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A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

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Prog Related definition

No musical genre exists in a vacuum. Not all of the bands that have been a part of the history and development of progressive rock are necessarily progressive rock bands themselves. This is why progarchives has included a genre called prog-related, so we could include all the bands that complete the history of progressive rock, whether or not they were considered full-fledged progressive rock bands themselves.

There are many criteria that the prog-related evaluation team considers when deciding which bands are considered prog-related. Very few bands will meet all of this criteria, but this list will give an idea as to some of the things that help evaluate whether an artists is prog-related or not.

1) Influence on progressive rock - The groundbreaking work of artists like Led Zepplin and David Bowie affected many genres of rock, including at times progressive rock. Although both of these artists created rock music in a dizzying array of genres, both contributed to the ongoing history of progressive rock several times within the span of their careers.

2) Location - Progressive rock did not develop at the same time all over the world. It may surprise some people that as late as the mid-70s the US had very few original progressive rock bands that did not sound like exact copies of British bands. Journey was one of the first US bands to present a uniquely American brand of prog-rock before they eventually became a mainstream rock band. We have collaborators from all over the world who tell us which bands helped the progressive rock scene develop in their corner of the globe, even if those bands were like Journey and were known more for being mainstream rock bands.

3) Members of important progressive rock bands - Although most of the recorded solo output of artists like Greg Lake and David Gilmour falls more in a mainstream rock style, their contributions to progressive rock in their respective bands insures them a place in our prog-related genre.

4) Timeliness - Like many genres, prog-rock has had its ups and downs. In the late 70s and early 80s prog-rock was barely a blip on the radar. During this time artists such as David Bowie and Metallica released albums that captured key elements of the spirit of prog rock and did so while contributing their own original modern elements to the mix.

5) Integral part of the prog-rock scene - Sometimes you just had to be a part of the scene during a certain time period to understand how some bands fit with the prog rock scene of their time. Although Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Wishbone Ash may seem like mere hard rock bands, in their time they stood apart from other hard rockers with their more serious lyrical content and more developed compositions. Put simply, in the early 70s every prog-rock record collector usually had full collections of all three of these artists. These three bands were very much part of the prog-rock scene without being total prog-rock bands them selves.

6) Influenced by progressive rock - From the late 60s till about 1976 the progressive tendency was in full effect in almost all genres of music. Once again, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century a melting pot of prog-metal, math-rock, progressive electronics and post-rock influences have once again made a progressive tendency in rock music almost more a norm than a difference. Yet in other periods of musical history receiving influence from progressive rock could really set a band apart and make them worthy of our prog-related category.
Being influenced by progressive rock is hardly the only factor we look at, and in some periods of musical history it is almost meaningless, but still, it is almost a given that most of the artists listed in prog-related were influenced by the development of progressive rock.

7) Common sense - Nitpicking over the above listed criteria is not necessarily the correct way to evaluate a band for prog-related. Sometimes you just have to use some common sense and look at the big picture.
A very good way to describe prog-related would be to imagine an exhaustive book that covered the history of progressive rock. Would such a book include references to led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven', David Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World' or Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'? Probably so.
- Easy Money

Prog Related Top Albums

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

4.38 | 1029 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.52 | 268 ratings
Bowie, David
4.36 | 729 ratings
4.29 | 863 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.28 | 851 ratings
4.23 | 780 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.21 | 716 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.22 | 602 ratings
Wishbone Ash
4.21 | 582 ratings
Bowie, David
4.18 | 452 ratings
4.13 | 673 ratings
Iron Maiden
4.16 | 431 ratings
Bowie, David
4.11 | 662 ratings
4.10 | 678 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.10 | 540 ratings
4.07 | 671 ratings
Black Sabbath
4.15 | 291 ratings
Bowie, David
4.06 | 777 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.03 | 845 ratings
Led Zeppelin
4.17 | 219 ratings
Blue ÷yster Cult

Latest Prog Related Music Reviews

 Pike 270 - A3 by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 270 - A3
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 270 - A3 / 267th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 2 tracks / Clocks in at 28 minutes 50 seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead 3: >

