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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)
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

4.23 | 638 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.22 | 1304 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.22 | 586 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.33 | 110 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.28 | 161 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.19 | 526 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 630 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.19 | 291 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.18 | 260 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.17 | 250 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.15 | 331 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.57 | 32 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.14 | 304 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.19 | 132 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.09 | 781 ratings
ÆNIMA
Tool
4.29 | 64 ratings
SOULS AT ZERO
Neurosis
4.08 | 548 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.10 | 299 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.42 | 39 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.11 | 227 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis

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

A NEW WORLD?
Drawn
GORDIAN KNOT
Gordian Knot
THE MINSTREL'S CURSE
Noekk
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The

Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Invitation to Imperfection by MY SILENT WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.50 | 2 ratings

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Invitation to Imperfection
My Silent Wake Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars Oh. My. God. I just have no idea to where or how to write about this album, which is one of the most incredible releases I have ever come across. My Silent Wake have been around for quite a few years now, making quite a reputation for themselves in the doom field, although I have managed somehow to totally bypass all their other albums, so I have no idea if this how they normally sound. What I do know, is that from the very first song to the very last twenty-one-minute epic I was entranced. It's not doom as such, or dark ambient, or atmospheric black metal, but somehow brings all those influences and many more into something that is completely engaging and essential.

'Volta' starts life with a harpsichord, then turns into a dance were the black masses congregate: it certainly doesn't sound how a Volta normally does (which as you all know originated in either Italy or the medieval Proven'al courts, was introduced in Paris in around 1556 by Catherine de Medici, and required highly intimate contact between two partners of the opposite sex.). Then there are others where the music is far about creating an atmosphere than creating melody. I firmly believe that the only way to play this album is as a solitary adventure, either played when there is no-one else around to interfere with its enjoyment, or on headphones when the rest of the world can be shut out. To my ears, it is an incredible achievement, and one of the most perplexing and entrancing albums I have ever come across.

 Lykaia by SOEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 67 ratings

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Lykaia
Soen Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Chalcobalt

3 stars This predominantly Swedish set of experienced musicians here deliver suggestive prog metal mainly oozing of Tool while including a sleeve of Opeth amongst the influences. The ingredients are a pounding bass and equally chugging guitars, setting up for a strong and powerful album. The three first songs are the most clearcut, with the memorable chorus of 'Secretarian' making it as close to a prog hit as it gets on this record. 'Orison' contains some immense riff sections, while the mellow and slow paced 'Lucidity' is actually a rather epic ballad with a gripping tone. The remaining songs are less interesting composition-wise but yet maintaining a consistent musical standard. The record sometimes moves towards the border to alternative rock, a direction which the heartfelt vocals contributes to set.
 Pale Folklore by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 143 ratings

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Pale Folklore
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars Atmospheric and stunning! I am just getting into Agalloch late, so I am absorbing the collection at one time. I enjoy Pale Folklore more than The Mantle, but they are both great albums. This is really an excellent place to start, and work your way through all the albums. With such an amazing catalog of music, it is really hard to go wrong. Pale Folklore has elements of post-rock, operatic vocals for layers of texture, and of course excellent musicianship and songwriting. I have no complaints with this excellent debut, and feel it deserves a 4.5/5 rating. She Painted Fire Across The Skyline parts 1,2 and 3 is just an incredible suite and a worthy addition to any collection.
 Invitation to Imperfection by MY SILENT WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.50 | 2 ratings

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Invitation to Imperfection
My Silent Wake Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars UK band MY SILENT WAKE first appeared back in 2005, and have been an active live and recording band for the most part ever since, although I get the impression that they have toned down their activities as a live band in the last few years. They are mainly known as a doom metal band, but also have some productions of a markedly different and experimental nature to their name. "Invitation to Imperfection" is among the latter type of albums, and was released through German label Opa Loka Records in March 2017.

'Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder. Elves are marvelous. They cause marvels. Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies. Elves are glamorous. They project glamour. Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment. Elves are terrific. They beget terror." - Terry Pratchett

This quote from the late Terry Pratchett was one that frequently came to mind when I listened to the material on this album. Not because I suspect elves as such have been on the mind of the creators of this music, but due to the pagan, primal and unnerving character much of the music here has, while at the same time being striking and often beautiful. Medieval folk music is a clear inspiration it would appear, and then arguably of the kind enjoyed by people that know that Woden, Wotan and Odin are one and the same rather than the kind listened to by those active in environments were witches are forces of everything good and great, so to speak. Old pagan rather than new pagan if you like.

