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Review by ivansfr0st 17 years ago <Permalink>
Edge of Sanity - Purgatory Afterglow 1994
8.1
Death Metal
Although I do not understand why many Swanoheads consider this to be the best album by Edge Of Sanity , I have to admit this is a great experience. Compared to its successor, Crimson , released two years after, this is a weaker effort lyrically, technically and conceptually.

I really enjoy this album, but its progressiveness, honestly speaking, is rather questionable. Besides the synth in the first track, which, in my point of view, is the only progressive song here, the album is just a great Death Metal record in the style of Dark Tranquility . The riffs and melodies are written incredibly well, the choruses are very catchy, and Dan's growling vocals are much better than on any of the previous releases. I know this isn't an aspect to attract Progressive Rock fans towards this album, but the extreme vocals are quite possibly the greatest done in the genre. Dan also sings on three tracks - Twilight , Blood-Coloured and Black Tears . For the people unfamiliar with the Swedish mastermind: Dan Swano's clean singing sounds a lot like David Coverdale, who seems to be a common influence even among the manliest metal musicians of Sweden.

Joking aside, the tracks here vary from 'excellent' to 'average'. The highest point of the album is the very first track, Twlight , with its beautiful and, later, hauntingly mysterious synth parts and clean vocals, amazing melodies and the mighty chorus. Of Darksome Origin is a riff-based song, with a dark atmosphere and Black Metal vocals. ... -> show full review
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Rating by Mike
Pain of Salvation - Be 2004
8.6
Experimental Prog Metal/Rock
I wouldn't recommend this for Pain of Salvation newbies. It is a good album musicwise, but the concept is a little bit pretentious and - dare I say it - cheesy. Also, the focus is not as much on the music as it was on the first four studio albums. Some tracks are among Pain of Salvation's finest efforts though.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Mike Keneally - Dancing 2000
9.0
Eclectic Prog Rock/Independent
This is one of the more accessible releases by Mike Keneally. The album is a fascinating mix of genres and influences. Mike is backed here by a number of musicians. On stage MK & Beer for Dolphins usually are a 3 piece band, but here they're more like 8 piece - and then some. Some of the songs are really weird and Zappa-esque, but some are more in the Fusion style, and some are quite plain. But they're all really good, and an excellent starting point to get into the weird and amazing world of Mike Keneally.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Dream Theater - Awake 1994
9.4
Technical Experimental Prog Metal
This is my favorite DT album. Images & Words and Scenes are equally perfect from an objective standpoint (if I had to recommend one I wouldn't know which to choose) but this one is best balanced IMO. Scenes has that Rudess influence which moved DT a tiny bit closer to ELP, Images & Words is a tiny bit less "metal" than Awake. On Awake you have it all ... and I really like Kevin Moore's contribution, which adds an - if even only on the subconscious level - experimental and slightly avant-garde feeling, not only on Space-Dye Vest.

In a nutshell this album has all which makes Prog Metal the wonderful genre which it is - if you're into this sort of thing. Of course there are many reasons to dislike it ... outstanding musicianship, crystal clear production, amazing bandwidth of musical styles from soft/acoustic to heavy/thrash, you name it.

The only problems I have with the album are a few passages where LaBrie sings in registers which are on the fringes of what he's capable of - it's a bit better than on I&W though - and the track Lifting Shadows Off a Dream, which is perhaps the earliest example of DT honoring U2 and is simply not a particularly noteworthy song IMO.

But that still leaves us with over an hour of pure masterpiece.
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Review by ivansfr0st 17 years ago <Permalink>
Kayo Dot - Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue 2006
9.7
Free Form Experimental Prog Post Rock
After such an unexpected, earth-shattering debut as Choirs of the Eye it is not surprising that Kayo Dot 's fans had high expectations for this album. Well, what did they expect? An album done in the traditions and under the borders of the first release? A return to the roots of maudlin of the Well ? Or a an album that sounds like nothing you've ever heard before, let alone the group's previous efforts? I am proud to say that, in this case, it is the latter. When Choirs of the Eye was released, many loyal fans of the group couldn't accept the metamorphosis, which was the transition between Bath/Leaving Your Body Map and CotE . The "songs" were hardly songs anymore and would be better described as "free compositions , which opened new inspiration sources to the artists, however, with it also became more challenging for the average listener. Is the change between Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue and its predecessor even more apparant? Definitely, although now that the listeners are prepared to expect anything from Kayo Dot , it is not as surprising as it used to be. The new release seems more carefree and laid-down, surely jazzier and not as post-rocking as the debut. Those who enjoyed Choirs of the Eye (like myself)should prepare for a brand new experience once again.

