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EXPERIMENTAL/POST METAL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Experimental/Post Metal definition

 

Experimental Progressive Metal

Experimental progressive metal is a sub-genre of progressive metal characterized by the incorporation of innovative, eclectic elements, large-scale experimentation and the use of non-standard and unconventional sounds, instruments, song structures, playing styles, and vocal techniques. Experimentation in the music is a major criteria to define the genre where artists often add unique elements to the overall sound, while progressive metal usually has more focus on traditional metal instrumentation and higher levels of technical complexity.

It's nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of Experimental Progressive Metal since experimentation is common in all music genres. Still it is clear that experimentation in the progressive metal sub-genre has slowly but steadily grown in popularity ever since its humble beginnings in the early 1980s.

Just like any other style, Experimental Progressive Metal has a few defining moments that have changed the rules for its sub-genre for years to come. Two of such moments are the releases of the debut album by MR.BUNGLE of August 1991 and its iconic follow up "Disco Volante" of 1995. MR BUNGLE became notorious for their heavy sound and mid-song shifts of musical style. The band has later spawned an array of established avant-garde side projects such as FANTÔMAS, SECRET CHIEFS 3 and ESTRADASPHERE but also inspired new Experimental Metal acts to take the music scene to new heights.
Another crucial artist in the development of Experimental Progressive Metal was the leading Avant Metal band of the 80s, CELTIC FROST. Their eclectic mix of Thrash, Doom, Symphonic and Goth Metal created a dark theatrical mystique that became a major influence among the experimental Extreme Metal bands of the 90s such as MY DYING BRIDE, ULVER, ARCTURUS among others. These bands served as an important source of inspiration for the experimental movement within extreme metal.

The bands listed under Experimental Progressive Metal have all, in various degrees, shed their extreme heritage in favor of embracing influences of the eclectic style going from art rock and ethnic up to free-jazz and even modernist music.

Art Metal
Art metal is a direct continuation of progressive metal but with the longing to expand the themes and styles of music while maintaining the technical complexity of the sub-genre.
These bands are more artistic than their progressive metal peers and tend to experiment, to a certain extent, but not as openly as the bands of the eclectic and avant-garde metal styles. Art metal comes in many shapes and forms. The virtuosity and complete unpredictability of DEVIN TOWNSEND, OSI and TOOL always manages to draw attention of both fans of traditional metal as well as the progressive music audience, while bands like ANATHEMA, DEADSOUL TRIBE and GORDIAN KNOT attract many fans of groove and atmospheric music into their vibrant soundscapes. Other notable acts include GREEN CARNATION, DARK SUNS and ANTIMATTER.

Eclectic Metal
These bands often add unconventional elements to their metal sound, whether it's experiments with various new sounds and styles that are otherwise uncommon in metal or by blending many styles, with metal being the referential core. Whether it's the ethnic elements of ORPHANED LAND's music that combines Middle Eastern folklore with the more traditional progressive metal sound or a completely unique mix of atmospheric, almost ambient, elements fused with metal that can be found in the sound of THE GATHERING, eclectic metal artists will always certainly bring a host of different styles and ideas to the table. Experimental metal can be found in numerous forms while featuring notable acts like INDUKTI, IN THE WOODS... and MAUDLIN OF THE WELL.

Avant-garde Metal
This style is generally considered to be more extreme in both its arrangements but most importantly extremely complex and unpredictable song structures. Compositions have the ambition of trying to breach boundaries of music and generally have significant experimental approaches to metal music. Most of this music borders on the realms of pure avant-garde while still maintaining a solid foundation in metal with technical instrumental prowess. Notable acts include UNEXPECT, EPHEL DUATH and VIRUS.


Post Metal

Post metal arose following the subsequent emergence of numerous newer, grittier metal genres like sludge, stoner, doom, and drone in the late 80's and early 90's, as well as the budding post-rock scene that emerged in the early 90's in Europe and North America. The scene's origins can be heard in several distinctly like-minded, moderately experimental groups in the early 90's, ranging from the noisy grind of GODFLESH, the sludgy, melodic, sometimes punk-like riffs of the MELVINS, and the proggy time signatures and grungy riffing of TOOL or HELMET, to the textural work of DON CABALLERO and the more melodic moments of early BARK PSYCHOSIS.

Arguably the first true and definitive realizations of post-metal emerged in the mid 1990's. The most concrete example was NEUROSIS, who moved farther away from their crust-punk origins and into more atmospheric territories with releases like Souls at Zero and Through Silver in Blood, the latter album in particular being regarded as one of the most definitive releases in the genre even to this day for its revolutionary blend of dark, spanning atmosphere and massively heavy sludge, something that would later come to define the post-metal genre as a whole (indeed, post-metal is often called "atmospheric sludge" as well). It wouldn't be until the early 2000's, however, that the genre's capacity would be fully realized, with releases like ISIS's "Oceanic", CULT OF LUNA's "Salvation", and PELICAN's "Australasia" paving the way for a true scene to emerge, and post-metal has since become a widespread phenomenon that has captivated the attention of many adventurous listeners worldwide.

Post-metal's unique sound is often very long and extremely drawn-out, utilizing oft-repetitive and simple riffs and guitar texturing to create massive buildups and musical climaxes. At times very emotionally evocative, it can be equally soft and soothing as it can be massively dense and crushing. Vocals are used sparingly, if at all (instrumental post-metal is a popular genre, with groups like PELICAN and RUSSIAN CIRCLES even achieving some degree of mainstream credibility), and when they are, they're usually gruff and barked as opposed to growled or screamed, a signature trait of the genre's hardcore roots.

