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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal definition

This category lists technical Progressive Metal bands that have roots in Extreme Metal or that are strongly influenced by it. The style developed by the end of the 80s in the Thrash Metal scene when a number of bands stretched the boundaries of their sound by including elements from Progressive Rock. Death Metal followed a similar path in the 90s and by the 2000s, also Black Metal and Metalcore saw an increasing amount of bands taking in Prog influences.

Certain bands like EPHEL DUATH and UNEXPECT developed a style that largely abandoned their extreme metal heritage in favour of a highly eclectic jazz-influenced Avant Metal style. These bands are listed under Experimental Metal.


Progressive Thrash Metal
By the end of the 80s Thrash Metal had diversified its sound significantly to an extent where the originally very direct and uncompromisingly aggressive style had become more sophisticated, boasting challenging technical skills and ambitious song structures frequently surpassing the 6 minute mark. The best known examples are METALLICA and MEGADETH.

The bands listed in this section went one step further and embraced notable influences from Progressive Rock, replacing much of the typical Thrash Metal riffs and rhythms with a more progressive and melodic riffing style, influenced by KING CRIMSON and RUSH. The most well-known of these early bands was VOIVOD, who also brought the early psychedelic sound of PINK FLOYD into their unique mold. Important pioneering albums were released by WATCHTOWER, CORONER, MEKONG DELTA, as well as the debut album of SIEGES SEVEN.
More recent examples of Progressive Thrash are SPIRAL ARCHITECT and VEKTOR


Progressive Death Metal
Death Metal further built on the sound of the most extreme bands of the Thrash scene. Next to the brutal sound, blast beat drumming, complex song structures and multiple tempo changes, the most notorious feature of the style is probably the growled vocals. Death Metal is generally highly technical, making the dividing line between Technical Death Metal and Progressive Death Metal sometimes rather faint.

The bands considered for Prog Archives are those that show significant influences from Progressive Rock and/or Fusion. One of the landmarks in the style is "Elements" from ATHEIST, who mixed their hyper-technical Speed Metal with fusion. Other early albums include "Focus" from CYNIC and "Spheres" from PESTILENCE, where progressive riffing, polymetrics, fusion influences and atmospheric keyboards complemented their brutal Death Metal. Also DEATH, the popular founder of Death Metal, incorporated fusion and progressive elements on their later albums.

A different flavour of Progressive Death Metal came from the European continent, when half-way into the 90s leading death and doom-death bands started expanding their basic metal sound. The most significant album relevant to this section is "Crimson" from EDGE OF SANITY. In typical Scandinavian fashion, their epic approach wasn't fusion oriented but less technical and more melodic, introducing the now typical alteration between brutal Death sections and more melodic breaks with clean vocals; an approach perfected in the next decade by OPETH.


Progressive Black Metal
Unlike Thrash and Death metal, Black Metal is not a technical genre. Originally it was even purposely non-technical and low-fi. By the end of the 90s the genre had developed into various sub-styles, of which some incorporated elements from progressive music.
The bands listed in this section are Black Metal bands that traded the minimalism of Black Metal for a more progressive, technical or experimental approach. This distinguishes them from the Black Metal bands that fleshed out their sound with either post-rock and/or shoegaze influences. Those are listed under Experimental/Post Metal.

One of the earliest and best known example of this style is ENSLAVED, who maintained the harsh atmosphere and aggression of classic Black Metal but extended this with a more textured psychedelic sound, chromatic riffing and odd time-signatures, citing influences from PINK FLOYD, VOIVOD and KING CRIMSON. Also IHSAHN, front-man of EMPEROR, should be mentioned here.

Most artists in this section are Symphonic Black Metal-oriented bands with progressive and experimental influences, but without fully crossing over to either Prog or Avant Metal as they remain oppressively dark, harsh, often dissonant and inaccessible. Their strong ties to Black Metal is why they are featured under Tech/Extreme Prog Metal and not in Avant Prog Metal. Examples are DEATHSPELL OMEGA, MOONSORROW, NEGURA BUNGET and the slightly more accessible theatrical Symphonic Black Metal of ARCTURUS.


