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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Experimental/Post Metal definition

 

Experimental Progressive Metal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Post Metal

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

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

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

Variations of Post-metal

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

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

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

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


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

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

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.22 | 1351 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.35 | 120 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.22 | 646 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.28 | 168 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.19 | 597 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 642 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.16 | 535 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.19 | 298 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.58 | 36 ratings
FEA JUR
Lye By Mistake
4.17 | 272 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 252 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.13 | 343 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.19 | 135 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.13 | 311 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.09 | 807 ratings
ÆNIMA
Tool
4.11 | 305 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.43 | 40 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.12 | 239 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.07 | 561 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.09 | 300 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land
4.05 | 845 ratings
WE'RE HERE BECAUSE WE'RE HERE
Anathema
4.07 | 322 ratings
THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND: SYNCHESTRA
Townsend, Devin
4.54 | 26 ratings
TűNő IDő TÁRLAT
Thy Catafalque
4.14 | 115 ratings
SOL NIGER WITHIN
Thordendal's Special Defects, Fredrik
4.14 | 107 ratings
THE PAINTER'S PALETTE
Ephel Duath
4.17 | 86 ratings
SUSPENDED ANIMATION DREAMS
Subterranean Masquerade
4.06 | 242 ratings
S.U.S.A.R.
Indukti
4.02 | 847 ratings
WEATHER SYSTEMS
Anathema
4.18 | 69 ratings
SOULS AT ZERO
Neurosis
4.10 | 117 ratings
OMNIO
In The Woods...
4.06 | 184 ratings
OCEANIC
Isis
4.58 | 21 ratings
MYSTER MÖBIUS
Myster Möbius
4.20 | 58 ratings
WRITTEN IN WATERS
Ved Buens Ende
4.02 | 276 ratings
ÉCAILLES DE LUNE
Alcest
4.37 | 29 ratings
THE LOCUST YEARS
Hammers of Misfortune
4.02 | 192 ratings
WAVERING RADIANT
Isis
3.99 | 284 ratings
OCEAN MACHINE - BIOMECH
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 51 ratings
THE MALEDICTION FIELDS
Fen
4.73 | 14 ratings
ELIL
Fall of Efrafa
3.97 | 309 ratings
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: EPICLOUD
Townsend, Devin
4.26 | 33 ratings
THE GALILEAN SATELLITES
Rosetta
4.08 | 76 ratings
PREHISTORICISMS
Intronaut
3.96 | 261 ratings
OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
OSI
4.20 | 37 ratings
A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS
Forest Of Stars, A
4.00 | 122 ratings
IF_THEN_ELSE
Gathering, The
3.94 | 385 ratings
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: DECONSTRUCTION
Townsend, Devin
3.99 | 138 ratings
EPOCH
Fen
4.02 | 81 ratings
LEAVING EDEN
Antimatter
3.97 | 135 ratings
NIGHTTIME BIRDS
Gathering, The
4.36 | 21 ratings
ABSOLUTE ZERO
Tetrafusion
4.18 | 34 ratings
UNDERSTANDING CONSEQUENCES
Day Without Dawn
3.94 | 219 ratings
THE DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND: ACCELERATED EVOLUTION
Townsend, Devin
4.01 | 78 ratings
A SUN THAT NEVER SETS
Neurosis
3.90 | 514 ratings
A NATURAL DISASTER
Anathema
3.93 | 193 ratings
MARROW OF THE SPIRIT
Agalloch
4.51 | 15 ratings
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The
4.10 | 40 ratings
PAINTING ON GLASS
3rd And The Mortal, The
4.79 | 10 ratings
KENTUCKY
Panopticon
4.24 | 25 ratings
TOUNDRA III
Toundra
4.16 | 32 ratings
MANTIIS
Obsidian Kingdom
3.96 | 105 ratings
VERTIKAL
Cult of Luna
4.11 | 38 ratings
SEA OF THE DYING DHOW
*Shels
3.98 | 78 ratings
PRECAMBRIAN
Ocean, The
4.02 | 58 ratings
TEETHED GLORY AND INJURY
Altar of Plagues
3.92 | 150 ratings
GORDIAN KNOT
Gordian Knot
4.41 | 16 ratings
MELANCHOLIE²
ColdWorld
3.93 | 114 ratings
PELAGIAL
Ocean, The
4.04 | 47 ratings
RENGETEG
Thy Catafalque
4.02 | 50 ratings
HEART OF THE AGES
In The Woods...
4.06 | 41 ratings
BLESSED ARE THE BONDS
Pax Cecilia, The
3.88 | 268 ratings
THE NEVER ENDING WAY OF ORWARRIOR
Orphaned Land
4.79 | 9 ratings
BAR-DO TRAVEL
Proghma-C
3.90 | 155 ratings
HOW TO MEASURE A PLANET ?
Gathering, The
4.78 | 9 ratings
ACID MIST TOMORROW
Hypno5e
4.68 | 10 ratings
DEPARTURE SONGS
We Lost the Sea
3.99 | 58 ratings
THE BEES MADE HONEY IN THE LION'S SKULL
Earth
4.24 | 21 ratings
AFFLICTION XXIX II MXMVI
Blindead
4.40 | 15 ratings
DEAD AS DREAMS
Weakling
3.91 | 129 ratings
SOUVENIRS D'UN AUTRE MONDE
Alcest
4.00 | 52 ratings
COGNITIVE
Soen
3.95 | 77 ratings
ANTHROPOCENTRIC
Ocean, The
4.27 | 19 ratings
CENOTES
Giant Squid
3.94 | 81 ratings
THE EYE OF EVERY STORM
Neurosis
4.08 | 34 ratings
SELENELION
Vaura
4.08 | 33 ratings
OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING
Forest Of Stars, A
4.01 | 46 ratings
PLAINS OF THE PURPLE BUFFALO
*Shels
3.88 | 167 ratings
MANDYLION
Gathering, The
4.14 | 26 ratings
CARHEART
Virus
3.86 | 305 ratings
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: ADDICTED
Townsend, Devin
4.26 | 19 ratings
NOIR
Callisto
3.84 | 823 ratings
10,000 DAYS
Tool
4.19 | 21 ratings
THE RITUAL FIRES OF ABANDONMENT
Minsk
3.93 | 75 ratings
OI MAGOI
Hail Spirit Noir
4.68 | 9 ratings
MEMORIA VETUSTA III: SATURNIAN POETRY
Blut Aus Nord
3.85 | 295 ratings
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT: KI
Townsend, Devin
4.24 | 18 ratings
THE HABIT OF FIRE
Kekal
3.88 | 135 ratings
THE ACOUSTIC VERSES
Green Carnation
3.83 | 451 ratings
A FINE DAY TO EXIT
Anathema
3.92 | 77 ratings
EXISTENCE
Dark Suns
3.96 | 54 ratings
THE IMAGINARY DIRECTION OF TIME
Winds