Variations of Post-metal

While it should be noted that many post-metal bands have their roots in sludge metal, there are many post-metal bands that are rooted in other genres of metal. While post-sludge was an almost uniquely American phenomenon, a number of European doom-influenced post-metal bands have risen to fame, namely groups like ANATHEMA, YEAR OF NO LIGHT and CALLISTO; their slow-churning riffs and depressing mood of doom metal fit very well into the post-metal formula. These groups later gave way to more western post-doom-metal projects like JESU, GIANT SQUID, and MINSK.

A number of post-metal bands are significantly influenced by hardcore and post-hardcore, crafting the melodic elements of modern hardcore into their own brands of textural and atmospheric post-metal. This is exemplified by groups like ROSETTA, THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE, CAVE IN, MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT and BURST.

A subgenre that has emerged to a considerable degree in the last decade is an amalgamation of post-rock and black metal. Black metal has traditionally not been a stylistic influence on post-metal over the years, but bands like ALCEST, FEN, AGALLOCH and ALTAR OF PLAGUES have used the more atmospheric qualities of black metal and the tremolo riffing and incorporated it with a shoegaze-like affinity for heavy, dreamy sounds and guitar effects to create a unique and evocative subgenre that shares many visional and sonic characteristics of post-metal. While the explosion of bands exploring this style is a rather recent phenomenon, there are some instances of this occurring very early in the lifespan of the post-metal genre as a whole. ULVER's debut could be seen as possibly the first album to fall under this definition. For clarification's sake, these post-rock influenced bands are placed in the post-metal subsection of ProgArchives as opposed to the black metal subsection of Tech/Extreme because they eschew much of the harsh tonalities, minor modes, and shrieking vocals of black metal and add a melodic and emotional aspect that makes it much more accessible than their progressive black metal peers in the tech/extreme section.

Today, the most popular post-metal groups are much of the genre's godfathers like ISIS, NEUROSIS, PELICAN, and CULT OF LUNA, though a number of newer bands have risen to fame in metal and prog circles within the last 5 years like INTRONAUT, ROSETTA, and THE OCEAN COLLECTIVE.


--- Definition by Alex and Kevin and the Progressive Metal Team, February 2012 ---

The Progressive Metal Team
Karl (bonnek)
Kevin (Necroncommander)
Alex (Rune2000)
Thanos (aapatsos)
Dave (Prog Sothoth)
Louis (rdtprog)

Experimental/Post Metal Top Albums


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

4.22 | 1321 ratings
LATERALUS
Tool
4.23 | 642 ratings
PART THE SECOND
Maudlin Of The Well
4.22 | 590 ratings
TERRIA
Townsend, Devin
4.33 | 111 ratings
IMAGINARY SONICSCAPE
Sigh
4.27 | 162 ratings
THROUGH SILVER IN BLOOD
Neurosis
4.19 | 527 ratings
ZILTOID THE OMNISCIENT
Townsend, Devin
4.16 | 636 ratings
JUDGEMENT
Anathema
4.19 | 291 ratings
LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP
Maudlin Of The Well
4.17 | 262 ratings
BATH
Maudlin Of The Well
4.16 | 335 ratings
THE MANTLE
Agalloch
4.17 | 250 ratings
IN A FLESH AQUARIUM
Unexpect
4.13 | 307 ratings
LIGHT OF DAY, DAY OF DARKNESS
Green Carnation
4.13 | 300 ratings
FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE
Unexpect
4.18 | 134 ratings
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY
Cult of Luna
4.09 | 789 ratings
ÆNIMA
Tool
4.29 | 65 ratings
SOULS AT ZERO
Neurosis
4.43 | 40 ratings
KHAOOOHS & KON-FUS-ION
Pan.Thy.Monium
4.08 | 552 ratings
ALTERNATIVE 4
Anathema
4.11 | 232 ratings
PANOPTICON
Isis
4.09 | 297 ratings
MABOOL - THE STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF SEVEN
Orphaned Land

Experimental/Post Metal overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Experimental/Post Metal experts team

IF_THEN_ELSE
Gathering, The
A NEW WORLD?
Drawn
GRAVE HUMAN GENUINE
Dark Suns
THIS GRAND SHOW
Grayceon

Latest Experimental/Post Metal Music Reviews


 Предзакатный Взор на Земли Папируса by SENMUTH album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Предзакатный Взор на Земли Папируса
Senmuth Experimental/Post Metal

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars Senmuth is back to the ancient Egypt, 24 centuries BC under the 5th dinasty. The Papyrus of Abusir is the most ancient example of aministrative documents. So not an epic poem like Gilgamesh or any strange esotheric finding. It's not much different from what a modern finance manager would write.

But it describes some of the life 4500 years ago, and Senmuth tries to do it with the music.

It's a sort of dark new age. This time he avoids falling into what I think are his bigger weaknesses: unnecessary chord changes and sudden alternances of middle-eastern ethnic and metal. The tempo is lazy. It perfectly gives the idea of the hot desert, and it's like looking through the "fogs of time".

This is sometimes interrupted by strong percussion like on track 3, which title means "Inside the pyramid of Sahura", but they are just few exceptions. The following "The Solar Temple of Uskarraf" would appeal also the fans of progressive electronic.

Until it remains on this quet dark environment it's an excellent album. Even at the "Headless Pyramid of Menkaukhor" when the percussion are strong, the feeling doesn't change.

