Progressive metal

Last updated

Progressive metal (often shortened to prog metal or prog) is a broad fusion music genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock, combining the loud "aggression" [1] and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or quasi-classical compositions of the latter.

Contents

The music typically showcases the extreme technical proficiency of the performers and usually uses unorthodox harmonies as well as complex rhythms with frequent meter changes and intense syncopation. The rhythmic aspects are especially emphasized in the djent subgenre. [1]

Although the genre emerged towards the late-1980s, it was not until the 1990s that progressive metal achieved widespread success. [1] Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Tool, Symphony X, [2] Shadow Gallery, King's X, and Fates Warning are a few examples of progressive metal bands who achieved commercial success. Soon after the rise of the genre's popularity, other thrash and death metal bands started to incorporate elements of progressive music in their work.

History

Progressive metal, as a distinct musical style, was primarily advanced by members of the American heavy metal scene of the mid-1980s, particularly Queensrÿche, Savatage, Fates Warning and then later on, Dream Theater and Symphony X. It has since developed in a non-linear fashion, with countless groups demonstrating innovations in personal ways. [3] [4]

The origins of the genre date back to the very beginning of heavy metal/hard rock and progressive rock when some bands began to merge the two different approaches. 1960s pioneers King Crimson maintained their musical innovation while incorporating a harder approach, using dissonance and experimental tones, yet still maintaining a relationship to the power chords of hard rock, with the main example being "21st Century Schizoid Man". [5] Canadian trio Rush are widely recognized as bridging the gap between hard rock, English progressive rock, and pure heavy metal. Initially influenced by Led Zeppelin, they evolved to combine established progressive rock technique with blues-based power chords. Records such as 2112 (1976) showcased technical expertise and complex compositional skill while still utilizing a more direct and heavier approach than the well-established English progressive rock sound. [6]

Dream Theater live in 2015 Dream Theater (23-07-2015).jpg
Dream Theater live in 2015

1984 brought full-length debut albums from American bands Queensrÿche [7] from Washington state, and Fates Warning [8] from Connecticut. Both expanded their music to include more progressive elements ( The Warning, 1984; The Spectre Within, 1985) – some through sound experimentation and compositional refinement, others through extremely complex structures and atypical riffs – up to the two seminal works in 1986: Rage for Order and Awaken the Guardian . [9] [10] In the following years the two bands, while following different paths – more basic and simple the first, more articulate and complex the latter — explore and expand the technical refinement and sonic finesse of their music, continuing to lay the foundations of the genre with important works such as Operation: Mindcrime (1988) by Queensrÿche, [11] and Perfect Symmetry (1989) by Fates Warning. [12] Progressive metal also found a home in the growing U.S. thrash metal movement, influencing popular heavy metal bands like Megadeth, with its acclaimed album Rust in Peace (1990), together with Metallica and its famous album ...And Justice for All (1988). [13] Among the other pioneering thrash metal bands, one of the most important is Canada's Voivod, with their complex and experimental style, full of psychedelic dissonances ( Dimension Hatröss, 1988; Nothingface, 1989). [14] "Math-metal" pioneers Watchtower, from Texas, took the concept of time-changes to a new level, combining thrash metal, syncopation and prog in their albums Energetic Disassembly (1985) [15] and Control and Resistance (1989), giving rise to an extremely technical approach based on the rhythmic deconstruction typical in jazz fusion. [16] This same direction in prog metal would be later integrated into death metal by bands such as Atheist ( Unquestionable Presence, 1991), [17] which would become known as technical death metal or progressive death metal. Bands which also explored fusion-inspired prog metal include most notably Death and Cynic. [18]

The major US bands that contribute to further delineating and developing the genre are Psychotic Waltz and Dream Theater. The former, with an approach halfway in between Watchtower and Fates Warning, produced A Social Grace (1990), melding their signature sound with the psychedelic Into the Everflow (1992), [19] while the latter explored the legacy of the bands that preceded them while advancing their personal style with When Dream and Day Unite (1989). Both albums focused on keyboards and band members' instrumental skills. As for Dream Theater, their efforts resulted in two fundamental albums, which helped institutionalize classic progressive metal — Images and Words (1992) and Awake (1994). [20]

