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PROGRESSIVE METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Progressive Metal definition

This category represents the core movement of what is called "Progressive Metal" in the literal sense. It is a subgenre of progressive rock as much as it is a subgenre of heavy metal, and this is how its sound is defined: a blend of heavy, guitar-oriented metal music enriched with compositional innovation and complex arrangements, usually expressed through diverse instrumentation and often (but not always) with odd-time signatures. Common, but not essential to define the movement, are the frequent use of keyboards, high-pitched vocals, concept lyrical themes and tracks of longer duration. Similar to progressive rock, progressive metal draws influences from other genres, such as jazz/fusion, ethnic, classical and symphonic music.

The Origins:
The heavy sound of some of the progressive rock bands of the 70's has been one of the building blocks on which progressive metal was raised. Progressive rock pioneers such as KING CRIMSON and RUSH have often been acclaimed as the main influences of progressive metal bands. The other major influence has been the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) movement, and especially the twin-guitar arrangements of IRON MAIDEN, which have left their stamp on the early stages of the genre's development.

The Pioneers:
Often (and not unjustifiably) referred to as the "Big Three" of progressive metal, QUEENSRYCHE, FATES WARNING and DREAM THEATER have set the scene of what was to follow in the movement. The defining era for the genre was the second half of the 80's, among QUEENSRYCHE's "The Warning" (1984) and (most explicitly) "Rage for Order" (1986) along with FATES WARNING's "Awaken the Guardian" (1986) and "No Exit" (1988) releases. The former evolved on their pure American power metal beginnings, while the latter refined their technical/NWOBHM-influenced metal into more progressive forms. Although producing demos since the mid-80's as MAJESTY, DREAM THEATER's first release came in 1989 with "A Dream and Day Unite". The innovative use of keyboards along with influences from American heavy/power metal and progressive rock produced an original blend which was to be further refined in 1992's "Images and Words", which until this day remains next to "Progressive Metal" definition in any musical dictionary.

Among the pioneers of the genre, but enjoying less success and popularity, were PSYCHOTIC WALTZ and SIEGES EVEN. The former were essentially playing progressive metal as ASLAN in the mid-80's and developed a highly eclectic sound in the 90's. The latter's debut classifies them among the European prog-thrash pioneers but their music evolved to more melodic patterns and heavily influenced by RUSH in the early 90's.


Progressive metal is difficult to further divide in sub-genres but a number of tendencies or movements have been critical to the evolvement of its sound.

Traditional Progressive Metal
The style developed by the pioneers was fully established in the 1990s and includes a range of bands from the two sides of the Atlantic. Good examples in this movement are SAVATAGE, who expanded their heavy metal beginnings with operatic and progressive elements in late 80's/early 90's, while SHADOW GALLERY and SYMPHONY X emerged with a unique sound, each embodying a strong theatrical, symphonic and melodic approach. In Europe, SOUL CAGES continued the legacy of SIEGES EVEN in a more artistic path.

Power-Progressive Metal (American style)
The legacy of RIOT (the counterpart of NWOBHM sound in USA) and the early releases of QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING heavily influenced a number of bands that were to develop a common sound towards the late 80's. Among the well-known representatives of what is called American Power Metal (e.g. VICIOUS RUMORS, HELSTAR), a small number of bands enriched their sound with progressive and epic elements. Probably, the most obvious examples of this movement are CRIMSON GLORY and HEIR APPARENT.

Power-Progressive Metal (European style)
This category includes a broad range of bands that could sound fairly dissimilar to each other but their music is significantly influenced by the European Power Metal (primarily German) bands of the 80's (e.g. HELLOWEEN, RAGE, RUNNING WILD). The earliest examples are probably BLIND GUARDIAN, ANGRA (although Brazilian, their sound is mainly European) and CONCEPTION. Slightly later, VANDEN PLAS, ROYAL HUNT, ELDRITCH and LABYRINTH gave rise to the popularity of the genre in Germany, Denmark and Italy respectively. The symphonic and neo-classical elements (made popular by YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) also found their way through power metal with bands like RHAPSODY OF FIRE and NIGHTWISH, whose style does not qualify as being progressive for many people. Nevertheless their music is quite demanding to play and contains many elements of serious classical composition and form.

