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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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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 FANT‘MAS, 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)
Louis (rdtprog)

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 | 1521 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.22 | 696 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.31 | 136 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.19 | 651 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.24 | 185 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.20 | 324 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.18 | 300 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.13 | 698 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.15 | 379 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.13 | 581 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 265 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.20 | 153 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult Of Luna
4.14 | 317 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.13 | 328 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.09 | 906 ratings
∆NIMA
Tool
4.13 | 261 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.35 | 52 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.19 | 107 ratings
SUSPENDED ANIMATION DREAMS
Subterranean Masquerade
4.17 | 116 ratings
THE PAINTER'S PALETTE
Ephel Duath
4.06 | 893 ratings
WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE
Anathema

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

K÷LD
Solstafir
METRIDIUM FIELD
Giant Squid
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Lesbian
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The

Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Imaginary Sonicscape by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.31 | 136 ratings

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Imaginary Sonicscape
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Imaginary Sonicscape" is the 5th full-length studio album by Japanese progressive/experimental metal act Sigh. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2001. It's Sigh's first release on the label after they left Cacophonous Records, as a consequence of what the band felt was bad promotion for "Scenario IV: Dread Dreams (1999)". The three-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor is intact on "Imaginary Sonicscape".

Although Sigh originally started out as a black metal act, they soon began to experiment with their sound and the last couple of preceding releases have been increasingly progressive/experimental. "Imaginary Sonicscape" tops them all though as Sigh take their adventurous songwriting approach to new creative heights. The basis in the music is fairly traditional heavy metal riffs/leads/harmonies and rhythms, and Mirai Kawashima's snarling raspy vocals in front. The latter is the only feature on the album, which links the music on "Imaginary Sonicscape" to the band's black metal past, because nothing else on the album is extreme metal related in any way.

While the heavy metal elements in the music are relatively traditional in nature, the band make sure that everything else on the album is challenging to the listener. There is omnipresent use of vintage keyboards/synths/organs and additional features like ghostly choirs, percussion, the odd programmed/electronic section, saxophone, and atmospheres which range from eerie darkness to almost sunshine psychadelic happiness ("A Sunset Song" is an example of the latter mood). The use of classical music themes and orchestral sections are also quite dominant in the soundscape. It's not an easy listen and most listener's will probably need more than one listen to decide what they think of the album. The tracks and the album in general take many left-turns along the way, and the listener is kept on his/her toes throughout the 63:35 minutes long playing time.

The musicianship is strong and while everything is performed with great skill and precision, Sigh generally perform their music with a great organic touch, which is further enhanced by the organic sounding production. The songwriting is on a very high level, and it's obvious Kawashima has some classical music education/training, because the keyboard arrangements and the keyboard performances in general are seldom heard this sophisticated in heavy metal music.

"Imaginary Sonicscape" is for the open-minded heavy metal listener, and there is no guarantee this is something a lot of people will enjoy. It's probably very much an aquired taste, even for fans of the band. Expect the unexpected and you won't be dissapointed. Personally I think the experiments sometime make the album a bit incoherrent, and some tracks feel like they lack direction, like the band just added sections/elements they felt were interesting to add without thinking about the big picture. Knowing the musical genius of Kawashima I'm sure that's not true though, and I'm sure the output is exactly what Sigh had in mind. My personal feelings aside this is still a high quality release and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Oresteia by LOTUS THIEF album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Oresteia
Lotus Thief Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars Lotus Thief was founded in 2012 and hail from San Francisco. Their 3rd album "Oresteia" was released in January of 2020, and, as were their last two albums, base their music around classic works, usually ones that deal with dark subjects. On "Oresteia", the subject is based on a trilogy of plays written by Aeschylus which deal with the return, murder and downfall of house Atreaus and its king Agamemnon. This dense subject matter is covered in 8 tracks with a short run time of almost 40 minutes, yet the music and ambience of the album cover it quite well. The album also comes in a 2 CD "Luxus" version which features 3 bonus tracks. These are ambient remixes of 3 tracks from the album, and this brings the run time up to over an hour.

The band uses the genre of black and doom metal as a foundation, yet they throw in a lot of ambient textures making the music also take on dark folk elements, almost giving it a gothic sound. On this album, the vocals are much clearer, not so buried in whispers and fuzz, but up front. However, there is still a use of unearthly growls and screams throughout, usually buried deep within the dark texture of the music.