If in my past reviews I have blamed a bit the sudden passages between metal and dark ambient, in this album the metal is almost missing. I don't know what happened with the bees in Abu Rawash (track 7), but this short track is great if you like the genre.

An unusual, for Senmuth, melody brings a bit of rock into the abum. Not bad at this point. Not a masterpiece but it's a good rock break between the ambient tracks. By the way, it has more melody than the average Senmuth, I think Track 9 is more challenging: just one chord and percussion coming and going but it leads to track 10, which is inspired to the Pharaoh Sekenkhet. To fully enojiy the album, as often with Senmuth, you have to let your mind go back in time to the ancient Egypt.

The album is closed by another short-living pharaoh: Shepseskaf. This track gives the sense of a funeral and a burial into the pyramid.

Many may think that 4 stars are too much, but if you like Senmuth, this is a good album to start with.

 Fables Of The Sleepless Empire by UNEXPECT album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.13 | 300 ratings

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Fables Of The Sleepless Empire
Unexpect Experimental/Post Metal

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

5 stars Sonic shockwaves detonated once again a long five years after their second album "In A Flesh Aquarium" when the erratic and eclectic avant-garde musical maestros UNEXPECT simultaneously took the prog and metal communities by storm. The crazed and quirky Quebecois jugglers of supersonic entropy unleashed their followup FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE which continued the forceful cross-pollination of musical genres like abducted animals that are stuffed into a meat grinder and stuffed into a sausage casing. The dizzying inaccessible mess of sound was resurrected for a second haunting like a circus of doom returning to town and unleashing intoxicated circus clowns out to destroy everything they touch with the musical equivalence of classically trained jugglers passing musical genres around like flaming chainsaws. Like it's predecessor FABLES delivers all the goods of weaving the ultimate tapestry of several metal styles, gypsy folk, electronica and even tango amongst others and impregnates them into a Western classical underpinning that allows it all to explode into one of the most satisfying examples of controlled chaos in all of contemporary extreme musical expressions.

Infused with bombastic metal riffs and black metal shrieks, ghoulish chants or histrionic outbursts of tormented recitations, the unhinged male vocal contributions of SyriaK and Artagoth are diluted in their abrasiveness by the female vocal loveliness of Leïlindel's folklore femininity and newbie Borboen's Paganini flair of violin playing with a style more often reminiscent of a circus gypsy having an extremely high-octane episode. In between it all lies the unique 9-stringed bass lines of ChaotH that connect the dots but only after an enterprising journey through several progressive tornado run riffs of spirited vigor. And then add on the strange lethargic intros that ratchet up the tension while languishing in tranquil torpidity before launching into tumultuous musical terror that bombards the listener with incessant excess all the while creating just enough of a melodic hook to keep your head from exploding. Ah, uneasy listening at its zenith, UNEXPECT raise the bar of musical complexity like a pole runner carrying the Olympic torch all the way up Mt Everest in under 61 minutes.

To say the least, there is nothing to compare UNEXPECT's music to except, of course, UNEXPECT itself. While very much in vein of "In A Flesh Aquarium," FABLES does seem to be more focused which is neither good or bad but merely different. The main difference being in the fact that on FABLES musical motifs are allowed to retain a longer shelf life as every musical idea in the universe isn't as prevalent as on "Aquarium" where a listening experience is equivalent to riding in the eye of a tornado and watching all the notes whizz by in utterly unpredictable ways. Here at least, despite being bombarded by the myriad mega-stimuli, there is a concerted effort to let the hooks sink in a little deeper before the ultimate uprooting and casting off into turbulent atmospheric disturbances. True to their vision with a slighty more polished touch, UNEXPECT retain the crown of most chaotic crazy and creative masters of the avant-garde metal universe. While this one took me longer to gestate in my psyche before the alien forces hatched, i find FABLES OF THE SLEEPLESS EMPIRE to be equally as brilliantly inventive as "Aquarium." Although it would take another five years and no albums later, the capricious creative ones announced that the band would continue no longer. Now THAT was truly UNEXPECT-ed!

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.61 | 46 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Timdano

4 stars I'll keep it simple on this one: next-to-perfect. After about 20 or so spins the anthematic (is that a word; if not it should be) Anathema rises from what some see as a recent slump of semi-decent albums (in my humble opinion) to an album I can't put down.

The Optimist strikes such high notes - and emotionally low lows I'm not used to hearing from this band - flowing song to song in the story continued from A Fine Day to Exit.

My brief takeaway from about 20 spins:

- Dark and melancholic

- Stunning production

- Not dull as a lot of Distant Satellites was for me

How is it that this band doesn't fill stadiums and is not a household name? Sadly, there is no justice in the music scene.

 Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness by GREEN CARNATION album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.13 | 307 ratings

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Light Of Day, Day Of Darkness
Green Carnation Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Insin

4 stars Writing an hour-long song is difficult.

First, the whole band has to be on board with a project of this level. Then they have to write enough material. Then they have to link it all together. They have to keep it tight for recording, even if it is segmented into movements. And there is the possibility playing it live. Not to mention that a lot of bands that write hour-long songs play progressive music, which tends to be more technical and complex than many other styles.

Writing a good hour-long song is even harder. Keeping one continuous piece of music of such a length interesting, captivating, and fresh can be quite a challenge. There should be some sort of buildup or payoff at the end, making its structure especially important. It's very easy for disjointedness, or too little variation and too much repetition to become an issue. And of course the actual sound of the music is always a factor.

