much more developed. With the overall album only being about 37 minutes, they certainly had more time to develop these versions better. Unfortunately, Anneke is underutilized on this track, but the track has a much better ambiance with the addition of acoustic guitar and spacey keyboards. There is a nice use of dissonance on this one too, where as the other tracks are just much to clean.

As much as I love Anathema's music, and as much as I would love for this album to work, there are only two really great songs here in "Sunset" and "Alone". These I would consider progressive, not just because they are longer tracks, but because they are better developed and go beyond just being symphonic. The rest of the tracks have a highlight here and there, but do not use enough of the lyrics from the originals and are too short to really be taken very seriously. They just are not given enough time to breathe and the music just seems too rushed. Unfortunately, I can only give this a 3 star rating, but it is a nice listen on occasion, but it's not something I put on very often.

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Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
11 AS IN ADVERSARIES France
19 A.D.D. United States
21 EYES OF RUBY Netherlands
THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL Norway
413 United States
5IVE United States
A((WAKE)) United States
AABSINTHE France
ABANDON Sweden
ABYSSE France
ACROSS TUNDRAS United States
ACYL France
ADMIRAL BROWNING United States
ADRIFT Spain
AFTER MY OWN United States
AGALLOCH United States
AGES GONE Germany
AKPHAEZYA France
AKROMA France
ALASKAN Canada
ALCEST France
ALTAR OF PLAGUES Ireland
AMARA United States
AMBEON Netherlands
AMENRA Belgium
AMESOEURS France
AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE Italy
ANATHEMA United Kingdom
ANCESTORS United States
AND HARMONY DIES Italy
ANGEL EYES United States
ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA Spain
ANTIMATTER Multi-National
ANUBI Lithuania
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
APOCRYPHAL VOICE Finland
APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
THE ARKITECHT Mexico
ARKTIKA Germany
AS LIGHT DIES Spain
ASIDEFROMADAY France
ASPIRATION Norway
ASTROHENGE United Kingdom
ASTRONAUT DOWN United States
AT THE SOUNDAWN Italy
THE ATLAS MOTH United States
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION United States
ATROX Norway
AUSSITÔT MORT France
THE AXIS OF PERDITION United Kingdom
AZIOLA CRY United States
BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
BARONESS United States
BAT CASTLE United States
BATTLE OF MICE United States
BATTLEFIELDS United States
BAUDA Chile
BEAK United States
BEECHER United Kingdom
BEFORE THE EYEWALL United States
BEHIND THE SUN Israel
BEING United States
ADRIAN BENAVIDES United States
BIRUSHANAH Japan
BISON B.C. Canada
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
BOTANIST United States
BRIDGES TO DREAMS Canada
BUNKUR Netherlands
BURIED INSIDE Canada
BURN DOWN ROME United Kingdom
CAINA United Kingdom
CALDERA France
CALLISTO Finland
THE CANCER CONSPIRACY United States
CANDIRIA United States
CAPRICORNS United Kingdom
CAPTURE THE SUN United States
CARNIVAL IN COAL France
CARONTTE Spain
CATACOMBE Portugal
CAVE IN United States
CELEBRITY SEX SCANDAL United States
CELESTINE Iceland
CHASE THE SUNSET United Kingdom
THE CHRONICLES OF ISRAFEL Canada
CHRYST Austria
THE CIRCLE ENDS HERE Italy
CIRUELO CILINDRICO Spain
CLERIC United States
CLOUDKICKER United States
COALESCE United States
COLD BODY RADIATION Netherlands
A COLD DEAD BODY Italy
COLDWORLD Germany
COME SLEEP Sweden
COMITY France
CONIFER United States
CONSECRATION Serbia
CORMORANT United States
COSMONAUTS DAY Russia
COUNTERVELA Ireland
CRIB45 Finland
CULT OF LUNA Sweden
D.U.N.E. Italy
DAKRYA Greece
DAMASCUS United States
DARK CASTLE United States
DARK SUNS Germany
DARKESTRAH Germany
DARKSPACE Switzerland
DAUGHTERS OF FISSION United States
DAY WITHOUT DAWN United States
DE OMEGA United States
DEADBIRD United States
DEADSOUL TRIBE United States
DEAFHEAVEN United States
THE DEATH OF HER MONEY United Kingdom
DECORTICA New Zealand