While the artist known as BUCKETHEAD is primarily known for his experimental rock and metal styles that transcend boundaries and push limits of what human fingers are capable of performing, the chicken lover has also proven himself a master of creating some of the most horrific and creepy dark ambient soundtracks throughout his PIKE series with the bulk having been released in 2015 with the chilling countdown to Halloween PIKEs where a new album was released everyday. Since then those types of murky overcasts of demented dread have been fairly absent in the incessant releases that never cease but on PIKE 270 - A3 the chicken lover delivers yet another mystic chimera of sound that dishes out two long drawn out tracks that just miss the half hour mark

The title track 'A3' is a slow and descending sonic drift into the recesses of the darkest corners of the human soul with no melody to be heard, no rhythms to keep time and no discernible rhyme and reason to the extended bouts with darkness that slowly pulsate through the sonic underworld like bioluminescent jellyfish at the mercy of the high-pressure induced currents of the oceanic abyss. So is the feel of 'A3' with a dungeon synth flow of atmospheric dread followed by echoey guitar vibrato in free form plunging ever deeper into the a lightless trench with occasional energetic outbursts of vibrato run amok

'Liquid Mirror' continues the journey into strange unearthly sound fields where dark ambient synths slowly modulate in smooth yet jarring manners of articulation designed to evoke the horrors of being plunged into a dark world haunted by phantasms and poltergeists that can only be sensed but not seen. The fluidity of the pulsating flow of sound emanates from the chasms of unnerving alien auras that evoke otherworldly encounters where all relativity with reality are completely void where hitherto unthinkable forms of chemistry and physics dominate. So utterly and incomprehensible that sheer logic crumbles like sand castles under construction in a hurricane. 'Liquid Mirror' is even more extreme in its utterly formlessness with eerie dripping, echoey distant guitar vibrato and haunted synth swirls that go for the jugular in ratcheting up the fear factor. Perhaps the perfect soundtrack for a stroll down an unexplored planet in another star system as strange life forms evolved in every different way possible and where every nanosecond is fraught with apprehension and trepidation

PIKE 270 - A3 is an outstanding accomplishment of dark ambient and is guaranteed to appeal to aficionados of Lustmord, Deathprod or Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. Do not listen to this alone and in the dark before you go to bed

 Pike 269 - Decaying Parchment by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.00 | 1 ratings

Pike 269 - Decaying Parchment
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 269 - Decaying Parchment / 26th release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 6 tracks / Clocks in at 32 minutes 47 seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead 3: >

"Is" (5:11) begins things with a creeping clean echoey guitar but soon ratchets up the alternative metal fixin's as a chugga chug riff creates a hard drivin' groove. This is one of those tracks where the hard parts alternate with the softer parts but basically repeat the same melodic chord changes. The bass is extra special here as it has a distinct sub-groove to the guitar riffs. The drumming is adequate but sounds like it could have spruced up a bit

"The Maps Inside" (8:16) begins things calmly with clean guitar parts slowly ushering in a more upbeat distorted guitar riff. After a few normal measures, it chugs out a weird off-kilter riff before getting cold feet and cooling off into an echoey clean guitar mode again. It sputters on with jittery distorted riffs and cleaner passages in a mid-tempo range but also slows down from time to time. Eventually it picks up and a bluesy solo erupts while the chord changes get stuck in a loop effect. This part extends well beyond its predictable outcome

"Wings of a Dead Moth" (4:51) ah, poor little moth, no wonder you died. This track is a CRUSHER!!! Brutal metal riffing suddenly changes into a clean circus anthem but then the heavy blistering riffs return but then a slower less distorted riff. It's one of those seesaw songs where loud and fast plays and then softer and crazy! I like these kinds of tracks :P There are a few Van Halen type riffs ("Ain't Talkin' Bout Love") as well as just crazy off-kilter time sig riffs that are brutal. My favorite is the chicken clucking riffs but there are industrial metal riffs and crazed guitar solos on hyperdrive. This one is EXCELLENT!!! Creative, diverse and non-predictable!