The album is opened with Gemini Becoming The Tripod , a dramatic, atmospheric song with both quiet, dreaming parts, as well as apocalyptic, distorted and drone-doomy ones. The vocals(and lyrics too!) used here suit the music perfectly, and the instrumentation matches the mood of the composition - even the woodwinds help to get the message across. I especially like the outro of this track - the one that starts after the vocals end. ... -> show full review
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Review by Bj-1 17 years ago <Permalink>
Shadow Gallery - Shadow Gallery 1992
7.6
A good debut album from Shadow Gallery. While it struggles with production issues, it clearly shows that this band have their talents compositionally and technically. This is a dark, mysterious and pleasant album, although it have it's lacks here and there. Fans must check this one out for sure, but causual listeners are recommended to wait a bit until they have acquired some of Shadow Gallery's other albums first. Good album, with the final "The Queen of The City of Ice" being a glorious standout.
Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Karrin Allyson - Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane 2001
9.2
Retro Non-Prog Jazz
This is my favorite Jazz album ... the way Karrin Allyson interprets those Coltrane compositions is absolutely amazing. Her vocals sound almost like a saxophone at times, and every little detail fits perfectly. An absolutely essential release!
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Rating by Mike
Spock's Beard - The Light 1994
8.4
Symphonic Retro Prog Rock
What can I say - I love this album. Technically later Spock's Beard albums like V or Snow may be better, but in this case you can't really beat the charm and magic of a debut like this. Even long after Neal had left Spock's Beard the guys still played classics like The Light and Go The Way You Go on stage.

This album is essential to any modern prog rock collection. Having said that, it is a little bit derivative of the classic prog bands of the 70s. Although I personally think that Neal did a really good job and found a very unique way to blend all the influences into his very own, easily recognizable style ... some people disagree.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
The Gathering - Souvenirs 2003
8.1
Eclectic Prog Post Rock
This album was even more a turning point for The Gathering than How to Measure a Planet. With this album they turn away completely from the kind of music which got them confused with Gothic Metal at the beginning of their career. Instead we get a really modern sound - lots of effects, different instrumentation throughout with the distorted guitar as an important, but not dominant element. The drums are really laid back, often not using the snare drum in favor of brush or rim/stick.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
The Mistakes - The Mistakes 1995
7.9
Avant-Garde Prog Rock
If you enjoy early Mike Keneally albums like hat., Sluggo! or Boil That Dust Speck, you'll probably love this album. It is not a pure MK album though, Henry Kaiser adds tons of interesting ideas. Some of the stuff is pretty inaccessible for people not used to Jazz improvisation or atonal Avant-Prog though.

About half of the album tracks are short bits of less than one minute ... I'll just comment on the longer tracks. But these bits are not just interludes ... sometimes they contain motifs which are explored in the longer tracks, sometimes they are funny outtake-like clips.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Green Carnation - A Blessing In Disguise 2003
8.6
Experimental Prog Metal
I love this album. I like all of the Green Carnation albums, but this one is special to me ... I think it is also better than their alleged masterpiece "Light of Day, Day of Darkness". I recommend it to anyone who appreciates the lighter side of Scandinavian Death/Black influenced metal. There is no growling on this album though, and it deals with personal issues like loss, birth and the universe rather than burning churches.
What I like most is that each of the tracks has its own unique qualities, with no filler material. The tracks get to the point, dwell on it as long as necessary and then then next track kicks in another "gear". Some tracks are driving, fast-paced metal songs, others are sad, moody songs with clever string arrangements and keyboards.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic: Calling 2005
8.7
Prog Power Metal
This album is a feast for fans of technical excellence. The music is a mix of Pain of Salvation, Dream Theater and many Neo Prog Metal bands ... but Pagan's Mind manage to create their own recognizable style. The guitar work is stunningly accurate and perfectly in sync with the rhythm group, and the vocals are much better than the genre average ... a bit whiny at times and too much in the high registers for my taste though.

The keyboards are in the background and provide for spherical textures more often than duelling with the guitars or taking the helm themselves, so that's a major difference to Dream Theater. They're very present though, and that emphasizes the Neo Prog influences in their sound, while the guitar dominance makes them sound a bit heavier than their peers ... but I wouldn't go so far as to call them Power Metal.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Evergrey - The Inner Circle 2004
8.5
Prog Metal
This is an album which takes a little more time to settle than your usual prog metal album. It's about cults and how people get seduced by spiritual leaders and get drawn into something which they can't control anymore. In the liner notes the band even cautions the listener about the seriousness of the music ... and it really is quite intense and emotional.

