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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
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Alex (Rune2000)
Thanos (aapatsos)
Dave (Prog Sothoth)
Louis (rdtprog)

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

4.32 | 1451 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.26 | 1489 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.25 | 1392 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.26 | 412 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.37 | 150 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.25 | 478 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.26 | 281 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.27 | 247 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.20 | 484 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.18 | 925 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.23 | 246 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.27 | 162 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.19 | 374 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.25 | 167 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.41 | 69 ratings
KIVENKANTAJA
Moonsorrow
4.17 | 321 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.22 | 169 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.13 | 469 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.16 | 237 ratings
THE PARALLAX II: FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.15 | 259 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death

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

SILHOUETTES
Textures
1980
1980
WINTERSUN
Wintersun
WARRING FACTIONS
Ansur

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Torn Between Dimensions by AT WAR WITH SELF album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.83 | 29 ratings

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Torn Between Dimensions
At War With Self Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Torn Between Dimensions" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Indianapolis, Indiana based progressive rock/metal act At War With Self. The album was released through the Free Electric Sound label in February 2005. At War With Self was founded in 2002 by multi-instrumentalist Glenn Snelwar (also known for his work with Gordian Knot) and is essentially a one-man project. "Torn Between Dimensions" does however feature session work by drummer Mark Zonder (Fates Warning, Warlord, Slavior) and bassist Michael Manring (Windham Hill, Jeff Loomis, Jim Matheos...among others).

And with a trio like that playing together it's no wonder the musical performances on the album are of a high quality. Stylistically the music on the album is instrumental progressive rock/metal with strong jazz rock/fusion leanings and more than one nod towards latin music. While At War With Self is widely considered a metal oriented act, the metal elements are limited to some heavy riffing and occasional distorted guitar sections. A couple of darker tinged tracks also contribute to the metal sound, but it's actually 90s Al Di Meola releases like "Orange And Blue (1994)" and "The Infinite Desire (1998)", that I'm mostly reminded of. So there are as many latin influenced acoustic guitar sections, jazzy guitar solos, fusion influenced drumming, and ambient keyboards featured on "Torn Between Dimensions", as there are heavy distorted riffs.

The balance between the different stylistic elements is an important element in At War With Self's sound. At times the dynamic music works well and other times the transitions between sections are a bit more awkward sounding. There's is no doubt that Glenn Snelwar is both a skilled musician and a skilled composer when it comes to the techncial aspect of playing and writing music, but listening to "Torn Between Dimensions" there's very little on the album that really grabs me and pulls me in. I find myself more interested in the music from a musician's point of view than from a music listener's point of view, and although that sort of "musician's music" is always interesting from a technical perspective, the music generally lacks emotional impact and memorability.

The sound production is also a bit disjointed and although all instruments individually feature a relatively good sound (the distorted guitar tone isn't that well sounding though), the instruments don't always work well together in the mix. So "Torn Between Dimensions" is an album with quality assets and some issues and therefore a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

 Ashore The Celestial Burden by DARK MILLENNIUM album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Ashore The Celestial Burden
Dark Millennium Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Ashore the Celestial Burden" is the debut full-length studio album by German death/doom metal act Dark Millennium. The album was released through Massacre Records in 1992. Dark Millennium was formed in 1989 and disbanded in the mid-90s after releasing two demos and two full-length studio albums. The years leading up to the release of "Ashore the Celestial Burden" were quite busy with both lineup changes and the release of the band's two demos taking up Dark Millennium's time. Lead vocalist Christian Mertens was out of the band for a couple of months and didn't participate in the recording of the "Of Spectre Their Ashes May Be (1992)" demo, but he is present on "Ashore the Celestial Burden".

5 out of the 10 tracks on the album are re-recorded versions of tracks from the two demos. "Black Literature" was originally featured on the "The Apocryphal Wisdom (1991)" demo and "Below the Holy Fatherlands", "Spiritual", "Wizardry Assemblage" and "Medina's Spell" were originally featured on the "Of Spectre Their Ashes May Be (1992)" demo.

