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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Experimental/Post Metal definition

 

Experimental Progressive Metal

Experimental progressive metal is a sub-genre of progressive metal characterized by the incorporation of innovative, eclectic elements, large-scale experimentation and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Experimentation in the music is a major criteria to define the genre where artists often add unique elements to the overall sound, while progressive metal usually has more focus on traditional metal instrumentation and higher levels of technical complexity.

It's nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of Experimental Progressive Metal since experimentation is common in all music genres. Still it is clear that experimentation in the progressive metal sub-genre has slowly but steadily grown in popularity ever since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s.

Just like any other style, Experimental Progressive Metal has a few defining moments that have changed the rules for its sub-genre for years to come. Two of such moments are the releases of the debut album by MR.BUNGLE of August 1991 and its iconic follow up "Disco Volante" of 1995. MR BUNGLE became notorious for their heavy sound and mid-song shifts of musical style. The band has later spawned an array of established avant-garde side projects such as FANTÔMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3 and ESTRADASPHERE but also inspired new Experimental Metal acts to take the music scene to new heights.
Another crucial artist in the development of Experimental Progressive Metal was the leading Avant Metal band of the 80s, CELTIC FROST. Their eclectic mix of Thrash, Doom, Symphonic and Goth Metal created a dark theatrical mystique that became a major influence among the experimental Extreme Metal bands of the 90s such as MY DYING BRIDE, ULVER, ARCTURUS among others. These bands served as an important source of inspiration for the experimental movement within extreme metal.