Taking all of this into account, Green Carnation doesn't at all do a bad job with their sophomore album, Light of Day, Day of Darkness, which comes in at almost exactly sixty minutes. For a lot of people, with extended song length comes higher expectations, and although LODDOD, in the end, is a success, it is still flawed and misses some opportunities.

Green Carnation's core sound (not an entirely unexpected observation I make here) is the most prevalent and primary style played throughout the song, a doomy prog metal fueled by fairly standard, often chugged riffs. Nevertheless, those heavier moments are satisfying and energizing although the riffs aren't particularly memorable. The keyboard tone is retro, sticking to the background, and vocals are mostly clean. Nordhus is a competent singer, though nothing special, but the main drawback in this category is the very unnecessary children's choir at the beginning.

No matter what happens in the song, LODDOD always reverts to its main doom metal style and in fact rarely deviates from this general sound, save the acoustic passages placed here and there. This constancy lends it some more atmosphere and keeps it from screaming "PROG" at you, but overall I would say that this is a bad thing. After a while, a monotonous, trudging feeling seeps in and things can get a bit dull, an issue that often plagues songs of this nature. While the floaty beginning (not very different from Moonsorrow's Jddstd Syntynnyt) raises the bar for the rest of the album, the next 57 or so minutes do not really live up to the expectations that Green Carnation attempts to create.

Thirty-three minutes in, we arrive at the strangest, longest, and most distinct variation from the rest of the song's doomy riffing. Everything dies down and we are treated to a woman yodeling (?), backed by a melancholic saxophone. It's a despairing and empty section, and the woman sounds as though she is about to explode or at least shatter glass at one point. Not pleasant to listen to on its own, this part still seems as though it has an important function ? it might signal the rest of the song to start building up momentum towards a grand finale once the other instruments come back in. And there is in fact a glorious potential ending here, if the time between the woman singing and ending was more fluid and perhaps longer. The guitarist unleashes an epic solo as the song rebuilds? and the band promptly continues to play for seventeen more minutes after he is done.

At this point transitions become clunkier and the actual grand finale is falls short. The payoff is not quite there, but at least the ending doesn't painfully trail off in an epitome of anticlimactic-ness.

Green Carnation has some good ideas but LODDOD is lacking the factors that would have pushed it from a merely competent hour- long song to an excellent one. With too much emphasis on just one sound and some structural issues, it does not find itself in the upper tier of prog/doom/we-love-to-write-long-songs metal. In fact, it almost certainly would have been improved had it been cut down.

 Mayhem In Blue by HAIL SPIRIT NOIR album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.09 | 21 ratings

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Mayhem In Blue
Hail Spirit Noir Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Insin

4 stars If you know of Greece's Hail Spirit Noir, you know they're weird. Firstly, there's a 70's feel infused throughout their music, as if this could be an obscure, psychedelic-oriented band from progressive rock's golden age. The keyboards, sometimes imitating the waver of a flute, sometimes maintaining the prog rock sound, are crucial to evoking Mayhem in Blue's old-school vibes, though that fairly frequent feeling of being on an acid trip through hell is probably the most important aspect of all.

But then comes the black metal, more as an equal part of the fusion rather than the core sound of the band. Present mostly in the harsh vocals and lyricism, now and then it's in the riffs and the blast beat drumming. Several bands have attempted the black metal/psychedelia crossover, and none I've heard so far have done it in such a strangely accessible way, such a memorable manner. As always, Hail Spirit Noir has several different types of songs present on their album, and they're good at writing and executing all of them. I Mean You Harm showcases their more straightforward, aggressive side, emphasizing the black metal half of their sound. The title track is a highlight ? with open, darkly atmospheric sections and well-integrated heavier parts. Each track is distinct, and some have unique and instantly recognizable bits, such as the quirky, odd-time, and hard to follow keyboard intro to Riders to Utopia, the symphonic instrumentation of How to Fly in Darkness, and the carnival music of Lost in Satan's Charms. The band is able to keep momentum for heavier areas, drop it when necessary and transform it. The solos are strong, with the exception of the uncertain, wandering one on Riders to Utopia.

Unfortunately, Mayhem in Blue's main flaw is that when the band tries to be creepy, sometimes it comes off as more like a fun Halloween party than what I assume they were going for. It doesn't totally ruin the effect, as it's only a little cheesy instead. The "open" atmosphere works very well, on the other hand, when the music is soft but dark, the drums are sparse, and the clean vocals shine. This is especially effective on the title track (as mentioned earlier) and The Cannibal Tribe Came From The Sea.

Mayhem in Blue is on par with the rest of Hail Spirit Noir's work. The band continues to evolve, if only subtly, as they integrate small new oddities, new atmospheres, and new songwriting styles into what they've already accomplished. They are able to mold their unique, signature sound to different songs with different needs. Mayhem in Blue, along with Hail Spirit Noir's previous works, is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are searching for something on the stranger side of music.