Stylistically the music on "Ashore the Celestial Burden" is a doomy type of death metal with occasional progressive leanings. Haunting and melancholic guitar leads, brick heavy doomy riffs and rhythms, and some very aggressive and snarling growling vocals on top. But that's not all, because this is not solely a doom/death metal album and there are usually several tempo changes in the tracks and the band often play mid-paced (and occasionally slightly faster) old school death metal parts, which adds to the brutality of the music. When they do that they remind me slightly of their fellow countrymen in Morgoth. Dark Millennium also bring progressive ideas and song structures to the table and to my ears a track like "Beyond the Dragon's Eye" is a fully fledged progressive death metal track. The tasteful and clever use of acoustic guitars and piano on that track works really well. The addition of clean vocals sung by Gerhard Magin, also make that particular track stand out.

The musicianship are obviously on a high level and "Ashore the Celestial Burden" is also packed in a raw and suitingly dark sound production. It could have been slightly more powerful and well sounding, but it's a minor issue, and it's pretty great as it is.

While I mention progressive ideas and structures above, "Ashore the Celestial Burden" is an album where Dark Millennium successfully balance death metal brutality, doomy melancholy, and progressive sophistication. Which means that the progressive ideas never come in the way of the death metal brutality or the doomy melancholy and visa versa. And along with the skilled delivery of the music, the decent sound production, and the adventurous songwriting, that's probably the album's greatest strength. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

 Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.28 | 15 ratings

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Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars SYMPHONAIRE INFERNUS ET SPERA EMPYRIUM is the very first release from MY DYING BRIDE released as an EP way back in 1991 as well as their first on their long lasting Peaceville Records label. While the 12 " vinyl edition released in 1991 consisted only of the 11:38 title track, the CD edition released the following year contained the tracks "God Is Alone" and "De Sade Soliloquay" which were released as a two sided 7" vinyl single limited to 1000 copies the year before. Due to startling originality of the inclusion of the melancholic session violin contributions of Martin Powell on the title track, MY DYING BRIDE gained instant recognition as a major innovator in the nascent death-doom metal sound that only Anathema and Paradise Lost were also developing at the same time period.

It's no doubt that MY DYING BRIDE caught the attention of the world with the track "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium" as it remains one of their most masterful compositions of their entire career exquisitely melding the elements of doom and death metal along with neoclassical darkwave with the addition of the soul piercing violin and highly sophisticated compositional conceptualization. With its humble intro it almost sounds like we're going to the Renaissance fair with its medieval violin setup but soon the down-tuned doomed distortion of heavy guitar riffs enter as does the death growls of Aaron Stainthorpe. The track deftly walks the tightrope of the classical and metal worlds with grace but also carefully paces the fusion effect with pure down and dirty death metal outbursts however the violin never strays too far for too long and always brings the listener into the eternal cauldrons of dread.

The remaining tracks are less symphonically complex and are rooted more in heavier death metal with elements of doom percolating through. "God Is Alone" and "De Sade Soliloquay" are perhaps the heaviest tracks that MY DYING BRIDE has ever released as they are blistering fast in tempo and eschew the violin trademark sound that pretty much defines them on every full length album that follows. These were siphoned from the cauldrons of their earliest demo material therefore sounds as primeval and raw as could be expected. SYMPHONAIRE INFERNUS ET SPERA EMPYRIUM is an excellent debut from MY DYING BRIDE and only one of two where Stainthorpe exclusively utilizes his death growls (the other being the following full-length "As The Flowers Wither." While the title track has gotten around on many of the compilations, the other two have not and can only be found on this EP as well as the collection of the first three EPs "Trinity." This debut release showed great talent that has been successfully in staying relevant for decades after this first hit the market.