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

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

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

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


Post Metal

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

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

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

Variations of Post-metal

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

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

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

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


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

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

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.24 | 555 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.22 | 1142 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.23 | 535 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.20 | 470 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.33 | 98 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.27 | 139 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.17 | 567 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.18 | 251 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.17 | 221 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 236 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.60 | 29 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.13 | 287 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.19 | 108 ratings
SOL NIGER WITHIN
Thordendal's Special Defects
4.18 | 119 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.08 | 696 ratings
ĆNIMA
Tool
4.12 | 200 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.08 | 497 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.10 | 280 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land
4.09 | 293 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.64 | 23 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.27 | 53 ratings
SOULS AT ZERO
Neurosis
4.03 | 752 ratings
WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE
Anathema
4.05 | 294 ratings
SYNCHESTRA (THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND)
Townsend, Devin
4.08 | 162 ratings
OCEANIC
Isis
4.17 | 75 ratings
SUSPENDED ANIMATION DREAMS
Subterranean Masquerade
4.06 | 225 ratings
S.U.S.A.R.
Indukti
4.05 | 240 ratings
ÉCAILLES DE LUNE
Alcest
4.07 | 169 ratings
WAVERING RADIANT
Isis
4.01 | 738 ratings
WEATHER SYSTEMS
Anathema
4.05 | 236 ratings
OCEAN MACHINE: BIOMECH
Townsend, Devin
4.55 | 22 ratings
TűNő IDő TÁRLAT
Thy Catafalque
4.02 | 277 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.22 | 51 ratings
WRITTEN IN WATERS
Ved Buens Ende
4.03 | 238 ratings
EPICLOUD (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)
Townsend, Devin
4.09 | 110 ratings
THE PAINTER'S PALETTE
Ephel Duath
4.08 | 102 ratings
OMNIO
In The Woods...
3.99 | 235 ratings
OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
OSI
4.42 | 24 ratings
OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING
Forest Of Stars, A
4.04 | 98 ratings
IF_THEN_ELSE
Gathering, The
4.30 | 29 ratings
THE GALILEAN SATELLITES
Rosetta
4.15 | 48 ratings
THE MALEDICTION FIELDS
Fen
4.15 | 42 ratings
TEETHED GLORY AND INJURY
Altar of Plagues
4.04 | 75 ratings
LEAVING EDEN
Antimatter
3.98 | 127 ratings
EPOCH
Fen
4.64 | 14 ratings
MYSTER MÖBIUS
Myster Mobius
3.91 | 347 ratings
DECONSTRUCTION (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)
Townsend, Devin
4.19 | 32 ratings
UNDERSTANDING CONSEQUENCES
Day Without Dawn
4.77 | 11 ratings
ELIL
Fall of Efrafa
3.96 | 113 ratings
NIGHTTIME BIRDS
Gathering, The
4.04 | 57 ratings
OI MAGOI
Hail Spirit Noir
3.90 | 259 ratings
THE NEVER ENDING WAY OF ORWARRIOR
Orphaned Land
4.01 | 66 ratings
PREHISTORICISMS
Intronaut
3.89 | 270 ratings
ADDICTED (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)
Townsend, Devin
3.96 | 91 ratings
PELAGIAL
Ocean, The
3.90 | 184 ratings
ACCELERATED EVOLUTION (THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND)
Townsend, Devin
3.93 | 114 ratings
CASUALTIES OF COOL
Townsend, Devin
3.99 | 68 ratings
PRECAMBRIAN
Ocean, The
4.31 | 20 ratings
THE LOCUST YEARS
Hammers of Misfortune
4.10 | 37 ratings
PAINTING ON GLASS
3rd And The Mortal, The
4.36 | 18 ratings
ABSOLUTE ZERO
Tetrafusion
3.95 | 86 ratings
THE FIRE IN OUR THROATS WILL BECKON THE THAW
Pelican
4.20 | 26 ratings
A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS
Forest Of Stars, A
4.50 | 14 ratings
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The
3.93 | 102 ratings
SOUVENIRS D'UN AUTRE MONDE
Alcest
3.94 | 92 ratings
VERTIKAL
Cult of Luna
4.10 | 34 ratings
SEA OF THE DYING DHOW
shels
3.90 | 140 ratings
GORDIAN KNOT
Gordian Knot
3.90 | 133 ratings
HOW TO MEASURE A PLANET?
Gathering, The
3.85 | 457 ratings
A NATURAL DISASTER
Anathema
3.97 | 63 ratings
A SUN THAT NEVER SETS
Neurosis
4.79 | 9 ratings
BEWARE THE SWORD YOU CANNOT SEE
Forest Of Stars, A
3.86 | 285 ratings
GHOST (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)
Townsend, Devin
4.00 | 49 ratings
RÓKA HASA RÁDIÓ
Thy Catafalque
4.08 | 34 ratings
EVE
Ufomammut
4.03 | 41 ratings
THE BEES MADE HONEY IN THE LION'S SKULL
Earth
4.60 | 11 ratings
MICROCOSMOS
Thy Catafalque
4.30 | 18 ratings
MANTIIS
Obsidian Kingdom
3.83 | 723 ratings
10,000 DAYS
Tool
4.05 | 35 ratings
RENGETEG
Thy Catafalque
3.84 | 395 ratings
A FINE DAY TO EXIT
Anathema
3.94 | 65 ratings
ANTHROPOCENTRIC
Ocean, The
3.88 | 124 ratings
THE ACOUSTIC VERSES
Green Carnation
4.00 | 43 ratings
PLAINS OF THE PURPLE BUFFALO
shels
4.01 | 41 ratings
HEART OF THE AGES
In The Woods...
3.86 | 146 ratings
MANDYLION
Gathering, The
4.71 | 9 ratings
MELANCHOLIE˛
ColdWorld
4.17 | 22 ratings
CARHEART
Virus
3.83 | 260 ratings
KI (DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT)
Townsend, Devin
3.85 | 165 ratings
ALL IS ONE
Orphaned Land
4.27 | 17 ratings
NOIR
Callisto
3.92 | 66 ratings
THE EYE OF EVERY STORM
Neurosis
3.98 | 44 ratings
THE IMAGINARY DIRECTION OF TIME
Winds
3.84 | 172 ratings
LES VOYAGES DE L'ÂME
Alcest
3.83 | 185 ratings
ASHES AGAINST THE GRAIN
Agalloch
4.26 | 16 ratings
CENOTES
Giant Squid
3.98 | 39 ratings
WHITE TOMB
Altar of Plagues
4.19 | 19 ratings
THE RITUAL FIRES OF ABANDONMENT
Minsk
3.91 | 62 ratings
GRAVE HUMAN GENUINE
Dark Suns
3.97 | 39 ratings
BLESSED ARE THE BONDS
Pax Cecilia, The
3.89 | 69 ratings
EXISTENCE
Dark Suns