Modern Progressive Metal
The second half of the 90's and the early 00's also saw newly formed bands expanding the boundaries of Traditional Progressive Metal via a number of ways: introducing electronic/spacey elements, investing heavily in lyricality and/or syncopation and further rhythmical experimentation. Also the idea of thematically conceptual albums has returned in accord with the practices of the Progressive Metal pioneers. Well-known examples in this category are AYREON, PAIN OF SALVATION and RIVERSIDE.


--- Definition by Thanos and the Progressive Metal Team, January 2012 ---

The Progressive Metal Team are: (9/10/2023)
Gordy
Cristi
Sebastian (Kempokid)
Brendan (Necrotica)

Progressive Metal Top Albums


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

4.31 | 3236 ratings
METROPOLIS PART 2 - SCENES FROM A MEMORY
Dream Theater
4.31 | 3166 ratings
IMAGES AND WORDS
Dream Theater
4.25 | 1867 ratings
SECOND LIFE SYNDROME
Riverside
4.24 | 1200 ratings
OPERATION: MINDCRIME
Queensr˙che
4.24 | 1286 ratings
REMEDY LANE
Pain Of Salvation
4.23 | 1337 ratings
THE PERFECT ELEMENT - PART 1
Pain Of Salvation
4.22 | 1424 ratings
ANNO DOMINI HIGH DEFINITION
Riverside
4.20 | 1306 ratings
OUT OF MYSELF
Riverside
4.20 | 1242 ratings
THE HUMAN EQUATION
Ayreon
4.16 | 2174 ratings
SIX DEGREES OF INNER TURBULENCE
Dream Theater
4.16 | 2313 ratings
AWAKE
Dream Theater
4.14 | 790 ratings
V - THE NEW MYTHOLOGY SUITE
Symphony X
4.16 | 451 ratings
A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY
Fates Warning
4.14 | 813 ratings
INTO THE ELECTRIC CASTLE
Ayreon
4.15 | 419 ratings
THE ART OF NAVIGATING BY THE STARS
Sieges Even
4.13 | 647 ratings
THE DIVINE WINGS OF TRAGEDY
Symphony X
4.17 | 283 ratings
TEMPLE OF SHADOWS
Angra
4.47 | 55 ratings
CHARCOAL GRACE
Caligula's Horse
4.36 | 77 ratings
STRANGERS
Scardust
4.21 | 174 ratings
PARADOX
Royal Hunt

Progressive Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

WHEN TIME FADES...
Suspyre
WALKING ON H20
Mind's Eye
CIRCLES
Chinese Firedrill, A
THE LITTLE BOY'S HEAVY MENTAL SHADOW OPERA ABOUT THE INHABITANTS OF HIS DIARY
Abydos

Latest Progressive Metal Music Reviews


 Halo by AMORPHIS album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.09 | 3 ratings

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Halo
Amorphis Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars AMORPHIS is one of those bands that has certainly earned its place in metal history as one of Finland's most successful bands that has consistently cranked out albums for the last 30 years beginning with its death doom debut 'The Karelian Isthmus.' Probably most famous for its popularizing of folk death metal with its lauded 'Tales From The Thousand Lakes,' AMORPHIS was not one to rest on those laurels alone and boldly reinvented itself with the following 'Elegy' where the band established itself as a major force in the world of progressive metal with death metal ties. After a series of less fruitful experiments the band once again latched onto a stylistic approach in 2006 with 'Eclipse' which provided the blueprint that seemed to work so well and therefore AMORPHIS has been pretty much crafting variations on this style ever since.

Existing somewhere between the world of progressive rock, melo-death and folk metal, AMORPHIS returns in 2022 with HALO its 15th overall studio album and the third installation of the trilogy that includes 'Under The Cloud' and the previous album par excellence 'Queen of Time.' With a stable lineup since 2006's 'Eclipse,' AMORPHIS has morphed into a true power house of melo-metal and continues to release epic sounding albums that although may be a bit too commercial in nature for many diehard metalheads, nevertheless delivers in a consistency unparalleled in the vast metal universe. While HALO fails in reinventing the band's long established stylistic approach, it certainly delivers the goods for true fans who long for that clever mix of melo-death guttural growls mixed with clean vocal melodies, catchy pop infused hooks and a clash between abrasive brutality and slick production values. Oh and the production value with nice backing vocal sections is slickly satisfying.