 As The Flower Withers by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.65 | 48 ratings

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As The Flower Withers
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars After the attention getting debut of their first EP "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium," MY DYING BRIDE released their first full-length debut AS THE FLOWER WITHERS the following year in the vein of that EP's title track. This album is by and far the heaviest and most brutal of any in the MY DYING BRIDE discography with heavy emphasis on the blistering guitar riffing and pummeling bass and percussive attacks. The trademark lugubrious violins of at-the-time session musician Martin Powell are a vital part to the band's sound at this stage but all hasn't integrated together seamlessly quite yet. At this stage the classically oriented sounds as heard in the symphonic intro "Silent Dance" as well as segments within the larger tracks such as "The Bitterness And Bereavement" and "The Return Of The Beautiful" are more than present but it is quite apparent early on in "Silent Dance" that MY DYING BRIDE was very much an early pioneer of the death-doom metal sound along with contemporaries Anathema and Paradise Lost. AS THE FLOWER WITHERS is also the only full-length release where lead vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe exclusively utilizes his death growls which contribute to the overall soundscape giving a more dirty and raw metal feel as opposed to the slicker, more romantic Gothic utterings of his later clean vocal style.

While the longer tracks tend to portend the future of where the band was heading, some tracks like "The Forever People" are exclusively rooted in the death metal past with unapologetic heaviness and aggressive bombastic ear assaults sans any trace of symphonic effects of wailing violin. On the more progressive tracks like "The Bitterness And The Bereavement" the band utilizes all of their magic in one behemoth of a composition with sensual tear inducing violin wails meeting Sabbath inspired doom guitar chords stomping so hard that it registers on the Richter scale while the suffocating atmospheres deplete all the remaining oxygen from the room. As if the sophistication of their dread-inducing instrumental talent wasn't sufficient enough, MY DYING BRIDE has always delivered the most thought provoking lyrics based in painful romances, utter despair and complete collapse of faith and all of that was already present from the beginning having been fully developed at this stage as perfectly heard on some of the most sophisticated tracks such as the outstanding masterpiece "The Return Of The Beautiful" where all of their early and later sounds play together in perfect harmony.

AS THE FLOWER WITHERS is one of the most woefully underrated albums of MY DYING BRIDE's entire discography. While they pretty much steered their distinct sound exclusively into the atmospheric doom metal arenas starting with "Turn Loose The Swans," there is something mysterious and profound about this one. Not only does it retain the primeval ooze effect of nascent metal's birth pangs but has an intense energetic delivery absent from subsequent releases. The exclusive use of death growls may dissuade the fans of the romantic clean approach but i find this early sound of MY DYING BRIDE to be equally as compelling to experience upon returning visits. The progressive touches and the sophistication of the compositions puts this on a whole other level of the day and the dual guitar assaults of Andrew Craighan and Calvin Robertshaw are allowed to shine like on no other album that came after and even delved into Morbid Angel territory with blistering riffs and squealing solos on "Vast Choirs." While i'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite album from MY DYING BRIDE being that their canon is so incredibly consistent, i ,in no way, can rank AS THE FLOWER WITHERS as an inferior product. On the contrary i find this to be a stimulating attack of the senses that offers a higher octane value than anything that would soon follow.

 The Thrash of Naked Limbs by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1993
3.12 | 12 ratings

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The Thrash of Naked Limbs
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars MY DYING BRIDE had such positive reaction to their innovative use of symphonic embellishments and violin in their unique signature sound that by the time they got to their 2nd EP they made violinist a full-fledge member of the band and steered their sound incrementally away from the aggressive death metal world more into atmospheric doom metal arenas. THE THRASH OF NAKED LIMBS followed the debut full-length "As The Flower Withers" and was the turning point where heavy guitar assaults were deemphasized and the dread inducing atmospheres accompanied by poetic visions of woe became the dominant force. While Aaron Stainthorpe utilized his death growls exclusively on the title track, for the first time he introduced his clean Gothic styled vocals which offered a new mood setting feel to their music.