Modern Phase
In the 2000s trends became more diffuse, introducing bands that had some of their stylistic features in common with the extreme metal genres without fully belonging in any of them. Some of them continued the strong fusion element and hyper-technical approach from ATHEIST and CYNIC. Instrumental acts such a as EXIVIOUS, CANVAS SOLARIS and BLOTTED SCIENCE received lots of critical acclaim from progressive metal fans.

A new trend was set by MESHUGGAH, one of the most defining bands of this era. At the end of the 90s their eclectic mix of Death, Thrash, Avant, Fusion and Prog laid down the groundrules of Extreme Metal for the next decade. Another well known band to take a similar eclectic approach to Extreme Metal was GOJIRA.
In the second half of the 2000's, many young bands copied MESHUGGAH's guitar tone and rhythmical riffing style, giving rise to the so-called 'djent' movement. Many of these bands belong in Tech/Extreme, such as ANIMALS AS LEADERS, CHIMP SPANNER etc.


Progressive Metalcore
The second half of the 2000s also saw the rise of a new generation of Progressive Tech/Extreme acts with roots that lay in Metalcore, Mathcore and Technical Sludge, rather then the 'classic' Extreme Metal genres. Their music is inherently technical and complex and has quite a number of formal features in common with Progressive Metal such as odd time signatures and non-standard song formats.
Prog Archives only lists these bands that go beyond the default expectations of the genre and bring in distinct non-extreme Prog influences. Some of the most eye-catching bands in this area are BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, PROTEST THE HERO, BURST, DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and MASTODON.


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

The Progressive Metal Team are: (7/1/2022)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Cristi
Sebastian (Kempokid)
Nick (nick_h_nz)
Brendan (Necrotica)

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Top Albums


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

4.39 | 225 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.28 | 1782 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1852 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.28 | 632 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.25 | 1726 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.27 | 516 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge Of Sanity
4.25 | 504 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.30 | 253 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.25 | 348 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.21 | 441 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.21 | 357 ratings
THE PARALLAX II - FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.20 | 364 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.16 | 1231 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.16 | 583 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.15 | 690 ratings
CRACK THE SKYE
Mastodon
4.17 | 359 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.19 | 250 ratings
THE WAY OF ALL FLESH
Gojira
4.14 | 550 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.15 | 428 ratings
TALL POPPY SYNDROME
Leprous
4.19 | 203 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Tech/Extreme Prog Metal experts team

A THIN LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HERE
My Bitter End
1980
1980
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Ansur
THE HINDERERS
Daath

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Ultraman by VOIVOD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2022
2.60 | 7 ratings

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Ultraman
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Rayven

3 stars Following the release of the amazing Synchro Anarchy earlier this year, Canadian metal madmen Voivod return with an EP celebrating the Japanese tokusatsu franchise Ultraman. For the many of you who are probably unaware, tokusatsu is a genre of Japanese media that makes heavy usage of special and practical effects, with the most famous examples being Godzilla and Super Sentai (adapted as Power Rangers in the West). Voivod being into Ultraman is not too surprising, as science fiction has been a notable lyrical influence on quartet ever since their inception.

On this EP, they cover the opening, victory theme, and closing of the original Ultraman TV show along with two live tracks taken from their performance at Festival Jonquičre en Musique in 2018. The vinyl release also includes several different versions of the Ultraman tunes sung in the original Japanese, French, and English, as well as instrumental versions of the opening and closing themes. Voivod translates these Ultraman tracks quite faithfully while keeping their distinct style of jazzy thrash intact, with guitarist Chewy throwing in spicy chords, fret slides, and other sound effects into the background. Bassist Rocky's unique staccato picking accentuates the bass lines throughout as well, particularly in the victory theme, where he really gets his time to shine. The live tracks, "Overreaction" and "Voivod", are performed extremely well, with the quartet playing with explosive vigor and can clearly still put on a killer show, quite impressive considering that they have been doing this for 40 years at this point.

