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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)
Louis (rdtprog)

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.22 | 1241 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.24 | 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 | 608 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.19 | 280 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.56 | 35 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.18 | 245 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.17 | 249 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.14 | 299 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.19 | 130 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.62 | 26 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.09 | 756 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 | 224 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 PHILOSOPHY
Nahemah
GRAVE HUMAN GENUINE
Dark Suns
THE SECOND WAVE
Khoma
THE MINSTREL'S CURSE
Noekk

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Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Scorn Defeat by SIGH album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.03 | 18 ratings

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Scorn Defeat
Sigh Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars There's many reasons why the murder of Euronymous by Varg Vikernes was a tragedy, but one of them is that it gave Varg a big old platform of infamy from which to promote his crank racist views, whilst at the same time it put an end to Euronymous' activities through Deathlike Productions growing the black metal genre.

One illustration of this is Scorn Defeat, the debut album by Sigh. It's easy to forget in these days of the Internet, where you don't need to go that far to get a diverse picture of the worldwide metal scene, that it was much harder even in the early 1990s for an act to get much of a following outside its home turf. That's why it was so great of Euronymous to reach out and give this Japanese act a European release, flying in the face of the national rivalries that had characterised some facets of the black metal scene at the time (not to mention the toxic fascist elements that had been creeping in here and there) and recognising that good music knows no national or cultural borders.

For their part, Sigh capture the early 1990s black metal sound perfectly but also bring in the occasional melodic, near-symphonic moments (with some passages resembling something out of a classic JRPG soundtrack). Even with these sections, this is about as traditionally kvlt as Sigh ever got, but it's a good fit for the classic Deathlike Silence period.

 Anthropocentric by OCEAN, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.94 | 71 ratings

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Anthropocentric
The Ocean Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of two albums that The Ocean released in 2010 themed around different models of looking at the universe (the other one, naturally, being Heliocentric), Anthropocentric finds the band playing in an atmospheric, post-rock influenced style reminiscent of a more melodic take on late Mastodon - perhaps with the progressive sounds a bit more tempered by melodic accessibility. Tied in with a concept about how fundamentalism in religion and Creationist theories tend towards a simplistic view of the universe which tends to assume that everything, like the title implies, revolves around humanity, it's an interesting and accessible entry into the world of progressive, atmospheric sludge metal.
 Wavering Radiant by ISIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.05 | 184 ratings

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Wavering Radiant
Isis Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Having knocked it out of the park with Oceanic and Panopticon, Isis can afford to experiment with their style a bit. Wavering Radiant doesn't radically overturn the Isis sound, but it does offer up more space here and there for the band to work through the quieter side of their sound, to the point where at stages this sounds like a gentle Explosions In the Sky release here and there. As far as their distinctive blend of post-rock and sludge metal goes, it's not going to sell you on it if you didn't dig their top-tier releases, but if you've already found that you like this particular sonic territory it's a reasonable expansion of it.
 Gift Horse by MOSE GIGANTICUS album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Gift Horse
Mose Giganticus Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Gift Horse" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based sludge/heavy metal act Mose Giganticus. The album was released through Relapse Records (the bands first release on the label) in July 2010. Mose Giganticus was formed in 1999 by Matt Garfiel and released "The Invisible Hand" debut full-length studio album in 2006. Matt Garfiel handles all instruments and vocals on "Gift Horse".

Stylistically were treated to a relatively diverse sound, which draws influences from many musical genres. To my ears the primary sound is sludge though, and artists like Mastodon and Baroness in their least technical moments are valid references. There is a major presence of synths, organ, and electronics featured on the album though, which provide "Gift Horse" with a somewhat original sound. It took a few listens to grasp what the deal was, but Mose Giganticus is on to something pretty interesting here, that may lend stylistic elements from more prolific artists, but ultimately sounds relatively unique. The heavy sludge metal riffing and vocals are often spiced up with rocknroll, punk, and stoner elements (and more melodic vocals), which make the album quite intriguing. The fact that "Gift Horse" is a concept release describing the the struggle between God and Lucifer leading to Armageddon is not exactly a negative either, as it works well for the band.