Plucked string instruments of various kinds and drones by way of accordion and violin are key elements on many tracks, with room for some flowing flute soloing here and there too, and the rhythms are by and large of the old percussion rather than modern drums variety as far as I can tell. Some tracks features vocals of a lo-fi character, the lo-fi aspect one I suspect is a studio crafted effect to enhance an Earthen, ancient feel to the music rather than a basic recording though.

This isn't a romantic folk music oriented production however. Those who treasure music of this kind to dance and drink to can look elsewhere, as this isn't an album that inspires anything going jolly or, indeed, golly. This is dark, solemn and serene music, more often than not with an unnerving touch. Dark fluctuating undercurrents of sound, mournful moods and atmospheres, unsettling tribal sounds and mystic shamanistic vibes is the order of the day here, alongside introspective musings and occasional forays into realms with perhaps a bit more of a haunted character to them as well. Ghostly whispered vocal effects are used extensively throughout, kind of emphasizing these aspects a bit by their mere presence. There's also room for a creation of a more distinctly otherworldly nature however: The fluctuating sounds on the song Nebula is one that will please just about anyone that finds the description cosmic ambient to be of general interest.

Amidst the more or less dark and unsettling and mournful creations there's also a massive experimental creation of an ambient nature present: The concluding mammoth composition Melodien der Waldgeister, which I guess might have been called the music of the forest spirits in English. In terms of structure a creation that follows in the footpaths of works such as Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, where the overlaying theme is someone walking between different tableaus, with different music coming from each scene visited. In this case with sounds of walking and breathing replacing the recurring theme of Mussorgsky's composition, the music from the different tableau's of a more sketchy nature and, possibly, with an underlying story of a darker overall nature. My impression is that we're following a man walking into the woods who never manage to get out again, the kind of story that may have inspired good, old J. R. R. Tolkien when he wrote the section about the Dwarves traveling through Mirkwood. Or possibly that very storyline may have been an inspiration when this more than 20 minutes long ambient epic was crafted.

For me the album title indicates something about the nature of this album: It is not a perfect album, and to be able to enjoy all of it you will need to have a rather expansive general taste in music that includes folk, ambient music and cinematic excursions, possibly also neo-folk. A certain affection for the old and original pagan philosophies, stories and landscapes probably wouldn't hurt either, but more important is a taste for music of these kinds to be mournful, dark and more or less subtly unnerving. Those who find such descriptions alluring will most likely find this album to be well worth spending quite a bit of time with.

 Contentum  by ATROX album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.90 | 16 ratings

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Contentum
Atrox Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Contentum" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian avant garde/progressive metal act Atrox. The album was released through Season Of Mist in August 2000. It's safe to say that the band's debut album "Mesmerised (1997)" isn't the most promising debut album I've ever heard, and I guess I'm not the only one a bit reluctant to check out "Contentum", because it took the band a fairly long time to find a label after "Contentum" was recorded in April 1999.

As it turns out Atrox have improved about 200% since the debut album and "Contentum" shows a band full of confidence, delivering intriguing music in a convincing manner. Stylistically the music on "Contentum" is probably still an aquired taste though. It's a mix of doom and goth metal with avant garde and progressive elements. While it's definitely metal, the guitars on the album actually only play a minor role and mostly work as a backing instrument and atmospheric keyboards and adventurous vocals are the dominant elements on the album. The strong rhythm section play some pretty great things too (the musicianship are generally on a very high level), but that part of the music also play second violin to especially the female vocals by Monika Edvardsen.

On the debut album I thought she sounded forced and out of key, but here she performs on an amazing technical level. Imagine if Kate Bush had turned into an evil and wicked singing witch from the middle east, who could also perform semi- operatic vocals and you're halfway there. Edvardsen moans, screams, sings hauntingly beautiful clean vocals, talk/sings, use middle eastern vibrato extensively, and is more than worth the price of admission throughout the album. But she is so extreme in her delivery that it is bound to be an aquired taste if her vocals will appeal to you. So consider yourself warned. This is not music for the masses.