Although I'm extremely happy about the quality of this release, the fact that there is no CD release as of yet is quite disappointing, as the only way to get a physical copy is to purchase the limited edition vinyl. Most people will most likely consume this EP through digital platforms, the issue is that there is simply less content available to listen to via these means, a concept of which I have never been thrilled with. This decision may be rectified in the future, although of this EP being somewhat a novelty in its nature, I sincerely doubt that will happen.

If you're a newcomer to Voivod, I can't really recommend this EP as a good starting point, but if you are a diehard fan of this band already, especially if you are interested in Japanese culture as I am, I would definitely encourage giving this release a spin.

 In Cauda Venenum by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.01 | 501 ratings

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In Cauda Venenum
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "In Cauda Venenum" is the 13th full-length studio album by Swedish progressive rock/metal actOpeth. The album was released through Moderbolaget Records in September 2019. It´s the successor to "Sorceress" from September 2016 and features the exact same quintet lineup who recorded the predecessor. "In Cauda Venenum" was released in three different versions. One double album version featuring the album in a Swedish language version and an English language version (on two discs), and two seperate one-album versions featuring the Swedish language version and the English language version. The instrumental part of the music is the same on all releases/versions, only the lyrics and the language are different.

Stylistically the material on "In Cauda Venenum" is in the heavy progressive rock style with folk leanings that Opeth have played since "Heritage" (2011). It´s dymamic music featuring both louder heavy parts, epic progressive parts, but also mellow acoustic parts. There is an omnipresence of vintage keyboards/synths/organ, along with equally organic sounding bass, guitars, and vocals. It´s arguably 70s influenced progressive rock, but the early 90s Swedish progressive rock revival scene and artists like Landberk and Anekdoten are also valid references. Opeth compose solid and relatively memorable material, but they don´t exactly invent the wheel here. Most of the elements, timbres, and atmospheres have been heard and experienced before on preceding progressive rock releases by other artists.

"In Cauda Venenum" features a detailed, powerful, and well sounding production, which suits the material well, and although the material could have prospered from more original compositional ideas, the high quality musicianship and Mikael Åkerfeldt easily recognisable voice and passionate delivery save the day, even when the material doesn´t shine. The idea to sing in their native language is a good one, and the Swedish language version is a nice new element, which provides the album with a needed touch of something unique. Other Swedish progressive rock artists have sung in the Swedish language, but for Opeth it´s a first on a full release, and it makes "In Cauda Venenum" stand out in their discography. So upon conclusion "In Cauda Venenum" is a good quality release by Opeth and it should please fans of heavy progressive rock featuring a melancholic atmosphere. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Terminal World Perspective by CONTROL HUMAN DELETE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Terminal World Perspective
Control Human Delete Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Terminal World Perspective" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch industrial black metal act Control Human Delete. The album was released through Code666 Records in March 2007. Control Human Delete formed in 2001 and released the "Error Spectre" EP in 2003.

Stylistically the material on "Terminal World Perspective" continue the industrial black metal style of the preceding releases. It's a pretty long album featuring 9 tracks and a total playing time of 71:18 minutes. Two of the tracks are 10 minutes plus long ambient keyboard/synth darkwave compositions though, so there's some variation to the concept there. The remaining tracks are loaded with programmed blasting drums, fast-paced black metal riffing, the occasional mid-paced, heavy, and often dissonant part, and snarling aggressive black metal vocals. The tracks often feature sci-fi tinged effects, samples, and keyboards/synths, which will transport you right into space.