"Pillar" (4:23) starts with a tinny guitar lick with a clucking lick and steady bass groove and cymbal action with percussion. Good mix of instruments. Pretty much an alternative metal groove track with a melody flying high through the lead guitar while a jerky riff chugs in the undergrowth. Unfolds in a rather predictable way but still sounds good and different in its approach

"Twister" (3:46) begins super chilled and echoey as a guitar slowly builds up tension with percussion and then finds a groove to latch around and creates a bouncy little distorted melody which picks up a little speed and then the treble guitar does jittery things while the bass parts stay bouncy. Kind of an overdone style in BH's world

"Decaying Parchment" (6:20) is freakier and begins with a free form avant-garde guitar weirdness as the lead guitar goes apes.h.i.t. and gets hyperactive and bizarre. It sounds like the bass and drums live in their own world while two guitars are in their own separate universes but somehow are coming together in an unorthodox manner. Time signatures run amok despite a steady groove, sonic assaults as guitar weave around each other in mysterious ways. Cacophonous din erupting in a merry-go-round fashion. This is the type of BUCKETHEAD track i crave!

Only third and sixth tracks set me on fire. The rest are fairly overdone in the PIKE canon and like many of these, if you haven't heard this a million times, you'll think it sounds great but if you have then the unwarranted repetition is a little unfulfilling

 Hardwired...To Self-Destruct by METALLICA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.47 | 76 ratings

Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
Metallica Prog Related

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Despite Metallica never having made an album quite like this before, this album sounds like Metallica had been making albums just like this for decades, and that's both a good and a bad thing. Not only is this a "pure" heavy metal/thrash metal album that lacks any diversity to anger the hardcore faithful that had grown tried of justifying Metallica and later "betrayals" to themselves (and I say this as somebody who enjoys both Metallica and a good deal of what came after), it also finally shows the band making a thrash metal that shows no hint whatsoever of the structural pattern, introduced on Lightning, that had lasted through Justice and that ultimately shaped Death Magnetic. The band sounds completely comfortable in its own skin as the old man godfathers of thrash metal, and this album is a full-blown celebration and glorification of that style, without needing to rely on past successes as a crutch. So what's the bad news? The bad news is that, as wonderful and amazing as it is that the band has finally found its way back to what, in a certain sense, it probably should have been all along, they've gotten back to it so late in the game that, frankly, they're just not that great at it anymore. The album is filled with riffs and performances that sound great in 15-second increments, but as nice as many of the individual segments are, they don't ultimately get cobbled together into especially great songs. It doesn't help that Hammett is weirdly flat and subdued on this album; he doesn't have any writer credits on here, and while I don't entirely know what went into that, I do know that there isn't a really iconic Hammett solo anywhere on the main album (there's one in "Atlas, Rise!" that comes close), and that's a disappointment. It also isn't great that the main portion of this so ridiculously long, stretching over two CDs and lasting nearly as long as Load (and longer than Reload); I kinda regret that they couldn't find a way to rework and combine the better sections of the various songs to make a stronger 45 minute album as opposed to this somewhat weaker 78 minute one.

There are a few songs that require special mention beyond "this is enjoyable thrash metal when on and you'll forget about it 10 seconds later," fortunately. The opening "Hardwired" is the shortest song on the album by a mile (only 3:09) and makes incredibly effective use of its time, combining break-neck speed with a nice riff built around a downward phrase followed by an upwards rolling one, and the brief Hammett solo, while a pale shadow of earlier efforts, is rousing in context. The following "Atlas, Rise!" has some clear differentiation in the two main guitar parts and a number of dramatic moments that take a good stab at hearkening back to the band's peak, and it's full of interesting rhythms and harmonies that make it into at least a minor classic. Later on, "Halo on Fire," which closes the first disc, is the longest track on here (8:15), and in addition to some especially rousing instrumental parts it has the album's best "chorus" (to the extent that this album has choruses) when James sings "Turn out the light, halo on fire!" I can't really say if the various riffs in this song are really that much better than the individual riffs that appear on the bulk of the rest of the album, but I can say that they fit together better here than the riffs fit together on most of the other songs.

