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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 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

4.23 | 1050 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.21 | 540 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.21 | 512 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.19 | 433 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.17 | 529 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.18 | 245 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 217 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.12 | 282 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.13 | 237 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.08 | 476 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.07 | 662 ratings
ÆNIMA
Tool
4.20 | 101 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.09 | 283 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land
4.16 | 131 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.15 | 107 ratings
SOL NIGER WITHIN
Thordendal's Special Defects
4.06 | 283 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.12 | 120 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.01 | 721 ratings
WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE
Anathema
4.07 | 190 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.06 | 215 ratings
OCEAN MACHINE: BIOMECH
Townsend, Devin

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

THE SECOND WAVE
Khoma
TWILIGHT RITUAL
Deadbird
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
AND BLOOD WAS PASSION
Zebulon Pike

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Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Grave Human Genuine by DARK SUNS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.84 | 67 ratings

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Grave Human Genuine
Dark Suns Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FragileKings

4 stars I found Dark Suns while checking out progressive metal bands on iTunes. I don't remember which of their albums I sampled first, but I later read that their first album sounded a lot like Opeth, their second began moving away from that, and their fourth I listened to a bit and found it very jazz-influenced. This one made the biggest impression on me and so I ordered a CD from Amazon.

My experience with progressive metal is still somewhat limited; however, at times I was reminded of Tool's "Aenema" because of the slow heavy bombast of guitar chords, bass, and drums. Dark Suns shy away from catchy riffs or speedy trash sequences. Instead they often use the louder instruments (electric guitar, bass, drums) for deafening blasts of doom-heavy sonic assaults. The opening instrumental in part sums up much of the heavier parts of the album.

What makes "Grave Human Genuine" so interesting, though, is everything else that Dark Suns employs to create the music. You'll find piano, flute, bongo drums, electronic effects, acoustic and clean electric guitars, strings, synthesizer, and possibly more that I have missed. The band uses all these to create delicate and beautiful acoustic music with drums and bass, symphonic metal, haunting and lonely musical passages, and music by which to go mad. They also don't hold back and fire full volley when it suits them. Listen to the wonderful acoustic guitar/piano/bass/drums opening to "The Chameleon Defect" which abruptly turns into an auditory bombardment at a rate that can hardly be counted in beats per second. Though the general atmosphere is dark and there are no catchy melodies to sing in your head, the music is very intelligent if not experimental.

A few words on the vocals, Nico Knappe's vocals tend to be sung very delicately and softly, which can work wonderfully to contrast the dark heavy side of the music. Sometimes though I wish he would put a little more edge into his voice. At times I think his style bothers me a bit but other times I am okay with it. There are also death growl vocals placed to good effect but I don't know who is providing them. Also, Vurtox of Disillusion guests on a couple of tracks for spoken parts. It's interesting that I ordered Disillusion's "Back to Times of Splendor" at the same time as Dark Suns, discovering them during the same iTunes hunt.

The album is both diverse and cohesive. The approach to the dark heavy music doesn't vary much but there's so much else on there that the album doesn't get tiresome. If you are looking for more standard metal then this one might not please, but for something in a progressive vein, I think this is rather original among the prog metal albums I have heard so far.

I don't feel it quite deserves five stars but a very strong four stars.

 Ziltoid the Omniscient by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.19 | 433 ratings

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Ziltoid the Omniscient
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Unitron

5 stars Devin Townsend-Ziltoid the Omniscient

I just recently started listening to this guy, and boy was I missing out!

Ziltoid the Omniscient is a concept album about an alien named Ziltoid who wants to travel to earth in order to find 'Their ultimate cup of coffee'. They then give him a cup of coffee, but he declares it as foul-tasting. So he gives the order to attack earth.

What a concept, I never thought I would see such a comedic concept coming from a progressive metal artist. Even though the story is sure to bring some laughter, it isn't just the story that makes this a masterpiece.