Experimental/Post Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Experimental/Post Metal experts team

A NEW WORLD?
Drawn
THE SECOND PHILOSOPHY
Nahemah
TERRAFORMING
Postman Syndrome, The
IRLYA - IL Y A -
Mutyumu

Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 The January Tree  by DEADSOUL TRIBE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.68 | 92 ratings

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The January Tree
DeadSoul Tribe Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "The January Tree" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Austrian/US progressive metal act Deadsoul Tribe. The album was released through InsideOut Music in August 2004. While the band´s preceding album release "A Murder of Crows (2003)" was recorded by a full lineup, band leader Devon Graves opted to record "The January Tree" almost entirely by himself. He plays and sings everything except for the drums on the album, which are recorded by Adel Moustafa. So the two other members of the band are reduced to touring members. A concept Graves would also use on the next two Deadsoul Tribe albums.

The music on the album continues the predominantly vers/chorus structured progressive metal style of it´s two predecessors and doesn´t add much new to the band´s discography in the way of innovation. It´s an album were it very much feels like Deadsoul Tribe had found a music style they were comfortable with and therefore didn´t feel the need to develop upon. As a result "The January Tree" is a solid release but it´s also a very "safe" release.

Musically we´re treated to heavy distorted riffs, some acoustic sections, lead harmony melodies, rhythmic drumming, and Devon Graves distinct sounding vocals on top. The material is relatively well written, but few tracks stand out. I´d mention "The Coldest Days of Winter" and "Wings of Faith" as some of the highlights, but overall it´s more a solid release than an outstanding one.