"Terminal World Perspective" is a well produced release, featuring a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material well, and Control Human Delete are a well playing unit too, so the basics are in place and of a good quality. The songwriting is also relatively intriguing, although few tracks stand out or are memorable beyond their playing time. The two ambient tracks are a little too long for their own good, and while I don't think they are out of place on the album in terms of atmosphere, they would probably have been better suited on a sci-fi movie soundtrack.

So upon conclusion "Terminal World Perspective" is arguably an interesting and different sounding black metal release, although other black metal artists have done similar things before, and with better results too. Still a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn't all wrong.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Ultraman by VOIVOD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2022
2.60 | 7 ratings

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Ultraman
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by alainPP

2 stars VOIVOD formed in 1982 as a fairly extreme thrash metal band and then took a turn towards the progressive side, incorporating futuristic imagery and unified concepts for their albums. Between DREAM THEATER and QUEENSRYCHE with heavy S-F music and a progressive 'Dimension: Hatross' in its genre; 15 albums on the clock, including the last of 2022 and this EP tribute to the Ultraman television series; expect the vinyl EP with 9 bonuses, the original with 3 minutes on the clock is a tad for ultra fans.

'Ultraman - Opening Theme (Japanese & French)' for the Japanese and French intro of the 60's television series, ancestor of Bioman, San Ku Kai and other Power Rangers. 'Ultraman - Victory Theme' another more crazy version if the word crazy still wants to mean something with them. 'Ultraman - Closing Theme' the TV series ending soundtrack. +4 tracks on the LP version just in case for fans! 'Overreaction - Return to Morgöth' and 'Voivod - Return to Morgöth' are bonus live tracks from 1987 with a tribute to their first guitarist Piggy, in theory as a bonus on the last album of 2022 and impress the dystopian thrash metal prog sound well. of VOIVOD. One point for the idea, that's all.

 Ayam by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.96 | 10 ratings

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Ayam
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by alainPP

4 stars DISILLUSION is this progressive metal band that I discovered in 2004, dark prog nag with a splendid, innovative and futuristic "Back To Times Of Splendor" concept album. After a forced break, the group with Andy Schmidt in charge since 1994 continues on sounds that MESHUGGAH, Devin TOWNSEND, IHSAHN, DEATH, MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA and especially OPETH can represent in musical amalgam; a raw energetic sound in the inventive world of music and titanic progressive atmospheres, in short, let's throw ourselves into this extreme technical prog metal having already reviewed their 2019 opus.

"Am Abgrund" after a short spatial intro which you will have to take advantage of, it is a deluge in abundance; high voice, machine gun percussion, divine choirs, trumpets in the background, heavy rhythm; mid-break with a guitar arpeggio sweeter than me you die, a voice-over for a juicy progressive development. The musical organoleptic ascent is intended to be a bouquet of notes, sounds and an intoxicating deluge. "Tormento" intro of angels then death-doom riff and the madness of the rhythm that FAITH NO MORE did so well; the air of a 60's film behind and a frenzied, unhealthy and complex guitar solo, a real verbal jousting before the explosive and hypnotic finale, voice growl to excess. "Driftwood" clap our hands, we go on the dance floor, Andalusian, bossa nova, the violin wants to be welcoming; Andy's voice restful here; it only goes up halfway with choirs, dark violin, machine-gun guitar, it comes down again, latent progressive drift; it goes back but now the sound has invaded us and we find it almost too soft, an understatement for my prog friends of yesteryear who are going to cut their last hair from their skull, good a final violin all the same and "Abide the Storm" for the bomb! Trumpets can be heard before the tech-extreme deluge sets in motion. At this moment we are far from prog until a break with these same softer trumpets; and there it is wonderful, cinematic, ambient; the trumpet plays its sinister and chilling jam at the same time; it falls on the jazzy space, on an inimitable style made of marvelous melancholy daydreams; the guitar solo brings us back to reality for a while then Andy drives the point home and leaves us to face the storm alone in front of the emerging maelstrom.