Among European pioneers of the genre are Germany's Sieges Even, who, starting out of technical thrash stylistically significant to Watchtower, explored the more technical and angular side of progressive metal with The Art of Navigating by the Stars (2005). [21]

Opeth live in 2015 Opeth 12 (21906436614).jpg
Opeth live in 2015

Among the bands of the late 1990s who brought innovation to the genre are the Dutch Ayreon (a project by Arjen Anthony Lucassen) and Swedes Pain of Salvation. Ayreon focused on theatrical and melodramatic rock operas Into the Electric Castle (1998) and The Human Equation (2004), performed by many different members of prominent metal bands. [22] [23] Pain of Salvation was always working towards a more or less unusual style, demonstrated by the eclecticism and anti-conformism found on One Hour by the Concrete Lake (1998), and BE (2004). [24] Forerunners of a more experimental and alternative approach include Thought Industry, as seen in their album Mods Carve the Pig: Assassins, Toads and God's Flesh (1993). [25]

Puerto Rican band Puya rose to prominence in the late '90s with their innovative fusion of jazz, salsa, and progressive metal, evident on their 1999 album Fundamental. [26]

Some of the first bands to pioneer the combination of progressive rock and extreme metal influences were Dan Swanö's Edge of Sanity, and Opeth,[ citation needed ] both bands hailing from Sweden. In particular, Edge of Sanity's Crimson (1996), a 40-minute concept album consisting of a single track, brought the band critical acclaim and was heralded as one of the first extreme-metal forays into a progressive rock-esque concept album,[ citation needed ] featuring death-metal vocals and heavily distorted guitars, with guest vocals and lead guitar from Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt. Dan Swanö produced Opeth's first release, Orchid (1995), which was unique for its combination of black metal vocals and instrumentation, melodic guitar harmonies, and acoustic passages, but it wasn't until their hallmark record Blackwater Park (2001) that they received critical acclaim. Steven Wilson, progressive rock icon and frontman of Porcupine Tree, was given a copy of Opeth's prior record Still Life (1999) from a friend, and, after listening, noted that the experimental music he had been after had drifted into extreme metal. Being mutual fans of each other's work, Steven ended up co-producing Blackwater Park along with Opeth's frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt, and would go on to co-produce Deliverance (2002) and Damnation (2003), together a would-be double album.[ citation needed ] Their next release, Ghost Reveries, became an "instant classic," followed by Watershed, their last "heavy" album, both of which have had significant influence on the progressive metal genre, [27] [28] along with other other "extreme metal" bands like Meshuggah. This style of progressive metal is often referred to as "extreme progressive metal," or "extreme prog," for short. [29] Later bands who would play in this style are Ne Obliviscaris, Disillusion. [30] [31] Porcupine Tree would later be influenced by this style, and in particular from Opeth, while Opeth would subsequently switch to a more traditional progressive metal/rock band, devoid of extreme metal elements. [28]

Haken live in 2014 Ino Rock Festival - Haken (2).jpg
Haken live in 2014

Between the Buried and Me, who started as a more straightforward metalcore band, also began to incorporate both progressive metal and death metal into their music on their 2003 album The Silent Circus , a landmark album in the progressive metalcore genre. [32] They would later add avant-garde elements as well on releases such as The Great Misdirect (2009).

In the 2010s, due to the rapid growth of djent lead by bands such as Periphery and After the Burial, [33] progressive metal saw an increased interest with a large number of newcomers to the genre. Some of the newer progressive metal bands that have gained popularity since the 2010s are Haken, Plini, Vola, and Caligula's Horse, among others. [34]

Stylistic diversity

One of the hallmark musical qualities of progressive metal is eclecticism. In between the riffs, choruses, and solos typical of rock and metal songs, prog metal bands often include sections inspired by jazz, classical and Middle Eastern music, among others. Progressive metal is difficult to define specifically, since most bands labeled under the genre have considerably different musical influences when compared to each other. [35]

Similarly, bands such as Dream Theater, Planet X, Puya, [36] Liquid Tension Experiment, The Faceless, Between the Buried and Me and Animals as Leaders have a jazz influence, with extended solo sections that often feature "trading solos". Cynic, Atheist, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me and Meshuggah all blended jazz fusion with death metal, but in dramatically different ways. Devin Townsend draws on more ambient influences in the atmosphere of his music.