In some ways, HALO harkens back to the 'Tales From The Thousand Lakes' era with more deathened guttural growls that add a bit of contrast to the otherwise oft syrupy melodic approaches that the band has pretty much always dished out in great abundance. While a direct successor of 'Queen of Time,' this time around the emphasis seems to be to craft a more abrupt contrast between the instantly accessibly melodic constructs with the extreme nature of death metal. Calculated? Yeah, a bit but AMORPHIS has a propensity of bringing it all together in a way only these Finns can. With 11 tracks that near the 56 minute mark, AMORPHIS may not reinvent the wheel but offer yet another interesting variation in their well establish theme. This time around in addition to the plethora of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, some of which have mined the psychedelic world of 1970s progressive rock, there are also moments of sitar sounds and other unexpected treats.

AMORPHIS has never been a top dog in my metal world. Just a little too comfy in that playing it safe zone for my tastes but i cannot deny that this band is exceptional when it comes to walking that middle ground between extremely nauseatingly commercial and exhilaratingly edgy. The formula has propelled these Finns to the top of the metal universe's superstar status and that is no small feat indeed. I'm certainly not adverse to commercial sounds even in the styles of extreme metal that are best left to the unabashed extremists who spit in the face of accessibility but i have to admit that i do find the smoothed out sounds of AMORPHIS to be intriguing as this band really knows the art of balance in how it walks these tightrope acts. Given the similarities between any AMORPHIS album since 'Eclipse,' it has become more difficult to distinguish albums but for some reason i don't enjoy this one as much as i did with 'Queen of Time.'

It wouldn't surprise me if AMORPHIS is around another decade or two repeating this formula with similar praise and contempt heaped upon it for its resolute dedication to its stylist approach that it's loath to alienate however in the year 2022 it is starting to sound a bit dated and perhaps the band should consider a slight upgrade in its comfort zone. All in all HALO is yet another consistent release that will neither offend or surprise but continues the AMORPHIS proggy melo-death sound in all its predictability. Although this is not a favorite band by any means, AMORPHIS certainly garners a lot of respect in its business model for sure. Biggest complaint of this album is the formula runs dry after about 2/3 of the album and then yawn.

3.5 rounded down

 Drifting by SILUETLESS album cover Studio Album, 2016
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Drifting
Siluetless Progressive Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

2 stars SILUETLESS also sometimes written as SILUET / LESS, was a progressive metal band from Klaipėda, Lithuania and existed from 2004 to 2016. The band also stylized it's name with the phonetic [,silu:'et] and consisted of Eugene Golobokin (guitar, vocals, programming), Artur Mamin (bass) and Vainius Česnauskas (drums).

As [,silu:'et] it released "Theory of Dream" in 2008 and then it waited eight years before releasing DRIFTING as SILUETLESS. As an unsigned band, SILUETLESS released its material independently and DRIFTING was limited to 500 copies but also readily available on Bandcamp. The album features eight tracks at about 53 1/2 minutes.

This is a highly atmospheric album with a huge reliance on keyboards and synthesized sounds to create mystical atmospheres and ambient backdrops. The guitar, bass and drums add the metal aspects and the tempo is mostly set to middle of the road. Sounding something a bit like Porcupine Tree in the atmospheric department and a heavier version of a neo-prog band on the metal side, unfortunately DRIFTING is marred by the awful vocals.

I don't use the term awful lightly. The band's aim and accomplishments are totally out of sync with this one. Prog metal is one of the most demanding genres of music out there and requires extremely versatile and technically skilled musicians and vocalists to pull it off successfully. Well that's where we have a problem here. The musicians are decent but really don't extend beyond mediocrity and the vocalist? Just atrocious.