"Longhope" hangs forward, a little in the dark line of a SOEN, a KATATONIA with a calm voice, the riff well placed to imprint melody and efficiency; it goes up before a sudden break with intense spleen, to make you cry, MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA in the background then the voice explodes; final ambient piano for 40 seconds to create mystery and the sequence with "Nine Days" with a singular concept, a crescendo that smells good OPETH, still hints of FAITH NO MORE, strange and sublime for these reminiscences. It is latent above all and the cataclysmic end seems all smooth, gripping, bringing "From the Embers" to the overwhelming neo-classical intro... just before the contained surge of the DISILLUSION sound; everything is there in terms of power, then the air arises in this title by pouring into a melodic-serenade line and it is precisely on a spleen sound that it ends. "The Brook" closes the album; cinematic intro, yes? the current fashion; vocals ā la COHEN here on a basic guitar arpeggio aided by piano and cello; the sinister melody ā la MY DYING BRIDE, it rises with the drums as if to climb Olympus or descend forever into the musical abyss; a grandiloquent and festive crescendical rise where the sound mutates into deep despair, the sound image of our society.

DISILLUSION drives the point home again with this extraordinary album where heavy sounds navigate with ethereal melancholic spaces. A real pleasure entangled with prog passages and explosive acoustic moments; a multilayer of sounds produced by Jens BOGREN (OPETH, KATATONIA) offering a violent and varied inner journey into the dreamlike and introspective world that lies dormant within us. A sequel with even more musical emotions amplified by the extreme and purely melodic sound, but don't get me wrong there is much more prog blood in this opus than in many so-called progressive bands. A must in the genre.

 Ayam by DISILLUSION album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.96 | 10 ratings

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Ayam
Disillusion Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by lukretio

4 stars How on Earth did I miss out on this amazing band for all these years?! Hailing from Leipzig, Germany, Disillusion play a formidable distillate of all my favourite metal genres, from melodic death metal, to avant-garde / progressive metal, to dark gothic/doom metal. And yet their new record Ayam, released on November 4th via Prophecy Productions, is the first I hear from them - and it simply blew me away! The LP is just the fourth in a career that spans nearly 30 years and includes a long hiatus between 2006 and 2019. That may in part explain why the band has flown under my radar for so long, but still I cannot stop kicking myself for being so late to the party!

This album is incredible. It takes the listener on a sonic journey that knows no boundaries, exploring a kaleidoscope of diverse metal styles and influences with terrific aplomb and intelligence, as each twist and turn of this 60-minute beast feels as natural as water. Opening track "Am Abgrund" is a great example of the extraordinary creative drive that runs through the whole LP. This song throws literally everything at the listener during its exhilarating 11 minutes. A ferocious death metal section with blast beats, lacerating growls and ? believe it or not ? trumpet and flugelhorn, suddenly resolves in an epic clean chorus, whose vocal harmonies remind me of the way clean voices are arranged by Viking metal bands like Borknagar or Enslaved. The song's first half is a hurricane, constantly swinging between fury and melody in a way that should be jarring and yet it works splendidly. This rollercoaster of a section eventually culminates in a stunning jazzy guitar solo that gives me strong Cynic vibes. A calmer section ensues, with acoustic guitar arpeggios and soft clean vocals painting the sort of suffused, ghostlike atmospheres one may find in the work of Opeth or Riverside. Another splendid chromatic solo leads back to the death metal pyrotechnics of the opening section, bringing the song full circle.