While the title track is an expected death-doom track with heavy Sabbath inspired guitar in slowed down splendor, "Le Cerf Malade (The Sick Stag)" introduces a new aspect of the band, namely a propensity for thick brooding dark ambient passages. This track is exclusively instrumental with no metal to be found and has brief lyrics in French that are a fragment from a poem of the same name from the 17th century Frnech poet Jean de la Fontaine. "Gather Me Up Forever" proves they indeed a metal band and jumps back into the death-doom metal pattern that the title track dished out only some harder driving uptempo passages. This track is quite successful at showing how MY DYING BRIDE was masterfully composing doom metal with ambience and progressive touches and lots of attention paid to the most minute sound dynamics.

As heard on THE THRASH OF NAKED LIMBS, the transition was near complete but remnants of the early death metal stage of the band was still a significant part of the band's sound although less emphasized than on the previous releases. MY DYING BRIDE was cautious about morphing too quickly from one world to the next and only proceeded as it made sure that nothing sounded stilted or done so without a satisfying unification of the styles at hand. Personally i find THE THRASH OF NAKED LIMBS to be yet another exemplary and satisfying listen with three tracks equally interesting as they place emphasis on different aspects of the band's different strengths. As with the "Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium" EP, this one can be found on the box set "The Stories" or the much easier found "Trinity" compilations.

 I Am the Bloody Earth by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
2.36 | 8 ratings

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I Am the Bloody Earth
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars After the success of their second album "Turn Loose The Swans" where MY DYING BRIDE finally found an equilibrium between the intense death-doom metal guitar and growls with their neoclassical dark darkwave, they quickly released yet another EP. The third of these titled I AM THE BLOODY EARTH pretty much followed up the formula of "Swans" with a slow and plaintive pace that would become the band's own for the rest of their career finally breaking complete ties with death metal riffs and aggressive outbursts. Whereas the previous EPs could be considered albums in their own right for having a distinct feel, this one sounds more like a collection of three tracks that were released between albums.

The title track is a slow stomping doom metal number with lugubrious symphonic violin parts wailing away. Aaron Stainthorpe employs only death metal growls despite no death metal riffs entering the scene. There are also extra guest vocals from Ghost of the industrial band GGFH. Interest in industrial music is much more prevalent on the second track "Transcending (Into The Exquisite)" which is indeed a House remix that contains different elements from "Turn Loose The Swans" and utilizes a hypnotic beat and Nine Inch Nails type drive accompanied by a remix type of aesthetic to it making it sound more like a Ministry track than MY DYING BRIDE. Although death metal growls are mostly used there are also moments where Stainthorpe sounds like Marilyn Manson a little. This one is a little repetitive and obviously an experiment that they never tried again. In fact this track was removed from the compilation "Trinity" which featured the band's first three EPs and replaced with the single "The Sexuality Of Bereavement."

The remaining track "Crown Of Sympathy" from the "Turn Loose The Swans" album is also an alternate remix version but not industrial oriented. This retains the classic sounding of the album version and sounds simply like a different version with some nice atmospheric extensions. Personally i find this to be the weakest of the early EPs that were released during the early years of MY DYING BRIDE. While the three tracks are all decently done and quite pleasant to listen to, they just don't have the oomph or continuity that the previous releases did. The title track and the "Crown Remix" can be found on compilation "Trinity" while the entire EP as originally released can also be found on the limited "The Stories" boxed set. Personally the missing track on "Trinity" is not the most interesting of the lot so i would recommend that as a one stop shop for the first three EPs.

 The Stories by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1994
2.26 | 4 ratings

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The Stories
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars THE STORIES was the first compilation / boxed set from MY DYING BRIDE that released their three earliest EPs " Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium," " The Thrash Of Naked Limbs " and "I Am The Bloody Earth" all in one handy one-stop shop product. This comp was released in response to the sudden popularity MY DYING BRIDE was experiencing as a result of the success of their very first albums "As The Flower Withers" and "Turn Loose The Swans" as well as growing demand from the heavy exposure during their early tours.

