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TECH/EXTREME PROG METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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

4.31 | 1505 ratings
STILL LIFE
Opeth
4.25 | 1446 ratings
GHOST REVERIES
Opeth
4.25 | 1551 ratings
BLACKWATER PARK
Opeth
4.36 | 158 ratings
OBSCURA
Gorguts
4.24 | 499 ratings
SYMBOLIC
Death
4.25 | 433 ratings
CRIMSON
Edge of Sanity
4.27 | 255 ratings
NOTHINGFACE
Voivod
4.26 | 288 ratings
UNQUESTIONABLE PRESENCE
Atheist
4.19 | 500 ratings
FOCUS
Cynic
4.20 | 391 ratings
THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE
Death
4.23 | 253 ratings
ELEMENTS
Atheist
4.16 | 985 ratings
PALE COMMUNION
Opeth
4.26 | 169 ratings
DIMENSION HATROSS
Voivod
4.24 | 175 ratings
OM
Negura Bunget
4.16 | 341 ratings
HUMAN
Death
4.17 | 260 ratings
THE PARALLAX II - FUTURE SEQUENCE
Between The Buried And Me
4.20 | 174 ratings
BACK TO TIMES OF SPLENDOR
Disillusion
4.12 | 486 ratings
TRACED IN AIR
Cynic
4.15 | 273 ratings
INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS
Death
4.31 | 82 ratings
DEATH'S DESIGN
Diabolical Masquerade

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

1980
1980
CITRINITI
Citriniti
SILHOUETTES
Textures
LAZARUS BIRD
Burst

Latest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Music Reviews


 Ion by PORTAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Ion
Portal Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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

4 stars The stygian band PORTAL has emerged from its secret Australian outpost after a five year gap following their previous release "Vexovoid" (which ironically has already spawned a new band with that name). Following in the footsteps of their extreme surreality that some call avant-garde blackened death metal comes the followup ION which continues the brash brutality fix that they have been known for since the beginning. While their influences may have emerged from Morbid Angel, Beherit and Immolation, PORTAL have long since found their own comfort zone of death metal reality to call their own by becoming one with a parallel musical reality that sounds as if they are somehow trapped between a hyperdrive dimensional shift and in the process something went really, really wrong. Drowned in darkness and delivered in dense undulating waves of sonic fury, ION finds PORTAL churning out their most frenetic and brutal release to date.

As the intro track "Nth" slinks into existence as if a subtle hazy brume has wafted into your room, the ghostly fortifications of muffled tortured screams emulate with backmasked effects creating a dark ambient horrorshow soundtrack and thus insinuating a return to the impenetrable layers of atmospheric darkness that had created their wickedly new realm for extreme tech death metal. However, as the first blistering notes of "ESP ION AGE" rage into the scene, we are confronted with a new interdimensional rage and fury usually reserved for only the most brutal of death metal beasts more often heard in bands like Suffocation, however the angular nature and complete detachment from traditional old school standards allows a sepulchral wall of sound that allows each wailing formless riff to pierce the soul like a dagger flaying a adrenaline fueled beating heart. Add the pummeling relentless percussive overdrive with groaning guttural growls and the divinity of chaos has been reached.

The name ION is a fitting title if you know chemistry. An ION is an atom or a molecule with a non-zero net electrical charge, meaning it is either positive or negative and very susceptible to energy changes thus creating a potential for massive instability. As such PORTAL have constructed the perfect soundtrack for a state of energy easily activated by entropic changes and thus erratic and unpredictable shifts in magnetic fields. The noises emerging from the freneticism of the guitar, bass and drums are tantamount to the ionizing effect of a built up electrical charge bolting down from the thundering skies above with pulverizing consequences for any hapless atoms in the line of fire. PORTAL simulates the same sort of lightning bolt reality with jagged undulating waves of sound that capture brutal metal instrumentation in flux with atmospheric dungeony bleakness.

PORTAL remains an enigmatic and mysterious beast. Graced with faced masks and alter egos (such as The Curator on vocals and Horror Illogium on lead guitar), the band more than lives up to this alienating image with the brutal angularity and interdimensional avant-garde compositional constructs of ION. Once the dark ambient intro cedes into the frenetic chaotic metal meltdown the album remains relentless in its caustic between-realities surrealism that culminates in the harsh noise sonic terrorism of the instrumental "Spores" and then after one more shovel in the face with "Phathom" ends the album with the psychically damaging metaphysical dark ambient horror theme outro of "Old Guarde."