Interestingly enough, there are only two musicians that create the music on this album, most of the work done by the lead who calls herself Bezaelith. On this album, she provides vocals, guitars, bass and synthesizers. The only thing she doesn't play are the drums, who are performed by Otrebor (real name is Roberto Martinelli). When the band tours, however, they tour as a 5-piece ensemble.

Starting with the track "Agamemnon" (8:02), the music is quite atmospheric, the dark textures mixing with the mysterious ambience as layers of sound surround you. It is heavy, but it is also clean and strangely soft, with Bezaelith's vocals drawing you in. Her voice is excellent, deep yet not as heavy as you would expect. The track stays somewhere between ambient and moody melodic passages, with occasional outbursts of emotion felt in her subdued screams. It all comes across quite beautiful, but definitely thick. "Banishment" (2:13) follows as a transitory track with a dark drone that increases in volume. This moves into the track "Libabtion Bearers" (8:16) which is the name of the 2nd play that the music is based on. It begins with layers of atmospheric guitar and synth darkness, but after a few minutes, the clears and becomes quite melodic as a percussive pattern slowly builds up while vocals continue, then a sudden heaviness and intensity turn the music into a more metallic feel. The music varies back and forth, soft to heavy, and counter melodies harmonize against each other in the layered vocals. The moderately slow beat keeps building intensity, and Bezaelith's epic vocals seem to fill the hallways of an ancient castle that is doomed to fall. This is all about dynamics, and the use of them on this album is quite amazing, all of the clean and screaming vocals merited by the story and the softer dark folk elements mix so well with the heavier black metal elements. It's all quite impressive.

"Woe" (3:16) uses layers of atmospheric textures to help transport the listener to the dark realms of the subject matter. Most of the tonal drone-like sound here seems to be done by synths, but it all remains ambient and mysterious which is enhanced by subdued drums. "The Furies" (6:47) opens up the buried sound from the previous track, and then develops it, and layered vocals are later added. The vocals continue to be beautiful, but also continue to teeter on the brink of sanity, and each time the music slips over to the heavier side you wonder if there is ever any going back, yet somehow, it always comes back to lovely melodic passages that also work to build the drama and emotion. As it nears the middle, things get really wild and chaotic as the drums and guitars push it to the limit and then screams actually end up bringing it back to its original ambient state and the music continues to teeter back and forth.

The next track "Reverence" (0:54) here works as another transitory track, hardly even noticeable, yet on the Luxus edition, is expanded to over 5 minutes. It is full of pensive dissonance and echoing emptiness, which only gets amplified in the bonus track ambient cut. In the main album, however, it simply leads us into "Sister in Silence" (5:58) which fades in on some violins that might remind one of something from "Godspeed You! Black Emperor". As it increases, synths pull the music out of the darkness and more vocals backed by an even rhythm come in. This one builds to a nice, majestic guitar backing that suddenly moves to a dissonant and loud section that really sneaks up on you. Wow. Once that passes, you are almost left breathless, but the violins come back in to reign in the sound and more vocals follow. The main album ends with "The Kindly Ones" (2:54) which is a nice atmospheric vocal backed by layered echoes and textures that leave you wanting more.

This album is one of the best examples I have heard in the attempt to meld ambience with doom metal while maintaining the folk element throughout. The dynamics are so well executed, that sometimes you can move from peacefulness to chaos and you sit there wondering how that all happened so smoothly. This could have been a perfect album except for one thing, it is too short. The subject matter could have been explored so much further. But the music you do get here is excellent and it almost makes you want to overlook that flaw. However, I can't get over the fact that you are left with the feeling that it gets over way too quickly, and that is the only thing keeping it from being 5 stars. Lovers of dark ambient black metal should listen to this though, because this is how it should be done, with attention given to smooth transitions and an amazing use of dynamics, incorporating the beautiful and the harsh into the telling of the story. Excellent album!

