Category: Progressive Metal

Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts

There are times when one of your favorite bands simply put out a release that you cannot get into, no matter how many times you listen to it. In my case, that is the situation with Katatonia’s The Fall of Hearts. Katatonia has long been one of my most influential artists as each of their releases has helped define an era of my life. However, their ninth full-length, The Fall of Hearts, does not resonate with me on a personal level at all. Objectively, it is a well-composed and intricate album that demonstrates growth in the band instrumentally, yet it misses that little something that evokes feeling within me. Or, is this sentiment simply a reflection of my current state of mind that, perhaps, is not at present compatible with this album? Maybe it will one day click, as many albums in the past have. (more…)

James LaBrie – Static Impulse

I have never really been a fan of Dream Theater. I have listened to a few of their albums, but nothing really stood out to me. One of the main reasons for this is that I do not like James LaBrie. His style of singing is melodic and well done, yet isn’t something that I can really get into…. or so I thought. (more…)

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Novembre – Materia

It has been quite a while since Italy’s Novembre released their last album entitled The Blue in 2007. The year prior they released my favorite album of theirs, Materia, which was a shift in sound with considerably less death metal vocalization. Materia is a dreamy progressive metal album with strong feelings of nostalgia permeating through it. (more…)

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Amaseffer – Slaves for Life

Blazing out of the Middle East is Israel’s Amaseffer, which is a progressive metal band that has only released one stellar album thus far. Amaseffer was formed by Erez Yohanan in 2004, who is also the drummer and principle songwriter. Their debut album, Slaves for Life, is the first in a trilogy of albums and describes stories in the Old Testament telling of the Exodus from Egypt. (more…)

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Conquering Dystopia – Conquering Dystopia

Conquering Dystopia is a band that seeks to conquer you. They are, in essence, a supergroup consisting of former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis, Keith Merrow, The Faceless’ drummer Alex Rüdinger, and Cannibal Corpse’s bassist Alex Webster. I discovered this band as a result of following Keith Merrow’s solo work, which is in the home-produced djent metal style of bands like Cloudkicker. Conquering Dystopia is a relentless assault of technical metal that sounds like a more progressive and technical amalgamation of Jeff Loomis’ guitar playing meshed with Keith Merrow’s style, alongside blistering drums and bass by Alex Rüdinger and Alex Webster, respectively. Prelude to Obliteration (more…)

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Pain of Salvation – The Perfect Element (Part I)

Pain of Salvation has been fortunate to have created among the finest progressive metal albums in recent decades. Among these albums is their breakthrough The Perfect Element (Part I). This graceful and majestic work is replete with diverse guitar styles, Daniel Gildenlow’s sweeping vocal melodies, and great drumming. The core of the music consists of progressive metal, but it is interwoven with almost-soft-rock ballads and a variety of time signatures and styles. Gildenlow goes all-out vocally across a broad spectrum of styles on every song, perhaps a tad over the top, in a concept album examining the psychological struggles of an individual. The Perfect Element (Part I) jumps (more…)

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Deadsoul Tribe – A Lullaby for the Devil

Deadsoul Tribe was the musical project led by Psychotic Waltz vocalist, Devon Graves, who previously went under the name, Buddy Lackey. A Lullaby for the Devil was Deadsoul Tribe’s fifth and apparently final album, as well as their most refined album. Deadsoul Tribe plays predominately progressive metal, while incorporating other styles as that genre implies, as (more…)

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Devin Townsend – Ziltoid the Omniscient

A concept album by Devin Townsend about an alien sock-puppet waging a galactic war over a cup of coffee—that is all you need to know that you are in for an interesting listening experience. Devin Townsend’s albums are always quite eccentric, especially after his work with Strapping Young Lad. Ziltoid the Omniscient takes Townsend’s “nerd-metal” to new extremes. The album opens with ZTO and Ziltoid’s challenge to Earth for their best cup of coffee—something the puny humans surely cannot satisfy the great fourth-dimensional Ziltoid with. The next few songs—By Your Command, Ziltoida Attaxx!!—are an endless aggressive assault of drum-machined double-bass drums, laser (more…)

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Animals as Leaders – The Joy of Motion

Animals as Leaders is a rising star in instrumental progressive metal. The band centers on guitarist, Tobin Abasi, who is joined by guitarist, Javier Reyes, and drummer, Matt Garstka. The Joy of Motion is Animals as Leaders’ third album and is closer in style to their debut self-titled album. It continues the jazzy, djent, instrumental metal as found on prior releases. Overall, the album is not too metal, with more emphasis on the jazzy elements and a feeling of being in space. Several songs sound like the smooth jazz/soft rock (more…)

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Gojira – From Mars to Sirius

Who would have thought that an album about whales and the environment could be so brutally heavy? France’s Gojira with From Mars to Sirius lays down one of the heaviest albums I listen to. Gojira plays a very heavy style of technical death metal that pounds you into submission and urges you to save the environment at the same time. From Mars to Sirius also has an exogenesis, or panspermia, concept running throughout the album. This concept posits the idea that life originated elsewhere in the universe and made it to Earth in the distant past. (more…)

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