Much of the intensity has to be credited to their singer, who does a tremendous job. The vocals are not for everyone though, they remind some people of 80s hair metal bands, which is a connection that I can't reproduce at all. Composition and musicianship is excellent throughout, as is the production and sound. I rate this album 4.5 stars, and it is heavily recommended to fans of Pain of Salvation or Riverside. Evergrey have a heavier sound than those bands though.
Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Tool - Lateralus 2001
8.9
Experimental Prog Metal
This is a real masterpiece of prog metal ... a genre defining album. I won't go into too much detail in this review, maybe I'll expand it later on. The foremost quality of this album is its unbelievably focused and determined approach - Tool are a quite popular band, but they make absolutely no compromises here. Every little bit is carefully arranged, and the subtle mathematic implications of the rhythmic changes are stunning and never seem uncalled for or out of place. The result is a complex work of art, which is up there with albums like Larks Tongues or A Pleasant Shade of Gray.

This is an absolutely essential album in every prog collection ... even if you don't like prog metal, you should at least have heard this album.
Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Adagio - Underworld 2003
8.7
Orchestral Neo Classical Prog Power Metal
Summary: This is a masterpiece. A perfect blend of prog metal with an agressive edge and classical music. It's really different from bands like Rhapsody who try to create the impression that there is a fully fledged orchestra playing. Although Adagio also do this occasionally, they mainly use piano and strings/synth/effects which create a rich, polyphonic experience. Usually there are one guitar, one pianist and underlying strings - and of course the bass and vocals.

I won't mention each song here - they are all really outstanding, not at all derivative of bands like Symphony X and Dream Theater. Many rhythmic extravaganzas, purely classical piano interludes by maestro Andersson and stunning guitar solos by Mr. Forte. What I like most about this album is the diversity of the songs which at the same time really work as a whole, every little melody seems to be vital, nothing uncalled-for or forced. The vocals are more than a match for the best vocalist of the genre - namely Russell Allen of Symphony X.
Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Therion - Vovin 1998
5.0
Orchestral Prog-Related Metal
A mediocre album ... any Rhapsody album is at least 10x better in terms of musicianship and proper implementation of classical music. There are also many metal bands which are generally considered to be less progressive, for example Blind Guardian, who do a much better job than Therion. It's hard to believe that this is even considered to be one of their better albums ...
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Steve Vai - The Ultra Zone 1999
8.9
Prog-Related Rock
This is a stellar release from one of the best and - at the same time - most underrated guitarists ever. Two common preconceptions about Vai are that his primary asset is technical prowess and speed, and that his playing and songwriting lack emotions. Well, on this album he again proves that both assumptions are wrong.

This album is not for the faint of heart - I'm sure that many people will not be able to get into it. Steve Vai is a guitarist, and of course all the songs have lengthy guitar solos. But the reason for giving this album 4 stars on a website for progressive music is that here he goes way beyond other shred guitarists. Joe Satriani's Engines of Creation has a similar concept, but The Ultra Zone is like ten times more adventurous and bizarre. You can hear his Zappa influences throughout the album, not just on the
song "Frank". The whole album is a mixture of weird Avant-Prog and cool Jazz-Metal- Fusion - except for a few songs which are not very progressive, and that is the only reason for me not giving this album 5 stars.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Heaven's Cry - Food for Thought Substitute 1997
9.2
Eclectic Technical Prog Metal/Rock
This is a prog metal gem. Unfortunately these incredible musicians are far less popular than they should be, as their albums easily compete with the best works of Pain of Salvation or Shadow Gallery. At the same time, they are also very different. They have an unique approach to songwriting, most of the time far from the usual metal structures. This band might be really something for prog fans who dislike prog metal because of the rigid form and structure of most metal styles. That doesn't mean that they're not heavy though - the band has three guitarists.

The vocals are truly amazing - they have three vocalists and make as heavy use of them as of the guitars, so most of the time, all three of them are singing. The lyrics are also really clever. Generally, Heaven's Cry lyrics deal with social issues, environmental pollution and other serious problems. But they're going about it in a mystic and really artsy way. The production is great - they created a good balance between guitars and vocals in the mix. Also, you can always hear the bass guitar - Auclair plays with a plectrum most of the time, and the bass has a life of its own on their albums, unlike many other prog metal bands where the bass doubles the rhythm guitar most of the time. The original CD pressing suffers a little bit from digital distortion (clipping) - you can purchase a remastered edition from their website.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming of the True 2000
9.2
Eclectic Prog Rock/Pop
This is an incredible concept album about the music business. Kevin Gilbert truly was an imaginative person, and a multitalent on many instruments. On another website someone stated that he could pick up any instrument and play it nearly instantly - and knowing his music, I'm inclined to agree.