 Savage Sinusoid by IGORRR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.11 | 8 ratings

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Savage Sinusoid
Igorrr Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars When it comes to insane artists with genre fusions that simply seem impossible to perform well together at all, Igorrr often an artist that I'll mention, their unique combination of breakcore with baroque and classical music, mixed in with other genres such as swing and even death metal at points, making for a truly one of a kind listening experience. The issue with this is that in the case of their latest album, Savage Sinusoid, much of the experimentation that's done here can feel like little more than quirkiness for quirkiness sake, often having very little substance outside of laughing at the maelstrom of chaos thrown at the audience with each song. With that said, I feel as if this album still works well enough that I can still call the album somewhat successful. The electronic aspects of the music are toned down compared to previous albums such as Hallelujah, and instea feels more like an avant garde metal album with this absurd array of stylistic concepts, and while it can often be interesting, it simultaneously misses the mark a number of times.

Viande, while simple, is a track I find really funny and overall a decent track, starting off with ridiculous screaming before a repetitive, heavy riff takes centre stage, before some electronic elements are thrown in to alter the vocals further, leading to absolutely ridiculous results that work quite well. The violently eclectic approach taken is highlighted in ieuD, which focuses upon the more classic Igorrr sound compared to many of the tracks, with the operatic singing and the harpsichord, while simultaneously bombarding the listener with walls of impenetrable noise every so often. This is what I consider to be one of the greatest songs on this album, as it makes sure not to go too far with some kind of pointless venture out into a different style and simply produces a well put together track that's full of power despite the initial incoherence of it all. On the other side of things, Houmous works so well as the most wild track on this album, entirely embracing absurdity without sacrificing any of the fun of it, along with keeping some consistency in terms of melody and general feel to make it an amazingly engaging experience, with the saxophones and even chiptune parts of the song still lending themselves surprisingly nicely to the overall enjoyability of the song.

Opus Brain is what I consider to be the first misstep on the album, with the electronic parts often feeling obnoxious, and the parts that utilise the female vocals feeling like a weaker version of Hallelujah's opening track, not to mention that it fizzles out rather than ends in a satisfying manner. The next track, while an interesting diversion, really doesn't work for me in the context of this album, and feels quite uneventful overall until the end, where it begins to sound like some sort of interesting build up, despite the fact that it goes nowhere. Thankfully the next 2 tracks pick things up again to some degree, Spaghetti Forever being incredibly grandiose with some dark undertones, sounding almost like some kind of twisted track from a Castlevania soundtrack. Cheval on the other hand is likely the most accessible track on the album, having much more of a clear structure and progression rather than the sensory overload that can be brought on by other tracks, something that's especially great in terms of how the electronic elements suddenly jump in to make the baroque death metal track all of a sudden sound like some sort of breakcore breakdown, just great stuff all around.

Unfortunately, these final few tracks are where the album falls apart for me, as the remaining songs feel as if pieces of the cutting room floor were merely strung together as a way to fill time. Va te foutre particularly feels like this, but manages to go far beyond just that and become borderline headache inducing in all the wrong ways, and goes far beyond merely being irritating. While Robert isn't quite this egregious, I feel that it's almost equally as useless in the grand scheme of things, and brings me right back to the issue of this album sometimes feeling more like experiementation for experimentation sake rather than attempting to create anything actually engaging, and while that sometimes works, it falls through when much of this album has displayed just how well this is able to be executed.

On the whole, despite the fact that this album is seriously flawed in a number of respects, there are still a number of tracks on it that I find a joy to listen to, such an odd sound being applied so well in certain cases making for such a compelling listen. I both love and feel greatly disappointed in this album for this exact reason however, as Igorrr shows how these concepts that seem impossible to properly execute can sound good, yet often falters and instead focuses on merely making weird music for the sake of weird. If this album were a bit more refined in its tracklisting and possibly adding a couple more tracks that are the quality of the good stuff here, I'd consider this album absolutely amazing, but as it stands, there's definitely some missed potential.

Best tracks: ieuD, Houmous, Cheval

Weakest tracks: ProblŤme d'ťmotion, Va te voutre, Robert

Verdict: Undoubtedly an album that obliterates so many genre conventions in order to create easily what I consider to be one of the strangest listens out there, even if a lot of it is merely strange for these bizarre combinations of sound rather than any kind of deeper atmosphere or tone. While I like a lot of this, I still feel as if it misses the mark in a number of places that weaken the overall product, but it's still something I'd recommend if you enjoy weird music.