"Gift Horse" is very well produced and if you didnt know it, you wouldnt be able to tell that everything on the album is played and sung by one man. Garfiel is definitely a very skilled musician/composer and its audible that Mose Giganticus is his baby as everything is delivered with great passion and conviction. As mentioned above it took me a few listens to warm up to "Gift Horse" and understand what Garfiel was trying to convey, so I can highly recommend giving the album more than a few spins before passing judgement. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

 Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars by BLUT AUS NORD album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.49 | 16 ratings

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Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
Blut Aus Nord Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars' - Blut aus Nord (92/100)

The Memoria Vetusta series had made itself out to be a refuge for melody in a career otherwise defined by a calculated ugliness. More often than not, Blut aus Nord has been driven by a cold industrial atmosphere and swirling dissonance. The Work Which Transforms God and MoRT are two of the most jarring albums I've ever heard from any genre. When Blut aus Nord decides to get dark, it is the stuff of nightmares unlike anything else I've heard. Vindsval had already demonstrated his tact with melodic writing on the first pair of albums. Nonetheless, the subsequent extremity that characterized Blut aus Nord made the partial return to melody on MVII: Dialogue with the Stars a total revelation.

It is difficult to write or think about Dialogue with the Stars without feeling total awe for what BaN accomplished here. I'm not even sure I could call it my favourite album of theirs-- that standing's always gone to TWWTG. Surprisingly however, it's this one that's rewarded repeated listening the most. Although the tragic melodies, clearcut riffs and tactful soloing of Fathers of the Icy Age returned on Dialogue with the Stars, it didn't come at any cost to the band's trademark weirdness. The album's first riff, opening up "Disciple's Libration", is a perfect example of this contrast. It's still technically dissonant by most every standard, but unlike the indecipherable murk of other albums, Vindsval channels it in such a way that it's instantly memorable from the first listen onward.

The greatest irony is that Dialogue with the Stars has been Blut aus Nord's biggest "grower" album from my experience of it. Even if there are plenty of earworms and distinct ideas, the song structures have been drawn out accordingly. Despite how ugly it was on the outside, I think there was a certain comfort in knowing an album like MoRT was essentially rhapsodic and meandering; you could sink into the atmosphere without feeling a need to decipher anything. The opposite rings true here. Vindsval carries these massive tracks along with the vision of a progressive rock master. Even if the album's shorter interludes feel a bit superfluous in light of its centrepieces, it doesn't feel like a single moment of the album has been spent frivolously. Blut aus Nord's masterful atmosphere has always been completely unique to my ears. The only thing that ever potentially held me at bay was the fact that there was nothing to grip one's ears upon. Dialogue with the Stars accomplishes that end even better than what I've come to expect from one of my all-time favourite acts.

Some of the most gorgeous exercises in melodic writing I've ever heard in black metal are featured here. "Disciple's Libration" is chock-full of them. "...the Meditant" and especially "Antithesis of the Flesh" make Vindsval out to be just as much a genius in this style as he is with the abrasive industrial stuff. It's kind of mind-blowing to think a trait they're so potentially great with is purposefully underused elsewhere. I think there's a lot of merit in giving each album its own niche. After having listened to their discography obsessively these last couple of weeks, I'm becoming convinced that Blut aus Nord are one of the few black metal bands out there that have written music to suit any mood. Unlike its weaker successor Saturnian Poetry, Dialogue with the Stars does different things without alienating the project's weird foundations.

 Red Album by BARONESS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.73 | 95 ratings

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Red Album
Baroness Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Baroness' debut album offers a straight-ahead mashup of accessible traditional metal fused at the hip with progressive sludge metal of the Mastodon school. It's a solid point of entry for their work, though at the same time precisely because it's so easy on the ear and accessible it may be a disappointment to listeners coming to it after hearing Baroness' more progressive and experimental work. The material here represents creative territory which the band itself eventually moved on from, and I suspect most listeners will move on from it too, but as a gateway drug to wilder material in sludge metal territory it has its merits.
 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
4.80 | 6 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
4.68 | 6 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.