DEEP IN THOUGHT Germany
DETERIOR United States
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL United Kingdom
DIESTO United States
DIGRESSION ASSASSINS Sweden
DIRGE France
DISAPPEARER United States
DIVINA ENEMA Belarus
DØDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARINESS Italy
DYING SUN United States
EARTH United States
EAST OF THE WALL United States
EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EGOIST Poland
EHNAHRE United States
EIGHT BELLS United States
EINNA France
ELLIPSIS France
EMPIRES United States
EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
ENDER New Zealand
ENDNAME Russia
EPHEL DUATH Italy
EPISTASIS United States
ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
EX CURIA Australia
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
FALL OF EFRAFA United Kingdom
FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FLEURETY Norway
FLOOD THE DESERT United States
FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT Russia
A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
FOUNTAINHEAD Germany
FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
GARDEN OF SHADOWS United States
GARY SUICIDAL KIDS COMMANDO France
THE GATHERING Netherlands
GENERATION OF VIPERS United States
GENGHIS TRON United States
GIANT SQUID United States
GIGANTIC BRAIN United States
GIRE Hungary
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
GODSEND Norway
GONIN-ISH Japan
GORDIAN KNOT United States
GOSPEL United States
THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
GRAVITON United States
GRAYCEON United States
THE GREAT OLD ONES France
GREEN CARNATION Norway
HAIKU FUNERAL Multi-National
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Greece
HALCYON Australia
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE United States
HAND United Kingdom
HARVEY MILK United States
HEIRS Australia
HELLAS MOUNDS United States
HERETOIR Germany
HIPOSPADIA Spain
HUMANFLY United Kingdom
HYDRA Mexico
HYPNO5E France
IDENTIFIED United States
IDIOT SAINT CRAZY France
THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
IN.OVO Canada
INCOMING CEREBRAL OVERDRIVE Italy
INDUKTI Poland
INTER ARMA United States
INTRONAUT United States
IO United Kingdom
IREPRESS United States
IRONWOOD Australia
IRREVERSIBLE United States
ISIS United States
ISTHMUS United States
IZAH Netherlands
JAKEL Canada
JANVS Italy
JESU United Kingdom
JEWY SABATAY Serbia
OLIVER KAAH Finland
KAILASH Italy
KALKI AVATARA Italy
KARABOUDJAN Sweden
KEELHAUL United States
KEKAL Indonesia
KHANATE United States
KHEMEÏA France
KHOMA Sweden
KHUDA United Kingdom
KICK THE BUTTERFLY Australia
KINGDOM Belgium
KLABAUTAMANN Germany
KOLLWITZ Norway
KONG Netherlands
KONGH Sweden
KOSMOGRAD Canada
KRAKOW Norway
KRUGER Switzerland
KYLESA United States
LANDFORGE United Kingdom
LANTLOS Germany
LATITUDES United Kingdom
LEFT BRAIN United States
LENTO Italy
LESBIAN United States
LIGHT BEARER United Kingdom
LITHIUM DAWN United States
LÖBO Portugal
LOOK TO WINDWARD New Zealand
LORUS United States
LUDICRA United States
LYE BY MISTAKE United States
MADE OUT OF BABIES United States
MAHESH Chile
MAMMOTH New Zealand
MANATEES United Kingdom
MANDIBULBE France
MANES Norway
MANUSCRIPTS DON'T BURN Italy
MAR DE GRISES Chile
MARE United States
THE MASS United States
MAUDLIN Belgium
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL United States
MEMORIES OF A DEAD MAN France
MENISCUS Australia
MINDFOLD EXPRESS Bulgaria
MINSK United States
MIOSIS Sweden
THE MIRE United Kingdom
MIRRORTHRONE Switzerland
MISANTHROFEEL Russia
MOD FLANDERS CONSPIRACY United States
MOLOKEN Sweden
MONDRIAN OAK Italy
MONUMENTUM Italy
MORAINES Croatia
MORNE United States
THE MORNINGSIDE Russia
MORTIFERIA Norway
MOSE GIGANTICUS United States
MOSKAU Germany
MOUNTAINS BECAME MACHINES United Kingdom
MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT United States
MUTYUMU Japan
MY SILENT WAKE United Kingdom
MYSTER MOBIUS Multi-National
MYSTIC Netherlands
NAHEMAH Spain
NAHRAYAN Spain
NANDA DEVI United States
NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW United States
NAUTICUS Finland
NEBRA Switzerland
NERO DI MARTE Italy
NEUMA Poland
NEUROSIS United States
