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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 FANTMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3 and ESTRADASPHERE but also inspired new Experimental Metal acts to take the music scene to new heights.
Another crucial artist in the development of Experimental Progressive Metal was the leading Avant Metal band of the 80s, CELTIC FROST. Their eclectic mix of Thrash, Doom, Symphonic and Goth Metal created a dark theatrical mystique that became a major influence among the experimental Extreme Metal bands of the 90s such as MY DYING BRIDE, ULVER, ARCTURUS among others. These bands served as an important source of inspiration for the experimental movement within extreme metal.

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

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

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

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


Post Metal

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

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

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

Variations of Post-metal

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

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

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

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


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

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

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.22 | 1240 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.23 | 609 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.22 | 566 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.28 | 154 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.32 | 105 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.19 | 503 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.17 | 607 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.20 | 280 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.17 | 246 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.16 | 249 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.55 | 34 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.14 | 298 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.18 | 130 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.62 | 26 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.09 | 755 ratings
NIMA
Tool
4.09 | 533 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.29 | 60 ratings
SOULS AT ZERO
Neurosis
4.10 | 321 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.11 | 223 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.10 | 294 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land

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
SAL Y MILETO
Sal Y Mileto
SAMUS OCTOLOGY
Irepress
GRAVE HUMAN GENUINE
Dark Suns

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Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Z by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.83 | 101 ratings

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Z
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Devin Townsend returns with another face-smashing collection of modern metal that is uplifting, melancholic, poetic, schlocky, and scatological; a combination of adjectives that could only apply to Townsend, yet you'll probably agree that this is a pretty apt description. As always, Townsend has produced a musical package with production values that are off the charts, engaging songs, thoughtful and fun lyrics, and instrumental fireworks. Z2 has a huge sound and tons of variety; it'll appeal immediately to those of us who are on board with Devin's musical projects lately, though this album has the difficult duty of following a string of 5-star releases from Townsend, including the "original" Ziltoid the Omniscient, and well... you know that they say about sequels.

The first disc is crammed with twelve songs, played in a tone and style similar to Townsend's more approachable sound heard in Addicted and especially Epicloud. If you've never heard Townsend's music, you'll probably be struck at once by the density of guitar and effects that come cascading out of your speakers. The guy's a wizard in the studio, and it shows in the complexity and layers of sounds we hear through this first half. Highlights include the fine opener, the insanely empowering "Fallout" (one of the best pump-up songs ever?), "Sky Blue," which features an interesting combination of delicate textures and metal roar, and the musical suite of "Forever" and "Before We Go." These latter songs bring a satisfying end to the first half. I'm especially impressed by the lyrics of these songs, which demonstrate a brilliant level of simplicity and understated class. Yes, class, a word which Devin would probably chortle at if he were to read this. It's a great example of how evocative lyrics that paint images of sensations and emotions are often more effective than narrative and explicitness in music.

Speaking of narrative and explicitness...

The star of the show, the mega-cheese space opera of the second disc, is a different beast. It's sort of a reboot of the Ziltoid story, and is filled with noisy metal bombast and numerous "dramatic" interludes. The story is a deliberately weird and stupid musical satire, complete with characters, narrator, and a beginning, middle, and end to the story (sort of). The story is much more coherent than our first Ziltoid experience, and the music may be even more dense. While it's all good, when comparing it to Ziltoid, it doesn't make as much of an impact. This isn't just because it isn't as fresh, or because the joke is old (the narrative is pretty funny), it's that the music and lyrics feel much more locked in to telling the story that reaching out to us with those moments that stick with you and that you can walk away with.