The slightly flat impression I get when listening to "The January Tree" also has a lot to do with the way the album is produced. Considering how often Devon Graves (who acts as producer on this album) has spoken of his love for organic sounding artists like Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Jethro Tull, it´s odd how artificial this production sounds. The drums are clicky and flat sounding, and the rest of the instruments and the vocals has a digital tone to them, which isn´t very suiting.

So upon conclusion "The January Tree" is an album which leaves me a bit biased, because objectively it´s a solid release featuring a professional sound production, decent songwriting, and strong musicianship, but it´s like the sum of the parts, just don´t add up to an album that´s extraordinary. Less will do though, and "The January Tree" is overall a decent release by Deadsoul Tribe and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still warranted.

 Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence by TOWNSEND, DEVIN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.57 | 84 ratings

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Devin Townsend Project: Transcendence
Devin Townsend Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Townsend's 10-year streak of winning output continues with Transcendence, an album that, while somewhat lacking the artist's usual stamp of creativity and ambition, is never the less a worthy purchase for fans. This release sees Devin continuing in the niche that he's sort of created for himself--ultra modern, highly produced, dynamic, electric, and powerfully emotive prog-metal.

Taken by itself, I don't have any serious criticism for this album. Townsend is a consummate musician and songwriter. The layers of nuance are thick on each song of Transcendence, each song being a sort of standalone mini-epic. You'll be roused, smashed to pieces, left to drift back to consciousness, only lifted up through prog-metal catharsis that is uniquely Townsend and uniquely excellent. "Failure" especially stands out as a highlight throughout Devin's library; it's a showcase of his massive guitar sound, powerfully minimalist and effective lyrics, and sense of pacing.

As a serious fan of Townsend's music, I do have a few quibbles though. At this point Devin feels like he's coasting. These mini-epics that I describe don't flow well, and the album itself doesn't encapsulate a sonic narrative the way his previous works have. That, combined with predictability of the work, make Transcendence a 3-star release. It's hard to argue that Townsend is anything other than a top performer in the genre, but I think most will agree that this album represents him playing it safe.

In the end, I'm very thankful for artists like Townsend, who have given us a staggering large amount of excellent music. Few reading this will find anything in Transcendence that turns them off to the experience, and maybe some will find it as a gateway into Devin's excellent prog-metal output. The rest of us will eagerly await what crazy thing he comes up with next ... although maybe after a brief hiatus to recharge his inspiration.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.57 | 103 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've been a pretty huge fan of this band over the years so I was really pumped when I heard they were doing an album that was to close the chapter on "A Fine Day To Exit" from 2001. This isn't a new idea but one that is intriguing to say the least. But why bother? Well back in 2001 the critics were all over this band for the apparent positive spin on suicide based on that album cover showing a car parked on the beach with a man's clothes and shoes cast on the beach with him nowhere to be seen. In the car we see notes including one that has "A Fine Day To Exit" on it, plus there's beer cans, a liquor bottle, a cell phone with "missed call" on it, a bottle of pills and a gun. Also a picture of him, his wife and son. The man was on a mission to end his life but the question is why? And did he? Well there wouldn't be a part two if he had drowned in the water which I think is something you would know if you listened to the ending of that album. I stated in my review at the time that he was still alive based on that final track.

So maybe this is an answer to the critics but I also feel it's closure to an album that had more questions than answers. Having said that they really keep things close to the vest as to why he was going to end his life leaving a lot of hints on this record in the process. They seemed pretty intent on putting a positive spin on this one and hence on "A Fine Day To Exit" even with the title of this record. This feels like they're changing the perceived negativity that many had for "A Fine Day To Exit". Also they even have their name on this album spelled differently as ANA_THEMA. I would describe the music and lyrics as meaningful and emotional. More electronics than ever and the sound is fairly stripped down with plenty of piano at times. Travis Smith takes care of the art work once again.

So what's this all about? Well I can't be sure but based on a couple of things I think he may have lost his son which was the reason for the suicidal attitude. Just a hunch based on the album cover of "A Fine Day To Exit" which shows the face of a boy in that car parked on the beach. On the back cover of the same album the father is shown driving at night and seeing this boy on the road. Clearly a ghost and "The Optimist" has a song called "Ghosts" but perhaps the biggest detail is the final moments of this album where our subject pulls up to a house knocks on the door and as it opens there's a pause and then he says "How are you?"(he's back) then minutes of silence before we hear our subject years later I believe playing with his new baby son as birds chirp. He's so happy here unlike the recent past. The Optimist indeed.