The music ranges from many different styles, from progressive metal, to ambient, to power metal, to space rock influences, to even death metal. With the short intro 'ZTO', the combination of death screams and operatic vocals fits very well. 'By Your Command', one of my favorites, has more combinations of death metal vocals and clean vocals with the drums pounding throughout. Surprisingly the more space-infused passages contrast very well with the powerful riffing and angry vocals. The bridge has great powerful riffing and space-infused keyboards. The end of the song is a among one of the best headbanger moments I've ever heard. It then flows smoothly into the song 'Ziltoidia Attaxx!' which shows Townsend using mostly death screams. Probably my favorite song is 'Hyperdrive', where Townsend shows his powerful soft vocals. The way his vocals flow perfectly with the driving guitar riffs. The thrash-death track 'Planet Smasher' is another song that stands out.

One thing that really amazes me, is that he plays every instrument himself. That is quite an amazing feat with such a complex album.

Overall, this album should appeal to most metalheads. If you don't enjoy a sense of humor when you're listening to music, it may not be for you but I still find this an essential album for many a metal collection. Certainly one of my favorite progressive metal albums of all time.

Hope you found this review helpful

(Originally written on MetalMusicArchives.com on August 28th 2014.)

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.12 | 392 ratings

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Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by aglasshouse

4 stars "Undertow" is the debut album by the American progressive/alternative metal band, Tool.

The full - length debut album is said to have kept the life of all heavy metal in the mainstream media due to it's success. "Undertow" is also the cause of Tool's undeniable later success, being that their debut EP, "Opiate" was not as highly regarded, and did not get them critical reception. Although Tool's later albums, including "Ænima" and "Lateralus", Undertow still remains one of the most highly regarded progressive metal albums of all time.

1. Intolerance

Opening up the album is the first track, 'Intolerance'. The song starts with quiet swooshing synth noises, until the heavy guitar riffs come in to take the stage. The vocal value takes a slight decline in the beggining, ranging from too weak to way too over the top, but the chords and riffs remain excellent throughout. The track gets faster in the middle of the song, and a great heavy bridge leads to the end of the song. A More weak track from the album, but still great. (8/10)

2. Prison Sex

'Prison Sex' is the 2nd single from the album. Starting out with metallic noises, the song amps up with some fast and heavy guitar chords. The bass is getting more and more noticable as the album progresses, however the drums are getting less noticable. The vocals are slightly too loud over the other instruments, but are still great. The song is noticably more heavy, and gets more instrumental time. And the vocals are also in a good key. A nice track from the album. (9/10)

3. Sober

'Sober' is the first single from the album, and also the most highly regarded. The song starts out with an extremely heavy bass chords, and an amazing drum riff leads into the main song. As the song progresses, the drums, bass, and guitar all seem to work as one instrument, and shift into separate ones during the choruses until inevitably joining up again. The vocals are absolutely spectacular in this song, and very nice to the ears. Unlike other songs from the album, 'Sober' is able to be listened to at any time, in any mood, and in any place. Amazing song, and my favorite from the album. (10/10)

4. Bottom

A more subtle and heavy track then it's former songs, 'Bottom' takes the third track on the album. There is no slow moments in the song- in fact, every part of the song is nice and constant. Changes are done when they are needed, and the riffs remain heavy. The drumming is nice and catchy, however the bass is less noticable. A nice, catchy song. (9/10)

5. Crawl Away

Starting with the faint sound of a band playing, 'Crawl Away''s guitar quickly comes in at a fast pace. As the guitar continues, we are suddenly blasted with heavier riffs then we are used to. The guitar remains in the lead, until the bass ultimately takes over. The song is an awesome battle between bass and guitar, while the vocals and drums are taking over the backround noise. An amazing song, and definitely one of my favorites. (10/10)

6. Swamp Song

'Swamp Song' brings us an almost completely instrument ruled song. The lyrics seem to just blend in with the instruments so much it doesn't seem to be there, just adding to the noise. However, this does not make the song un-enjoyable. In fact, it makes the song have a certain flow, giving it a nice, catchy feel. Another great song from the album. (10/10)

7. Undertow

Unlike the other heavy songs on the album, 'Undertow' seems to just have a more dulled down version of the chords. In fact, the production they used seems to be the same they used in 'Sober'. Except in 'Sober', it fit in well. In this song it seems oddly misplaced. Besides that, the vocals are nice and vivid, the drumming and guitar are great also. The lack here is the base, it just seems to be alongside the drums and not playing it's own part. (8.5/10)