Unfortunately Eugene Golobokin was not gifted with the best singing voice and erroneously shoots for the stars by tackling a style of music he is woefully unqualified to take on. His vocals sound strained the entire time as he struggles to hit the right notes and even his monotonic lower registers where he is most at home don't prove to be pleasant listening.

Add to that the compositions on this are of substandard quality as well leaving little or nothing to really grasp onto. While the melodies are listenable and pretty much check off the prog metal requirements for the modern era, the music feels half baked with little or nothing to actually grab onto. Unfortunately this album offers few rewards and actually makes me cringe every time vocal parts come through. Now the instrumental parts where the guitars, bass and drums have a chance to shine is decent. Sadly this is not a very good album

 Charcoal Grace by CALIGULA'S HORSE album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.47 | 55 ratings

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Charcoal Grace
Caligula's Horse Progressive Metal

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I never really was too big on Caligula's Horse. I found their albums quite alright, but never too special for me to want to revisit them. They are kinda within the same threshold as bands like Leprous and Haken, being these newer prog metal groups revitalizing the genre in new ways, however even though I do enjoy some of their songs I never really thought they brought something new and fresh to the table, or something that really wowed me personally. However, with the turn of the decade in 2020, they would release Rise Radiant, an album that brought their usual sound and mixed djent with it. I thought, though, that album to be still alright, but I could certainly note the group moving to the right direction. Four years later after that turning point, they would release Charcoal Grace in January 26th of this year, and not only do they improve in a major way with their new found love for djent, but also infused some stellar greatness with the seams of this album to make it my personal favorite of their releases.

This is a six track album, though the big title epic in between is split up into multiple songs, kind of like what Marillion did with Fuck Everyone And Run, and An Hour Before It's Dark with their big epics. Probably the only "bad" thing about this stellar release, but I can certainly live with it, and there are two also very stellar bigger tracks of The World Breathes With Me and Mute that aren't split up, so I am not too bothered by it.

So what I appreciated from Rise Radiant was their readiness to change things up into more of a djent kind of style, and they continue that forward. The thing that is evident upon this fact is the lead single of Golem, my favorite track off the album. It has meaty, chuggy guitars, whilst also having that particular Caligula sound that they carried throughout their career. I really enjoy this song, as it just feels like a true improvement of their sound in not just a total shift, but in an evolutionary upwards motion. Listen to this song in comparison to something like Slow Violence or Marigold. Certainly similar sounding, but there is a clear maturity that exists within Golem, and the rest of the album that I never quite found within the rest of their projects. For that matter, I certainly appreciate it a lot more.

This maturity probably has something to do with the band's lead guitarist, Sam Vallen, taking his hand at producing and mixing the album, and he is really good at what he does here. There is a certain ethereal energy that goes through each of the songs, particularly the longer, and some of the more quieter tracks. I really enjoy this very floaty, almost mystical production, and I bet if he continues to produce albums for the band he'll get better and better.

However, I think the real meat this album does right is a new genre mix within the Caligula sound. Adding on top of the djent, they followed a bit of what groups like Earthside had done and combined post rock within the mix. Now, this post rock is rather small, admittedly, only really noticeable in the bigger tracks, and it certainly isn't as highly invigorating as what Earthside had done, but there is no denying that this band has been exploring a bit more textures and ambience to make something very beautiful. The title track, the 22 minute epic of Charcoal Grace shows this more post rock direction better, as whilst it is very metal and heavy hitting, there is an underlying layer of beauty that I find to hold similar feelings to groups like Mogwai and We Lost The Sea. You can hear it a lot more within the parts of A World Without and the beginning of Give Me Hell. Honestly, this is very awesome for me, not only as a prog fan, but as a post fan too. Seeing a band experiment, at least slightly with more genres into their mix is super fun to hear, especially for a band that has been as long running as Caligula.

I really have zero idea if there is anything really negative to say about this album, as each track holds some very great substance. Maybe Sails and The Stormchaser is a bit forgettable within the mix, but man that guitar solo on Sails certainly is powerful, and The Stormchaser just has a lot of oomph within its five minutes that I cannot help but to still hold at least a lot of love for the two of them.