That leaves nine other songs on the main album and ... oh boy ... hmm ... umm ... hmm. I like every one of them when they're on! I remember almost nothing about them when they're done! "Confusion" has an opening that alludes to the "Am I Evil?" single, and I like the churning riffage that emerges from that introduction. "Here Comes Revenge" has an anguished screaming guitar sound over the pummelling main riff that I like. "Am I Savage?" features a peculiar Hammett guitar sound over one of the main riffs that I think sounds pretty neat. "Spit Out the Bone" has a lot of speed and energy in the grand tradition of speedy energetic Metallica thrash closers, and it's nice. And the rest is fine, I guess. One thing I find interesting was that I received a comment from someone soon after this came out mentioning that they thought that I might end up liking the second disc a lot because the lack of clear structure and organization of the riffage makes it more "progressive," but ultimately I don't really feel that way at all.

So that's the main album, which has lots of enjoyable aspects but ultimately doesn't come together in a fully satisfying manner. The good news, then, is that, upon initial release, this album was easily obtainable in a 3-CD "deluxe" addition (I honestly don't even remember seeing the 2-CD version available, or if it was the cost difference wasn't enough to convince me not to get the larger one), and I'm glad that I got the deluxe version, because the third disc is an absolute delight. The first track, "Lords of Summer" was released as a single in 2014, so I guess they decided it wouldn't be a good idea to include it on the proper album, but that's too bad, because it's better than anything on the main album other than the first two tracks. The main riffs are a great combination of memorable and powerful, and there's a great slithering Hammett solo that grows into something really cool, and this one really feels like it could have belonged on one of the band's best albums. The next few tracks are covers, and while I could see a Metallica fan rolling their eyes at these and thinking these are a waste of time, I find them a blast. There's a nice cover of the Deep Purple B-side ballad "When a Blind Man Cries," and the studio cover of "Remember Tomorrow" (from the first Iron Maiden album) and the live cover of "Helpless" (a Diamond Head song that kicked off Garage Inc. way back when) are both lots of fun, but the most fun comes from a medley of Rainbow songs (called "Ronnie Rising Medley") that the band had previously recorded for a Dio tribute album. "A Light in the Black," "Tarot Woman, "Stargazer" and "Kill the King" are referenced here, and while Rainbow-purists might be horrified by this (how many Rainbow purists are there anyway??), I absolutely love this.

And then there's a truckload of live stuff! In April 2016, in honor of Record Store Day, Metallica put on a brief concert at Rasputin Music in Berkeley, CA (a fine establishment that, along with Amoeba, was essentially my home away from home during grad school) that only included songs from Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning, and oh how I love listening to this. The Lightning choices aren't especially shocking (the title track, "Fade to Black," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "Creeping Death"), and to be honest it's not that shocking to hear them do "The Four Horsemen," but hearing the band tear through "Hit the Lights," "Jump in the Fire" and "Metal Militia" makes me believe in the power of music to keep somebody young, and I would have loved to have been present for this. And finally, the disc closes with a perfect bookend, the first live performance of "Hardwired" (which, again, starts the album) before release, and my feelings towards the set finish up pretty positive on the whole.

Still, as great as the bonus material here might be, that doesn't change that I find the main album a bit of a slog, so I can only go so high with the rating. There's no reason for a Metallica fan not to buy this, but there's pretty much no chance that it will convert somebody who doesn't already really like the band. This will go down in history as a second-tier Metallica album, and honestly, there are much worse things in the world than that.

 Cyborg Slunks by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
2.93 | 8 ratings

Cyborg Slunks
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars On his 21st solo album which was simultaneously released with several others, BUCKETHEAD was well on his way in proving his prolific nature with a restless appetite for ever more albums emerging with each sounding distinct from the other. Such is the case with the bizarre experimental sonic assault of CYBORG SLUNKS which after a couple of more accessible albums somewhat grounded in the alternative metal world suddenly shifts into a bizarre conglomerate of electronica weirdness performed by Kody Haggerty under the guise of the Cyborg Slunk Percussion Ensemble. This release displays a mix of weird unorthodox and all-over- the-place types of electronica whizzing around the outlandishly wicked guitar parts showcasing BH's virtuosic skills.