"32.63N 117.14W" is the exact coordinates of Silver Strand Beach in San Diego California where our story takes place. Love the connection between the two albums as the seemingly never ending waves that ended "A Fine Day To Exit" start us off here as we hear our subject breathing very heavily as he gets back into his car and starts it up. Then he starts to find a radio station. It ends with electronic beats and this blends into "Leaving It Behind" a top three track for me. I really like the guitar that joins the beats as male vocals also join in. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in and it's even fuller before 2 1/2 minutes as they rip it up here. Nice. Back to the beats and atmosphere before 3 minutes.

"Endless Ways" is where we hear the wondrous vocals of Lee Douglas. She joins the piano that opens the song then beats and strings are added before it kicks in to a more powerful sound a minute later. His cell phone can be heard ringing(poor wife). "The Optimist" starts with piano as male vocals join in. Lee comes in as well giving us a rare listen to ANATHEMA having male and female vocals working together. Strings too then we get a full sound after 2 minutes. A calm with strings before 3 minutes then it builds to a full instrumental sound as Lee then offers up some passionate vocal melodies. A calm after 5 minutes ends it.

"San Francisco" is maybe where our subject went eventually after not going through with the suicide. This is a fast paced instrumental as we get piano and electronic beats at first and there's more depth of sound before 3 1/2 minutes. A train can be heard to end it. "Springfield" is my favourite song on here. Relaxed guitar to start and it's sparse. Piano too along with atmosphere then drums. Lee comes in singing this line over and over "How did I get here, I don't belong here". Love the Post-Rock guitars that absolutely light up the soundscape. So much emotion here. Whispered male words with sirens in the background ends it.

"Ghosts" is spacey before Lee along with piano and drums take over. Her voice sounds so beautiful here after a minute. Lots of atmosphere too. "Can't Let Go" is a top three for me. Some energy here with busy drumming, guitar and male vocals. The music ends and then you can hear someone walking, opening and closing a door then turning on the radio. "Close Your Eyes" opens with relaxed piano in atmosphere as Lee comes in singing slowly. Some guest trombone before 2 1/2 minutes with a beat as the vocals step aside briefly. "Wild Fires" is something California knows all too well. Piano as male vocals come and go. Electronic beats after 2 minutes then it kicks in heavily before 3 1/2 minutes. It settles down before 5 minutes and waves can be heard as it blends into "Back To The Start" the almost 12 minute closer.

There are minutes of silence here which are important to the story. Acoustic guitar joins the waves then reserved male vocals. A fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes minus the waves. Orchestral sounds after 4 minutes as the vocals stop. They're back after 5 minutes. The music fades away after 7 minutes as we hear a knock at a door and as it opens a pause before he says "How are you?" After minutes of silence which I believe represent years we get acoustic guitar along with birds chirping and the sound of a baby boy talking with his dad. Our subject is so happy to be with his new son. The optimist.

I'm probably way off here with my thoughts on what the two albums are all about but I have to say the concept adds to my rating here. The music while having many incredible moments needed that extra bump from the lyrics to be a 4 star album which I believe it is. I also know like Drew mentions in his review that months with this could bump it up even higher. Man has this band changed it's stripes over the years.

 Vagabond by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 11 ratings

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Vagabond
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US formed, Israel based band SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE have been around for two decades at this point. Those 20 years have seen them release two EPs and three full length albums. "Vagabond" is the most recent of the latter and was released through Swedish label ViciSolum Records in the early fall of 2017.

This is a band that made a name and a reputation for themselves as a highly creative progressive metal band back in the day. These days I'd say that they are primarily a progressive rock band, using elements from progressive metal to flavor their compositions rather than the other way around. That being said, these folks are rather more creative and innovative than merely combining genre elements from these two genres, as there is a lot going on here in addition to that.