8. 4 Degrees

'4 Degrees' is another vocal dominated song, just like 'Undertow', and the other instruments seem to be backround sounds in some places. Unlike 'Undertow', the bridge is absolutely excellent, however the song starts to get quite repetitive. Not much else to say about it. Great, but not the best. (9/10)

9. Flood

A slower track, with more drum and guitar domination, 'Flood' comes in with nice echoey vocals, and nice heavy chords. Where the song has it's errors is that the bridge drags on too long. The bass is the only upside to keep you interested during it. The vocals are basic and sort of bland, until the chorus, which is an excellent piece of Tool vocal work. A nice, but slightly weak song. (8/10)

10. Disgustipated

I don't even know what to say about this finale. Should it even be considered music? I think it is a great work in experimenting with different sounds, but definitely not something to close out nice heavy album like "Undertow". It is an absolutely useless symphony of weird echoey sounds, sheep, radio voices, whistles, and hammers. Not to mention- this song drags on for (15:47). That is just to long for a song that is mostly dominated by annoying mind bending whistles. Other than the whistling, the song has less than a minute of nonsensical lyrics and random sound beats. An awful droning, repetitive ending to the album. In fact, it got so annoying that I couldn't even listen to it anymore. Definitely not worth listening to. (2/10)

Overall, Tool's debut album was definitely the cause of Tool's undeniable rise in popularity. And we can all agree, "Undertow" saved metal's asses when it was starting to fall in numbers of listeners. All later and greater albums have to give credit to "Undertow", for making it possible for Tool to continue on what they do best-make metal music. (Originally written for the Metal Music Archives on August 4th, 2014)

 Way Of The Dead by YAKUZA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.12 | 11 ratings

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Way Of The Dead
Yakuza Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Way of the Dead" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US experimental metal act Yakuza. After gaining attention with their debut full-length studio album, "Amount to Nothing (2001)" with was released on the small Del Diablo label, the band caught the attention of Century Media Records, who signed the band and released "Way of the Dead" in 2002.

The band play a really eclectic and at times experimental type of metal. The music is somewhat rooted in hardcore and there are some raw sludgy elements in the music too, but especially the addition of saxophone/clarinet to the band´s more traditional rock instrumentation of bass, guitars, drums and vocals, provide the sound with an avant garde (at times free jazz type) element. There are also keyboards and percussion on the album.

The vocals by Bruce Lamont (who also handles saxophone/clarinet) are predominantly shouting and raw, but he is one of those rare breed raw type vocalists who manage to put melodies into his harsh and distorted singing style. A feature that provides the vocal part of the music with a nice dynamic. The music is generally aggressive with edgy hardcore/sludge metal riffing, heavy yet cleverly played rhythms and the occasional mellower part, which are no less intriguing.

"Way of the Dead" is a pretty long album with it´s 70:42 minutes long playing time. The first seven tracks on the album are pretty much as I´ve described the music above, but the 8th and closing track "01000011110011" is very different from the rest of the tracks. It´s a 43:24 minutes long jamming type track, with no heavy distored riffing, no vocals and a focus on atmospheric saxophone/clarinet playing. A mellow, laid back and ambient track. I enjoy the track for about 10 minutes and then my attention wanders. If you ask me there´s no reason for this track to drag on for so long, when so little happens, but I guess people more into long drawn ambient and atmospheric music will appreciate this more than I do. I much prefer the more "regular" tracks on the album, which are all full of great energy, adventurous songwriting ideas, and high level musicianship. Add to that a powerful sound production and "Way of the Dead" is not only a quality album release by Yakuza, it´s a highly recommended listen. If "01000011110011" had been shorter or had progressed in a more interesting direction I would have rated "Way of the Dead" with a full 4 star (80%) rating, but because of that track a half star comes off and therefore a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

 The Wait by NAUTICUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 2 ratings

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The Wait
Nauticus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars NAUTICUS comes from Turku, Finland. Also their debut A Wave to Carry Us Over (2009) is sadly without any reviews or even ratings. I hope those who appreciate this genre - and Metal in general - more than me will find this strong band. I'll come to the negative aspects of my own reception later, first I do my my best to give an objective picture, with my limited understanding of all Metal music. Music is mostly written by drummer Tuomas Rajala and all lyrcis are by vocalist Jani Rämö. In the recording, mixing and production the group was helped by Antti Loponen, the visionaire behind one- man Alternative Metal band Consciuousness Removal Project.