It is a bit odd for me to have a masterpiece this early in the year, since usually the really good stuff comes a bit later, usually in the summertime, but man January has turned out some stellar stuff, and Charcoal Grace is amongst the heavy hitters of this year already. If we get something like Charcoal Grace, I wouldn't be surprised if this year ends up being as universally loved as 1974 or 1997. Definitely 100% give this one a shot, even if you may not quite enjoy progressive metal I can certainly say this is a record that could really appeal to anyone. Don't quote me on this if I end up being wrong, but I think this may be Caligula's Horse's magnum opus right here. The band can only move upwards from here.

Best tracks: Golem, Charcoal Grace, Mute

Least best tracks: Sails, The Stormchaser

 Dream Theater by DREAM THEATER album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.25 | 1100 ratings

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Dream Theater
Dream Theater Progressive Metal

Review by Sakke

4 stars This album in my opinion is great! Songs like Illumination Theory, Enigma Machine & The Enemy Inside are great more heavier songs, but songs like The Looking Glass & Along for the Ride are more calm songs that are not only shredding and odd time signatures. So because this album has heavy and more calm songs, i like It. But in my opinion the actual sound & mix on the album should be better. The drums are too quiet and the snare sound is pretty awful in my opinion. I think that the Guitar and bass sounds too "dark" and too heavy. But the songs are great so i like the album very much.
 Dividing Lines by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2022
4.19 | 67 ratings

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Dividing Lines
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Who'd have thought that twelve albums deep and with Glynn Morgan back on lead vocals Threshold would have dropped perhaps their magnum opus? The band describe this as taking the sound of Legends of the Shires in a darker direction, and that's certainly accurate, with Richard West's keyboards taking on a chilly, almost cyberpunk quality to them and the lighter power metal influences on the prior album are dialled back, yielding an album which is both one of their proggiest and one of their heaviest (even working in the odd bit of harsh vocals more effectively than any of their previous brief experiments with such). The lyrical focuses of the band from their earliest years have never been more relevant than they are here in the 2020s, and they take aim at them here with pinpoint accuracy, yielding one of the angriest and most relevant albums Threshold have ever put out.
 Legends of the Shires by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.02 | 283 ratings

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Legends of the Shires
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Legends of the Shires sees Glynn Morgan return to the post of lead singer of Threshold, having only appeared on Psychedelicatessen (and its associated live album Livedelica) previously. Eight albums later - one with Damian Wilson on lead vocals, five with Andrew "Mac" McDermott, and two more with a returning Damian Wilson - Morgan stepped back in to perform a cunning dual replacement, taking over for Wilson on vocals and from Pete Morten on rhythm guitar.

This means that in principle Threshold has a somewhat slimmed-down lineup on this one, making do with five members where usually they have six. The main past precedent is Dead Reckoning, where Karl Groom took on rhythm guitar along with all of his other duties, but this arrangement seems to work better. In terms of vocals, Morgan seems to be a bit less generic than he was on Psychedelicatessen - he'd already improved somewhat on Livedelica, and it seems like he hasn't been a slouch since.

On a musical level, the album finds Threshold updating their sound via mild borrowings from Muse and the world of power metal; they're still staying squarely in the particular melodic prog metal territory they've staked out for themselves, but they've enriched its sound nicely, with some of the nicest production work I've ever heard on a Threshold release. (And that's saying something given that Karl Groom is no slouch as a producer, being the head honcho at Thin Ice Studios in his side gig.)

Threshold tend to evolve their sound rather than revolutionising it, but this is one of the bigger evolutionary steps - as significant of one as, say, Hypothetical. And whilst this is the band's first double studio albums, this is no dive into quantity over quality - it's this long because they had enough album-worthy material to deploy. It's a true gem of their discography, and when bands are turning out some of their best work this deep into their career, that's a sign of true tenacity.

 European Journey by THRESHOLD album cover Live, 2015
4.02 | 18 ratings

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European Journey
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Damian Wilson returned to Threshold to do them a solid - after their previous singer, Andrew "Mac" McDermott left abruptly after the completion of the Dead Reckoing album, they needed someone to take up the microphone for their upcoming tour, and with Wilson having been the singer on their debut, Wounded Land, and their third album, Extinct Instinct, bringing him onboard made total sense.