Progressive metal is also often linked with power metal; Fates Warning and Conception, two bands that were originally power metal outfits, later incorporated progressive elements that ended up overshadowing their power metal roots. The ProgPower music festivals showcase this progressive-power metal fusion. Recently, with a popularity in shred guitar, the genre of "technical metal" has become increasingly prevalent and popular. This has led to a resurgence of popularity for more traditional progressive metal bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X; it also has led to the inclusion within the progressive niche of bands that do not necessarily play in its traditional style such as thrash/power metal band Nevermore and technical death metal pioneers Obscura. These bands are often labeled progressive since they play complex and technical music which does not fall under any other genre.[ citation needed ]

Orphaned Land from Israel debuted as Melodic Death-doom/Melodic death metal band that fused middle eastern rhythms and melodies into their music with a progressive edge. The band knew they wanted to create a new subgenre of metal from the very beginning, a style they would dub "oriental metal," and were always viewed as progressive due to the nature of the middle eastern elements of their music, which is known for using time signatures that are uncommon in the west, expansive song structures, and microtones. As their career developed, they would later play in a more traditional progressive metal style, comparable to Opeth, Symphony X, and the like, while maintaining their "oriental" edge. [37] [38] [39] [40] Steven Wilson, who lived in Israel for some time playing in Blackfield, found Ophaned Land to be "something special" after listening to Mabool and, would end up producing and engineering The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR. [41] [42] Amaseffer, also from Israel, played a similar style fusing progressive metal with orientalism, as well as Myrath from Tunisia, and later on IGNEA from Ukraine, who also use djent elements, among other artists.

Orphaned Land live in 2019 Orphaned Land a Meyrin 2019 (46866490954).jpg
Orphaned Land live in 2019

In the late 2000s, bands such as Periphery, Tesseract, Animals as Leaders and Vildhjarta popularized the "djent" style of progressive metal in a sound originally developed by Meshuggah. It is characterized by high-attack, palm-muted, syncopated riffs (often incorporating polymeters), as well as use of extended-range guitars. [43] Extended-range guitars also feature in other forms of progressive metal; artists including Dream Theater, Devin Townsend, Dir En Grey, and Ne Obliviscaris have used seven-string guitars without being part of the djent movement, Dream Theater having been one of the earliest progressive metal bands to incorporate seven-stringed guitars into their music.[ citation needed ]

Proyecto Eskhata, a Spanish band, has received much press coverage in Spain for its fusion of progressive rock and rap metal, which journalists have described as "progressive rap metal". [44] [45] [46] [47]

Progressive doom is a fusion genre that combines elements of progressive metal and doom metal. [48] Bands include King Goat, [48] Below the Sun, [49] Sierra, [50] and Oceans of Slumber. [51]

See also

Related Research Articles

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking; deep growling vocals; aggressive, powerful drumming, featuring double kick and blast beat techniques; minor keys or atonality; abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes; and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may include slasher film-style violence, political conflict, religion, nature, philosophy, true crime and science fiction.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and United States. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock and acid rock, heavy metal bands developed a thick, monumental sound characterized by distorted guitars, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats and loudness.

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that primarily developed in the United Kingdom through the mid- to late 1960s, peaking in the early 1970s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an emergence of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Power metal</span> Subgenre of heavy metal

Power metal is a subgenre of heavy metal combining characteristics of traditional heavy metal with speed metal, often within a symphonic context. Generally, power metal is characterized by a faster, lighter, and more uplifting sound, in contrast with the heaviness and dissonance prevalent in, for example, extreme metal. Power metal bands usually have anthem-like songs with fantasy-based subject matter and strong choruses, thus creating a theatrical, dramatic and emotionally "powerful" sound.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jazz fusion</span> Music genre combining jazz methods with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues

Jazz fusion is a popular music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times, heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fates Warning</span> American progressive metal band

Fates Warning is an American progressive metal band, formed in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1982 by vocalist John Arch, guitarists Jim Matheos and Victor Arduini, bassist Joe DiBiase, and drummer Steve Zimmerman. There have been numerous lineup changes over the course of their 42-year career, and Matheos is the only constant member. As of 2020, the band consists of Matheos, vocalist Ray Alder, bassist Joey Vera, drummer Bobby Jarzombek and guitarist Michael Abdow. Fates Warning also had a revolving cast of drummers and guitarists by the time Jarzombek and Abdow joined the band in 2007 and 2020 respectively.