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

KÖLD
Solstafir
SPOILS OF FAILURE
Buried Inside
GORDIAN KNOT
Gordian Knot
SAMUS OCTOLOGY
Irepress

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Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 A Northern Meadow by PYRAMIDS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

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A Northern Meadow
Pyramids Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'A Northern Meadow' - Pyramids (76/100)

I was once scolded by my editor that I compare too many bands to Blut Aus Nord in my reviews. I'll admit it's an easy go-to source whenever experimental metal of the cold, inhuman variety is being discussed, and their influence of the black metal sphere is so widespread that I'd still stand by most of those comparisons. Even so; this precedent puts me in a stiff position when I come across a band that deserves a reference to Blut Aus Nord as much and as far as anything else I've heard this year.

While this might sound like the preface to a copycat dismissal review, Pyramids have taken that band's atmospheric framework, and used it to make a compelling little world of their own. Think what Blut Aus Nord's 777 - The Desanctification might have sounded like with all overt traces of black metal sifted out of it, replaced with the sort of muffled clean vocals you might expect from baseline shoegaze. This is blackgaze, even 'black metal gone straight post-rock', but it's far too chilling and eerie to be relegated to the soporific annals of Alcest and their wishy-washy following. No; Pyramids and their second album A Northern Meadow cannot easily be pegged down, as much as their 'BAN with clean vocals' high concept might seem to beg to differ.

Given that those French harbingers have already been mentioned in this review more times than I have fingers on my left hand, it wasn't at all surprising to discover Blut Aus Nord's mastermind Vindsval was behind the album's drum programming. Where drum machines tend to be a budget-motivated compromise, thereby cheapening an album's execution, there are a chosen few within black metal that have managed to do amazing things with programming, and none more than Vindsval. Whether it's A Northern Meadow or one from the 777 trilogy, there's an inhuman calculation to his drum arrangements that actually manages to scare me, by sheer virtue of how emotionally cold it is. It's interesting to hear Vindsval's mechanisms paired with a band that have yet retained a grasp of their own hearts.

Once the shock of overt comparison simmers down a little, it becomes a lot easier to take the album on its own terms. A Northern Meadow is noisily ambient; arguably hazier than the majority of shoegaze, despite the fact that the guitars are sharp and cutting. Throughout the album's fifty minutes, Pyramids stay close to a formula of swirling riffs, cold ambient, and a fairly consistent rhythm throughout songs that can make it difficult to single out particular ideas. the most striking thing about the album's first impression were undoubtedly the clean vocals. Although the specific performance duties aren't disclosed on any edition of the album, the main vocalist makes himself heard through the waves of ambiance. Sounding like a cross between Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) and the fragile falsetto of Toby Driver (Kayo Dot), Pyramids' vocals are in good company. While the cool and eerily dissonant instrumentation would seem a more intuitive fit for black metal snarling, the left-field presence of clean vocals is the first (and, for a time, only) thing that sticks while listening to A Northern Meadow. Throughout my first listen, I was having a tough time making out any particular ideas out of their blackgazing ocean of sound, much less anything in the way of song structures. Several listens later, and I can say with some certainty that A Northern Meadow is an album that only reveals itself slowly to the patient listener. By the second or third time, it becomes pretty obvious that Pyramids have a real penchant for melody; they're just sneaky enough to keep it subtle and muddled.