The nearly an hour-long album is an ambitious conceptual work that was done "furiously within a period of two and a half years. An apocalypctical lyrical theme flows through an experimental, psychedelical and visionary landscape of rock, metal and alternative." I sense the full devotion and I believe some might even consider this a masterpiece of the subgenre. The tension is very strong, the mood is dark and dystopic but not totally devastating. In the sound especially the powerful, complex drumming and the angst-fuelled vocals steal the attention. The main group doesn't feature keyboard player but there are some keys involved. The two guitarists are not trying to act like attention-starving guitar heroes, instead they always serve the whole. I appreciate the absence of more typical Metal elements of high speed and technically oriented "X notes per second" approach, and the existence of even delicate nuances in the playing. But to me personally this album is too depressing, and the unmelodic compositions feel flat and samey even if they aren't necessarily that.

Thankfully there are two instrumentals, the short 'Their Whereabouts' which is rather calm soundscape experiment, and the 11-minute closer 'Kalmisto' (an old-fashioned word for graveyard) which for me is the clear highlight with the dominance of piano and acoustic guitar. A beautiful track in its melancholia.

At first I was feeling almost angry by this music, mostly because of the angst growl in the vocals. That's one thing I simply can't stand in Metal music. But now I'm anyway glad I managed to write a decent review outside my comfort zone. After all, this is worth recommendations.

 Kepler by LOOK TO WINDWARD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Kepler
Look To Windward Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

— First review of this album —
5 stars What I find lacking in many bands of the post-metal genre is the use of instrumental sounds beyond guitars and drums. Look to Windward use synthesizers as tasteful and subtle accents to compositions both brutal and sensitive. This is not your grandaddy's post-metal.

"Dwell" From those first notes to the bursting forth of Enchant-like riffs and velvety feminine vocals, I was impressed. It runs likes a pounding, metal version of The Decemberists ending in a satisfying major-seventh chord and violin interlude. The structure moves in ways both pleasing and unnerving.

"Mantle" For those who enjoy troll singing, this will be good, but I much prefer the elven refrain that rebuts it- beautiful, sailing like a vessel over stormy oceans.

"Glint" Cyclically energetic, "Glint" pummels itself into brass notes and silly barking. It's okay- the dog stops to let the owner drive the listener into hypnosis, where the slower tempo guitar and brass bear down.

"Kepler" For those awaiting a punchier breed of metal, there's the title track. The vocal honey holds it smoothly together. With quieter passages reminiscent of dark Echolyn and female vocals setting them apart, this moves into psychedelic metal territory worthy of the minutes it uses.

 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.78 | 66 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Anthropocentric" is the 5th full-length studio album by German post hardcore/progressive metal act The Ocean (also known as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2010 and is the second release in a two album series which are thematically connected (the lyrical concept is a philosophical critique of fundamentalist Christianity and Creationism). The first release in the series was "Heliocentric" which was released in April 2010.

The Ocean have long been one of the leading progressive post-hardcore/metal acts out there along with acts like Burst and Between the Buried and Me and "Anthropocentric" is another proof of why that is. This is a band that works even with the smallest details to create a greater whole. Guitarist and main composer Robin Staps sure knows how to write both heavy, beautiful and structurally intriguing music (it should be mentioned that second guitarist Jonathan Nido has also written a great part of the music on this album). "Heliocentric" featured quite a bit of strings and piano but "Anthropocentric" is predominantly played with "regular" rock/metal instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Sometimes layered to sound fat, heavy and epic and sometimes more atmospheric and mellow. It´s safe to say that "Anthropocentric" is a very dynamic sounding album.