This leads me to my only real criticism with Z2: it's a finely polished record that may not make an emotional impression on you. Townsend's production, writing, and playing are pretty much bullet-proof, but this release doesn't have the spark to place it among his best. That being said, it's still a tremendously epic and successful collection of artistic metal that should be explored by anyone interested in discovering one of the most creative, prolific, and dependably excellent artists on this site (though, maybe after you've listened to his best). Townsend's brand of metal is highly artistic while also refreshingly honest and without pretense; a genuine collection of heavy duty metal and emotion. Recommended.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 4 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 Rvrt by XX XX album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Rvrt
xx Xx Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The term "progressive" gets tossed around a lot in the 20th century but in reality most bands that don this description on their badge are actually just participating in a form of retro worship of their favorite 70s prog bands with touches of modernity. Thankfully there are still bands who put the true meaning back into the word "progressive" and actually nudge a musical genre (or two) a few notches into hitherto unexplored directions and take the listener on a true intergalactic sonic experience where despite hosting similarities with past bands is more akin to a convergent evolutionary feel sort of like life sprouting up simultaneously in the universe under the same laws of physics but evolves into something very similar but weirdly different. The music sounds like the perfect sonic companion to the organic yet freaky logo and album cover that graces the listener's first impression.

XX XX is one of those strange bands that have managed to take existing musical genres and put them in a blender and seeded them with kernels of creativity and reaped their harvests in most peculiar ways. The band originates from the Normandy coastal region of France in the small city of Dieppe but one would be hard pressed to discern such a fact from the lyrics alone since like their fellow countrymen Magma, they have invented their own unique language with a basic vocabulary of about 300 words to grace their musical expressions which adds a whole extra layer of exoticness and complexity which is explained on their BandCamp site. The name of the band isn't an umlaut lover's cutesy version of "hugs and kisses" but rather is a code that means 69 in their invented language. RVRT is their debut release and the music is very much like the eerie artwork that graces the cover. XX XX is truly a unique band that takes various elements of doom and gothic metal and mixes it with symphonic classical, dark ambient, chamber music and avant-garde time signatures that unpredictably hop, skip and jump from one passage to another eschewing virtually any known methods of songwriting construction. The music generally marches along at mid-tempo with occasional outbursts of energy.

The album begins with thundering percussive claps, demonic church organs and a group sing along with the lead gothic male vocals of Laurent Lunois becoming joined in by the female ethereal vocals of Laure Le Prunenec aka Rcnn. Like all the monstrously long and slowly wending and winding tracks on RVRT, "grth" takes its time to build up its thick atmospheres and musical intensity that delivers a synth-drenched gothic metal extravaganza with beautifully twisted classical melodies gone wild. The track is very representative of the entire album and RVRT really feels like variations of a single theme and at 77:57, a very long demanding theme but somehow this band is capable of delivering enough hooks and variations of the passages to keep my attention fully focused on their weird and twisted avant-garde take on perhaps a metal take on "Phantom Of The Opera" and even makes me think of what would happen if an avant-garde metal band like Unexpect joined in with goth tinged Type O Negative to create a mesmerizing, energetic and utterly unforgettable experience.

While the music is fairly consistent in its atmospheric delivery making me think of a haunted evening at Notre Dame where the spirits are restless, the moon is full and all kinds of dark magic is afoot, the unpredictability really comes in how the band unfold their tracks in the songwriting department. At times we will hear a Chopin-esque classical keyboard run accompanied by doom metal guitars, highly technical percussive chops with eerie synthesizers and Gothic vocal motifs and at other times whizzing harpsichords accompanied by string ensembles and operatic vocal interactions A combo of effects that leaves me begging for more. While RVRT is generally tagged as avant-garde metal, the truth is that the metal only occurs a portion of the time with many long passages being performed exclusively on piano, others on synth and others on drums with the metal only joining for the more aggressive sections. Whatever you want to call this, it is truly one that demands a few listens to sink in but one that has been enjoying a regular rotational spin in my world. The musical flow is totally intense and the vocals sung in this exotic language take the listener to extreme musical realms where the celestial and terrestrial temporarily become one.

 Nmd by XX XX album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.91 | 4 ratings

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Nmd
xx Xx Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars After gracing the world with their new musical style created to foment the blooming of the mind that takes root in inner universal truths, the umlaut loving XX XX spent four long years crafting their sophomore album NMD which once again displays their invented language created from their intuition and set to their own codification of rules. Once again we are treated to the progressive amalgamation and musical alchemy of the musical soul to create another haunting and riveting sequel to their debut "Rvrt." After releasing the debut independently, this bizarre atmospheric goth and doom symphonic metal band moved things over to Blood Music and deliver another long winding operatic metal extravaganza that spans the lengthy time of 74:46 but like the previous offering leads the listener through a sonic epic musical journey that unfolds and reveals its charms slowly but never fails in the entertainment department as to keep me enthralled for the entirety of playing time.