A Northern Meadow is an impressive variation on a sound I know well and love. It's a perfect kind of music to get lost in, provided you've got the patience and mood to accommodate it. To be honest, I'm not sure if I know enough to call Pyramids great songwriters or not; the melodies are carefully integrated, but it's otherwise difficult to find an outline of memorable composition amidst the noise and haze. I might single "Indigo Birds" out as an exception; a brilliant song that dares to make its vocals ever-so-slightly clearer in the mix. Listening to A Northern Meadow is an otherwise slow-burning experience, but their fluid, bending textures are rich enough that you'll want to come back for more.

Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical

 Infinity by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.68 | 164 ratings

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Infinity
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Devin's music is so much similar to a full orchestra playing at it's extreme, but it's all rock instruments. A lot of his music is very loud and full textured, a very thick mix, but somehow, in the loudness, all of the instruments come through. This particular album is one of the thicker ones, but don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of variety in Devin's music, including this album. Infinity, however, is also one of the less progressive ones, even though there are two extremely progressive songs here (Ants and Noisy Pink Bubbles), which is unfortunately too short. But, even when he is not at his most progressive, I love Devin's approach to music, especially his heavy music. It is so full of sound that each time you hear it, you hear something different.

I still love the straightforwardness of the album, many of the tracks really rock, yet sound so fresh because of Devin's approach to mixing. Nothing is under- or over-mixed here, it's all quite even, yet still very emotional music. But if you don't like your music unrelenting, then this album may be a little too much for you. Yet, there is a softer side to the album, and it is in the track called "Unity" which is a lovely song, more of a ballad, but it's still got that full loud sound to it. It's really hard to explain, that something so full sounding can still be so emotional and not get old. The best way to understand Devin's music is to listen for yourself. However, give yourself a little time to acclimatize yourself to the wall of sound and marvel at how all the different sounds and tones still manage to come through that amazing wall.

Devin can be more dynamic on other albums, and that is where there is a little bit of a slip on this album. At first listen, this one might be a little more impenetrable even if it is still more straightforward than normal for DT. The reason for this is because it is more heavy rock oriented than some of his others, though he is never afraid to scream at the top of his lungs, so be prepared....yes even when singing about recycling as he does on another album.

There are some bonus tracks available on one edition and 2 of them are acoustic. These are interesting to listen to because it breaks down the wall of noise, but only a little bit, because his acoustics still fill the space that is known as silence. It's still very heavy sounding and noisy in it's own right. Again, you have to hear it to know what I'm talking about.

I can still give this 4 stars because I love DT's approach to recording and the unique sound it gives his music and the level of emotion in his music, singing and playing. Yes, DT has messed up a few times, but you can usually count on his music to be high quality, and I don't care how loud it is or if some may consider it metal, it's still amazing.

 10,000 Days by TOOL album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.83 | 723 ratings

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10,000 Days
Tool Experimental/Post Metal

Review by KenFrankenstein

5 stars My wife is not too crazy about this album. But then is it her writing this review? No. This album with it's concept as a whole beckons back to the seventies when bands actually cared about art regardless of how high they were on drugs and being manipulated by record executives who were probably ten times more high on freak knows what than the guys in the band were.

What attracted me at first was the elaborate CD concept artwork. I said to myself this I gotta hear so I forked out 21 bucks for it along with the BB King CD that I had gone in to HMV fir that I had on special order. I can only describe the package as psychedelic. The music is heavy, lyrical, angry and encompasses influences from everything from early Black Sabbath, Zeppelin to 90s King Crimson with originality. I couldn't take it out of my CD player.

What a Surprise. Not a big fan of anything beyond 1975 but this one blew me away. I have no choice but to give this work of art 5 stars.