At the same time, after two more studio albums he parted ways with them again - but at least on this go around he was able to record a really top flight live album with them. Unless there's tapes from old gigs from the Wounded Land or Extinct Instinct days sat in the Threshold archives somewhere, this is essentially the only way we're going to hear a live setlist from the band with Wilson fronting, and it's a damn good thing we did.

With For the Journey being a bit of a lukewarm release by Threshold's often high standards, it's good to hear material from it given more life here, and the band also give a good airing to material from March of Progress and a cross section of the Mac-era albums, giving Wilson a chance to demonstrate his emotive, borderline theatrical style of vocals.

If there's one thing which is a bit of a shame about this release, it's that there's only one song here from Extinct Instinct (Part of the Chaos), and absolutely nothing from Wounded Land - so I think it would still be worth Threshold's while poking about their old tapes to see if there's any live material from the early days they can release, because not having any live cuts with Wilson on vocals from their debut feels like a bit of a gap.

Still, given the high standards the band have maintained over the years, it's understandable why early albums would get crowded out of the setlist, and that old material did at least appear on other live albums fronted by other vocalists. By comparison, much of the material here wasn't on prior live albums (the band having not put out a major live release since Surface To Stage). If this must be the end of Damian Wilson's story with Threshold, then it certainly leaves him with a track record of the group he can be enduringly proud of.

 For the Journey by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.67 | 159 ratings

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For the Journey
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Threshold's final studio album with Damian Wilson to date is another competent slice of melodic prog metal of the sort we're well-used to getting from the band. Indeed, that's kind of the issue - the band really feel like they are going through the motions a bit here, perhaps entering the studio a bit too soon after March of Progress before they had cooked up a solid slate of material (recent studio albums have tended to have longer gaps between them, after all). Wilson's vocals seem to take on a bit of influence from Peter Nicholls from IQ, but otherwise this is much the same as we've had from them. It's good, don't get me wrong, but little of it actually stands out beyond the powerful opening track Watchtower On the Moon.
 Now We Sleep by ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.03 | 8 ratings

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Now We Sleep
Artificial Language Progressive Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars ARTIFICIAL LANGUAGE a group that you randomly pass over while searching again and again for a group that comes from DREAM THEATER and LEPROUS in this case!

1. The Back of My Mind bucolic intro, you will see at the end of the last title that you will come back here; strong attack between vocal softness and strong orchestration bordering on djent; the velvety guitar solo, it melts in the mouth, the rhythmic bass and 6 minutes which pass without realizing it 2. Endless Naught modern tune, with a phrased vocal, not raspy, (ah yes you have to laugh a little), although at the beginning; the harmony holds the limelight on a Leprous, a Tesseract, with Victor and Charlie again throwing solos all over the place; the chorus is catchy, fluid and effective, the riff chiseling 3. Pulses and the airy piano variation, a melody that flows naturally, the guitar starts with its little solo from the start, the composition changes habits and brings freshness 4. Further from the Surface continues by giving more space to Shay who sings subtly, reminding me of Leprous, Haken and other Maraton; a smooth ersatz here that surfs on prog metal, djent, hard FM; 5. The Wild Haunt with its symphonic orchestration, distant violins, grandiloquent synth and this airy final break, we would ask for more in a little longer

6. Trail of Lights crystalline piano before launching a new heavy rock pop melody with a djent touch; for all tastes, a fresh sound with a progressive blood in the range which makes us forget both the tune and the instruments, lulled by both 7. There's No Bottom to This on the same plot, modern rock more than cheerful progressive; air guitar which even draws on the grandiloquent side of the QUEEN, surprising with this bossa nova-saloon break from ... living room 8. Keep Yourself Hidden for a crazy jazzy-soul tune, if the title were linked together we would have a progressive plot without a doubt; we are on neo-prog metal which is a pleasure to hear; a profuse fundamentalist could listen without saying that 'it's too loud'! the few seconds of final accordion are enjoyable 9. Now We Sleep for the last and long piece with an evolving and enjoyable crescendo, yes there too; a gentle, melodic rise, Shay which shows the range of his voice, a bit of A-Ha; ambient-soaring break yes the prog is hiding everywhere now; go country break, bucolic, astonishing progression final breathtaking creation!