While many tech death bands try to deliver the goods by creating sonic impressions of otherworldly atmospheres and moods, nobody does it quite like PORTAL. Perhaps the strange landscapes of their land down under have given them an alternative view on reality where their angular riffs shape shift like restless sands in the great deserts that cover most of their homeland. Whatever the case, PORTAL have perfected their sonic surrealistic terrorism with nine undulating tracks that despite sounding like no other band, remain utterly distinct from each other as one seemingly formless riff frenzy somehow ekes out a series of recognizable patterns that barely allow it to be classified as music as if the band are in the process of creating a whole new grammatical paradigm for death metal. One that the listener learn this new diabolical language and lexicon before being admitted to the club. Yes, this is an acquired taste reserved for only the seekers of the most technical sort of earache music possible, but if that's what you crave, PORTAL delivers like a charm.

4.5 but rounded down

 E by ENSLAVED album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.05 | 34 ratings

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E
Enslaved Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "E" is the 14th full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive black metal act Enslaved. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in October 2017. It´s the successor to "In Times" from 2015 and there´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as keyboard player/(clean) vocalist Herbrand Larsen has left Enslaved and has been replaced by Håkon Vinje. It´s actually the first lineup change since "Isa (2004)" so Enslaved have enjoyed quite a few years and album releases with a steady lineup.

Stylistically the material on "E" continue the progressive black metal sound that Enslaved have played and developed upon over now many years and albums, but it particularly has many similarities to RIITIIR (2012) and "In Times (2015)", which is of course only natural, as they are the two direct predecessors to this release. So the progressive elements of the band´s sound are dominant, while their black metal side is more subdued in the soundscape. The change on the clean vocal spot doesn´t make a major impact as Vinje doesn´t have a voice that is much different from Larsen´s ditto (they both have pretty regular non distinct sounding voices and vocal styles), and the vocal melodies haven´t changed much either. Grutle Kjellson predominantly uses his raspy black metal vocal style but occassionaly uses a more death metal type growling vocal style, so the vocal department of the album is fairly diverse.

The instrumental part of the music can be described as varied too. Heavy riffs, mellow atmospheric sections, guitars harmonies, skillfully played guitar solos, a solid rhythm section, which mostly keeps a mid-paced tempo, but occasionally speeds things up, and an omnipresence of keyboards. Predominantly organ and mellotron/string sounds. The material are generally well written and quite intriguing with great dynamic between mellow sections and louder more heavy sections. The album features an epic atmosphere and Enslaved cleverly navigate the listener through both dark and lighter emotions. The album features 6 tracks and a full playing time of 49:45 minutes, but it´s recommedable to seek out the limited edition version which features the two bonus tracks "Djupet" and "What Else Is There?". The latter is a cover of fellow countrymen Röyksopp and it´s interesting to hear how well Enslaved handle what is originally an electronic oriented pop song. "Djupet" is a great quality track too.

The musicianship is as always on a high level and Enslaved have clearly reached a point in their career where they are very confident in their performances. "E" features a clearly defined and powerful sounding production. Where the two predecessors featured relatively similar sounding production jobs, "E" features a more "dry" and clear sounding production. It´s a well sounding album but a slightly more organic sounding production would probably have suited the material a little better.

Upon conclusion "E" is another high quality release by Enslaved, which as such isn´t surprising given the many, many high quality releases in the band´s discography, but to my ears it´s a slight step down from the last couple of releases. Probably mostly because I don´t hear much development (the saxophone on "Hiindsiight" is a nice progressive element though) or that many standout tracks on the album (I´d mention the two tracks "Storm Son" and "Hiindsiight", which bookend the album, as some of the highlights), but on the other hand it´s a consistent album both when it comes to quality and style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)

 I by MESHUGGAH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
4.11 | 119 ratings

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I
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by poito

1 stars This is supposed to be the best accomplishment of the band so far, a 21 min long track of brutal, or not that brutal sound. The values? Well, as usual, repeated sounds, once and again, it could all be packed in about 16 seconds, the rest up to 20 minutes is dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. As I said in former reviews, Meshuggash' production is kind of physiological restorative for bad days, and a psychological weapon to let neighbors know this is not a good day to mess with you. What can be musically explored in this line has already been done, there is no more to add, that's how I see it, and that's why it is dull. Now, if you use it to trance, I have nothing to say. Enjoy and take it easy. I don't give more musical credit to this than to Fripp and Eno inaudible experiments... maybe a bit more.
 Chaosphere by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.88 | 178 ratings