 Three Times Seven On A Pilgrimage by IN THE WOODS... album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.52 | 12 ratings

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Three Times Seven On A Pilgrimage
In The Woods... Experimental/Post Metal

Review by thwok

3 stars I initially posted a rating for "Three Times Seven on a Pilgrimage" on the related site Metal Music Archives. Then I decided I should rightfully include a review of the compilation as well. However, I couldn't determine how to edit my post. I realize this doesn't have much to do with reviewing this compilation on Prog Archives; I simply wanted to draw general attention to the problem. Over all, "Three Times Seven on a Pilgrimage" is a fine album by a band that was not prolific enough; I would give it 3 and 1/2 stars.

This compilation consists of cover versions and unreleased original songs by the unique experimental metal band In The Woods.... For my money, the originals turn out a whole lot better than the covers. IMO a cover version of someone else's song should differ from it in ways that are interesting. Occasionally, a cover version can actually be better than the original. The cover versions of Syd Barrett, King Crimson, and Jefferson Airplane offered here are too close to the originals; not a problem you would expect to encounter with In The Woods... The original songs turn out much better. "Karmakosmic" and "Mourning the Death of Aase" are my personal favorites, but it's all good. Despite my reservations about the cover versions, In The Woods... always made interesting, enjoyable music in their too brief career. "Three Times Seven On A Pilgrimage" is no exception.

 Revisionist by SANNHET album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.67 | 3 ratings

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Revisionist
Sannhet Experimental/Post Metal

Review by LearsFool

5 stars Thus far the zenith of the kind of experimental black metal encamped between the kvlt and indie, "Revisionist" ups the ante for epic/symphonic black via its particular influences and kind of experimentation. First and foremost, this is a post-black album, but rather than simply be another band who blackens Neurosis or crystalises Godspeed into metal, they instead plumb the possibilities that shoegaze brings to post music. Combine with some of the best of more standard post-metal, including some powerful riffs at times indebted to Emperor and their classic symph black, and you have a uniquely awesome, genre-elastic album. The whole record is sheerly forceful and grand, with never a dull moment, but "Mint Divine", and "Enemy Victorian"'s ending, stick out, they the purest statements of shoegaze influence on the entire album, as well as "False Pass", an epic track that then adds some delicious noise to the mix. By far some of the best post-metal in years, perfect for fans of post and epic metal, and the one album that metalheads unhappy with the Pitchfork blessed side of black metal should listen to anyways - it's worth every second and every penny.
 In the Fishtank vol. 14 (with Aereogramme) by ISIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
2.94 | 15 ratings

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In the Fishtank vol. 14 (with Aereogramme)
Isis Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is an EP in the In the Fishtank series that highlights two similar bands together performing new tracks together to see what comes out of each pairing. This one features Isis and Aereogramme, Isis being a post-rock/metal band and Aereogramme leaning more towards the alternative side of post- rock with more electronics. What you get are 3 pretty decent tracks, 2 long ones and a short one.

"Low Tide" is the best track to come from this union. It is a mid-tempo track somewhat similar to the cleaner songs on Isis' "In the Absence of Truth" album, but it features the lead vocals of Craig from Aereogramme, which I believe are much better than Aaron's vocals, who often sings either growly vocals or more subdued "under the mix" vocals. The pairing works well in this track, which has a long, atmospheric opening before the vocals start in. After the vocal section, the track continues picking up a more electronic sound, but continues to be an excellent mix of styles. The 2nd track is "Deliel" which is a short and more straightforward metal sounding track with Aaron's gritty vocals, sounding more like an Isis track, with enough going on in the background to keep it interesting, but not as interesting as most of their music on their usual albums. The 3rd track is more of a droning style with a free floating feel, featuring Crag's vocals again. This one is very experimental sounding with a nice spacey atmosphere, and once again uses the pairing to it's greatest benefit.