The only difference between THE STORIES and the following compilation called "Trinity" which was released a year earlier which also featured all three early EPs is that THE STORIES features those three EPs exactly as the original releases whereas "Trinity" removed the track "Transcending (Into The Exquisite)" and replaced it with "The Sexuality Of Bereavement" which was originally released as an EP in its own right (along with the other track "The Crown Of Sympathy (Remix)" but was only available to members of the short lived Peaceville Collectors Club Series.

THE STORIES was released in a green cardboard box with new artwork and an additional booklet with lyrics but was limited to only 3000 copies and has become somewhat of a collector's item over the years. This is truly one only for the most hardcore of completists since every track except "Transcending?" can be found on the much more readily available "Trinity" while the original "I Am The Bloody Earth" with that track is much easier and less expensive to track down. Personally i'll give it a pass. Rating is based on value as a compilation. See reviews for each EP separately.

 Trinity by MY DYING BRIDE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
3.72 | 8 ratings

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Trinity
My Dying Bride Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars TRINITY is one of the earliest compilations albums from MY DYING BRIDE released the year after their very first 'The Stories.' It is in fact basically the same album as 'The Stories' which compiled the band's three earliest EPs ' Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium,' ' The Thrash Of Naked Limbs ' and 'I Am The Bloody Earth' all in one handy one-stop shop product. While 'The Stories' was more of a collector's boxed set of sort with special packaging and limited to 3000 copies, TRINITY has been the easiest way to obtain all three EPs without resorting to great expense. The two comps are essentially the same product musically speaking with one glaring exception and an important one it is.

Whereas 'The Stories' contained the EPs ' Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium,' ' The Thrash Of Naked Limbs ' and 'I Am The Bloody Earth' in their authentic original forms, for some strange reason MY DYING BRIDE decided to jettison the track 'Transcending (Into The Exquisite)' from the 'I Am The Bloody Earth' EP and replace it with the track 'The Sexuality Of Bereavement' which was a non- album single that was released the previous year. While i am in agreement that 'Sexuality' is a far superior track to 'Transcending' i'm left a little perplexed why the former was nixed instead of simply adding the former to the authentic trilogy of EPs from this early stage of the band's career thus not making it a completely authentic experience. Unfortunately the 'Transcending' track has been completely written off and hasn't even found a home on the following comps including the 'Meisterwerk' releases.

The reason for disowning this track seems a little disheartening since despite not being the highlight of the band's career nevertheless is an authentic part of it even though it does have more of an industrial metal feel and is different than most of their other material. Despite this slight irritation i have to accept this album for what it is and what it is happens to be an outstanding display of a very talented death-doom metal band who knew how to construct some of the most beautifully depressing compositions of the day with such masterpieces as the track 'Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium.' TRINITY remains the most readily available way to obtain all the early EPs minus one track and is an interesting way to experience the band evolution from the early doom metal band with death metal outbursts to the more familiar symphonic death-doom band as heard in their early years. Still a brilliant flow of music despite the faux pas of a single track exclusion.

 Arktis by IHSAHN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.88 | 70 ratings

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Arktis
Ihsahn Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Arktis." is the 6th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive extreme metal artist Ihsahn. The album was released through Candlelight Records in March 2016. It´s the successor to "Das Seelenbrechen" from 2013. Ihsahn is of course known for his time with groundbreaking Norwegian black metal act Emperor, but his solo career is by now also quite prolific. On "Arktis." Ihsahn handles vocals, bass, guitars, and keyboards, while the drums are played by session drummer Tobias Ørnes Andersen (Shining). Andersen´s bandmate from Shining, Jørgen Munkeby, also makes a guest appearance on saxophone on the track "Crooked Red Line". Matt Heafy (Trivium) and Einar Solberg (Leprous) make a couple of guest vocal appearances. This is still predominantly a solo effort by Ihsahn though, but that´s how it´s been since day one of his solo career.