Stylistically NMD delivers the exact same recipe as the debut by incorporating classically inspired keyboard runs tainted with odd time signatures, technical drumming wizardry of Isarnos with the operatic dramatic flair of vocalists Laurent Lunoir and Laure Le Prunenec all accompanied by doom and gothic metal aggression. While the atmosphere and instrumentation remain the same on album number two, this one has more intense and interesting compositions. It seems that all the ingredients have been put on a higher flame and the result sizzle in a more dynamic and varied sounding album. The synthesized atmospheric generator is thicker than a fog filled evening in a cemetery, the metal is much more aggressive and appears more often with even scant traces of thrash creeping in whilst the lyrical delivery is even more vehemently pronounced, passionate and prophetic sounding. The compositions meander though softer and heavier passages and while Lunoir's Gothic vocals are dominant on the softer passages, he utilizes more extreme metal shouting and growls on the heavier parts at times thus bringing the mood into more aggressive musical arenas, however the music generally marches along at mid-tempo.

Once again XX XX constructs a beautifully delicate album where the mixing and production of the all the sounds on board are perfectly woven together to create one of the most atmospheric drenching dark ambient gothic doom metal meets operatic classical music that easily sets this band apart from virtually any other in the world and beyond today. Where else are you gonna hear doom and goth metal played together with lush string sections, haunting church organs, harpsichords, tech drumming, passionate pleas in some exotic tongue all enshrouded in unorthodox song structures that eschew any rules yet all rooted in catchy classically based melodic developments? Well, if that sounds interesting to ya, then look no further than NMD because this is the real progressive / avant-garde metal deal that takes all this disparate elements and blends them together seamlessly in sprawling epic tracks that flow together to create an utterly unique and mind-blowing listening experience.

 This Clear Divide by STARE AT THE CLOUDS album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.79 | 5 ratings

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This Clear Divide
Stare at The Clouds Experimental/Post Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars More outstanding djenty atmospheric prog out of Australia. Like country-mates KARNIVOOL and Polish prog masters VOTUM, these musicians know how to create great melodies and moods within heavier musical walls of sound--and they are even better at building over or deftly interspersing their songs with awesome atmospheric, almost shoegazey passages!

1. "Prelude" (0:42) opens the album with some atmospheric guitar notes and constant keyboard soundscape in order to set up the barrage of sound that is unleashed at the beginning of #2. (9/10)

2. "The Falling" (3:31) opens with some full-brunt walls of sound very similar to the VOTUM and KARNIVOOL style of recent years. Great vocal also fitting into the VOTUM "First Felt Pain" style. At 2:50 the tempo is downshifted a few steps before falling away for a soft little atmospheric keyboard end. (9/10)

3. "Concurrent Abreaction I: Presage (The Hunter)" (8:22) opens strongly with vocals joining in soon after. But the song pauses and slows before the first minute is out for a sustained reset before returning to the opening pace and heaviness. It's a bit like being in a car that is driving in traffic--stop lights and all. The totally atmospheric section that begins at the end of the third minute is so cool--rolling, jumping bass lines and drums playing off one another while the guitar arpeggi and keyboard backgrounds accompany the soft vocal. At 4:34 the djenty bass and guitars return for a little display of their own. The vocal that eventually tries to join in is, unfortunately, a bit incongruous. Another soft, atmospheric section begins at the six minute mark--this one less pretty, less satisfying than the last--and soon gives way to another barrage of djenty guitar. The shifts from heavy, djenty walls of sound to atmospheric, almost Shoegaze soft sections throughout this song are quite interesting--and, now that I'm used to them, awesome. (9/10)