All in all, it's not a bad little EP, but not one that you would use to introduce yourself to either band. The music could have been released under a different name than either one of the band's names and would have been a respectful sound for a new band, but this series of experiments of pairing bands together is a very interesting experiments. The curious listener can pick up quite a number of these EPs to hear the interesting combinations of bands, which also includes other progressive bands like Tortoise (pairing with The Ex) and Motorpsycho (pairing with Jaga Jazzist Horns). Quite an interesting collection. This particular EP is interesting enough, especially with the excellent starter track, but the other two are only just good. 3 stars for this EP

 Casualties of Cool by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.93 | 114 ratings

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Casualties of Cool
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

5 stars With Casualties of Cool, Devin Townsend's experimentation with ambient grooves, ghostly beauty, mellow compositions, and mature instrumental performances has reached a grand new height. We heard it as a diversion on Ki, in the empty spaces on Ghost, and sprinkled through out other albums - but Casualties of Cool absolutely sends chills up the spine with elegant class. Not only is it Devin's best "quite" album, it's one of his best albums, period.

Casualties is a lengthy and evocative experience. The production and compositions are excellent, giving us lush, deep, and emotive sounds that slip between styles, dynamics, and tempos. Devin's skills as song writer are exceptionally strong here, perhaps because there aren't walls of devastatingly powerful electric guitar to rely on. Instead, every whisper, strum, vibrato, dreamy pulse, sampled effect, and sung word is exposed and wonderfully emotive. The album builds very well, beginning playfully and then taking the listener to places dark and fragile and lovely, ending with a more typical Devin Townsend song - a might crescendo over layers and layers of guitar and vocals. The experience is meditative.

The overall vibe of the album is sort of a faux-Western, but this shouldn't scare away anyone wondering if there are traces of country music in this album. The rare traces of twang are hidden within a dreamy soundscape that shuffles and drifts along to places so beautiful and weird that "real" western fans might feel lost and annoyed. There are few identifiable verses, and no choruses, so be prepared to be taken on a journey rather then be given moments to sing along to.

Speaking of singing, the vocals of the album, while not prevalent, are exceptional. Devin's voice drifts into the background, except for a few moments, while guest vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval takes the lead. Her voice is a warm, pure, and melancholic. She smoothly delivers some of the most memorable moments of the album, and practically steals the show; for listeners not as interested in exploring the music depths of the compositions, she definitely will.

Overall, a highly recommended release from one of modern prog's most dynamic and versatile artists. A great listen for those seeking something quite and spacey without becoming ambient background music. Outstanding.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

 An Iliad of Woes  by ANATHEMA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1990
1.08 | 8 ratings

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An Iliad of Woes
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

1 stars This is Anathema's demo that includes 4 songs that were never released in any other way. It is totally black/doom metal with 100% growling vocals and heavy instrumentals. The recording is not very good and, even though there are hints to the greatness they would later achieve with some better than normal compositions, it gets really old by the time you get only half way through the 2nd track. The tracks are long, but don't offer much in the way of dynamics or variety, it's just loud with a lot of rhythmic changes. Not an enjoyable listen, but it is interesting from a historic viewpoint because it is their early attempts at becoming the great band they would later be.

Stay away from this unless you are an avid fan and you need everything they have recorded no matter how bad it is. All others should check out their later work which is much better.

 Hummer by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.50 | 63 ratings

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Hummer
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This album is worlds apart from most of DT's other albums and is an entire spectrum separated from any of the Strapping Young Lad albums. This one is completely ambient and utilizes low frequency noises to create atmospheres of mostly electronic processed sounds. Don't expect any rhythm and the vocals here are spoken word or added as effects. As Devin himself said, this album is not for everyone. It was created as a sort of cooling down period for him, and it acts as a very meditative album for sure. It is relaxing and works fine as that sort of album. The soundscapes here approach the same ambience as the ambient droneworks of Bass Communion which is the side project of another excellent prog rock giant, Steven Wilson. The difference is that Bass Communion recordings, at least to some extent, have more of a meaning or direction overall.