"Sneak Attack" displays a more traditional BH virtuoso guitar workout as heard on many previous works including "Monsters And Robots." This one features more guitar wankery and less electronica but does have some sparse percussion as well. The electronica when it appears is wild and weird! "Reopening Of The Scapula Factory" is basically a ten minute flamenco guitar display with unpredictable electronic noises that can be jarring and the polar opposite of the suave guitar smoothness. "Infiltration" has a funk based groove with the guitar and bass providing a somewhat distinct counterpoint effect but the electronics provide an avant-garde role when they drop out. The guitar parts are quite bluesy while the bass remains on funk mode. The guitar line is actually quite Hendrix inspired in fact.

"Aunt Suzie" is a more sombre track that starts out with arpeggiated clean guitar parts which create a recurring melody that extends close to the twelve minute mark. While the melody and clean guitar parts are consistent, electronic overdubs and guitar lick effects add some exotic flair to the mix, however one of those tracks that wears out its welcome because it's too long. "A New War Is Underway" is more upbeat with a steady drum machine beat accompanied by a rather dissonant and noisy guitar feedback which once the percussion ceasing becomes quite jarring in its unrelenting weirdness with no steady time signature and freaky dynamics controls. This is some serious free form rock with no rules whatsoever. A true counterpoint to the previous track of too much control, this one contains jazzy avant-guitar leads, unpredictable bursts of distortion and percussive runs and lots of separate sounds randomly superimposed upon each other. I presume that the chaotic feel symbolizes the feeling of nervousness during the buildup to war. It sure feels like it.

CYBORG SLUNKS is a mixed bag. It is utterly unrelenting in its weirdness and sometimes feels like that exotic tendency is emphasized for its own sake instead of creating some subtext to justify its existence. For the weirdness effect the last track is the most effective in conveying a message of some sort but the rest of the album isn't without its avant-charm. I can see why this album will be alienating to many but even as someone who craves the weirdest and most bizarre music that has to be offered, this one doesn't quite scratch the itch in a most satisfying way as it seems a little too random and unfocused in any particular way. In hind sight it's definitely a prognosticator of the future PIKE series as it reminds me of many of those hit and miss offerings. Still though, totally worth the listen even if it doesn't rank high in my BH world.

 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.10 | 678 ratings

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Maybe the most progressive Black Sabbath's album... But also their best? I don't think so.

Heavily dealing with drug abuse, the band decided to make a more symphonic and progressive approach for their songs. In addition, with the band fully stablished as one of the strongest rock bands of their time they had enough money to make a lavish and rich production.

However, I think they lost some of their charm in the process and this raw power that their first albums had. The guitars are not so hard this time, Iommi's solos are not so good and Ozzy incorporated his typical synthetized and filtered vocals that would become his trademark from this record till now. Bill Ward and Geezer maintained their typical and powerful sound nevertheless.

Let's talk about the songs!

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is the best track of the album, introducing a very hard and splendid riff which leads to a more psychedelic chorus. The second riff is even better and it has surprising high-pitched vocals from Ozzy. This song is, like Wheels of Confusion in Vol. 4, a successful attempt to broaden the musical range of the band this time even more progressive than before.

A National Acrobat starts in a very Vol. 4 style, but with the aforementioned synthetized vocals. It is a sort of diabolical hard rock with great wah wah guitars and a very progressive part after the fifth minute. Very good! Sadly, Fluff is a letdown in the album. A song in the style of Laguna Sunrise but less inspired despite its good keyboards.

However, Sabbra Cadabra raises the mood with a very rock n' roll feeling. It's an accelerated and funny song with Rick Wakemann keyboards and lot of progressive influences. In addition, it also contains a great piano improvisation towards the end. A fine surprise! Killing Yourself to live starts with a weak riff, but after that the song gets better with good melodies and doubled guitars in the solo. Nevertheless, is a sort of lackluster.

And another lackluster is Who Are You?, a strange and dark song driven by synthesizers which is a bit boring despite its obscure lyrics. Looking for Today is better, despite being a bit too positive and festive in comparison to previous Sabbath's releases. The psychedelic influences appear again in the chorus in the form of mellow acoustic guitars and flutes. Fine song.