 The Optimist by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.61 | 46 ratings

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The Optimist
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by javajeff

4 stars The Optimist is another solid album from Anathema, and more music from them is always welcome. Leaving it Behind is a track that starts things off after a concept oriented starter track, and reminds me of the Distant Satellites title track. There is no Lost Song part 1 & 2 or Untouchable 1 & 2, and as a result, The Optimist may be a little more accessible for nonprog folk. Leaving the last two cookie cutter albums alone, The Optimist falls into the mold between A Fine Day To Exit and A Natural Disaster. Since it is a sequel to 2001's A Fine Day to Exit, this makes sense. I enjoy the variety of their albums since it breaks up the monotony. The Optimist title track is a standout with lush orchestration and the familiar Anathema feel. The Optimist is an excellent addition to your collection, and it will be in my heavy rotation for a while. Only time will tell how it stacks up to their amazing catalog of albums.
 Tarantula Hawk by TARANTULA HAWK album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.91 | 3 ratings

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Tarantula Hawk
Tarantula Hawk Experimental/Post Metal

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

4 stars TARANTULA HAWK was a heavy progressive rock / metal band from San Diego, CA that was formed in 1998 when bassist Rob Morrison, drummer and guitarist Dave Warshaw, keyboardist and guitarist Dylan Scharf and bassist Braden Diotte got together after having moved from different parts of the US. The band spent fourth months crafting their unique take on mixing psychedelic space rock and atmospheric ambience with progressive post-metal gusto. They released two untitled albums, one in 2000 and the next one in 2002. This first album features all four members while the second found Rob Morrison quitting the band to head back to Seattle. While the band members would all pick up secondary roles on album #2, on this one the original four members crank out heavy psychedelic jams that has even been referred to as psychedelic death prog. While most resources list this album as having six tracks with six different titles, my particular copy has the entire album as untitled with only one very long track but it's apparent that individual tracks were probably the desired format as the jams change it up into newly constructed compositions exactly when the corresponding times elapse.

Entirely instrumental, TARANTULA HAWK begins their tracks with slowly creeping gloomy atmospheric build ups before busting loose with heavy guitar riffs, repetitive yet forceful bass grooves and bombastic percussion outbursts that alternate with less energetic dreamier passages which add new riffs and fills along the way. There are also many samples including sounds of insects and various machines. There is a dirty gloomy industrial feel to the whole thing as well and feels as detached from reality as the album cover conveys as if we were jettisoned into a snarling desert storm and in the middle of it all a soundtrack appears creating enough din to burst through the atmospheric turbulence. While i would consider TARANTULA HAWK to be heavy psychedelic rock, they add just enough distorted gusto to enter into metal territory at the loudest points of the album.

While not numerous in number, TARANTULA HAWK is joined in a similar sound with other acts such as Yeti, Upsilon Acrux and Dysrhythmia which offer the most psychedelic organ features of progressive rock while adding the extra element of heavy metal riffing that offers a rare hybrid that could easily be tagged psychedelic metal. Despite the heavier riffing, the music will bring a darker version of Goblin or other horror movie soundtrack type sounds from the vaults of the prog rock universe with the extra elements of sampling that adds that can remind of fellow label mates Neurosis at times. Some tracks even have a distinct nod to Pink Floyd at their heaviest 70s sound. Despite the heavy jamming segments which dominate the album there are also pure dark ambient passages that catapult the listener into utterly bleak sonicscapes that deliver true otherworldly effects. This debut TARANTULA HAWK delivers an excellent blend of psychedelic jamming with the intensity of metal all the while delivering the dark wave dungeon effect in healthy doses. One of those albums if you like scary and detached music that is freaky as hell but in a dark dreary way. Personally i love this kind of stuff.

 Akphaezya - Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity  by AKPHAEZYA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.70 | 19 ratings

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Akphaezya - Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity
Akphaezya Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Pastmaster

3 stars Avant-garde metal is usually an interesting listen, as you never quite know what to expect. It's home to bands that exceed the boundaries of other genres, often incorporating many elements of non-metal music beyond the usual classical music and jazz fusion technique of instrumentation. Now, interesting doesn't always mean good, and I often find avant-garde metal to be a mess of ideas. Because of this, it can either be fantastic when those ideas are all incorporated into a cohesive whole, or very painful to listen to when those ideas are scattered all around with nothing to put them together.

French avant-garde metal band Akphaezya unfortunately ends up sounding like the latter in the first song after a sort of ambient intro. "Chrysalis" sounds like separate jam sessions placed over each other in a smorgasbord of styles that lack the cohesion that could put all the pieces together. One second there well be a calm and serene folk melody, then without warning black metal blastbeats and growls come in like you just turned on a different album. This keeps repeating throughout the song with various styles. It's a real shame, as I love the jazzy lounge/swing metal moments when they come in, but nothing lasts long enough to get the listener really invested.

The album isn't entirely like this however. Thankfully, there are several songs that stick to one style each for the most part. I think this is what generally works better. Mixing a slew of ideas is great, but it can be much more rewarding when each song uses one or two of those styles rather than trying to stick as much as you can into one song. "The Golden Vortex of Kaltaz" is the highlight of the album, and it takes on a somewhat thrash-y symphonic metal sound. The guitars have a gritty crunch, while the vocals range from melodic clean vocals to growls a couple times within the song. "The Secret of Time" is another one of the best tracks, this time with a middle-eastern vibe.

Besides the lack of cohesion on several tracks, what often kills the album for me are the vocals. The instrumentation is very often great when it all fits together, but Nehl Aëlin's thick accent and eclectic use of vocal techniques end up ruining some songs that would otherwise be great. Take "Reflections" for example. There's some killer guitar licks, but I find it annoying and distracting when the vocals are switching from bouncy J-pop, to maniacal squealing a la The Mars Volta, to simply average melodic vocals. While vocalists who have this eclectic range of tones and styles to their voice are often lauded, I often find the multiple singing styles works better overall when multiple singers are applied, as usually the singers can play off of one another, making them all blend well. However, I will give credit where credit is due, as her vocals on the two songs I mentioned in the previous paragraph are pretty great.