These tracks on The Hummer are mostly uneventful, especially the first 2 very long tracks, the title track at over 15 minutes and "Arc" which is over 23 minutes long. Not much happens here, there is no percussion, only long drawn out drones or pitch sounds which build and ebb over their long durations. There are a few other added sounds such as morse code type sounds that add a timely element to the tracks, but don't do much to give it direction. This goes on for way too long. In comparison to the best Bass Communion tracks, at least they tend to have direction, some percussive noises and more variations in pitch. Track 3 on The Hummer is "Consciousness Causes Collapse" which actually has more action than the first 2 tracks starts out with a beautiful flute solo, which eventually gives way to electronc sounds again and a spoken word reading by Leonard Cohen of part of the Tibetian Book of the Dead. This works well enough and adds to the recording, but it is a long, long span to get to this point.

This music flows into a more structured track, the comparatively short "The Equation" which makes for a strong track, even though it still stays with the overall sound, it continues in a direction that was started in the previous track. "The Abacus" actually finally introduces some percussive sounds to the ambience which still doesn't distract from the meditative nature of the album, but actually adds more to the album and it actually becomes as interesting as the best Bass Communion works. Last of all, "Cosmic Surf" starts off interestingly enough, but soon descends to sounds of waves with very little else. Eventually some bad spoken word clips are thrown in talking about corny new age book of life topics and that just seals the fate of the album. Meditative, yes, but except for a few interesting shorter tracks that make up the middle part of the album, this is overly long and not good for much else but meditation. As good as other Devin Townsend albums are, it was expected that at least the ambient works would have been better than this, but overall, this is a disappointment. 2 stars only.

 Jesu by JESU album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 15 ratings

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Jesu
Jesu Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars JESU is the creation of Justin Broadrick who needed a new project after the breakup of Godflesh. While on the debut EP "Heart Ache" it was a one man show, on this eponymous debut album he created a post-metal power trio by inviting bassist Diarmuid Darmuid (Cable Regime, Final, Iroha, Greymachine, Council Estate Electronics) and drummer Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Buckethead, Legendary Pink Dots, Killing Joke) to join the feedback and fuzz distortion party. The band adds extra bassists and drummers for touring to fill the thicker than reality sound spectrums heard on their studio albums where they achieve atmospheres that i never dreamed possible.

JESU creates an interesting hybrid of various strains of post-rock and industrial metal rhythms wrapped up in a sludgy drone feedback fuzz that more often than not bleeds into harsh shoegaze. While the first track "Your Path To Divinity" sounds like the drone metal band Earth meets Mogwai song structures, on the second track "Friends Are Evil" we hear a total change of sound bringing the industrial metal Godflesh ties to the forefront. This track is even more distorted and has interesting intermittent guitar squeals. The third track "Tired Of Me" takes another completely new sound altogether beginning with an ethereal and detached Sigur Ros type of sound. It moves on to a slow distorted march with Broadrick belting out his buried depressive lyrics from the suffocating din.

The beautiful thing about this album is how diverse the rhythms and melodies are despite the tones, timbres and distortion being fairly uniform. Post-rock and industrial doom metal trade places while a steady brutally dissonant melody is usually keeping the echoes and grungy noise in its proper boundaries. The vocals tend to be of the same style but there is a surprise on "Man / Woman" where they are more of a Neurosis type death metal growl. The tracks are quite lengthy with the shortest around the seven minute mark but somehow it all unfolds in a rather satisfying manner. Actually i feel like i hear some Kayo Dot influence on here as well especially from "Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue" album where power chords pummel the senses. The only difference is the dissonance and prog time sigs aren't as prominent.

While the distortion reminds me a lot of the drone metal Earth meets the sludge metal of Boris, JESU manage to incorporate enough variety throughout the 74:30 long album to keep me happy. The production is noisy as hell but professionally done as to eke out every possible note and rhythmic dynamism. This album has a hellish doomy feel like few others and seems only to get better as it progresses towards the final tracks. This is my first encounter with JESU but after discovering this excellent debut release, it certainly won't be my last. Don't let the post-rock packaging fool you. This is full-fledged shoegazy atmospheric post sludge metal all the way.