The vocals vary between harsh hardcore type shouting and clean vocals. The relatively short "The Grand Inquisitor III: A Tiny Grain of Faith" features clean female vocals by Sheila Aguinaldo. The clean male vocals are skillfully executed by lead vocalist Loïc Rossetti, but there are probably some that´ll find them a bit too accessible and mainstream oriented. Some of his vocal parts and especially some of the backing vocals on the album remind me of Avenged Sevenfold.

"Anthropocentric" is very well produced. It features a big, warm and powerful sound production where every detail is heard. Paired with strong songwriting and a flawless execution of the music, that makes "Anthropocentric" a really strong album by The Ocean. I guess it´s not exactly as raw as some of the early releases by the band (especially "Aeolian (2005)" comes to mind), but it´s definitely just as intriguing albeit in a different way. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age by BLUT AUS NORD album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.65 | 6 ratings

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Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age
Blut Aus Nord Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age" is the 2nd full-length studio album by French black metal act Blut aus Nord. The album was released through Impure Creations Records in 1996. The original version was limited to 1000 copies. The album was re-released by Candlelight Records US division in 2005 with the shortened title "Fathers of the Icy Age".

The music on the album is atmospheric and at times slightly experimental black metal. The vocals are raspy. The use of keyboards in the music really enhances the dark atmosphere and at times provide an epic touch to the tracks. The music is not symphonic though and the keyboards are generally very tastefully placed in the mix and clearly composed to create atmosphere rather than playing a lead role. The tempos in the tracks are mostly mid-paced but there are faster paced parts too. The generally (for black metal) slow pace also helps build the epic atmosphere that is present on the album.

The sound production is raw and a bit lo-fi, but not without charm, and it suits the rawness of the music well. Upon conclusion "Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age" is a good quality atmospheric black metal release and a great follow up to "Ultima Thulée (1995)". The music is intriguing and cleverly composed, the musicianship are solid, and the sound production suits the music, so I´d say a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fair.

 The Tower by VULTURE INDUSTRIES album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 2 ratings

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The Tower
Vulture Industries Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Norwegian band VULTURE INDUSTRIES have been around since 1998, at the start using the name Dead Rose Garden but from 2003 and onwards going with their current moniker. They have 3 EPs and 3 full length CDs to their name so far. "The Tower" is the most recent of the latter, and was released through French label Season of Mist in 2013.

Vulture Industries is one of the bands I have encountered that can't be readily placed into a readily defined box placed within any specific style of music, which for me is a good thing. Or rather, this is a metal band, and the way they create and perform their songs begs for progressive metal to be used as a genre description, but they don't adhere to any of the more common directions within this type of music. So while progressive metal is a defined box, Vulture Industries is among those bands that have a hard time fitting in with the great number of bands in that box that invites to associations towards the likes of Dream Theater or Symphony X. As far as I can tell, Vulture Industries doesn't have any connections to any of these bands whatsoever in terms of style, nor to any other influential bands of note I'm able to recall.

The main similarity I notes down to one specific band is one that mainly can be used as a comparison too, as I suspect that this particular case is one of this band inspiring another one rather than the opposite. The detail in question are the lead vocals of Björnar E. Nilsen, whose impressive theatrical voice is a trademark feature of this band. He can use hos voice in a more careful, cinematic way, but first and foremost his vocals are intense, big and theatrical. More sophisticated than the likes of Candlemass' Messiah Marcolin, but with some similar traits, and as far as direct comparisons go I'll pull out another Norwegian band - El Doom & The Born Electric. In this case I suspect that the latter has taken some notes from this band in that department however, as Vulture Industries have been around for a wee bit longer than El Doom and his merry musicians.

Musically we're dealing with metal. Hammering riff and drum cascades are encountered aplenty, with and without careful keyboards and organ support. Quirky riff constructions and staccato, intense riff constructions too, and there's always room for a melodic overlay too. Delicate guitar solo themes the main choice in that department. But sequences sporting a massive, booming bass guitar as the main driving force supplemented with delicate guitar details have their place too, and a recurring effect are dampened and fairly often playful piano details and motifs, and while perhaps a tad accidental I did get some ragtime associations when a few of those flavored the soundscape. Vulture Industries is also among the metal bands that have discovered the Mellotron, and they know how to use it with care and then to good effect. That this is a band that also know how to employ the occasional interlude of a more cinematic nature shouldn't be all that surprising, nor that there's some rather effective light toned, delicate guitars only sequences.