Akphaezya's Anthology II: Links from the Dead Trinity is certainly an acquired taste. While it will probably be an excellent album for the staunch followers of the genre, this may be a bit of a tough listen at times for those who like a bit more cohesion in their music. It's nowhere near the worst of the genre, but nowhere near the best either. If they focused in on one or two styles for each song and didn't include crazy vocals, I think this could be a great record.

Written for the MMA (MetalMusicArchives) Reviewer's Challenge.

See review here: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/anthology-ii-links-from-the-dead-trinity/340789

 Winter by FEN album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.05 | 27 ratings

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Winter
Fen Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I hadn't found Fen's second album, Epoch, to be much of a keeper, feeling like it was riding along on the blackgaze bandwagon without really contributing much of its own. I'm very glad to find that on hearing this latest release of theirs I'm much more taken by their sound; perhaps they've improved and matured in terms of their overall atmospheric black metal mastery, or perhaps it's that the album shows a bit more original ambition this time. Constructed of one continuous multi-part suite, it takes the listener as promised on a journey through chilly landscapes - and whilst winter-themed black metal isn't something there's a shortage of, Fen's baroque, intricate take on it is a real treat.
 The Silent Enigma by ANATHEMA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.15 | 225 ratings

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The Silent Enigma
Anathema Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If, out of the bands which formed the so-called Peaceville Three, My Dying Bride have stayed the most loyal to doom and death-doom metal over the years, whilst Paradise Lost have wavered back and forth between doom and gothic realms, Anathema may well be the member of the trinity that has strayed furthest from its roots, with heavily Pink Floyd-influenced atmospheric rock dominating the group's discography and little sign of a return to metal happening any time soon.

That makes The Silent Enigma, their last full-on death-doom album and only the second in their extensive discography, a crucial turning point for the band. The subsequent Eternity would steer away from death-doom into a sort of goth- doom hybrid, and then from there on metal would fade away from their sound altogether. Here, though, their death- doom roots are very much in evidence- especially in Vincent Cavanagh's growled vocals and Daniel Cavanagh's crushing riffs - but they're mingled with just enough touches of atmospheric not-quite-prog to be a bit of a different prospect from standard early death-doom.

As such, it's a transitional album, and I personally find that Anathema are more interesting on the cusp of this transition than they ever were before or since.