 Empath by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.99 | 224 ratings

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Empath
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by uribreitman

4 stars Amazing production values, some very nice work with choir and orchestra - but still feels like a solo artist trapped in his basement and having too much fun with crazy stuff. Townsend's a genius, but he needs someone to balance his bipolar temper. Some parts are divine, some parts just obnoxious. You can really enjoy his humor, his riffs and his unpredictable transitions - but this mess-of-sound doesn't completely gel into the majestic masterpiece Devin was probably aiming for. So you can clearly enjoy 40-60% percent of this product, but almost nobody can really come to grips with what Devin is throwing at us all the time. The biggest concern is the wacky atmosphere, drowning any attempt to get serious about "Empath". You never know if it's all just a big, fat joke with huge reverb. Devin jumps from Opera to his kitchen to a mainstream guitar riff to some other planet. And the final result is perplexing - fun but not pure fun. You want to get absorbed in every track, but Devin's not willing to play ball with stylistic conventions. In the end, this is a giant theme park of ideas - some of them monstrously original, some of them childish. So I'm not sorry for spending time on this generous CD, but I can't recommend it to everyone. It's just too quaint to be emotionally logical.
 Fear Inoculum by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.70 | 217 ratings

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Fear Inoculum
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by uribreitman

4 stars There are three great pieces hidden in this over-long project: "Pneuma", "Invincible" and their masterpiece - "Descending". All the rest is not good enough. "Pneuma" is far from perfect but has that old Tool magic; it gives you the feeling of birth, that first breath of life, and it's even optimistic. "Invincible" is the ultimate old-warrior epic. Tool recount their tales of glory, admit they're getting old, and still trying to win some battles here and there. Feelings of nostalgia mixed with the same old rage and change-the-world spirit - a very mature track which doesn't sound too long, although it could have been produced with a richer wall of sound. "Invincible" is the album highlight. Much more than just an anti-Trump piece, it's almost a religious call-to- arms epic. The amazing lyrics by Maynard James Keenan get uplifted with Danny Carey's unbelievable drumming abilities. Not only is this a musical speech to be remembered, it's almost an artistic last will and testament. Only a huge band like Tool can deliver such a triumph to its humble fans. All the rest of the material is almost negligible, or at least way too long, plodding, smeared and sometimes even "filler" to my ears. Was it worth the wait between albums? probably no album in history is worth such an arduous wait. I take these three mini-epics to my heart and carry on. If this is their last album, so be it. I highly recommend "Descending" to any young man in America today. Now we must carry on this heavy burden forward, keep on the fight, because the three Tool guys seem a bit wasted.
 A Blessing In Disguise by GREEN CARNATION album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.66 | 115 ratings

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A Blessing In Disguise
Green Carnation Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "A Blessing in Disguise" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive metal act Green Carnation. The album was released through Season of Mist in June 2003. Green Carnation was formed in 1990 as a death metal act, but was initially a short lived project which ended in 1991. Guitarist Tchort then joined black metal act Emperor and played bass on their now legendary debut album "In the Nightside Eclipse (1994)". Tchort shortly after left Emperor and layed low for a couple of years before reuniting with some of the original Green Carnation members, who in the intermediate years had kept themselves busy in In the Woods.... The bandīs debut full-length studio album "Journey to the End of the Night" was released in 2000.

The sophomore album "Light of Day, Day of Darkness" followed in 2001. Both of those relases feature a dark, progressive and doom/gothic metal style and both are concept releases (the latter solely features one hour long track). With "A Blessing in Disguise" the band have opted for a different songwriting approach and sound. The material on the 9 track, 56:19 minutes long album are still rooted in heavy metal, but the overall sound is predominantly a heavy progressive rock style, featuring "regular" rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, but also keyboards (predominantly vintage sounding). The tracks are melodic, relatively catchy, and while not overtly complex, they are still nicely intriguing and adventurous. The atmosphere is melancholic and dark, but not a pitch black type of darkness. Dark melancholy is a more fitting description. If I have to compare the sound on "A Blessing in Disguise" with another artist, I would pick the Dan SwanŲ led Nightingale as a reference. Although the two artists donīt sound alike, there are many similarities in the overall approach to playing heavy progressive rock.