4. "Concurrent Abreaction II: Ocean (6:31)" opens very sedately, spaciously, until the very end of the second minute when some slow, heavy guitar-based walls of sound establish themselves in a kind of FOREIGNER "Double Vision" way. All ensuing song development is slow and methodical with nothing much very surprising or exciting save for a return at the 4:40 mark (to the song's end) to the shoegazey-atmospheric sound of the opening. (8/10)

5. "Concurrent Abreaction III: The Outside" (6:20) opens with some atmospheric guitar play over an interesting uneven time signature bass and drum rhythm. The vocal that joins in repeating "inside my thoughts" is a nice touch. As a matter of fact, this is the first song in which the lyric and vocal perfectly match the music being expressed beneath. At 3:34 the djent wall of sound is unleashed in a KLONE/ALIC IN CHAINS way--with vocalist reaching up to scream his lyrics along with the escalation in sound volume. This is, however, but a brief crescendo before all falls back to the more floating atmospheric levels of the opening section. (9/10)

6. "Concurrent Abreaction IV: Lucah" (4:26) is a song that again reminds me of a YANN LIGNER-led KLONE song for its first two minutes. Then it becomes a totally different song--an instrumental that contains some gorgeous ROBIN GUTHRIE-like atmospheric guitar chord play and guitar effects--for over a minute before returning to the KLONE- like grungy heavy metal sounds introduced in the opening section. The heavily treated GUTHRIE-like guitar can be heard contributing single note arpeggi throughout. This is awesome! One of my top three songs for the album. (10/10)

7. "Concurrent Abreaction V: We Lie In Shadows" (5:41) opens with some fun drum exercises before the shoegaze guitar sound joins in. Long, sustained FRIPP-like guitar notes accompany and soar over the other guitar, bass, and drum play. Beautiful! This is another beautiful albeit heavier version of a COCTEAU TWINS/shoegaze-styled song. Even the heavier buildups in the second minute take nothing away from the incredible syncopated, stop-and-play melody and rhythm play here. As a matter of fact, the densification that occurs at the end of the third minute within the multiple arpeggiating guitars is stunning! And the SYLVIAN-esque atmospherics in the middle of the fifth minute, too! Probably my favorite song on the album. (10/10)

8. "Concurrent Abreaction VI: Sehnsucht" (4:03) is an ENO-esque ambient ocean raft ride in which long note harmonized vocals and Fripp-like sustained lead guitar notes waft in and out of the gorgeous foundational music. Certainly a top three song for me. (10/10)

9. "Dead Letters" (2:27) is an instrumental that sounds like a reprise of an earlier theme played slightly more clearly and with different approaches to the drums, keys, and guitar sounds used. Still, gorgeous with memorable melodies used throughout. (10/10)

10. "Cutting The Ties" (5:33) is a rather low profile attempt to tie up loose ends and end the concept album on an even keel. Such a great sound! (9/10)

A five star masterpiece of progressive rock music. I love this album! Stare at the Clouds has produced a masterpiece of atmospheric djent.

 Neanderthal Nein by MEANDERING MINE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Neanderthal Nein
Meandering Mine Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars This is an experimental newcomer outfit from Munich in Germany, picking you up for a real rollercoaster trip when it comes to their debut album 'Neanderthal Nein'. You know, sometimes bands are exaggerating when entering the stage and trying to develop something unique and special. But this guys rule! The album features 13 tracks, which are delivering a 70 minute adventure in total. Hereby Wolfgang (guitar), Roman (bass), Stefan (keyboards) and Fabian (drums) are acting as if they were a longtime experienced crew, thus I really do wonder what will follow hereafter.

Those who are keen on categorizing bands, just be it the (prog) style or the implementation will simply fail here. Blessing or curse for a reviewer? Is there any chance to be satisfied with your writing in view of that? So what, try to take it easy ... some trends are obvious though. The prog metal proportion is represented by a lot of guitar riffs, partially violent, moreover equipped with an industrial touch here and there. This by strictly avoiding simple noise, that's for sure. A balancing act, I mean either offering complex and tricky songs and still recording something accessible on the other hand.