The material on the album are generally intriguing, dynamic, and well written, although it's seldom instantly memorable and the complexity of the vocal lines often disturbs parts that could have been catchy. But this is obviously not music written with the primary purpose of being catchy. This is music written to be challenging both for the artist and for the listener, and challenged you will be, if you'll hold on for the duration of the 11 track, 65 minutes long album. Personally I could have wished for a few more hooks throughout the album and at times Edvardsen's vocals feel more like a show-off than anything that fits the songs, but ultimately I accept the premise that my musical conservatism is being challenged. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Fires Within Fires by NEUROSIS album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.30 | 11 ratings

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Fires Within Fires
Neurosis Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Fires Within Fires" is the 12th full-length studio album by US, California based sludge/post metal act Neurosis. The album was released through Neurot Recordings in September 2016. It's the successor to "Honor Found in Decay" from 2012.

Stylistically the material on "Fires Within Fires" features very few surprises if you're already familiar with the band's atmospheric sludge/post metal style. It's slow, doomy, and organic music featuring both deep register clean male vocals and harder edged hardcore shouting vocals. The song structures are adventurous and you never really know where a song is going before you reach the end and look back at an intriguing compositional structure. The whole thing is packed in an organic sounding production courtesy of Steve Albini. The sound production takes the meaning of organic maybe a bit too far though, as this sometimes sound like it was recorded live in someone's garage. I know some people love a stripped down and raw sound production like that, and under the right circumstances a sound production like that can work wonders. Here though I think it takes the power out of the music and even the most heavy and punchy parts of the album, lack energy and conviction.

To my ears Neurosis also seem to have lost a bit of their creative spirit on "Fires Within Fires"...and don't get me wrong here, because as mentioned above this is still very adventurous music, but it's like they've made this album before a few times, and I'd like to think of them as innovators who take chances and who challenge their audience. We don't really get much of that here. "Fires Within Fires" is Neurosis playing it completely safe and since they've also tuned down on their more aggressive side, the album does become a bit tedious if you're not in the right mood. However it still speaks volumes of their general qualities that one of Neurosis lesser albums still deserves a 3.5 star (70%) rating, and I'm probably just being a bit hard on them, but that's only because I expect so much from them considering their impressive back catalogue.

 Stern by KONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.73 | 4 ratings

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Stern
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Lewian

3 stars This is one of the albums of the type "band that I like plays the stuff they do well", and this surely is a positive thing. So we have another dose of heavy guitar riff driven instrumental rock with mighty drums and some electronics and samples mixed in to make things more interesting. One can't accuse the band of pushing the borders though; as a long standing follower of the band there is hardly any surprise for me in this. The album is somewhat dynamic with some calmer parts that in other reviews were fittingly associated with the Ozric Tentacles, however this element could already be found on the predecessor Merchants of Air. Some of these parts are atmospheric and work well, some others are a bit monotonous, just waiting for the next eruption. "Surfing Narrative Waves" harks back to Kong's outlier more electronic album Freak Control. So the elements that the band has used before are mixed to good effect once more and if you don't know Kong you may actually be quite impressed by this - but then you may want to start your exploration of the band elsewhere.

As I am a fan of the band, I play this a lot and I enjoy it as all their offerings before (Kong really hasn't produced a single weak album yet and they have done quite a few). Once more this is very powerful music and still Kong have their own very characteristic style so that whenever they have a new album I need it for lack of other bands that could substitute them. But still there is lots of heavy riffing on this album, not all of it really sparkling, this lead element feels a bit overused to me after all the years.

OK, 3.3 stars. Can't give 4 all the time, sorry. But still it's a good album, really!

PS: I just realise that Feast or Burden, the last song, cites Steve Hillage's Glorious Om Riff, good reference, guys! Who says there are no surprises?