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Experimental/Post Metal bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
11 AS IN ADVERSARIES France
19 A.D.D. United States
21 EYES OF RUBY Netherlands
THE 3RD AND THE MORTAL Norway
413 United States
5IVE United States
6:33 France
A LOST STATE OF MIND United States
A((WAKE)) United States
AABSINTHE France
ABANDON Sweden
ABYSSE France
ACROSS TUNDRAS United States
ACYL France
ADMIRAL BROWNING United States
ADRIFT Spain
AFTER MY OWN United States
AGALLOCH United States
AGES GONE Germany
AKPHAEZYA France
AKROMA France
ALASKAN Canada
ALCEST France
ALTAR OF PLAGUES Ireland
AMARA United States
AMATERAZU Portugal
AMBEON Netherlands
AMENRA Belgium
AMESOEURS France
AMIA VENERA LANDSCAPE Italy
ANATHEMA United Kingdom
ANCESTORS United States
AND HARMONY DIES Italy
ANGEL EYES United States
ANTIGUA Y BARBUDA Spain
ANTIMATTER Multi-National
ANUBI Lithuania
AORIA Sweden
APOCALIPSIS Mexico
APOCRYPHAL VOICE Finland
APOKATASTASIA Switzerland
APSE United States
ARCADE MESSIAH United Kingdom
THE ARKITECHT Mexico
ARKTIKA Germany
AS LIGHT DIES Spain
ASIDEFROMADAY France
ASPIRATION Norway
ASTROHENGE United Kingdom
ASTRONAUT DOWN United States
AT THE SOUNDAWN Italy
THE ATLAS MOTH United States
ATMOSPHERES Belgium
THE ATOMIC BOMB AUDITION United States
ATROX Norway
AUSSITÔT MORT France
AUSTARAS United States
THE AXIS OF PERDITION United Kingdom
AZIOLA CRY United States
BACK WHEN United States
BAK Australia
BARONESS United States
BAT CASTLE United States
BATTLE OF MICE United States
BATTLEFIELDS United States
BAUDA Chile
BEAK United States
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BEFORE THE EYEWALL United States
BEHIND THE SUN Israel
BEING United States
ADRIAN BENAVIDES United States
BIRUSHANAH Japan
BISON B.C. Canada
BLACK MATH HORSEMAN United States
BLACK SEA Brazil
BLACK SHEEP WALL United States
BLACKWAVES Germany
BLINDEAD Poland
BLOOD & TIME United States
BLUT AUS NORD France
BOBEL Costa Rica
BOSSK United Kingdom
BOTANIST United States
BRAIN TENTACLES United States
BRIDGES TO DREAMS Canada
BUNKUR Netherlands
BURIED INSIDE Canada
BURN DOWN ROME United Kingdom
BURWEED Finland
BUTTERFLY TRAJECTORY Poland
CAINA United Kingdom
CALDERA France
CALLISTO Finland
THE CANCER CONSPIRACY United States
CANDIRIA United States
CAPRICORNS United Kingdom
CAPTURE THE SUN United States
CARNIVAL IN COAL France
CARONTTE Spain
CATACOMBE Portugal
CAVE IN United States
CELEBRITY SEX SCANDAL United States
CELESTINE Iceland
CHASE THE SUNSET United Kingdom
THE CHRONICLES OF ISRAFEL Canada
CHRYST Austria
THE CIRCLE ENDS HERE Italy
CIRUELO CILINDRICO Spain
CLERIC United States
CLOUDKICKER United States
COALESCE United States
COLD BODY RADIATION Netherlands
A COLD DEAD BODY Italy
COLDWORLD Germany
COME SLEEP Sweden
COMITY France
CONIFER United States
CONSECRATION Serbia
CORMORANT United States
COSMONAUTS DAY Russia
COUNTERVELA Ireland
CRIB45 Finland
CULT OF LUNA Sweden
D.U.N.E. Italy
DAKRYA Greece
DAMASCUS United States
DARK CASTLE United States
DARK SUNS Germany
DARKESTRAH Germany
DARKSPACE Switzerland
DAUGHTERS OF FISSION United States
DAY WITHOUT DAWN United States
DE OMEGA United States
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DEAFHEAVEN United States
THE DEATH OF HER MONEY United Kingdom
DECORTICA New Zealand
DEEP IN THOUGHT Germany
DEFYING Poland
DETERIOR United States
DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL United Kingdom
DIESTO United States
DIGRESSION ASSASSINS Sweden
DIRGE France
DISAPPEARER United States
DIVINA ENEMA Belarus
DØDSVERK Norway
DORNENREICH Austria
DOTZAUER Italy
DR. SLAGGLEBERRY United Kingdom
DRAWN Norway
DREARE Czech Republic
DREARINESS Italy
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EBONY LAKE United Kingdom
ECHOES United Kingdom
ECHOES OF YUL Poland
ECHOSILENCE Estonia
EGOIST Poland
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EINNA France
ELLIPSIS France
EMPIRES United States
EMPTY YARD EXPERIMENT United Arab Emirates
ENDER New Zealand
ENDNAME Russia
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ETERNAL DEFORMITY Poland
ETHERSENS France
EVIL INSIDE Spain
EX CURIA Australia
EXOTIC ANIMAL PETTING ZOO United States
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM Romania
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FALLOCH United Kingdom
FALLS OF RAUROS United States
FEN United Kingdom
FIRMAM3NT Spain
FLEURETY Norway
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A FOREST OF STARS United Kingdom
FORMLOFF Norway
FOUNTAINHEAD Germany
FROM OCEANS TO AUTUMN United States
FUTURIAN Canada
THE GABRIEL CONSTRUCT United States
GANON United States
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GARY SUICIDAL KIDS COMMANDO France
THE GATHERING Netherlands
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GIRE Hungary
GLETSCHER Switzerland
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THE GRASSHOPPER LIES HEAVY United States
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HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE United States
HAND United Kingdom
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HEIRS Australia
HELIUM HORSE FLY Belgium
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HERETOIR Germany
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HVOSCH Russia
HYDRA Mexico
HYPNO5E France
IDENTIFIED United States
IDIOT SAINT CRAZY France
THE ILLNESS United States
IN THE WOODS... Norway
IN.OVO Canada
INCOMING CEREBRAL OVERDRIVE Italy
INDUKTI Poland
INTER ARMA United States
INTRONAUT United States
IO United Kingdom
ION United States
IREPRESS United States
IRONWOOD Australia
IRREVERSIBLE United States
ISIS United States
ISTHMUS United States
IZAH Netherlands
JAKEL Canada
JANVS Italy
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JEWY SABATAY Serbia
OLIVER KAAH Finland
KAILASH Italy
KALKI AVATARA Italy
KARABOUDJAN Sweden
KEELHAUL United States
KEKAL Indonesia
KHANATE United States
KHEMEÏA France
KHOMA Sweden
KHUDA United Kingdom
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KINGDOM Belgium