<i>Blackwater Park</i> 2001 studio album by Opeth

Blackwater Park is the fifth studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on March 12, 2001, in Europe and a day later in North America through Music for Nations and Koch Records. The album marks the first collaboration between Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson and the band, as Wilson had been brought in to produce the album. This contributed to a shift in Opeth's musical style. The songs "The Drapery Falls" and "Still Day Beneath the Sun" were released as singles.

<i>Damnation</i> (album) 2003 studio album by Opeth

Damnation is the seventh studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. It was released on 22 April 2003, five months after Deliverance, which was recorded at the same time. Damnation is the last Opeth album to date to be produced by Steven Wilson although he did mix two future albums, Heritage and Pale Communion. Mikael Åkerfeldt dedicated both albums to his grandmother, who died in a car accident during the time the albums were being recorded.

<i>Destroy Erase Improve</i> 1995 studio album by Meshuggah

Destroy Erase Improve is the second studio album by Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah. It was released on 12 May 1995 by Nuclear Blast. This is the first studio album to feature rhythm guitarist Mårten Hagström and the final to feature bassist Peter Nordin, as he left the band during the supporting tour due to vertigo.

<i>Act III</i> (Death Angel album) 1990 studio album by Death Angel

Act III is the third studio album by the thrash metal band Death Angel, released in 1990 on Geffen Records. This is the band's final studio album to feature guitarist Gus Pepa, and their only recording on Geffen. It was also their last studio album before their ten-year hiatus from 1991 to 2001.

<i>Terrorizer</i> (magazine) Extreme music magazine

Terrorizer was an extreme music magazine published by Dark Arts Ltd. in the United Kingdom. It was released every four weeks with thirteen issues a year and featured a "Fear Candy" covermount CD, a twice yearly "Fear Candy Unsigned" CD, and a double-sided poster.

<i>Blessing in Disguise</i> (Metal Church album) 1989 studio album by Metal Church

Blessing in Disguise is the third studio album by American heavy metal band Metal Church, released on February 7, 1989.

<i>The Blueprint Dives</i> 2005 studio album by Extol

The Blueprint Dives is the fourth studio release by the Norwegian Christian metal band Extol. Recorded at the end of 2004 at Top Room Studios and produced by Børge Finstad and Extol, Blueprint was released on 21 February 2005 on Century Media. The album met with a widely positive reception and received a Spellemannprisen nomination. On this album, Ole Børud and Christer Espevoll left Extol, and the band was joined by the members of the rock band Ganglión, Tor Magne S. Glidje and Ole Halvard Sveen.

Progressive metalcore is a fusion of progressive metal and metalcore characterized by highly technical lead guitar, "atmospheric" elements, and complex instrumentation. Some notable practitioners take influence from djent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sky Architect</span> Dutch progressive rock band

Sky Architect is a progressive rock band based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Their debut album, Excavations of the Mind, was released in 2010 from ProgRock Records. The drummer and backing vocalist, Christiaan Bruin, is also known for his solo project "Chris". They are currently signed to FREIA Music.

<i>Extol</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Extol

Extol is the fifth full-length studio album by the Norwegian Christian progressive death metal band Extol, released in 2013. It was described by music critics as a mixture of death and progressive metal, with some melodic elements. Reviews of the album were very positive, and the album managed to chart on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Distorted Harmony</span>

Distorted Harmony is an Israeli progressive metal band from Tel Aviv, Israel, formed in 2009.