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Chaosphere
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by poito

1 stars One thing surprises me all the time and it is the wonder capacity of the brain to discriminate things. Such extreme sensitivity capable of sensing half a gram in a hand, or half a note in a song, or one album by Meshuggah from another. It seems all is in the training. I mean, I am able to see the differences between tracks, but still can't see what the purpose of such differences is. I would say the emotional charge is in the bulk, not in the details. And I doubt the composing of the details takes more than 10 minutes to figure out. I even wonder why some tracks last more than others, and what puzzle me to madness in this album, is why should a track last for 15 min , 'Elastic'; is it an experiment to check if a brain will explode without a rest for that long? Six full minutes of monotone noise followed by 5 min of full instrumental blast seem to me an attempt to breach skulls. Now, the question is, who is it targeting? The listeners or the rest of the world?
 Destroy Erase Improve by MESHUGGAH album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.76 | 149 ratings

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Destroy Erase Improve
Meshuggah Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by poito

2 stars If I was 14, I would probably worship Meshuggah, but all we had then was Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. Not bad umm. Lucky I was. Ok, ok, I admit it; I see the differences of this band with other crap death metal extreme whatever: They don't shout all the time? but almost. Two things can be said; one, these lads are or pretend to be angry (so am I because of the human stupidity and the massive corruption of leaders), and two, they discharge tons of adrenaline. Good for them. I wish I could, but I can only try writing reviews. But is insufficient, and every now and then I still refresh my 14's and listen stuff like Meshuggah, in small dosage though. It is a catharsis that is necessary when you are back from the job where the crooked boss plays the big smiley man while infecting all people nearby, or later on when watching the news on TV to realize that those in command are happily committed to make of this planet a cesspool unstoppably headed to disaster. Or you may also use it in your car when entering the parking lot in your work place and there is someone nearby that you would like he/she to know this is not a good day to mesh with you. It works¡ And after philosophy, back to the MESH. They have good instrumentalists, and the making of music uses the classic elements of rock though morphed into full distortion guitar, shouting voices, and briskly unconstructed riffs. A couple of tracks get out of the script, as "Sublevels", but no need to stop by. I might spare "Rituals", just to keep one alive. Nearly all tracks have same structure and same taste. As with other screamer bands and sound sputters, as Metallica, they could record a dozen albums per day. This is not bad, you know, creativity has no limits. And yes, spite of the valve of scape good services to the world, the musical value of the de-compositions is what we all know, no need to mention. Do we? Ok ok, it is in the album cover.
 The Eternal Reign by BORN OF OSIRIS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
2.42 | 3 ratings

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The Eternal Reign
Born Of Osiris Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

3 stars I'd pick one or the other, if I were you. If you're a fan of Born Of Osiris, as I definitely am, I think THE ETERNAL REIGN is very good but nonessential. It's great music, but the original THE NEW REIGN was already great music. Some may criticize the original's sound quality. I don't care much as long as you can hear each band member, and I think the original sounded just fine.

The new song, "Glorious Day", fits right in with the rest. According to Lee McKinney on the Sumerian Records website, the song is as old as THE NEW REIGN. The players do sound more confident of their abilities on this new EP. If you are just starting to familiarize yourself with the band, THE ETERNAL REIGN may be easier to find than the original. Either way, don't hesitate.

 {Malina} by LEPROUS album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.79 | 122 ratings

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{Malina}
Leprous Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by KromatiK

4 stars Leprous are an ever-changing band. I was first introduced to them through the crazy wonderful Bilateral and since them I've followed their work. Before Malina was released I was scared, the first two singles released made me realize they had suffer a mutation yet again, but this time in a direction I didn't like as much. When the album was released I started listening to it and Bonneville comes up, sweet, soft, delicate, sad, I was loving it and then the track gains power, the simple yet heavy syncopated rhythms take over, Baard's drumming goes maniacal and I don't have words to describe how much that track hit me. The album has a perfect opener and a perfect ending with the emotional The Last Milestone. The middle of the album isn't has good has the two extremes, but still pretty amazing, as usual.