Even of one didn't know that this band operates out of Israel, most people would probably guess as much. If not pinpointing this band specifically to Israel then at least to the Middle East. This due to the liberal amount of world music elements from that region that is a mainstay throughout this album. Additional percussion details, violins using the tonal range particular to that part of the world, reeds and brass doing pretty much the same, and occasionally also female backing vocals of the kind you would have to be uninformed to not categorically place somewhere in the Middle East as far as origins goes.

These elements are used in material that does, indeed, combine elements from progressive metal into a greater whole that correlates closer with progressive rock. Folk music details are obviously a big part of this greater picture too, and a few token jazzier details does appear here and there too. The saxophone is used frequently throughout as well, complementing both the rock and the metal oriented escapades, and effectively in both modes too I should add. The piano also has a central role throughout, often alternating with the organ to supplement whatever guitar mode that is present - be it wandering plucked guitars, firm guitar licks or more majestic and dominant metal riffs.

The band have opted for clean lead vocals in the greater majority of the vocal sequences, but still with room for some dark growls to take over now and then, either taking the lead vocal spot or as an underlying contrast to the clean and melodic lead vocals. Both aspects works very well too, surprisingly also when the band isn't operating inside a metal context.

Subterranean Masquerade describes themselves as a symphonic prog powerhouse these days, and that description comes across as rather appropriate. More progressive rock than progressive metal these days, and with something of an emphasis on easy to like material. Despite some rather advanced structures here and there this album comes across as both compelling and inviting, a production that should have a fairly broad reach despite of rather than because of it's at times complex and sophisticated movements.

A slight letdown is the cover of Bowie's classic Space Oddity at the very end. It is difficult to replicate the sheer amount of emotion in this song, especially when you decide to alter the song, even if only ever so slightly. In this case by reducing pace and adding a darker, heavier sheen, plus adding violins at the end to possibly emphasize the drama. This take on it is rather good, but it lacks the momentum and subtle emotional grip of the original. An interesting cover, but not a cut that elevates the overall album experience as far as I'm concerned.

If you tend to enjoy innovative and creative progressive rock, and finds the notion of a band that blends in a liberal amount of world music elements, quite a few metal touches and a select few extreme metal details into a progressive rock context to be appealing, then this latest production from Subterranean Masquerade is one that warrants an inspection.

 Écailles De Lune by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.02 | 276 ratings

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Écailles De Lune
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by ProgAlia

5 stars The main word that comes to mind for this album: Gorgeous. A few others: Ethereal, dreamy, lush, soothing. Maybe sometimes also intense or somber. It's a succinct and heavily atmospheric album that knows its sound and knows what it wants to do with it, and thus ends up being quite a joy to listen to. I like the unpredictability of the songs.The harsh vocals bring a whole new level to Alcest's music. Far from being depressing, this album is beautiful, tinged with nostalgia as always. ALCEST combines several elements from shoegaze, black metal, ambient, and progressive all into one album. which is extremely impressive and something not a lot of bands can pull off and sound GREAT doing it. For fans of atmosphere and relatively pleasant-sounding, Écailles de lune is one of the most interesting and fascinating albums you will ever hear.
 Ex Eye by EX EYE album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.03 | 10 ratings

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Ex Eye
Ex Eye Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars EX EYE are a new band out of the USA but the members are all experienced musicians to say the least. Colin Stetson is incredible on sax while SECRET CHIEFS 3 multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily adds bass and synths. We also get Toby Summerfield on guitar and Greg Fox on drums rounding out the lineup. These guys had helped Colin with one of his solo albums and they decided to get together to make some music of their own. The music reminded me somewhat of the American band YETI. This is Post-Metal and it's dark and usually quite intense and powerful. It's all instrumental with four tracks although I did get the bonus track with the download.

"Xenolith; The Anvil" gets us started and it's drums and a heavy sound right from the first notes but it settles quickly with synths and drums. The guitar does come in over top in the Post-Rock tradition. The sax runs come and go starting 2 1/2 minutes in.

"Opposition/ Perihelion; The Coil" is uptempo with the guitar and drums standing out. Intense is the word. It settles back after 2 minutes tempo-wise but it's still intense. It kicks in again after 2 1/2 minutes including some great sounding bass. The guitar is ripping it up then some powerful pulsating sounds kick in before 4 1/2 minutes. Just an all out assault really that includes sax after 5 minutes. A dark calm before 6 minutes as sounds like drums and bass come and go, sax too. Love this section. It starts to wind down late as we get an experimental ending.

"Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc" could be the soundtrack to the apocalypse. A dark atmosphere to start with guitar expressions and more. Drums start to slowly beat as they come and go starting before 1 1/2 minutes. Synths sort of drone in and out as well as it slowly builds, sax too. The intensity is rising quickly before 4 minutes. So powerful and it's unrelenting until before 5 minutes as we get some minor relief with the sax and drums coming to the fore. The sax then steps aside and the sound will start to become more intense like earlier. Is that someone crying out before 8 1/2 minutes? Sax follows. It's almost doom-like before 11 minutes. So dark and haunting when it settles back and this continues right to the end.

"Form Constant; The Grid" opens with sax and pulsating sounds. The drums start to beat after 1 1/2 minutes and picked guitar joins in as well. A heavier, doomy sound takes over before 3 minutes. It does lighten up some and takes off before 4 1/2 minutes with Post-Rock styled guitar. This is still heavy and the sax is still lighting it up.

"Tten Crown; The Corrupter" is a bonus track but it really should be part of the main album in my opinion. It is similar to the rest but I would describe it as being more innovative and interesting. My favourite really but bonus tracks don't affect my rating either positively or negatively when I do reviews. I really like the guitar around 5 1/2 minutes.

This is one dark and intense album that ticks a lot of boxes for me when we're talking Post-Metal. Each member really blows me away here with their skills.

 Time & Withering by MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.31 | 7 ratings

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Time & Withering
Mouth of the Architect Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars The departure of MotA, and the back to their roots. "Time & Withering" has been released in 2004 as MotA's debut album, and they've remastered and rereleased this album in 2017, finally. I'm interested and quite curious if they would grab the debut stuff out and squeeze their newer intention into it, and my expectation's been guaranteed obviously.

Easily imagined that the first shot "A Vivid Chaos" should get to be their sound basis. As the title says, vivid, young and promising flavour with hints of some post-metal vanguards can be heard, filled with distorted voices and exaggerated guitar plays, all of which can be thought veteran too, surprisingly. Again mentioned, the basis of MotA. The following "Soil To Stone" sounds deep and onyx leaning towards Japanese traditional (aka 'enka-ish') melody line ... its oriental taste could get sympathized with also by Asian, especially Japanese rock fans. Beautiful atmosphere veiled in hardcore voices and metallic instrumental rumble is another characteristic of MotA, let me say. Impressive is distorted violin vibe like David Cross in the shortest track "Heart Eaters". Heavy guitar attachment as if beneath the deep green sea should completely eat not only our heart but also whole body. Mass of the simple repetition of the same phrase cannot bore us but improve our musical motivation definitely. The last 'must' one "The Worm" could remind the audience of a worm wandering out from the underground, I guess. Along with kind of Krautrock-ish psych-electro texture all around the stuff, dramatic keyboard phrases and massive heavy guitar movements go forward, based upon inorganically strict drumming and bass plays ... like the dark, lonely life of a small invertebrate. Amazing is such a comfortable aftertaste of this track, flooded with warmness regardless of post-metallic loudness and dissection.

Kinda treasure.

 Vagabond by SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.95 | 11 ratings

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Vagabond
Subterranean Masquerade Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Sagichim
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars That one came out as a surprise for me, I wasn't expecting another album by the band so soon, after waiting for about 10 years between the highly regarded debut Suspended Animation Dream and The Great Bazaar, this is a treat especially considering that this has now become my favorite album by them. So this is the third album by multinational band Subterranean Masquerade, now seems to be comprised mostly by Israeli musicians, the line up from the previous album is pretty much intact, only with a slight change Paul Kuhr is not participating this time. The album continues where the previous Great Bazaar album stopped. More over the middle eastern influences picked up in the Great Bazaar are even more evident and now brought to perfection, also the orchestral almost symphonic influences are still present, helped by the heavy growling and the metalic nature of the bands sound, giving the music a very rich and colorful blend. Strangely enough although the music is metalic and some impressive growling vocals are involved (sparsely actually) the outcome is not that heavy because, first of all the always present rich instrumentation softens the music, but also the melodic nature of the songs, and the somewhat cheerful vocals of Kjetil Nordhus (Green Carnation) definitely do the trick. The arrangements overall and particularly to string instruments, and brass are stellar, a real craftmanship. I love how every part with its own different instrumentation flows so naturally to the other, making this a very fluid and accessible album.