Spiral Architect is another interesting moment of this album, because it has surprising orchestral arrangements. It starts with precious acoustic guitars which lead to a riff which reminds me to The Who every time a hear it. After that we have a soft hard rock song again very festive and happy, with unfitting lysergic lyrics. Strange and not really brilliant, but interesting anyway.

Conclusion: tons of keyboards, mellotron, synthetisers and even orchestral arrangements.... Black Sabbath evolved their sound thank to the influences of the successful symphonic and progressive rock at the time Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was recorded. Sadly, the songwriting was not so outstanding this time, and they lost a bit of strength in their guitars and riffs too.

This album has great songs and very good intentions. And it's also a capital and influential record for the developement of heavy metal and hard rock. But as a whole, I think it was their less stellar release since their debut.

Best Tracks: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, A National Acrobat, Sabbra Cadabra.

My rating: ***1/2, rounded up to four stars.

 Volume Four by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.82 | 571 ratings

Volume Four
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vol. 4 is an album of a band going through changes (and dealing with sever drug abuse) But they managed to create another milestone for hard rock and heavy music!

This fourth effort is a bit less heavy than Master of Reality and it has a muddier and darker production. I really don't know if this dirty sound was deliberate or not, but it had a capital importance through the years. After 45 after its release, we can check that Vol. 4 and its special and distinctive sound inspired bands like Kyuss, The Obsessed, Sleep, Cathedral and many more.

The album starts with Wheel of Confusion, which contained a rather complex riff and structure if compared to previous records. It is a long song, which shows a worthy attempt to reach new levels for the band. Tomorrow's Dream confirms the dirty and sloughy sound of the album, with a typical Sabbath riff and great verses.

Changes is a weird attempt to create an intimate song, and despite not being really memorable, it has the best vocal interpretation from Ozzy. It can even sing in this song! In addition, the mellotron is pretty good. Sadly, FX is just forgettable. An experimental piece of trash that last 1'43'' too long.

Supernaut retrieves the energy with another powerful riff and a great psychedelic interlude with great drums. Snow Blind brings back the style of Master of Reality and it talks about the drug abuse that the band was suffering at this time. A classic with impressive keyboards towards the end! And Cornucopia is another hit which starts with a doom rhythm and continue with a melody with rock and roll influences but filtered with the ultra-heavy and dirty guitars from Iommi.

Laguna Sunrise is a beautiful surprise, because it demonstrates that this band was able to create competent orchestral arrangements and it shows a wider musical range. The good keyboard work of this song and others from this album give a good advance of what the band would do in Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

St. Vitus Dance is maybe not so memorable, but it is a short and funny track, which mixes wisely heavy riffs with blues-rock influences. Moreover, Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes is another classic from this album. The energetic and powerful ending that this album deserves.

Conclusion: Vol. 4 is one of my Sabbath's favorites. It is not so groundbreaking as the first two albums and not so damn good as Master of Reality, but apart from FX it's almost a flawless album, which shows a band succeeding in their attempt to expand their sound with keyboards and orchestral arrangements. In addition, it has a dirty and muddy production, which professed a capital influenced through the years, especially for Stoner Metal bands.

However, if you are searching the more Heavy Metal side of Black Sabbath, I recommend you to start with albums like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath or Heaven and Hell.

My rating: ****

 Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.22 | 8 ratings

Decoding the Tomb of Bansheebot
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars As BUCKETHEAD raced into the year 2007 he was already releasing several albums per year as well as collaborating with myriad other artists and even releasing treasures from the coop that were sitting in perpetuity and finally hatched this same year. The second "normal" studio album of the year was intriguingly titled DECODING THE TOMB OF BANSHEEBOT which followed in the footsteps musically and stylistically as its predecessor "Pepper's Ghost." This is another instrumental album where BH plays everything with the exception Dan Monti who not only provides production and programming but plays a mean bass.