I won't go into too much detail on what his beef was with the music industry - suffice it to say that he wrote a lot of songs on Sheryl Crow's debut album and wasn't even mentioned in the liner notes. Having said that, let me assure you that The Shaming of the True doesn't even remotely sound like Sheryl Crow ...

On this album Kevin is mainly backed up by Nick D'Virgilio, who is also a multi instrumentalist to no lesser degree - well, maybe just a tiny bit less. Anyway, every instrumental part is done flawlessly, and at the same time with great passion and ambition. Production is top notch, and the mix is very open, with very little compression. I apologize for the length of this review, but one of the most intriguing aspects of this album are the lyrics, and I just had to quote some passages.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Chroma Key - Dead Air for Radios 1998
8.2
Minimalistic Prog Post Rock/Electronic
Kevin Moore obivously chose to do something completely different when he left Dream Theater. I think the term Space Rock fits best, although this has nothing to do with Pink Floyd, I don't even think there's any guitar involved. On second thought - there are guitars involved, but only in the background. The main instrument on this album is the piano, and lot's of keyboard textures - and samples.

It all creates a soothing ambience of sound. Moore's voice get's a little dull sometimes, he rarely uses any advanced phrasing technique - it's a strange mix of talking and singing. That - and the lyrics - remind me of Roger Waters a little bit.

I give this album 4 1/2 stars - I really can't put my finger on it, but something is missing for this to be a masterpiece. It's very good though, and really deserves to be more popular among prog fans than it apparently is.
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Playlists
Summary
All
1
2
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11
1-20 of 214  
The Michael Schenker Group - Universal 2022
 2 days ago
Mike
8.6
Neo Classical Non-Prog True Metal
Iron Maiden - Senjutsu 2021
 2 months ago
PowerWyrm
9.5
Non-Prog NWoBHM
Petyr - Smolyk 2018
 3 months ago
DamoXt7942
8.5
Psychedelic Stoner Prog-Related Hard Rock
Triton Devs - Stay Alive 2021
 2 years ago
Time_Signature
8.0
Prog Hard Rock/Metal
Electric Mud - Quiet Days On Earth 2020
 3 years ago
Samurai
9.0
Prog Rock
Aquacadia - Into Atalantia 2019
 3 years ago
Hydrazine
8.8
Eclectic Prog Hard Rock
Entombed - Left Hand Path 1990
 3 years ago
Jozef47
9.6
Nordic Heavy Non-Prog Death Metal
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King 1969
 3 years ago
lazland
9.7
Eclectic Prog Rock
Metronhomme - 4 2019
 3 years ago
metronhomme
9.5
Italian Instrumental Experimental Prog Rock/Independent
OH.Listen - Metallia 2018, EP
 5 years ago
Basil
9.5
Symphonic Experimental Prog Post Metal
Marillion - F E A R (F*** Everyone And Run) 2016
 6 years ago
O666
9.0
Neo Prog Rock
The Novelists - DEMO 2014, EP
 6 years ago
Bigmo
8.0
Experimental Prog Extreme Metal
Charts
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2022
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All
Top Prog LPs of 2022
1
2
1-20 of 26  
Kaipa - Urskog
 #1

9.3 x1
Symphonic Prog Rock
Big Big Train - Welcome To The Planet
 #3

9.3 x1
Prog Rock
Fromuz - The Asymmetric Rules
 #4

9.2 x1
Eclectic Prog Rock
The Tangent - Songs From The Hard Shoulder
 #5

9.2 x1
Eclectic Prog Rock
Star One - Revel In Time
 #6

8.8 x1
Prog Metal
D'Virgilio, Morse & Jennings - Troika
 #7

8.8 x1
Prog Rock
Kaprekar's Constant - The Murder Wall
 #8

8.8 x1
Prog Rock
James LaBrie - Beautiful Shade of Grey
 #9

8.7 x1
Prog Metal
Tiger Moth Tales - A Song of Spring
 #10

8.7 x1
Prog Rock
The Flower Kings - By Royal Decree
 #11

8.6 x1
Symphonic Prog Rock
Marillion - An Hour Before It's Dark
 #12

8.6 x1
Neo Prog Rock
Toundra - Hex
 #13

8.6 x1
Instrumental Prog Post Metal
Steve Vai - Inviolate
 #14

8.4 x1
Instrumental Prog Metal
Bjorn Riis - Everything to Everyone
 #16

8.4 x1
Neo Prog Rock
Jethro Tull - The Zealot Gene
 #17

8.4 x1
Prog Rock
Animals As Leaders - Parrhesia
 #18

8.3 x1
Technical Instrumental Prog Extreme Metal
Voivod - Synchro Anarchy
 #19

8.3 x1
Technical Prog Extreme Metal
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Omnium Gatherum
 #20

8.3 x1
Psychedelic Prog Rock