 A Sort of Homecoming by ANATHEMA album cover Live, 2015
3.97 | 31 ratings

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A Sort of Homecoming
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars This acoustic set is just stellar! it is the perfect type of atmosphere for Lee Douglas' angelic voice to soar. There is such sparse instrumentation that this performance is all about the vocals, and the excellent songwriting that Anathema has compiled over the years. Vincent Cavanagh delivers a fantastic vocal performance as well, and you get some stunning duets with the two of them. He is an excellent vocalist, and has grown from the doom roots. I love Anathema albums with full instrumentation, but this is a real treat that adds variety for any collection. It is a must listen for fans of the group, and an excellent entry into progressive with a singer-songwriter appeal. I highly recommend this magical performance.
 Lykaia by SOEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 67 ratings

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Lykaia
Soen Experimental/Post Metal

Review by The Jester

3 stars For those who aren't familiar with the name of Soen, I should tell you that is a band with experienced and very gifted musicians, that all of them participated in other famous bands before gathering up and form Soen. So, here you can find ex-members from Opeth, Amon Amarth, Iced Earth, Testament etc. Their discography consists of 3 studio albums, with Lykaia, being their brand new one. Since I found out very recently about them, I am not familiar with their previous works, so I cannot get into any comparisons. When I listen to some "new" Prog Metal bands, every time I found myself thinking how big influence was the music and the style of Tool, and Soen is not an exception. Their style - to my ears at least ? sounds like a mix of Tool with Riverside. The truth is that, Lykaia is a good album, but it simply feels like a lot of their ideas are redundant. The guitar playing, for example, is top notch, but on the other hand, we have many Prog Metal bands that can play equally well. But there are some "magical" moments that the bands "shines" and there you realize how good musicians these guys are. The album is a very good one, with nice compositions, great guitar solos, powerful riffs, clean vocals, but no new ideas unfortunately. In many cases, I found myself wondering, "Where do I know this from"? The main problem that this band is facing is the bitter reality that great musicianship does not equal great songwriting, and although they might have some very solid ideas to develop, they don't really have the ability to capture the listener for an extended period. But despite all those things, Lykaia is a good album. The fans of Prog-Metal will definitely enjoy it, not to mention the fans of Progressive Rock and Heavy Metal. I think I could give 3.0 out of 5.0 stars.
 Mayhem in Blue by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.96 | 16 ratings

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Mayhem in Blue
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Mayhem in Blue" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Greek progressive metal act Hail Spirit Noir. The album was released through Dark Essence Records in October 2016. It´s the successor to "Oi Magoi" from 2014. Hail Spirit Noir was formed in 2010 by three members of Transcending Bizarre?. The band released their debut full-length studio album "Pneuma" in 2012.

Stylistically the music on "Mayhem in Blue" continues the psychadelic/space rock tinged progressive extreme metal style of the first two albums by the band. It´s music which owes as much to artists like early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind as it does to an act like Darkthrone and their ilk. The black metal element is relatively restrained here though, but there are a couple of pretty raw moments featured on the album (including a few blast beats). Mostly though we´re treated to a more mellow, dark, and twisted progressive rock/metal sound. Keyboards and especially organ play an important role in the band´s music, and you can add The Doors to the list of influences as keyboard player Harris often sounds like a bizarre dark carnival version of Ray Manzarek.

"Mayhem in Blue" features 6 tracks and a full playing time of 40:29 minutes, and all tracks featured on the album are high quality compositions. The tracks are adventurous, memorable, and dynamic. The catchiness of the material is one of the great assets of the album, and even the 10:52 minutes long "Lost in Satan's Charms" is instantly catchy. It´s probably because the band don´t go overboard with complex song structures and technical playing, but instead keep it relatively simple and focused on atmosphere. Simple doesn´t mean regular vers/chorus simple though and the band often break away from that tried and true formula to create more adventurous structures, but they still manage to keep things accessible.

The musicianship is strong on all posts, and the playing tight yet organic. Lead vocalist/guitarist Theoharis has a powerful raspy black metal style vocal delivery, but the pleasant warm clean vocals by guest vocalist Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos are even stronger. The combination of the two vocal styles bring much to Hail Spirit Noir´s music. "Mayhem in Blue" features a raw organic sound production, which brings out the best in the music, and upon conclusion it´s another really strong release by Hail Spirit Noir. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

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Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
11 AS IN ADVERSARIES France
19 A.D.D. United States
21 EYES OF RUBY Netherlands
THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL Norway
413 United States
5IVE United States
6:33 France
A LOST STATE OF MIND 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
AMATERAZU Portugal
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
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
AUSSITÔT 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
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
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