Hence you will also detect mellow acoustic driven parts with singer/songwriter appeal, art rock a la Steven Wilson, hypnotic moments reminding of krautrock bands, even jazz, trip-hop and lounge feeling. My top favourite is the track Leer - literally seen more than contrasting of course, anything but empty. Nowadays everybody is able to experiment with samples, but this is art really. While adding such an intriguing 'Gute Nacht' example, they've put the cherry on the cake. Very ambitious and successfull. Might have been a contender for the album of the year 2015 ... if I only had been aware of this early enough - 4.5 stars.

 Weather Systems by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.01 | 793 ratings

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Weather Systems
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Weather Systems is one of the most rousing, beautiful, bitter-sweet, and powerfully emotional musical experiences I have ever encountered. The first suite of songs will build you up, shatter you to pieces, leave you at your most vulnerable and introspective, and then restore you to something stronger than you thought possible. Is this hyperbole? No. I purchased this album shortly before ending a very long-term relationship very tragically, and Weather Systems articulated the circumstances almost too apropos... and so wonderfully musically, that it literally sent me to the floor through cathartic metamorphosis. To. The. Floor.

The first 20 minutes, an extended suite of four tracks, are basically a break-up song, but holy cow is it perfect. Anathema has slowly transitioned from their bleak dark metal roots to masterful romantics, creating lush and sweeping songs that combine thoughtful compositions, a rising swells of dynamics, outstanding musicianship, artistic sensibilities, and pure class; class that puts them in a class their own. For me, these 20 minutes are the pinnacle of the band's output (to date). The songs roar with acoustic and electric guitar sounds, interwoven piano and percussion textures, and deeply resonant bass work. And the vocals... Cavanagh is masterful: pitch-perfect sustains, emotive phrasing, and genuine inflection. Feminine guest vocals by Lee Douglas and orchestra strings just tip things over the edge. Even years later, and after dozens of listens, it still effects me. If you enjoy rock music and life, you'll fall in love with Anathema by the time that "Lightning Song" comes around. If you don't, then I don't think we can be friends anymore.

The second half of the album is just as good, covering more ground conceptually and dynamically. Anathema shows us tracks that are some of their heaviest, yet also most fragile, which is saying something. The band is on an outstanding winning streak, but with Weather Systems they manage to create a release that may be their definitive combination of sounds and styles.

Among my highest recommendations. The perfect place to be introduced to a wonderful band, and perhaps to cross- over into the world of more progressive music.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 Live I by ISIS album cover Live, 2003
3.04 | 8 ratings

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Live I
Isis Experimental/Post Metal

Review by thwok

3 stars As my fellow reviewer Sularetal has suggested, ISIS' Live I will mostly appeal to post rock lovers and established fans of the band. I generally adore ISIS' live albums, unlike most live albums. I would give it 3 1/2 stars - 4 for genre or band fans and 3 otherwise - but that's not an option. The sound quality is just fair, but that's not surprising considering Live I was self-released.

Aaron Harris has obviously been a fantastic drummer since the band's beginnings. There is almost no singing, but vocal quality was never a priority for ISIS. I won't single out individual songs for merit, even though ISIS was definitely not your run of the mill post rock band from the start. Their music became increasingly more varied and interesting over time. I would call ISIS' first live release more of an EP than an album. It's only four songs lasting a total of 40 minutes. However, that's just semantics. Over all, this is a very listenable 40 minutes.

 Fate Of A Dreamer by AMBEON album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.20 | 82 ratings

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Fate Of A Dreamer
Ambeon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by poito