 Dead Reckoning by THRESHOLD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.67 | 252 ratings

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Dead Reckoning
Threshold Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars OK, let's address the elephant in the room: this was Andrew "Mac" McDermott's final album with Threshold. With five studio albums under his belt at lead vocalist, he set a record in the role that still hasn't been beat (Damian Wilson was on four but then left again, and Glynn Morgan is on three at the moment). And unfortunately, there will never be another Threshold studio album with mac on lead vocals - because he died tragically young in 2011, after an illness which so far as is known was a total shock to his former bandmates, adding grim irony to the title of this album.

Mac made no secret about his reasons for leaving: the statement he released at the time stated plainly that his work with Threshold just wasn't paying the bills, to the point where his girlfriend was having to work overtime so that he could afford to go on tour with them, and he was fed up of having no money and passing up better-paying opportunities due to the demands of being the Threshold frontman. This may seem shocking to some, but we should all remember that not all the musical acts out there earn masses of money - especially in niche genres like progressive metal. Sure, the other members seem able to make ends meet, but how many of them have been able to supplement that with side hustles, like Karl Groom's work as a producer at his Thin Ice Studios facility?

One has to wonder whether Dead Reckoning might itself be the product of Mac (and maybe other members of the band) feeling something of a pinch, because it feels like an attempt to steer the band's sound a bit away from the "prog" side of their sound and a bit more towards a more conventional "metal" approach. It's not a complete reconfiguration, mind - Pilot In the Sky of Dreams, in particular, is as prog metal a workout as they've ever done, and the guitar solo at the close of One Degree Down sounds an awful lot like a tribute to The Black Knight by Groom's pals in Pendragon.

Still, there's heavier riffs and a few harsh vocals this time around, when previously they'd consistently been a clean vocals band, and in general an air of a band in transition, perhaps not altogether sure of where they are going. Dead Reckoning is, after all, a term from navigation - perhaps the band not too subtly signalling that Threshold were dabbling with changes of direction here.

It's frequently been the case that I've tried out a Threshold album I've not heard before, not been too sure about it early on, but found that it's won me over the span of it - aside from Hypothetical and Subsurface, their album openers generally don't grab me. The effect is stronger than ever here, with opening numbers Slipstream and This Is Your Life doing little for me and the album only really beginning to click for me from Elusive onwards. The back part of the album makes up for the shaky start, however, though equally I find that Mac's vocals here are comparatively unmemorable set next to his excellent work on the run from Hypothetical to Subsurface, lacking the passion he'd proved himself capable of previously.

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Progressive Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
5R6 Ukraine
7 MONTHS United States
7DAYS Sweden
A-Z Multi-National
AAXSKFG Italy
ABANDONED STARS United Kingdom
ABERRANT VASCULAR Finland
ABODEAN SKYE United Kingdom
ABOVE SYMMETRY / EX ASPERA Norway
ABSOLACE United Arab Emirates
ABSTRAKT Poland
ABYDOS Germany
ACCOMPLICE United States
ACHING BEAUTY France
ACID RAIN Argentina
ACID RAIN Serbia
ACID RAIN Spain
ACOLYTE Australia
ACUTE MIND Poland
AD ASTRA United States
ADAGIO France
ADHARA France
ADRAMELCH Italy
AEBSENCE Hungary
AEOLUS Netherlands
AEON ZEN United Kingdom
AEONS United Kingdom
AETHERIUS United States
AFASIA Italy
AFFECTOR Multi-National
AFTER FOREVER Netherlands
AGE OF NEMESIS Hungary
AGHARTA Netherlands
AGNESIS Australia
AGNOSIA Greece
AGNOST DEI Russia
AGORA Mexico
AINA Netherlands
AKASHIC Brazil
AKRIBI Sweden
ALARION Netherlands
ALCHEMY ROOM Italy
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