The material on "Arktis." can overall be described as progressive extreme metal, but it´s always hard to give an adequate description of Ihsahn´s music, because he is so eclectic. The music features loads of progressive rock influences, but also thrash, death, black, and traditional heavy metal influences, as well as some nods toward avant garde and electronic music. It may sound like it could be a messy style mishmash, but Ihsahn is a more skilled composer and performer than most, and he is able to combine his many influences into a well sounding whole.

The material on the 10 track, 48:07 minutes long album are diverse in style and if you think you know what you´re in for after listening to the two opening tracks "Disassembled" and "Mass Darkness", you´re in for a surprise. Ihsahn continues to twist and turn conventions throughout the album, but no track seems out of place or disrupts the flow of the album, and that´s regardless of tracks like "Until I Too Dissolve", "Crooked Red Line", and "Celestial Violence", sticking out quite a bit. The latter is a brilliant and incredibly beautiful epic track, which closes the album, while the saxophone on "Crooked Red Line" makes that track stand out. "Until I Too Dissolve" stands out too as it features a a strong traditional heavy metal riff, which brings Van Halen to mind.

"Arktis." is very well produced. The sound production is clear, powerful, and detailed. It´s a production which brings out the best in the layered and and intricate musical compositions. The musicianship is as always on an incredibly high level. Ihsahn is not only a strong vocalist who can sing both extreme metal vocals and clean vocals with conviction and passion, but also a skilled instrumentalist, who handles all instruments with seamless ease. The guest musicians also bring a lot to the album, to further enhance the listening experience.

Upon conclusion "Arktis." is another high quality release by Ihsahn, where he once more shows the world his musical genius. Fans of progressive extreme metal featuring strong melodic choruses, epic atmospheres, a restrained experimental approach (in other words not overtly avant garde in nature, although still occasionally experimental) and a generally adventurous and diverse approach to songwriting should find a lot to enjoy here. I always recommend fans of Opeth to listen to Ihsahn if they don´t already known him, but in truth Opeth is only a reference because they have a similar progressive songwriting approach and a similar extreme metal meets strong melodic sensibilities way of creating music, because Ihsahn´s music is generally quite an unique listen. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

 Evolving Transhumanism by THEORY IN PRACTICE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2015
4.00 | 1 ratings

BUY
Evolving Transhumanism
Theory In Practice Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Evolving Transhumanism" is a single release by Swedish technical/progressive death metal act Theory in Practice. The single was released independently in August 2015. It´s the band´s first release since "Colonizing the Sun" from 2002, as Theory in Practice went on a longer hiatus shortly after the release of that album. The lineup on this release consists of the Sjöberg brothers, Peter on guitars and bass (appearing under his pseudonym Peter Lake) and Patrik on drums, and Andreas Lyngmo on vocals.

Stylistically the two tracks on the 9:08 minutes long single pretty much continue the technical/progressive death metal style of "Colonizing the Sun (2002)". In fact it´s almost eerie how a band can be on hiatus for 13 years, and return sounding almost like they were never gone, but that´s more or less the case here. The technical level of playing is astonishing to say the least, and there are several jaw-dropping moments of technical bliss throughout the release. In the case of Theory in Practice, the technical playing is a means to an end though, so there are no unnecessary technical noodling here. You get plenty of death metal brutality to accompany the furiously fast-paced technical riffs and rhythms. The vocals are an aggressive snarling, which suits the music perfectly instead of a deeper growling vocal style.

"Evolving Transhumanism" features a professional, clear, and powerful sound production, so upon conclusion it´s a great comeback release by Theory in Practice. Fans of their earlier work should definitely pay attention here, and for technical/progressive death metal fans in general this is a worthwhile release too. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
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ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
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THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
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ANATA Sweden
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THE UNIVERSE DIVIDE United States
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THE ZYGOMA DISPOSAL Belgium

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