The musicianship is strong on the album, with greatly skilled and organic instrumental performances, and a strong vocal performance by Kjetil Nordhus too. "A Blessing in Disguise" also features a powerful and organic sounding production, which suits the material well, so upon conclusion itīs a strong third album release by Green Carnation. Some fans of the first two releases may not be completely satisfied with the change of sound, but fans of heavy progressive rock featuring a melancholic atmosphere, should find this a greatly enjoyable release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Ultra Selfish Revolution by EGOIST album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.06 | 12 ratings

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Ultra Selfish Revolution
Egoist Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Ultra-Selfish Revolution" is the 2nd full-length studio album by progressive/groove metal act Egoist. The album was released through Selfmadegod Records in March 2009. Egoist is a one-man project formed by Stanislaw Wolonciej in 2006 (Wolonciej is also the drummer in NewBreed and Angerpath). Wolonciej had quite a few issues releasing his debut full-length studio album "Dead Egg (2007)", as the label (Magik Art Entertainment) he had a deal with broke the contract, so the album was never officially released. There are copies available for download on the internet, and according to Wolonciej it's not illegal to download them. As the case was on the debut album Wolonciej performs all instruments and vocals on "Ultra-Selfish Revolution", except a couple of guest guitar solos by Patrick Mameli (Pestilence).

Stylistically the material on "Ultra-Selfish Revolution" continues the progressive groove laden and heavy metal style of "Dead Egg (2007)". I hear a strong Meshuggah influence in the heavy odd-metered riffs and rhythms, but there is a dominant atmospheric element in the music too (atmopsheric guitars and synths add that element). The vocals aren't harsh, and often remind me of the unorthodox clean vocals in Voivod. Wolonciej doesn't have the most distinct sounding voice, but his delivery has improved a lot since the debut, where the vocals were definitely the weak link in the music. Here they aren't extraordinary, but they aren't weak either.

The musicianship is strong and it's not audible that Wolonciej is predominantly a drummer. He is a very capable multi- instrumentalist. "Ultra-Selfish Revolution" features a well sounding and powerful production, which suits the material on the 8 track, 42:14 minutes long album perfectly. Upon conclusion it's a step up in professionalism, delivery, and songwriting compared to the debut album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Spiritual Instinct by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.45 | 14 ratings

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Spiritual Instinct
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Review originally posted in www.therocktologist.com

Almost ten years have passed since I discovered Alcest, a band I loved since the very first minute, a band I've followed closely through those years. It was love at first sight. And now, I am here to celebrate the release of 'Spiritual Instinct', their sixth studio album which recently saw the light through Nuclear Blast.

Neige and Winterhalter have become a wonderful team, and though Alcest is basically Neige's child, he's found in Winterhalter his best partner. For this record they created six enigmatic tracks that sound just like Alcest, not another band, and that is something great, it is not easy to create a unique sound that can be recognized within some seconds. The total length of this work is 41 minutes.

It starts with 'Les Jardins de Minuit', a solid first track that shows that wonderful blend of black metal and post rock this project has. The power of their music is evident since the very first minute, fast drums, those vocals and cool changes all over the song. And although I like it, there might be a problem there: it doesn't really show anything new.

The start of 'Protection' reminds me a lot of 'La Ou Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles', it is curious that it is also a track number two. The music develops dark atmospheres, rock meets shoegaze and metal, and what I always love about this band is that use of clean and growl vocals, Neige knows very well how to do that.

'Sapphire' is the shortest song here and to be honest, has a rhythm quite alike to what we've already experience on the album, anyway, the high quality is always present, I love the screams, the guitars and the sensation of being in the woods running and being one with the wildlife (it is my mind, I know). It is maybe a catchier song, so anyone that doesn't know Alcest might like it.

'L'ile des Morts' is, on the other hand, the longest composition here, a track that develops a diversity of nuances in both, the instrumental parts and the ones with vocals, in fact, I believe the instrumental passages here are the best from the whole record, exciting moments full of rage, hope, brightness and darkness. A clear example of how Alcest manage to create countless emotions.

'Le miroir' starts with heavy and dark bass and guitars but then it vanishes and a new brighter and charming sound appears. This kind of beautiful passages are also a signature sound of Alcest, one can close the eyes, feel that peace and enjoy life. Though I don't understand French (sorry), I let my mind and soul to just feel, and that sometimes is enough.

The final song is 'Spiritual Instinct' is a very nice track that sums up what the album is about. And I'll be honest, I enjoy the album, all the times I've listened to it I've liked it, however, I think the guys just felt comfortable to show more of the same and don't give memorable gems, maybe their goal is not to create catchy singles, but in difference with previous albums, here I could not find outstanding songs and though while listening to them my mind reacts saying 'it is Alcest', it does not says 'it is THIS Alcest song', maybe they are not meant to be remembered.