References

  1. 1 2 3 "Progressive Metal Music Genre Overview - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  2. AllMusic . Tool. Retrieved on February 11, 2013.
  3. Wilson, Rich (March 10, 2020). "10 essential progressive metal albums". Loudersound.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  4. Rivadavia, Eduardo (June 6, 2018). "The Roots of Progressive Metal in 11 Songs". Loudwire.com. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  5. Wagner 2010, pp. 1–8.
  6. Wagner 2010, pp. 21–31.
  7. Wagner 2010, pp. 47–54.
  8. Wagner 2010, pp. 55–63.
  9. "Awaken The Guardian Retrospective". Power of Prog. April 16, 2016.
  10. "10 Essential Progressive Metal Albums". teamrock. March 10, 2020.
  11. "METAL GETS MENTAL". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  12. Spencer, Trey (June 30, 2008). "Review: Fates Warning - Perfect Symmetry". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  13. Wagner 2010, pp. 40–44.
  14. Wagner 2010, pp. 103–129.
  15. Wagner 2010, pp. 69–72.
  16. Wagner 2010, pp. 83–84.
  17. Wagner 2010, pp. 160–169.
  18. Wagner 2010, p. 117–120-140-205.
  19. Wagner 2010, pp. 79–82.
  20. Wagner 2010, pp. 91–107.
  21. Wagner 2010, pp. 76–78.
  22. "Review: Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  23. "The 100 Greatest Prog Anthems Of All Time". Loudersound.com. March 26, 2018. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  24. Wagner 2010, pp. 195–229.
  25. Spencer, Trey (November 20, 2007). "Thought Industry Mods Carve The Pig". Sputnik Music. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  26. Charles R. Bouley II (January 9, 1999). MCA's Puya Gets 'Fundamental' With Mix Of Rock, Salsa. Billboard . Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  27. Böhmer, Dominik (December 8, 2018). "A SCENE IN RETROSPECT: Opeth - "Ghost Reveries"". Everything Is Noise. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  28. 1 2 Kennelty, Greg (September 18, 2019). "OPETH Wrote And Deleted A Death Metal Record After Watershed". Metal Injection. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  29. Shteamer, Hank (July 26, 2017). "Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  30. Kennelty, Greg (July 11, 2019). "DISILLUSION Announces First New Album In 13 Years The Liberation". Metal Injection. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  31. Harrington, Chris (January 4, 2018). "Ne Obliviscaris Put Progress In Motion". Invisible Oranges - The Metal Blog. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  32. "BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME Albums Ranked". Prog-sphere.com. June 4, 2018. Archived from the original on May 18, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  33. "What Is Djent Music? Explore the Heavy Metal Subgenre". MasterClass. August 17, 2021. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  34. Loudwire Staff (March 3, 2023). "10 Best New Prog Rock + Metal Bands Since 2010, Chosen By Haken's Ross Jennings". Loudwire. Retrieved December 4, 2023.
  35. "The Genres at Heavy Harmonies". Heavy Harmonies.
  36. Mateus, Jorge Arévalo (2004). "Boricua Rock". In Hernandez, Deborah Pacini (ed.). Rockin' las Américas: the global politics of rock in Latin/o America . D. Fernández, Héctor l'Hoeste; Zolov, Eric. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp.  94–98. ISBN   0-8229-5841-4.
  37. Farhi, Kobi (2021). Orphaned Land - 30 Years of Oriental Metal art booklet. Century Media.
  38. "Interview: Orphaned Land – Kobi Farhi". Metal Refuge. February 27, 2004.
  39. "Interview with Matti Svatizky (Orphaned Land)". www.metalfan.ro.
  40. "Orphaned Land". Tablet.
  41. Blabbermouth (September 24, 2009). "ORPHANED LAND: New Album Due In January". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  42. Orphaned Land - Vayehi Or 20 Years Of Journey (Documentary) , retrieved December 5, 2023
  43. "What is Djent". Djent Hub. Archived from the original on July 6, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  44. "Proyecto Éskhata + Zarcort". Timeout.es. Retrieved November 18, 2021.[ permanent dead link ]
  45. "MetalKorner - PROYECTO ESKHATA adelanta un tema de su futuro álbum". Metalkorner.com. Archived from the original on September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  46. "PROYECTO ESKHATA - SALEM - INVISIBLE". Mariskalrock.com.[ permanent dead link ]
  47. "[Críticas de Discos] Proyecto Eskhata – La edad postcontemporánea (2015)". Lamancharock.com. May 29, 2015.
  48. 1 2 Goat, King (March 15, 2018). "The 9 albums that inspired King Goat's progressive doom sound". Loudersound.com. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  49. "Full Album Stream: Below The Sun - 'Alien World' - Decibel Magazine". May 23, 2017.
  50. "Canada's purveyors of progressive doom metal issue new video". Axs.com. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  51. "6 New Metal Albums That Set a Strong Mood - Pitchfork". Pitchforkcom.[ permanent dead link ]

References