Once again BUCKETHEAD provides a more accessible album apart from some of his avant-garde weirdness of the past. DECODING THE TOMB OF BANSHEEBOT finds easy to digest metal riffs, standard tunings, time signatures and not really anything new that stands out in the chicken lover's universe. While not quite reaching for the easy listening depths of lullaby music, this one certainly does provide a smooth ride through a sea of heavily distorted alternative metal riffs and stellar groovy bass lines with adequate percussive backing. While there are guitar solos, they are de-emphasized with the focus being placed squarely on catchy melodic developments and when solos do occur they are primarily based in heavy bluesy rock runs.

One of the things i like the most about BANSHEEBOT is the use of tones. While the guitar riffs are fairly generic for someone like BH, there is a superb production that allows different twangs and tones to echo or distort to high heaven. As usual, the musicianship is top notch especially in some of the heavier riffs such as on "Killing Cone" with super aggressive thrashy riffs that could easily fit in on any Kreator album. Although the tracks are somewhat varied they are very much in the same ballpark meaning this is one of BH's less versatile offerings. There are variations of super heavy riff oriented segments with the slower clean guitar echo parts, but for the most part BH doesn't add many experimental or avant-garde touches.

In some ways the metal parts remind me of the early years of his debut "Bucketheadland" minus the freaky extras of course. This is a by-the-books production. This is a great introduction to the chicken lover for those who need to ease their way into his mysteriously bizarre musical universe. This one is easy to digest but provides a good BUCKETHEAD 101 for anyone interested in starting with the more palatable, less freaky eggs in the basket. Personally, this one is a tad too tame for my tastes. It's BH's avant-garde tendencies that add that extra joie de vivre to the mix and when music is performed this "normal" there should really be a vocalist involved to give it some character. As it stands it's just sort of an instrumental rough draft for something grander. Nothing bad on here but just not terribly exciting either for those already fully indoctrinated in the cult of the chicken.

 Rendez-Vous by JARRE, JEAN-MICHEL album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.45 | 97 ratings

Jean-Michel Jarre Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Originally composed as a tie-in with the Challenger shuttle mission before, Jean-Michel Jarre's Rendez-vous is a piece whose backstory ends up with a little extra poignancy due to the disaster which claimed the lives of the astronauts. Overall it's a long piece reminiscent of Jarre's breakthroughs like Oxygene and Equinoxe, the vocal experiments of Zoolook having been set aside. Aside from the last piece being subtitled "Ron's Piece", in light of the fact that astronaut Ron McNair was supposed to play the sax part of it from orbit as part of the mission, the mood of the whole seems rather untroubled by the tragedy it was associated with, and if I had any major criticism it would be the apparent lack of strong emotion altogether.
 Pepper's Ghost by BUCKETHEAD album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.12 | 7 ratings

Pepper's Ghost
Buckethead Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars After a few heavy albums dipping into the avant-garde world with progressive leanings and a few collaborative efforts that led BUCKETHEAD into calmer musical arenas, he shifted gears a little bit and created a more digestible "easy listening" for BUCKETHEAD anyway, type of album. No, it's not like one of the many lullaby albums that haunt the Pike output but it is more of a riff oriented album that sticks to a rather heavy blues rock style but keeps the tracks interesting by alternating the timbres, tones and dynamics. This was the chicken lover's 19th solo album and focused on more structured compositions. Along with the avant-garde one is Dan Monti who plays bass as well as handling the production and programming.

PEPPER'S GHOST is a fairly easy album to get into as it's riff-oriented tracks are quite easy to wrap one's head around as there are no shockingly disturbing time signature freak outs and jittery caffeinated whirlwind of ideas outpacing a tornado. On the contrary, this is basically a heavy rock that speeds up into full metal territory type of album that utilizes slower passages that offer clean guitar segments with cool echo effects and arpeggios. The tracks are all on the short side with the longest only hitting the five minute mark. While having been accused of producing a commercial album, PEPPER'S GHOST is anything but with its incessant shifts of styles and dynamics albeit adhering to a pre-set melodic development which makes it easier to follow.