2 stars Short and easy. This side project of Master Arjen Lucassen is made for the young female singer Van der Veen to show her talent. Not bad, but just a singer. The music is predictable, the usual AYREON sound but with little compositional effort. As in all Lucassen's work the tracks deliver a clean instrumental work, less bombastic than usual not to hide the lyrics, and one may say he didn't use much time at it. It's a nice present for the singer but just that. The only interesting tracks are one without lyrics, Fate (a cut too much like Tangerine Dream's) and the closer Dreamer, curious, the words making up the title's album. I wonder if there was only one original track and the rest are tossed in for the girl. But the Veen does not break it here, I would only spare her work in Sweet Little Brother. This is for calmed people who do not know Ayreon.
 Prisoner of Sunlight by AUSTARAS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Prisoner of Sunlight
Austaras Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars What drew me to this album was the description of their music in the bio here at PA. I do like my Post-Metal and this band had released an EP already with harsh vocals and a sound reminding people of OPETH and TOOL. Their first full album "Prisoner Of Sunlight" sees them dropping the extreme vocals after the bassist/ vocalist left the band. I can't say the album cover does much for me at all and I found the music a little uninspired but that's just my tastes I suppose. The vocals seem weak and the music is somewhat depressing in that early KATATONIA style. Lots of down-tuned guitars but I wish the bass was more upfront as I rarely hear it.

"Deserter" has a mellow intro but it kicks into gear before 1 1/2 minutes with riffs. Vocals follow and I feel they are at their worse on this opening track, so not a great way to start the album in my opinion. He pretty much speaks the lyrics. We get a calm after 4 1/2 minutes with faint voices and picked guitar. The guitar solos tastefully before it kicks back in. "Thrones" sounds good when the guitar starts to solo before a minute in a laid back manner. The vocals join in along with riffs but again the vocals seem tired. It's better after 3 minutes as it all becomes more passionate. A calm after 5 minutes but it kicks back in quickly. I like the guitar before 6 12 minutes as the drums pound. "Refractions" is a short instrumental of relaxed guitar melodies then a second guitar arrives after 1 1/2 minutes.

"Threshold" has a nice full sound to start as the vocals join in. Double bass drumming comes and goes. Orchestral sounds take over 4 minutes in but not for long and then it turns heavy. "Ossify" has this slowly picked guitar that makes me sad as percussion and violin join in. "Fractures" is fairly heavy with down-tuned guitars and more. It does settle back as the vocals arrive before a minute before becoming more powerful after 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals continue. A calm after 5 minutes but again not for long. I like when we get another calm before 7 1/2 minutes. When it kicks back in the vocals seem to shout the words. "Reflections" is a short piece with vocal melodies and strummed guitar. "Seaworthy" opens with guitar as the bass and drums join in. This is laid back but then it starts to build before 4 minutes as riffs follow. A relaxed section takes over around 6 minutes with picked guitar and some atmosphere to the end.

Well worth checking out if your into this style of music, it just doesn't click with me though unfortunately.

 Undertow by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.16 | 457 ratings

BUY
Undertow
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I first heard about Tool when I was in high school. I wasn't a fan then. They were very popular, and after listening to Undertow, it's easy to see why. The band is punchy, sonically and lyrically, with a nuanced metal vibe that supercharges the alt-rock approachability that permeated the mid-90's. Mostly though, Tool was popular because Maynard's passionate vocals and very, very angry lyrics. This is probably where the band lost me. I wasn't nearly so jaded back in those days! This album is a like ball of pent up rage, disgust, and spite just waiting to be let out; for most 15 year-olds trapped in high school, it's easy to see the appeal.

Fortunately for prog fans, Tool has a lot of musical appeal, too, even on this early album where the band is still working out their identity and sound. For an alt-rock album, it's amazingly ambitious and effective; for a prog-metal record, it's somewhat light-weight. The song writing isn't as creative or gripping as we'll hear on their later works, though still great when compared to the sort of standard FM fare we still hear on modern rock radio stations. For me the biggest attraction is the band's playing, which is undeniably great. Each member of Tool is like a dark magician, creating evil spells alone in a corner with their instruments. There's no member of the group that steals the spotlight, with solo moments, for example; instead, the band are consummately focused on the effect that each of their evil spells contributes to the experience. The rhythm section is one of the best in modern rock, and Adam Jones' guitar single-handily creates an astounding amount of noise and effects.

Of course, one can't talk about a Tool album without touching on Maynard Keenan. The guy's a master performer. His emotion and phrasing are well above his peers, though in this early album his lyrics are so focused on frustration and anger that they sort of lose me in the end. The songs have messages, but they're usually about how much the narrator wants the listener to die. Being the listener, I sort of have a problem with that! So for this early outing, Maynard's vocals get a pass.