Place for Fairy-tales is a fantastic opener, going through several parts, from the middle eastern falvored intro it then continues with a saxophone and piano, great sound! it gets heavier half way while the saxophone is wailing and continues to a middle eastern party, the Orphaned Land connotation is inevitable here. Nomad although doesn't abandon the middle eastern influences, is perhaps the heaviest song on the album introducing us to Eliran Weitzman growling, man this guy is good! his vocals suits the music perfectly adding that missing edge to the metalic riffing. Kippur is another killer track here, beginning like something off of Yossi Sassi's head (Orphaned Land) an exploding klezmer metalic riff drive the song until it slows down to the sound of vocals and no less than an accordion! top that with some violins as the growling comes back, this is good. Half way through distortions gives way to a danceable 80's like synth, I did not see this coming, beautiful work. Daled Bavos is again a very rich and textured instrumental, besides the excellent melting pot of heavy metal and middle eastern influences, there's some beautiful emotional playing here, check out those clarinets and violins! The final Hymn Of The Vagabond again blending all the band's styles together in a perfect way, there's a strong Indian feel here with tablas and female vocals, all go together so well as the songs ends in a big celebration. I can't help but feel that the David Bowie Space Oddity cover closing the album is out of place, there isn't much to it only it is played slower with an almost doomish flavor, good but nothing special.

Subterranean Masquerade continues to push the boundaries of their music to the point where the debut now is entirely different beast. This is their most coherent album imo, and marks a peak in their creativity, songwriting and sound. Don't miss on this album! Easy 4 stars.

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.57 | 103 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

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

5 stars A collection of wonderfully engaging, melodic songs all melding together quite well.

1. "32.63n 117.14w" (1:18) more like a dramatic intro to a radio theatre play.

2. "Leaving It Behind" (4:27) computer rhythm track of pops and clicks with guitars and vocals for the first two minutes before the drums and full band join in. Driving and insistent and typical of the band, though a bit more hard and heavy than recent songs. Good song. (8/10)

3. "Endless Ways" (5:49) A sensitive piano-based song featuring the incredible vocal talents of Lee Douglas from start to finish, this is just one awesomely beautiful song--one of the best songs I've heard all year. In true Post Rock fashion, it builds and crescendos, yet it never loses its heart-wrenching, romantic spirit--thanks to the stupendous performance and presentation of Douglas's vocal. Plus, I adore its chosen message. "The dream I created." Say no more. (10/10)

4. "The Optimist" (5:37) opens as if a reprise of the previous song, but then one of the Cavanaugh brothers's voices enters to tell you differently. (Lee does pop up in the background at the end of the first and second minutes.) It does take over two minutes until the full band joins in, but that's about my only complaint to this beautiful song. I love it when the band use orchestral support (as in the album Falling Deeper--my favorite album they've ever done) and the fact that the final two minutes is a Post Rock instrumental, buildup, crescendo, and fade. (9/10)

5. "San Francisco" (4:59) again there is a tremendous familiarity to the piano opening of this song--like I've already heard it in a variation on this very same album--but then, as it plays out as an instrumental, we are treated to the buildup coming from--surprise--the computerized rhythms (and, later, synthesizers). It could almost qualify as a house/rave song! Still, a very satisfying, engaging song, start to finish. (9.5/10)

6. "Springfield" (5:49) a true Post Rock song with Lee Douglas's haunting background repetitions of "How did I get here?" and "I don't belong here" the most memorable parts. (8.5/10)

7. "Ghosts" (4:17) another stunning piano-based song featuring Lee Douglas on lead vocals. I like the drum play here very much. (9/10)

8. "Can't Let Go" (5:00) a true rock song--a good one! (8.5/10)

9. "Close Your Eyes" (3:39) a true jazz torch song. Very much like a sensitive, masterful Kate BUSH piano-based song from her last 50 Words for Snow album. Cool! (9/10)

10. "Wildfires" (5:40) could be an ULVER song (whichmakes sense since the Cavanaugh brothers have been working with Garm and crew a lot over the past few years)! Awesome and powerful! Amazing crescendo! (9.5/10)

11. "Back To The Start" (11:41) a great, sensitive 7-minute prog song (' la STEVEN WILSON) followed by four minutes of emptiness and then four minutes of vacuous family stuff that does not belong on the album. Too bad! (9/10)

A minor masterpiece of progressive rock music. I like their sound, love the songs, and, after five months with the album, I'm finally convinced that this one is ready for the elevated status.