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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((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
AUSSITT 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
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
EARTH United States
EAST OF THE WALL United States
EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EGOIST Poland
EHNAHRE United States
EIGHT BELLS United States
EINNA France
ELLIPSIS France
EMPIRES United States
EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
ENDER New Zealand
ENDNAME Russia
EPHEL DUATH Italy
EPISTASIS United States
ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
EX CURIA Australia
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
FALL OF EFRAFA United Kingdom
FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FLEURETY Norway
FLOOD THE DESERT United States
FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT Russia
A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
FOUNTAINHEAD Germany
FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
GARDEN OF SHADOWS United States
GARY SUICIDAL KIDS COMMANDO France
THE GATHERING Netherlands
GENERATION OF VIPERS United States
GENGHIS TRON United States
GIANT SQUID United States
GIGANTIC BRAIN United States
GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
GODSEND Norway
GONIN-ISH Japan
GORDIAN KNOT United States
GOSPEL United States
THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
GRAVITON United States
GRAYCEON United States
THE GREAT OLD ONES France
GREEN CARNATION Norway
HAIKU FUNERAL Multi-National
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR Greece
HALCYON Australia
HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE United States
HAND United Kingdom
HARVEY MILK United States
HEIRS Australia
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
INTER ARMA United States
INTRONAUT United States
IO United Kingdom
ION United States
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
KHEMEA 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
LBO Portugal
LOOK TO WINDWARD New Zealand
LORUS United States
LOTUS THIEF 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
THE MATTERHORN PROJECT United States
MAUDLIN Belgium
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL United States
MEANDERING MINE Germany
MEMORIES OF A DEAD MAN France
MENISCUS Australia
MINDFOLD EXPRESS Bulgaria
MINSK United States
MIOSIS Sweden
THE MIRE United Kingdom
MIRRORTHRONE Switzerland
MISANTHROFEEL Russia
MOD FLANDERS CONSPIRACY United States
MOLOKEN Sweden
MOMENTUM Iceland
MONDRIAN OAK Italy
MONUMENTUM Italy
MORAINES Croatia
MORNE United States
THE MORNINGSIDE Russia
MORTIFERIA Norway
MOSE GIGANTICUS United States
MOSKAU Germany
MOUNTAINS BECAME MACHINES United Kingdom
MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT United States
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
NEVBORN Switzerland
NIHIL Serbia
NINTH MOON BLACK United States
NO HOME FOR HEROES Australia
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
OHGOD! South Africa
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
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
PROGHMA-C Poland
THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
PRYAPISME France
PSYCHOFAGIST Italy
PSYKUP France
PYRAMIDS United States
QUALEACEANS United Kingdom
QUARANTADUE Italy
QUBE Poland
QUESTIONER United States
RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
RAIN DELAY Serbia
RAINROOM Finland
RAXINASKY Belgium
RED PAPER DRAGON United Kingdom
REFRACTION Ireland
THE REPTILIANS United States
RETURNING WE HEAR THE LARKS United Kingdom
ROSETTA United States
ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
RYOKUCHI Japan
SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SANNHET United States
SCHIZOID LLOYD Netherlands
SCORCHED SHORE United States
SECONDSKIN United Kingdom
SENMUTH Russia
SENSUAL NOISE Belgium
SEPIA DREAMER Sweden
SEVEN United States
SEVEN NAUTICAL MILES Sweden
SEVENTH EVIDENCE / KA.MMEN Ukraine
SHELS United States
SHELTER RED United States
SHELVING Switzerland
SHEPHERDS OF CASSINI New Zealand
SHRINEBUILDER United States
SIGH Japan
SIKA REDEM United Kingdom
SISARE Finland
SKAGOS Canada
SKEWED SKIES Germany
SLEEP MAPS United States
SLEEPING IN GETHSEMANE United States
SMALLMAN Bulgaria
SMOHALLA France
SNOWBLOOD United Kingdom
SO IS THE TONGUE United States
SOEN Multi-National
SOLSTAFIR Iceland
SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI United Kingdom
SPACEKING Russia
SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STALINGRAD Spain
STANDING OVATION Finland
STARE AT THE CLOUDS Australia
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Multi-National
SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUMAC Multi-National
SUNPOCRISY Italy
SUPERCONTINENT United States
THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
SYDERALUS Argentina
TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER United Kingdom
TARANTULA HAWK United States
TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
TENOCHTITLAN Russia
TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
TETRAFUSION United States
THANATOSCHIZO Portugal
THENCE Finland
FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
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
TROLDHAUGEN Australia
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
VOID OF SLEEP Italy
VULTURE INDUSTRIES Norway
THE WATERS DEEP HERE United States
WE LOST THE SEA Australia
WE MADE GOD Iceland
WEAKLING United States
WHAT MAD UNIVERSE France
WHAT THE BLOOD REVEALED United Kingdom
WHEN DAY DESCENDS Australia
WHIRLING Sweden
WHOURKR Multi-National
WIDEK Poland
WINDHAM HELL United States
WINDMILLS BY THE OCEAN United States
WINDS Norway
ANDY WINTER Norway
WIZARD RIFLE United States
WOBURN HOUSE Germany
WOODS OF YPRES Canada
A WORKING MODEL United States
WORM OUROBOROS United States
WYTCHCRYPT United States
YAKUZA United States
YAVU Chile
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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