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KONGH Sweden
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MADE OUT OF BABIES United States
MAHESH Chile
MAMMOTH New Zealand
MANATEES United Kingdom
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MANUSCRIPTS DON'T BURN Italy
MAR DE GRISES Chile
MARE United States
THE MASS United States
THE MATTERHORN PROJECT United States
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MEMORIES OF A DEAD MAN France
MENISCUS Australia
MINDFOLD EXPRESS Bulgaria
MINSK United States
MIOSIS Sweden
THE MIRE United Kingdom
MIRRORTHRONE Switzerland
MISANTHROFEEL Russia
MOANAA Poland
MOD FLANDERS CONSPIRACY United States
MOLOKEN Sweden
MOMENTUM Iceland
MONDRIAN OAK Italy
MONUMENTUM Italy
MORAINES Croatia
MORNE United States
THE MORNINGSIDE Russia
MORTIFERIA Norway
MOSE GIGANTICUS United States
MOSKAU Germany
MOUNTAINS BECAME MACHINES United Kingdom
MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT United States
MUTYUMU Japan
MY SILENT WAKE United Kingdom
MYSTER MOBIUS Multi-National
MYSTIC Netherlands
NAHEMAH Spain
NAHRAYAN Spain
NANDA DEVI United States
NATIONAL SUNDAY LAW United States
NAUTICUS Finland
NEBRA Switzerland
NERO DI MARTE Italy
NEUMA Poland
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NEVBORN Switzerland
NIHIL Serbia
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NO HOME FOR HEROES Australia
NO MADE SENSE United Kingdom
NOCTIS Australia
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NORTH United States
NOVEMBRE Italy
NUCLEUS TORN Switzerland
OBSIDIAN KINGDOM Spain
THE OCEAN DOESN'T WANT ME South Africa
THE OCEAN Germany
OCOAI United States
OHGOD! South Africa
THE OLD DEAD TREE France
OLD MAN GLOOM United States
OMB Israel
THE OMEGA EXPERIMENT United States
OMEGA MASSIF Germany
ÖOOOOOOOOOO France
ORANSSI PAZUZU Finland
ORDO DRACONIS Netherlands
ØRKENKJØTT Norway
ORPHANED LAND Israel
ORTHODOX Spain
OSI United States
OSTROVA Spain
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY United States
OUTOPSYA Italy
OUTRUN THE SUNLIGHT United States
OVERMARS France
ÖXXÖ XÖÖX France
PAN.THY.MONIUM Sweden
PANOPTICON United States
THE PAX CECILIA United States
PECCATUM Norway
PELICAN United States
PET SLIMMERS OF THE YEAR United Kingdom
PIKE Sweden
PINKLY SMOOTH United States
THE POSTMAN SYNDROME United States
PRISMA Switzerland
PROGHMA-C Poland
THE PROPHECY United Kingdom
PRYAPISME France
PSYCHOFAGIST Italy
PSYKUP France
PYRAMIDS United States
QUALEACEANS United Kingdom
QUARANTADUE Italy
QUBE Poland
QUESTIONER United States
RADAR Finland
RADIATION 4 United States
RAIN DELAY Serbia
RAINROOM Finland
RAXINASKY Belgium
RED PAPER DRAGON United Kingdom
REFRACTION Ireland
THE REPTILIANS United States
RETURNING WE HEAR THE LARKS United Kingdom
RIVIERE France
ROSETTA United States
ROUTE NINE Sweden
RWAKE United States
RYOKUCHI Japan
SAL Y MILETO Ecuador
SALVICTION Poland
SANNHET United States
SCHIZOID LLOYD Netherlands
SCORCHED SHORE United States
SECONDSKIN United Kingdom
SENMUTH Russia
SENSUAL NOISE Belgium
SEPIA DREAMER Sweden
SEVEN United States
SEVEN NAUTICAL MILES Sweden
SEVENTH EVIDENCE / KA.MMEN Ukraine
SHELS United States
SHELTER RED United States
SHELVING Switzerland
SHEPHERDS OF CASSINI New Zealand
SHRINEBUILDER United States
SIGH Japan
SIKA REDEM United Kingdom
SISARE Finland
SKAGOS Canada
SKEWED SKIES Germany
SKUGGSJÁ Norway
SLEEP MAPS United States
SLEEPING IN GETHSEMANE United States
SMALLMAN Bulgaria
SMOHALLA France
SNOWBLOOD United Kingdom
SO IS THE TONGUE United States
SOEN Multi-National
SOLSTAFIR Iceland
SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI United Kingdom
SPACEKING Russia
SPRING & YOUTH Serbia
STALINGRAD Spain
STANDING OVATION Finland
STARE AT THE CLOUDS Australia
STATS United States
STEAK NUMBER EIGHT Belgium
A STORM OF LIGHT United States
SUBROSA United States
SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE Multi-National
SUFFOCATE FOR FUCK SAKE Sweden
SUMAC Multi-National
SUNPOCRISY Italy
SUPERCONTINENT United States
THE SUSPENDED CONGRESS Ireland
SWARM OF THE LOTUS United States
A SWARM OF THE SUN Sweden
SWITCH OPENS Sweden
SYDERALUS Argentina
TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER United Kingdom
TARANTULA HAWK United States
TELEPATHY United Kingdom
TEMPEL United States
TENOCHTITLAN Russia
TEPHRA Germany
TERRA TENEBROSA Sweden
TESA Latvia
TETRAFUSION United States
THANATOSCHIZO Portugal
THENCE Finland
FREDRIK THORDENDAL'S SPECIAL DEFECTS Sweden
THY CATAFALQUE Hungary
TIDES United States
TIDES FROM NEBULA Poland
TIME ZERO United States
TITAN Canada
TODTGELICHTER Germany
TOMYDEEPESTEGO Italy
TOOL United States
TOUNDRA Spain
TOWN PORTAL Denmark
DEVIN TOWNSEND Canada
TRANSMISSION0 Netherlands
TREPHINE United States
TRIBES OF NEUROT United States
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TRUTHSEEKER United States
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TWIN ZERO United Kingdom
UARAL Chile
UFOMAMMUT Italy
UNA CORDA United Kingdom
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UPRISING FORMALHAUT Ukraine
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USER NE Spain
VAKA Sweden
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VED BUENS ENDE Norway
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VISCERA/// Italy
VOID United Kingdom
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VULTURE INDUSTRIES Norway
THE WATERS DEEP HERE United States
WE LOST THE SEA Australia
WE MADE GOD Iceland
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WHAT MAD UNIVERSE France
WHAT THE BLOOD REVEALED United Kingdom
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WHIRLING Sweden
WHOURKR Multi-National
WIDEK Poland
WINDHAM HELL United States
WINDMILLS BY THE OCEAN United States
WINDS Norway
ANDY WINTER Norway
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A WORKING MODEL United States
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YAVU Chile
YEAR OF NO LIGHT France
YOB United States
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