 Marrow Of The Spirit by AGALLOCH album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.93 | 193 ratings

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Marrow Of The Spirit
Agalloch Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

5 stars I absolutely love Agalloch, and this atmospheric black metal genre. I have other bands that fit this style of music, but none that are as good as Agalloch. There is a reason why Agalloch is being used as a tag for other web sites, and why groups are compared to them. They are absolutely the best at what they do. I can change my mind each week as to which album is my favorite, but I always return to Marrow of the Spirit. Into the Painted Grey is just a stunning work of art, and all the surrounding tracks are just as stellar. Marrow of the Spirit is likely their most atmospheric full album excluding singles and EPs. I find Agalloch to be one of my favorite bands to work to, and this album in particular, is just perfection. It is highly recommended as a starting point into this fantastic band.
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Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
*SHELS United States
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
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AABSINTHE France
ABANDON Sweden
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AND HARMONY DIES Italy
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ANUBI Lithuania
AORIA Sweden
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
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APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
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THE ARKITECHT Mexico
ARKTIKA Germany
AS LIGHT DIES Spain
ASIDEFROMADAY France
ASPIRATION Norway
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AT THE SOUNDAWN Italy
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ATMOSPHERES Belgium
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ATROX Norway
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BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
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BIRUSHANAH Japan
BISON B.C. Canada
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BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
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BRAIN TENTACLES 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
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DARK SUNS Germany
DARKESTRAH Germany
DARKSPACE Switzerland
DAUGHTERS OF FISSION United States
DAY WITHOUT DAWN United States
DE OMEGA United States
DEADBIRD United States
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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
DØDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARE Czech Republic
DREARINESS Italy
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ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EGOIST Poland
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ELLIPSIS France
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EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
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ENDNAME Russia
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ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
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EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
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FLEURETY Norway
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A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
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FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
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THE GATHERING Netherlands
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GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
GNAW THEIR TONGUES Netherlands
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THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
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THE GREAT OLD ONES France
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HAIKU FUNERAL Multi-National
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HAND United Kingdom
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HEIRS Australia
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HVOSCH Russia
HYDRA Mexico
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IDENTIFIED United States
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THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
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INDUKTI Poland
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IO United Kingdom
ION United States
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IRONWOOD Australia
IRREVERSIBLE United States
ISIS United States
ISTHMUS United States
IZAH Netherlands
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OLIVER KAAH Finland
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NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
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THE OCEAN DOESN'T WANT ME South Africa
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OMB Israel
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ØRKENKJØTT Norway
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ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
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OUTRUN THE SUNLIGHT United States
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PAN.THY.MONIUM Sweden
PANOPTICON United States
THE PAX CECILIA United States
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PET SLIMMERS OF THE YEAR United Kingdom
PIKE Sweden
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THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
PRYAPISME France
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PYRAMIDS United States
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QUBE Poland
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RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
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RAINROOM Finland
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REFRACTION Ireland
THE REPTILIANS United States
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ROSETTA United States
ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
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SEPIA DREAMER Sweden
SEVEN United States
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SHRINEBUILDER United States
SIGH Japan
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SLEEP MAPS United States
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SMOHALLA France
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SOEN Multi-National
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SPACEKING Russia
SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STALINGRAD Spain
STANDING OVATION Finland
STARE AT THE CLOUDS Australia
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Multi-National
SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUMAC Multi-National
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SUPERCONTINENT United States
THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
SYDERALUS Argentina
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TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
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TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
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THENCE Finland
FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
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TIME ZERO United States
TITAN Canada
TODTGELICHTER Germany
TOMYDEEPESTEGO Italy
TOOL United States
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TOWN PORTAL Denmark
DEVIN TOWNSEND Canada
TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
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UNEXPECT Canada
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USER NE Spain
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VIRUS Norway
VISCERA/// Italy
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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
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ZOZOBRA United States
ZVOYN France

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