An average Alcest album and probably me least favorite so far. But you know, things change.

 The Acoustic Verses by GREEN CARNATION album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.87 | 142 ratings

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The Acoustic Verses
Green Carnation Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars On this last studio album by the lads, Green Carnation showcase yet another of their talents: moody acoustic tracks not far different from "Damnation" by Opeth. This album was successfully played live in its entirety with a couple of orchestra players,

The tracks are obviously much less agressive than on the last two albums, featuring more emotional and quiet vocals, acoustic or quiet electric guitars. The typical Scandinavian melancholy feeling is omnipresent and the album is recommended for rainy days.

"Maybe" is the first more epic track with extended uncomplex instrumental part, while "Alone" has a nice violin enrichment motive. The longest track brings with it several reflective moments and different moments with/without vocals.

"Child's play, part III" is a fantastic moody piano track, name me one doom/gothic metal band that can craft something like this. If you want more of this, go listen to the previous album with a similar piano mood but richer sound.

"High tide waves" has a vocal similar to Bono from U2 and some pleasant acoustic guitar.

A decent good-bye by the band and it's a pity that the creative force evaporated after that one.

 Alive And Well... In Krakow by GREEN CARNATION album cover Live, 2009
3.25 | 11 ratings

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Alive And Well... In Krakow
Green Carnation Experimental/Post Metal

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars An average live albumw with some good moments, heavier sounding than the studio album and the focus is on the less challenging pieces, so the last album, nothing from the first album.

Guys are no big showmen, they speak only a bit and focus more on music. You will mainly remember heavy guitar riffs, some catchy melodies and metal drums.

The good thing is that the album does not go on for too long (the material was limited anyways).

It would have been better to have a live album after all their albums of their era that would make contrast between acoustic, doom metal and heavy metal tracks.