Instrumentally the album mixes uplifting tracks with melancholic ones, always with very interesting rhythmic patterns. The drums are amazing, the guitar riffs as well (although sound-wise I didn't find it as pleasing as The Congregation), the bass is discreet yet very important throughout the album. But the thing that catches everyone's ears is Einar's majestic voice. I believe he is currently the best vocalist in prog, his technique is absurd, his range as well but the winning point for me is how easily he can go from soft, angel-like, to powerful, operatic, intense.

Overall, Malina is an amazing album, another work of art in Leprous discography. It has some flaws, some inconsistencies, but no one can point their finger and say they didn't do a great job. They did, they always do, sometimes the path they follow might just not be to your liking!

 Apollo Ends by SCULPTURED album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.49 | 9 ratings

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Apollo Ends
Sculptured Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

3 stars To be honest I know almost nothing about real death metal and I wouldn't be able to find a difference between death metal and black metal even if my life depended on it! Seriously. However a few years back I discovered that I kinda enjoy progressive version of those styles, especially if the bands playing it have some retro elements (e.g. use old style keyboards), have many melodic elements, not too much growling and not too many anti-Christian/satanic lyrics (I am a Catholic, so you know...). Well, Sculptured met most of my requirements (except for the last one because their third album unfortunately went too far lyrically for my taste).

So let's focus on their second, the least appreciated album - "Apollo Ends" from 2000.

1) "Washing My Hands of It" (5:33) - from the very beginning of this record Sculptured shows that they are not a "normal" death metal band. Actually we have to wait for one minute before we even hear any vocals cos the song begins with an instrumental introduction full of irregular guitar riffs and...a trumpet! Yup, they actually use a trumpet and trombone on a theoretically death metal album. Very special. After that we find out that "Washing My Hands of It" is actually a very catchy heavy metal song with both raspy growling and (dominant) clean vocals. Thanks to this the music is very special and memorable. The only pity is that the last minute is just full of boring voices sampled from some news broadcast or a movie.

2) "Above The 60th Parallel" (6:10) - another great track full of battles between clean and harsh vocals (but in fact both are pretty melodic). The guitar solo sounds like pure 70s hard rock and a trumpet solo is a nice surprise too. It is probably a terrible thing for lovers of real death metal...but I can actually tap my fingers and feet while listening to it, it's so frigging catchy.

3) "Snow Covers All" (7:17) - much harder than the two previous songs. Many atonal, experimental guitar riffs and growling, but there are still some more melodic fragments and another trumpet solo. Actually the second part of the composition is much better than the first one. Many fantastic instrumental sections there, and even some whistling! More clean vocals too.

4) "Between Goldberg" (6:44) - this one starts in a similar vein like the previous song. Then quickly becomes very melodic again and the trumpet/trombone mostly dominate here. Not too much growling. But sampled voiced in the middle are annoying again. The final trumpet and classic hard rock solos will surely scare off all the death metal purists who managed to survive so far...

5) "Apollo Destroys, Apollo Creates" (9:51) - here the real troubles arise. 10-minute long epic? No way! First 5 minutes are full of atonal, pseudo-experimental rumbling noises. Awful stuff! But later we can witness a truly nice guitar solo that soon becomes surprisingly mellow. Black Sabbath used to include such peaceful interludes on their classic albums. Very nice but a little repetitive and somehow out of place.

6) "Song To Fall On Deaf Ears" (6:27) - return to the familiar territory. I love the contrast between growling and clean vocals, as well as the choir-like singing from the third minute. A great finale with another classy electric guitar solo.

7) "Summary" (0:40) - a short instrumental with a couple of ideas already developed in other songs. So, yes, a summary.

Overall, "Apollo Ends" is not a masterpiece but it's not lousy either. It's not as good as the other two albums of this formation because of a couple of problems: no keyboards, short duration, wasted 5 minutes in the 5th track and some of the motiffs were a bit too similar to each other. So if you are new to this kind of music, better start somewhere else, but if you already know the other two albums of Sculptured, you should definitely get this one too. If you like this kind of "extreme" but still melodic and, at the same time, experimental music, I suggest you also check out: Ansur, Death Organ, Solefald, Sigh, Borknagar and Vintersorg.

Best tracks: "Washing My Hands of It", "Above The 60th Parallel" and "Song To Fall On Deaf Ears".

3.5 stars from ozzy_tom

 The Anatomy Of... by BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.91 | 67 ratings

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The Anatomy Of...
Between The Buried And Me Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by thwok

4 stars THE ANATOMY OF... is one of those albums that really makes me wish that the ratings system allowed for half stars. I'm going to round up and give this covers album 4 stars for its progressiveness. If "progressive music" is a meaningful term, it should describe groups that combine disparate elements in interesting ways. I don't know a lot of BTBAM's music, but they seem to fit the definition.