The rest of the album continues in a similar fashion. Each song brings in new shades of darkness, swinging between annihilating aggression ("Tormento", "Abide the Storm"), and calmer nocturnal meditations built around dreamy vocals, mournful cellos and acoustic guitars ("Driftwood", "Nine Days"). This injects a strong unpredictability in the proceedings, as one never knows where the next song may venture. This exhilarating sense that "everything goes" is also achieved by largely eschewing formulaic song structures: each new track takes its own course, loosely arranged around verse and chorus, but free to expand and contract according to the music's needs. The songwriting is equally fluid, embracing an ever-changing set of influences from song to song. Echoes of gothic metal (Moonspell) emerge in "Nine Days", but the same song later explores the sort of serene post-rockish soundscapes that one can find in Anathema's output. Meanwhile, "Longhope" combines catchy dark metal vibes ā la Katatonia with a Leprous-esque chorus that is at the same time poppy and brutal. Elsewhere, we find traces of Devin Townsend's across-the-board take on extreme metal ("Tormento"), but also doomy riffs and tempos ("Abide the Storm"), and even hints of 1970s progressive rock (the Floydian solos in "Abide the Storm").

It's a lot to take in, but Disillusion pull it off with ease, making each transition feel natural, almost necessary. Andy Schmidt's distinctive voice plays a big role in ensuring the album flows without solution of continuity. His subdue, melancholy melodies and cleverly-constructed vocal harmonies are the sonic trademark of the LP: like a beacon in the dark, he guides the listener through the album's dense and dazzling journey. His vocals are the fixed point around which the music ebbs and flows, always returning to those familiar cadences and melodies. This achieves a beautiful equilibrium between exploration and familiarity, which is one of the major strength of this release.

There is another type of balance that Ayam nails perfectly: that between technical playing and emotional delivery. The progressive metal scene today seems characterized by a chasm between bands that play hyper-technical, but emotionally dry music, and bands that instead embrace the road of "cinematic metal", rich in emotions but often limited in terms of virtuoso playing. Disillusion sit at the exact intersection between these two traditions, like very few other bands do (Opeth, perhaps, although their music does err on the side of technicality at the expense of emotional punch). Ayam brims with exceptional playing. The guitars (played by Schmidt, Ben Haugg and exiting band member Sebastian Hupfer) pull off excellent riffs and solos, but Martin Schulz's jaw-dropping performance at the drumkit deserves to be mentioned too: he is a powerhouse, deftly switching between brutal bludgeoning and nimble percussions in the most natural way possible. Throughout the album, however, the focus is firmly retained on effective songwriting and emotional delivery: there is no trace of technical showmanship for the mere sake of it. The result is music that lends itself to two modes of listening ? cerebral and visceral ?, effectively combining the best of both worlds as far as modern prog metal is concerned.

Among all the praise, there is one aspect of Ayam that bothers me a little: the songs' sequencing. There are two long-form epic tracks on the album, "Am Abgrund" and "Abide the Storm", both exceeding 11 minutes in length. Both songs are excellent, but placing them so close to one another (at position #1 and #4, respectively) does not work well. The similarities between the two songs become too salient, reducing their impact (for instance, their structure is similar, with a calmer, moody middle-part bookended by more energetic sections). My other, and bigger, complaint concerns the closing track "The Brook". This song feels unnecessary to me, because the album's perfect closing moment has already passed, with the beautiful, languid fade-out of its penultimate song "From the Embers". In my opinion, those should have been Ayam's last notes. After such a splendid, uplifting come-down, "The Brook" feels almost like a second, redundant album finale, that lack however the emotional punch of "From the Embers".

However, in the grander scheme of things. these are mere quibbles. Ayam is a terrific accomplishment that, come December, I am sure will end up on many album-of-the-year lists. There is little doubt in my mind that this is one of the best, richest progressive metal albums released in the past decades, and fans of dark, melancholic metal need to check this out pronto!