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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
AMBEON Netherlands
AMENRA Belgium
AMESOEURS France
AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE Italy
ANATHEMA United Kingdom
ANCESTORS United States
AND HARMONY DIES Italy
ANGEL EYES United States
ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA Spain
ANTIMATTER Multi-National
ANUBI Lithuania
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
APOCRYPHAL VOICE Finland
APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
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
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION United States
ATROX Norway
AUSSITÔT MORT France
THE AXIS OF PERDITION United Kingdom
AZIOLA CRY United States
BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
BARONESS United States
BAT CASTLE United States
BATTLE OF MICE United States
BATTLEFIELDS United States
BAUDA Chile
BEAK United States
BEECHER United Kingdom
BEFORE THE EYEWALL United States
BEHIND THE SUN Israel
BEING United States
ADRIAN BENAVIDES United States
BIRUSHANAH Japan
BISON B.C. Canada
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
BOTANIST United States
BRIDGES TO DREAMS Canada
BUNKUR Netherlands
BURIED INSIDE Canada
BURN DOWN ROME United Kingdom
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
DETERIOR United States
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL United Kingdom
DIESTO United States
DIGRESSION ASSASSINS Sweden
DIRGE France
DISAPPEARER United States
DIVINA ENEMA Belarus
DŘDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARINESS Italy
DYING SUN United States
EARTH United States
EAST OF THE WALL United States
EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES 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
HELLAS MOUNDS United States
HERETOIR Germany
HIPOSPADIA Spain
HUMANFLY United Kingdom
HYDRA Mexico
HYPNO5E France
IDENTIFIED United States
IDIOT SAINT CRAZY France
THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
IN.OVO Canada
INCOMING CEREBRAL OVERDRIVE Italy
INDUKTI Poland
INTER ARMA United States
INTRONAUT United States
IO United Kingdom
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
KHEMEĎA France
KHOMA Sweden
KHUDA United Kingdom
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KONG Netherlands
KONGH Sweden
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KRUGER Switzerland
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MAHESH Chile
MAMMOTH New Zealand
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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
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
NIHIL Serbia
NINTH MOON BLACK United States
NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
NOCTIS Australia
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NORTH United States
NOVEMBRE Italy
NUCLEUS TORN Switzerland
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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
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ORDO DRACONIS Netherlands
ŘRKENKJŘTT Norway
ORPHANED LAND Israel
ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
OSTROVA Spain
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY United States
OUTOPSYA Italy
OVERMARS France
PAN.THY.MONIUM Sweden
PANOPTICON United States
THE PAX CECILIA United States
PECCATUM Norway
PELICAN United States
PET SLIMMERS OF THE YEAR United Kingdom
PIKE Sweden
PINKLY SMOOTH United States
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PRISMA Switzerland
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THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
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QUBE Poland
QUESTIONER United States
RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
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RAINROOM Finland
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ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
RYOKUCHI Japan
SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SANNHET United States
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SCORCHED SHORE United States
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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SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STANDING OVATION Finland
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
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SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
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THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER United Kingdom
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TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
TENOCHTITLAN Russia
TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
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THANATOSCHIZO Portugal
THENCE Finland
THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
TIDES FROM NEBULA Poland
TIME ZERO United States
TITAN Canada
TODTGELICHTER Germany
TOMYDEEPESTEGO Italy
TOOL United States
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TOWN PORTAL Denmark
DEVIN TOWNSEND Canada
TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
TREPHINE United States
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TWIN ZERO United Kingdom
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UFOMAMMUT Italy
UNA CORDA United Kingdom
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USER NE Spain
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VED BUENS ENDE Norway
VIRGIN BLACK Australia
VIRUS Norway
VISCERA/// Italy
VOID United Kingdom
VOID OF SILENCE Italy
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
YAKUZA United States
YAVU Chile
YEAR OF NO LIGHT France
YOB United States
YTO SOLREISER Norway
ZEBULON PIKE United States
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ZOZOBRA United States
ZVOYN France

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