NIHIL Serbia
NINTH MOON BLACK United States
NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
NOCTIS Australia
NOEKK Germany
NORTH United States
NOVEMBRE Italy
NUCLEUS TORN Switzerland
OBSIDIAN KINGDOM Spain
THE OCEAN DOESN'T WANT ME South Africa
THE OCEAN Germany
OCOAI United States
THE OLD DEAD TREE France
OLD MAN GLOOM United States
OMB Israel
THE OMEGA EXPERIMENT United States
OMEGA MASSIF Germany
ORANSSI PAZUZU Finland
ORDO DRACONIS Netherlands
ØRKENKJØTT Norway
ORPHANED LAND Israel
ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
OSTROVA Spain
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY United States
OUTOPSYA Italy
OVERMARS France
PAN.THY.MONIUM Sweden
PANOPTICON United States
THE PAX CECILIA United States
PECCATUM Norway
PELICAN United States
PET SLIMMERS OF THE YEAR United Kingdom
PIKE Sweden
PINKLY SMOOTH United States
THE POSTMAN SYNDROME United States
PRISMA Switzerland
PROGHMA-C Poland
THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
PRYAPISME France
PSYCHOFAGIST Italy
PSYKUP France
PYRAMIDS United States
QUARANTADUE Italy
QUBE Poland
QUESTIONER United States
RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
RAIN DELAY Serbia
RAINROOM Finland
RAXINASKY Belgium
RED PAPER DRAGON United Kingdom
REFRACTION Ireland
THE REPTILIANS United States
RETURNING WE HEAR THE LARKS United Kingdom
ROSETTA United States
ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
RYOKUCHI Japan
SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SCHIZOID LLOYD Netherlands
SCORCHED SHORE United States
SECONDSKIN United Kingdom
SENMUTH Russia
SENSUAL NOISE Belgium
SEPIA DREAMER Sweden
SEVEN United States
SEVEN NAUTICAL MILES Sweden
SEVENTH EVIDENCE / KA.MMEN Ukraine
SHELS United States
SHELTER RED United States
SHELVING Switzerland
SHEPHERDS OF CASSINI New Zealand
SHRINEBUILDER United States
SIGH Japan
SIKA REDEM United Kingdom
SISARE Finland
SKAGOS Canada
SKEWED SKIES Germany
SLEEP MAPS United States
SLEEPING IN GETHSEMANE United States
SMALLMAN Bulgaria
SMOHALLA France
SNOWBLOOD United Kingdom
SO IS THE TONGUE United States
SOEN Multi-National
SOLSTAFIR Iceland
SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI United Kingdom
SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STANDING OVATION Finland
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE United States
SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUNPOCRISY Italy
SUPERCONTINENT United States
THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER United Kingdom
TARANTULA HAWK United States
TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
TENOCHTITLAN Russia
TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
TETRAFUSION United States
THANATOSCHIZO Portugal
THENCE Finland
THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
TIDES FROM NEBULA Poland
TIME ZERO United States
TITAN Canada
TODTGELICHTER Germany
TOMYDEEPESTEGO Italy
TOOL United States
TOUNDRA Spain
TOWN PORTAL Denmark
DEVIN TOWNSEND Canada
TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
TREPHINE United States
TRIBES OF NEUROT United States
TRUTHSEEKER United States
TUSK United States
TWIN ZERO United Kingdom
UARAL Chile
UFOMAMMUT Italy
UNA CORDA United Kingdom
UNEXPECT Canada
UNHOLD Switzerland
UNSOUL Germany
UPRISING FORMALHAUT Ukraine
URNA Italy
USER NE Spain
VAKA Sweden
VAURA United States
VED BUENS ENDE Norway
VIRGIN BLACK Australia
VIRUS Norway
VISCERA/// Italy
VOID United Kingdom
VOID OF SILENCE Italy
VULTURE INDUSTRIES Norway
THE WATERS DEEP HERE United States
WE LOST THE SEA Australia
WE MADE GOD Iceland
WEAKLING United States
WHAT MAD UNIVERSE France
WHAT THE BLOOD REVEALED United Kingdom
WHEN DAY DESCENDS Australia
WHIRLING Sweden
WHOURKR Multi-National
WIDEK Poland
WINDHAM HELL United States
WINDMILLS BY THE OCEAN United States
WINDS Norway
ANDY WINTER Norway
WIZARD RIFLE United States
WOBURN HOUSE Germany
WOODS OF YPRES Canada
A WORKING MODEL United States
WORM OUROBOROS United States
YAKUZA United States
YEAR OF NO LIGHT France
YOB United States
YTO SOLREISER Norway
ZEBULON PIKE United States
ZENI GEVA Japan
ZOZOBRA United States
ZVOYN France

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