As the Allmusic review of this album suggests, these cover versions stick pretty close to the originals; I would have preferred more changes. This results in a wide variety of styles throughout. The band clearly demonstrates that they can play it all skillfully. Tommy Giles Rogers should get his due. I'd argue that he's possibly the most versatile singer in the extreme metal world. Since I didn't know a lot of these songs before listening, I prefer tracks like "Territory" and "Malpractice" from the second half.

Incidentally, the liner notes include interesting statements from the band members about why they chose these songs. BTBAM wouldn't be one of my favorite extreme metal bands. They try too hard for my tastes. However, they are generally held in high regard here at PA. If THE ANATOMY OF... leads listeners to seek out the original bands covered, that's a very good thing.

 Blackwater Park by OPETH album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.25 | 1551 ratings

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Blackwater Park
Opeth Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ale73

5 stars Now Opeth is one of the most affirmed prog entity (and it is all deserved), but there was a time when they were something different. I started listening to them with the former album "Still life", and immediately I came back to their older stuff. Now mixing death metal and prog could appear nothing revolutionary, but in the 90's it sounded completely new. And I think no one else did it with the same feeling, technical expertise and great songwriting as Opeth.

I remember buying this record with big expectations and some doubt, as I was thinking "Still life" could have been unmatchable. But at the first listening to "Blackwater park" I understood my expectations were not only fulfilled but even exceeded. It was 2001 and at that time I was totally into metal music. Even though I was listening to some prog as well (I was listening to Marillion since I was13), my ears were not prepared for a total prog immersion. I know prog purists would not like this record, but for me (it is something difficult to explain) it represented my complete acceptance of the genre, probably because it was a prog record recorded by metal musicians. From then my prog explorations started, in parallel with Opeth journey: mastermind Mikael Åkerfeldt changed his creature through different paths, always sorrounded by great musicians, alternating prog, metal and even acoustic music, clean voice and growling.

In this album Opeth have my favorite line-up. Mikael Åkerfeldt is simply perfect: I love both his growling and clean voice, and his guitar sound is superb; the rhythmic section is well-matched, with a technical setting that seems almost jazz based: it was particularly evident in live sets, and it is something I now regret, new bassist and drummers are great but this feeling misses; Peter Lindgren was the perfect complement to the main-man guitar soloing.

All the album is a mix of aggressive and harsh death metal with growling voice and delicate acoustic parts with a very delicate voice. Every song is very intricate and if you listen to the whole album it is like you are on a rollercoaster. All of them are very long, from 8 to 12 minutes each, with two exceptions: the mellow interlude "Patterns in the ivy", a very short song but at the same time very beautiful (there is a second part of it in "Damnation" album) and the acoustic ballad "Harvest", in my opinion one of the highest creative peaks in Opeth career. But all the album is a sort of "best of", so that at least there are three songs that they often play live still now: "Bleak", "The leper affinity" and "The drapery falls".

Two last observations: the record was produced by Steven Wilson (and production is great); the cover art is fantastic and perfectly shows the mix of melancholy and hope that is the backbone of this masterpiece.

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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
1980 France
7TH NEMESIS France
A.I.(D) France
ABIGOR Austria
ABORYM Italy
ABSORBED Spain
ACHOKARLOS Spain
ACID DEATH Greece
ACOLYTE United Kingdom
ACRIMÖNIA Poland
ACROSS THE SUN United States
ADEIA Netherlands
THE ADVENT EQUATION Mexico
AEOLIA United States
AEON OF HORUS Australia
AERODYNE FLEX United States
AGARTHA United States
AGE OF SILENCE Norway
AGHORA United States
AINMATTER United States
ALARUM Australia
ALCHEMIST Australia
ALGOPHOBIA Italy
ALKALOID Germany
ALL DREAMS DYING Finland
ALLEY Russia
ALTERA ENIGMA Australia
THE AMENTA Australia
AMOGH SYMPHONY India
AN ISLE ATE HER United States
ANATA Sweden
ANCIENT Norway
ANCIIENTS Canada
ANGEL OF DISEASE Georgia
ANGEL VIVALDI United States
ANGMAR France
ANIMALS AS LEADERS United States
ANOMALY United States
ANSUR Norway
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM United States
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