Amidst all the variations, effects and generally energetic, innovative and sophisticated progressive metal served us on a plate here, it is a compositions of a vastly different kind that impress the most. The song in question is called The Dead Won't Mind, and is a fairly delicate blues affair that have been run through a few sickly filters of the horror movie inspired kind. An honorable mention will have to go to bonus track Blood Don't Eliogabalus, a compositions that has a long running circus music inspired theme. Circus music of the kind that would have been a fitting soundtrack for Stephen King's IT I might add, but nevertheless themes and motifs that invite to circus music associations.

If you enjoy innovative and sophisticated progressive metal of a kind that cannot really be compared to any of the founding fathers of this type of music, have a certain fondness for music with a generally dark and ominous sound, and especially if you also enjoy big, theatrical lead vocals of the kind that are borderline pompous, Vulture Industries is a band you should investigate, and "The Tower" should be a good and intriguing first stop.

 Distant Satellites by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 187 ratings

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Distant Satellites
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by arcane-beautiful

5 stars Anathema to me can do no wrong. After their last album being an epic masterpiece, and their previous effort being a brilliant album in its own right, I was so incredibly stoked for this album.

The band have shown an almost found love for what they do after coming back from a hiatus in 2009, and their new reinvigorated sound means that the band have been able to release albums consistently every 2 years.

Musically the album takes a darker move than compared to their last two albums and touches upon some sounds from "A Natural Disaster." While "Weather Systems" was very much a bright and joyous album, this one touches upon more melancholic feelings. There are some very beautiful and joyous moments throughout, but this is definitely one of the bands darkest albums in the past few years.

The album also seems to have two very noticeable sounds. While the first half is very much a prog rock album, the other half dwells on more experimental and electronic sounds. Now it does make the album a little less cohesive, but it does make the album that much more interesting.

The opening track "The Lost Song Part 1" is an epic opener. Opening with some beautiful strings the song goes into an offbeat drum pattern with some brilliant instrumental decorations. A brilliant and passionate vocal performance from Vincent and Lee also adds a lot of depth to the song.

One of the biggest growers on the album would have to be "The Lost Song Part 2." While "Ariel" was tugging at my heart strings these past few days, this one has probably over shadowed it. In fact, this is definitely up there with my favorite Anathema songs and would probably be one of the most beautiful songs ever written. A beautiful arrangement and some heart felt vocals from Lee, the track can almost bring a grown man to tears.

My personal favorite track on the album would have to be "Ariel." An almost sister song to "The Lightning Song", it is a more melancholic departure for the band. Incredibly beautiful with some brilliant clashes and crescendos.

One of the darkest tracks on the album would have to be "Anathema." Building up and climaxing into and epic chorus and a pretty amazing ending guitar solo, the song is a very emotional track with some brilliant clashes and crescendos throughout.

"You're Not Alone" is a very interesting track. With some electronic beats and over layered vocals, the song bursts into a heavy and clashing ending. Probably one of the heaviest songs on the album.

The title track is an interesting take for the band. Focusing more on the electronic sound of the band, its a very soft song with some beautiful melodies. I do feel the song does drag on a tiny bit too long, but it is pretty good nontheless.

The albums ending "Take Shelter" is a very soft and beautiful way to end the album. With some light falsetto vocals from Vincent and trip hop inspired beats, the song ends very beautifully...as an Anathema album should do.

In conclusion, I don't prefer this to their last album "Weather Systems." But in all honesty, "Weather Systems" is probably one of my favorite albums ever recorded. This album is a brilliant follow up and a masterpiece of songwriting. Experimental and a step in the right direction, the band have again proved that they are probably the most interesting musical act going. This album takes a good bit of time to digest...but when it does, the after taste is sweeter than honey.

9/10

Genres: Progressive Rock, Experimental Rock, Electronic, Symphonic Rock, Art Rock, Post Rock, Pop Rock, Hard Rock, Trip Hop

Country of origin: England

Year of release: 2014

Data cached

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 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
ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
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
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
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
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
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
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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