The album as a whole should definitely be picked up by fans of the band, who on Prog Archives are probably coming from the group's more diverse, experimental, and enjoyable later albums. If you enjoy dark, fuzz-heavy, and menacing metal, Undertow could become a go-to release for you; for me, it's an every once and a while enjoyment.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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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((WAKE)) United States
AABSINTHE France
ABANDON Sweden
ABYSSE France
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ACYL France
ADMIRAL BROWNING United States
ADRIFT Spain
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AGES GONE Germany
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AKROMA France
ALASKAN Canada
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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
AUSSITT MORT France
AUSTARAS United States
THE AXIS OF PERDITION United Kingdom
AZIOLA CRY United States
BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
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BATTLE OF MICE United States
BATTLEFIELDS United States
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BEHIND THE SUN Israel
BEING United States
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BISON B.C. Canada
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BLACK SEA Brazil
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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
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
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
DDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARE Czech Republic
DREARINESS Italy
DYING SUN United States
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EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EGOIST Poland
EHNAHRE United States
EIGHT BELLS United States
EINNA France
ELLIPSIS France
EMPIRES United States
EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
ENDER New Zealand
ENDNAME Russia
EPHEL DUATH Italy
EPISTASIS United States
ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
EX CURIA Australia
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
FALL OF EFRAFA United Kingdom
FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FLEURETY Norway
FLOOD THE DESERT United States
FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT Russia
A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
FOUNTAINHEAD Germany
FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
GARDEN OF SHADOWS United States
GARY SUICIDAL KIDS COMMANDO France
THE GATHERING Netherlands
GENERATION OF VIPERS United States
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GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
GODSEND Norway
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GORDIAN KNOT United States
GOSPEL United States
THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
GRAVITON United States
GRAYCEON United States
THE GREAT OLD ONES France
GREEN CARNATION Norway
HAIKU FUNERAL Multi-National
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Greece
HALCYON Australia
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE United States
HAND United Kingdom
HARVEY MILK United States
HEIRS Australia
HELIUM HORSE FLY Belgium
HELLAS MOUNDS United States
HERETOIR Germany
HIPOSPADIA Spain
HUMANFLY United Kingdom
HVOSCH Russia
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
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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
JAKEL Canada
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JEWY SABATAY Serbia
OLIVER KAAH Finland
KAILASH Italy
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KEELHAUL United States
KEKAL Indonesia
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KHEMEA France
KHOMA Sweden
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MENISCUS Australia
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MINSK United States
MIOSIS Sweden
THE MIRE United Kingdom
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MISANTHROFEEL Russia
MOD FLANDERS CONSPIRACY United States
MOLOKEN Sweden
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MONDRIAN OAK Italy
MONUMENTUM Italy
MORAINES Croatia
MORNE United States
THE MORNINGSIDE Russia
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MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT United States
MUTYUMU Japan
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MYSTER MOBIUS Multi-National
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NIHIL Serbia
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NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
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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
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ORDO DRACONIS Netherlands
RKENKJTT Norway
ORPHANED LAND Israel
ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
OSTROVA Spain
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY United States
OUTOPSYA Italy
OVERMARS France
XX XX 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
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THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
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PSYKUP France
PYRAMIDS United States
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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
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SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SANNHET United States
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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
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SLEEP MAPS United States
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SMALLMAN Bulgaria
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SNOWBLOOD United Kingdom
SO IS THE TONGUE United States
SOEN Multi-National
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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
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SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUMAC Multi-National
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THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
SYDERALUS Argentina
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TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
TENOCHTITLAN Russia
TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
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THENCE Finland
FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
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TIME ZERO United States
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TOOL United States
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TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
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VISCERA/// Italy
VOID United Kingdom
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WE LOST THE SEA Australia
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WHAT THE BLOOD REVEALED United Kingdom
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WHOURKR Multi-National
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ANDY WINTER Norway
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A WORKING MODEL United States
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