[Originally written for The Metal Observer]

 Macabre Cabaret by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.00 | 5 ratings

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Macabre Cabaret
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For some bands - especially once they have become as established as My Dying Bride are - EPs are an afterthought, if they're even bothered with at all. However, for my money a My Dying Bride EP is always worth at least a cusory listen, because right from the start of their career their EPs have accounted for some of their best material. Take Macabre Cabaret - produced by the same lineup as The Ghost of Orion (and likely a product of the same sessions), I actually think it has a mild edge on that studio album, with a more immediate and gripping sound and some wonderfully pensive moments.
 The Ghost of Orion by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.96 | 23 ratings

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The Ghost of Orion
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Emerging as My Dying Bride suffered a swathe of personnel issues and behind-the-scenes difficulties, The Ghost of Orion finds the veteran death-doom unit in fine form. (It's a genre which thrives on gloom and world-weariness, after all.) In some respects it's a bit of a back-to-basics album, because the musical backing is very much in their classic style, though Aaron Stainthorpe's vocals tend more towards a clean approach than in the band's earliest days.

Their Spinal Tap-esque turnover of drummers, with Jeff Singer (formerly of their Peaceville Three compatriots Paradise Lost) slipping into the drum stool and doing a decent job. Meanwhile, Andrew Craighan takes on all the guitar duties, rhythm guitarist Neil Blanchett having only joined to help out live at this stage, and does a credible job there.

It's not a genre landmark or classic of the field, but it's a much better album than one might have expected from the band given the challenges facing them at the time, and will be enjoyable to anyone who enjoyed their early style.

 In Cauda Venenum by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.01 | 501 ratings

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In Cauda Venenum
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Following a triptych of albums which largely abandoned metal (but for a few momentary outbursts here and there) in favour of a retro-progressive rock approach, Opeth's In Cauda Venenum at first seems like it's going to continue that approach. However, to my ears it seems like there's substantially more modern touches here - some quieter passages reminiscent of those on Opeth's earliest albums, some loud passages that put me in mind of late-period Arcturus, if given a bit more of a rock direction in place of their black metal roots.

Once again, Mikael 'kerfeldt's vocals - which I thought was often the least interesting aspect of their earlier material - have really come ahead in leaps and bounds. The album was actually released in two versions, one with English vocals and one with Swedish, though I'd say he now sounds more comfortable singing in English than ever.

If you are pining for Opeth's extreme metal days, and only regard them as interesting for the death metal side of their sound, then this won't win you back - but nor would any album since at least as far back as Watershed. If, on the other hand, you appreciate what they've been doing from Heritage onwards, this is another excellent evolution of that approach, which I feel has only been getting better and better on subsequent releases.

 Death of a Dead Day by SIKTH album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.99 | 62 ratings

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Death of a Dead Day
Sikth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Death of a Dead Day" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK, Watford based progressive metal/metalcore act Sikth. The album was released through Bieler Bros. Records in June 2006. It´s the successor to "The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild" from 2003 and the sextet lineup who recorded the predecessor is intact here. Sikth were originally active from 2001 to 2008 and released two full-length studio albums in that period. They reunited in 2013.

Stylistically the material on "Death of a Dead Day" continue the technical/progressive metal of "The Trees Are Dead & Dried Out Wait For Something Wild" (2003). SikTh´s brand of progressive metal features elements of mathcore, NU-metal, alternative metal, and hardcore, and a combination of the sound of artists like The Dillinger Escape Plan and System of a Down is a relatively valid description, although Sikth definitely have a sound of their own. While their songwriting is clever and effective, I´m predominantly blow away by the high level musicianship found on "Death of a Dead Day". The complexity of the material is pretty high, but it´s the natural organic way that said material is performed and the way the many different vocal styles (clean, screaming, aggressive, schizophrenic lunatic babbling) compliment the often manic instrumental parts of the music, which make this a spectacular release. You´re definitely in for at ride with this album...

Featuring a detailed, powerful, and very well sounding production "Death of a Dead Day" is also a treat on the ears in terms of every instrument and vocal parts sounding great in the mix. The fact that it´s a self-produced affair bears witness to how skilled SikTh are. They aren´t just clever composers and well playing musicians, but also competent producers. Upon conclusion "Death of a Dead Day" is a high quality sophomore album by SikTh and a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABNORMAL THOUGHT PATTERNS United States
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACAUSAL INTRUSION United States
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