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Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
*SHELS United States
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
6:33 France
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
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ALASKAN Canada
ALCEST France
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AMARA United States
AMATERAZU Portugal
AMBEON Netherlands
AMENRA Belgium
AMESOEURS France
AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE Italy
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ANCESTORS United States
AND HARMONY DIES Italy
ANGEL EYES United States
ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA Spain
ANTIMATTER Multi-National
ANUBI Lithuania
AORIA Sweden
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
APOCRYPHAL VOICE Finland
APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
ARCADE MESSIAH United Kingdom
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
ATMOSPHERES Belgium
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION United States
ATROX Norway
AUSSIT‘T MORT France
AUSTARAS United States
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
IVAR BJōRNSON & EINAR SELVIK Norway
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLOODWAY Romania
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
BOTANIST United States
BRAIN TENTACLES United States
BRIDGES TO DREAMS Canada
BUNKUR Netherlands
BURIED INSIDE Canada
BURN DOWN ROME United Kingdom
BURWEED Finland
BUTTERFLY TRAJECTORY Poland
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
CEREUS Poland
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
DEFYING Poland
DETERIOR United States
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL United Kingdom
DIESTO United States
DIGRESSION ASSASSINS Sweden
DIRGE France
DISAPPEARER United States
DIVINA ENEMA Belarus
DōDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARE Czech Republic
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
EDGE OF REALITY United States
EGOIST Poland
EHNAHRE United States
EIGENGRAU Denmark
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
EX EYE United States
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
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FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FIRMAM3NT Spain
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
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GIANT SQUID United States
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GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
GODSEND Norway
GONIN-ISH Japan
GORDIAN KNOT United States
GOSPEL United States
GRAAL (UKR) Ukraine
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
HELIUM HORSE FLY Belgium
HELLAS MOUNDS United States
HERETOIR Germany
HESPERIAN DEATH HORSE Croatia
HIPOSPADIA Spain
HUMANFLY United Kingdom
HVōSCH Russia
HYDRA Mexico
HYPNO5E France
IDENTIFIED United States
IDIOT SAINT CRAZY France
IGORRR France
THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
IN.OVO Canada
INCOMING CEREBRAL OVERDRIVE Italy
INDUKTI Poland
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IO United Kingdom
ION United States
IREPRESS United States
IRONWOOD Australia
IRREVERSIBLE United States
ISIS United States
ISTHMUS United States
IZAH Netherlands
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OLIVER KAAH Finland
KAILASH Italy
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KHANATE United States
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KHOMA Sweden
KH‘RADA United States
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LANTLOS Germany
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LEFT BRAIN United States
LENTO Italy
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L÷BO Portugal
LOOK TO WINDWARD New Zealand
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A LOST STATE OF MIND United States
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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
THE MATTERHORN PROJECT United States
MAUDLIN Belgium
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL United States
MEANDERING MINE Germany
MEMORIES OF A DEAD MAN France
MENISCUS Australia
MINDFOLD EXPRESS Bulgaria
MINSK United States
MIOSIS Sweden
THE MIRE United Kingdom
MIRRORTHRONE Switzerland
MISANTHROFEEL Russia
MOANAA Poland
MOD FLANDERS CONSPIRACY United States
MOLOKEN Sweden
MOMENTUM Iceland
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
MOVEMENT OF STATIC Greece
MUTYUMU Japan
MY SILENT WAKE United Kingdom
MYSTER M÷BIUS Multi-National
MYSTIC Netherlands
NAHEMAH Spain
NAHRAYAN Spain
NANDA DEVI United States
NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW United States
NAUTICUS Finland
NAUTILUS Norway
NEBRA Switzerland
NERO DI MARTE Italy
NEUMA Poland
NEUROSIS United States
NEVBORN Switzerland
NIGHT VERSES United States
NIHIL Serbia
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NO HOME FOR HEROES Australia
NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
NOCTIS Australia
NOEKK Germany
NOISEDRIVER Belgium
NOORVIK 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
OHGOD! South Africa
THE OLD DEAD TREE France
OLD MAN GLOOM United States
OMB Israel
THE OMEGA EXPERIMENT United States
OMEGA MASSIF Germany
÷OOOOOOOOOO France
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ōRKENKJōTT Norway
ORPHANED LAND Israel
ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
OSTROVA Spain
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY United States
OUTOPSYA Italy
OUTRUN THE SUNLIGHT United States
OVERMARS France
÷XX÷ X÷÷X 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
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PSYKUP France
PYRAMIDS United States
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QUBE Poland
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RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
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RED PAPER DRAGON United Kingdom
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THE REPTILIANS United States
RETURNING WE HEAR THE LARKS United Kingdom
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ROSETTA United States
ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
RYOKUCHI Japan
SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SANNHET United States
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SCORCHED SHORE United States
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SENMUTH Russia
SENSUAL NOISE Belgium
SEPIA DREAMER Sweden
SEVEN United States
SEVEN NAUTICAL MILES Sweden
SEVENTH EVIDENCE / KA.MMEN Ukraine
SHELTER RED United States
SHELVING Switzerland
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SHRINEBUILDER United States
SIGH Japan
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SINISTRO Portugal
SISARE Finland
SKAGOS Canada
SKEWED SKIES Germany
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SMALLMAN Bulgaria
SMOHALLA France
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SO IS THE TONGUE United States
SOEN Multi-National
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SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI United Kingdom
SPACEKING Russia
SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STALINGRAD Spain
STANDING OVATION Finland
STARE AT THE CLOUDS Australia
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Multi-National
SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUMAC Multi-National
SUNPOCRISY Italy
SUPERCONTINENT United States
THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
SYDERALUS Argentina
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
FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THOSE DARNED GNOMES United States
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
TIDES FROM NEBULA Poland
TIME ZERO United States
TITAN Canada
TO THOSE WHO EXIST Germany
TODTGELICHTER Germany
TOMYDEEPESTEGO Italy
TOOL United States
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TOWN PORTAL Denmark
DEVIN TOWNSEND Canada
TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
TRAPPIST SYSTEM TRIO Russia
TREPHINE United States
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TRUTHSEEKER United States
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UNA CORDA United Kingdom
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UPRISING FORMALHAUT Ukraine
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USER NE Spain
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VED BUENS ENDE Norway
VIRGIN BLACK Australia
VIRUS Norway
VISCERA/// Italy
VOID United Kingdom
VOID OF SILENCE Italy
VOID OF SLEEP Italy
VULTURE INDUSTRIES Norway
WASTE OF SPACE ORCHESTRA Finland
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
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WINDS Norway
ANDY WINTER Norway
WIZARD RIFLE United States
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A WORKING MODEL United States
WORM OUROBOROS United States
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YOB United States
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ZVOYN France

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