Ultimately PEPPER'S GHOST seems a little restrained and held back for my tastes when it comes to BUCKETHEAD's adventurous output. This seems more like a demo album for possible band guitarist slots where he can prove his ability to tamp down his wild side and create a more commercial sound such as he did with Guns N Roses. In some ways it is interesting to hear BH do a more "normal" album that sticks to 4/4 timings and traditional guitar solos that don't blend too many elements simultaneously but at the same time i keep wanting him to push the envelope even further but rather he retreats into safer territory instead of kicking it all into higher gear which any hardcore fan knows quite well that he is capable of doing.

All in all PEPPER'S GHOST is a decent album and not a bad place for someone to begin their BH journey before delving into the esoteric and complex of his canon. While it certainly is more entertaining than the insipid ballad cheese that he also has a propensity for, it doesn't exactly take my heavy metal fantasies to the starts either. Add to the fact that BH doesn't really engage in any new ideas as pretty much everything has been done before and better whether it be those echoey guitar licks or the Van Halen inspired guitar riffs and a few interesting guitar runs that do briefly bask in the avant-garde off kilterness. Having said that, all of the tracks are catchy and well executed and could easily be spiced up with little effort. Perhaps not my most treasured of BH listening experiences but also at the same time not one that i will run to the hills to avoid experiencing again. In the end it's a nice mix of the mellow tinged with echoed psychedelia and the heavy crunch of metal riffs. The sole exception to this fairly "normal" sounding BH album is the finale "Emblaming Plaza" which is a percussionless ambient electronic track and a sneak preview to the Countdown To Halloween Pikes.

3.5 rounded down

 Master Of Reality by BLACK SABBATH album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.07 | 671 ratings

Master Of Reality
Black Sabbath Prog Related

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

5 stars In my opinion Master of Reality is Black Sabbath's true masterpiece!

A (almost) flawless album with thunderous bass, incredible guitar riffs, an Ozzy in his best moment and great drumming too. The bass in the mixing of the album is almost too loud, but I love bass oriented bass so I just love the Geezer playing in this one.

The style of Master of Reality is more coherent and cohesive than the two previous efforts, achieving a very solid collection of songs with no real letdowns. They wanted to make a groovy yet heavy album, and they made a real milestone for stoner and heavy metal. Even more than Black Sabbath and Paranoid.

Sweet Leaf has a catchy, very groovy riff that together with its lyrics talking about smoking drugs defined the terms of stoner rock and stoner metal. The final part is great and the bass playing is really strong. A real classic!

After Forever starts in an ominous way, introducing a dynamic melody which ends in another anthological riff. The bass sounds even stronger than guitars! And I just love it. Just like a love Embryo, a little yet terrifying instrumental which leads to Children of the Grave, where Heavy Metal was really born in my opinion (together with Speed King and Bloodsucker from Deep Purple's In rock) It's incredible to hear a song which generated so much amount of influence through the years. A big part of the 80's heavy metal was already in this 1971 track!

Orchid is another good instrumental song, obviously very influential for bands like Opeth (the first album of the Swedish band was named just like this track and the acoustic sections sound similar) and Lord of this World introduces another great riff. The whole discography of bands like Sleeps come from this song! It's really difficult to measure this album's influence through the following decades, and Lord of this World is another good example.

Solitude is similar to Planet Caravan from Paranoid, but very much better in my opinion. An intimate and sad song with beautiful vocals from Geezer. And then comes Into the Void! Another incredible song which starts with a very groovy and funny guitar melody which soon derivate in a brutal riff, which also give way to another heavier and faster riff. And after the solo comes another different but also splendid guitar riff! The songwriting is really good, and so much improved since Paranoid... Just the best moment of this musician's career.

Conclusion: if songs like Black Sabbath supposed the birth of doom metal and other songs like Paranoid gave way to heavy metal, it's adequate to say that Master of Reality is the true birth of stoner metal. A bit of psychedelia, great and variated riffs and songs that talk about drugs and other obscure themes. And with such a great quality! Maybe Master of Reality lacks hits like Paranoid or Iron Man, but as a whole is the better album of the band. Just eight very influential songs which aged very well and a true pleasure for the ears.

Best Tracks: all of them (Ok, maybe Embryo and Orchid are not top notch, but also very good)

My rating: ****1/2, rounded up to five stars and masterpiece status.

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