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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Roine Stolt - Hydrophonia 1998
8.9
Instrumental Prog Rock
This is a remarkable solo album. Like The Flower King, this album obviously sounds much like the Flower Kings, as they are mainly based on Stolt's songwriting. Let me rephrase that - This album sounds like the essence of the Flower Kings. It's so full of beautiful melodies, interesting and sometimes funky rhythms, and very dynamic. Every theme is fully developed and explored here, a quality that many similar albums lack.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Power of Omens - Rooms of Anguish 2003
7.8
Technical Prog Metal
Power of Omens are a really small band. Their albums are mainly available from their website. It's a pity, because they put tremendous efforts into those albums. This is highly complex Progressive Metal that can rival the most complex bands of the genre, like Cynic, Watchtower or Spiral Architect. Ironically, that is also a drawback in case of this album, because I think that they went a little over the top here ... on their previous album, they had a better balance between complexity and simple parts.

Musicianship is stellar, and the vocals are outstanding - the singer sounds very much like Geoff Tate in certain passages, great range and volume in the lower registers.

The production is not as good as it should be - but you can't hold that against them, as they are not a full time band, and don't have a big record company to support them.
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Devin Townsend - Terria 2001
9.3
Experimental Prog Metal
This is Devin's masterpiece. The following album has more hooks and catchy tunes, but this one is truly majestic, epic and utterly wonderful. This is a complex work of art.

This albums is also so unique - it defies categorisation. Although this is metal, there is no other Prog Metal band that comes close to what he does. Earth Metal, Epic Progressive Metal ... that begins to describe it.

The most unique thing about the Devin Townsend albums is that he uses a very large number of tracks during recording, which are layered on top of one another to create a wall of sound. He does this for individual instruments as well as the whole tracks. This results in a incredible level of detail - with a good hifi system, you can hear lots of different instruments "below the surface".

This album doesn't have a story as such, but a topic: Nature - Canada in particular - and spirituality. The song titles and lyrics excerpts give you a good idea of what you can expect.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Enchant - A Blueprint of the World 1991
8.1
Neo Prog Rock
This is simply a beautiful, timeless album. Most people have one problem with Enchant: On all their albums they managed to maintain a certain characteristic sound and never strayed far from it. As a result some people miss development and "progression". But I have no problem with that - their sound is fine. It's instantly recognizable, and instead of changing their sound, they focus on writing good songs.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Winds - The Imaginary Direction of Time 2004
8.3
Symphonic Experimental Prog Metal
I give this album 3 1/2 stars ... it's an excellent addition to any prog metal collection, but the average prog listener might consider this to be too heavy. I don't mean the level of distortion of the guitars, but the general approach to songwriting and song structure. It seems a bit crude and in my opinion needs much refining.

The album features a string quintet that not only plays a few intros and interludes, but is fully integrated into all of the songs. Together with a piano and clever arrangement, the melancholic songs work tremendously well, but there are some passages where the vocals and guitar riffs seem too heavy and don't fit too well into the concept. Bands like Pain of Salvation do a better job of blending everything together nicely and creating a balance. Also, the band plays metal double-bass rhythms too often, in situations where sparse drums and/or free time would be appropriate.

If you like melancholic metal bands like My Dying Bride combined with authentic classical instruments and progressive elements, this might be something you should check out. At times, they even create a similiarly epic feel like Opeth do.
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Devin Townsend - Infinity 1998
8.9
Prog Metal
As Devin notes in the liner notes: This album was a tremendous effort, extremely difficult to make. In order to fully appreciate it, you have to listen to it on a good hifi system. Many tracks were used, and on this album Devin really begins with his massive layering of sounds - dozens of instruments playing the same, creating a wall of sound.

The tracks are all great, and the ONLY reason for not giving this 5 stars is that Terria is even better ... so consider this a 4 1/2 star review. The tracks are all very different, every track sets a different mood.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Dead Soul Tribe - Dead Soul Tribe 2002
7.7
Experimental Prog Metal
"We were somewhere around Barstol, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold ..."

This quote from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas kicks of a roller coaster ride of what I would call Psychedelic Metal. The whole album sounds a bit like it's predecessor - Bleeding by Psychotic Waltz (Dead Soul Tribe is the solo project of Devon Graves, who was the singer of Psychotic Waltz under the pseudonym of Buddy Lackey).

In many aspects, this is much evolved compared to Bleeding. It seems more refined, there's more happening simultaneously. Each instruments simply receives more attention and the whole album has a lot more atmosphere. All of that makes it just more progressive than Bleeding.

All in all, I'd recommend this album to all fans of Sabbath-inspired metal, and it's fairly progressive - not in terms of complexity, but in terms of feel, and sophistication.

Powertrip : This song reminds me of Led Zeppelin's Achilles Last Stand, but the Rob Zombie - like vocals and the heavy chorus make it quite unique.

Coming Down : I love that ultra-low guitar riff in the intro. This track is a perfect example of the sublime, hypnotic Dead Soul Tribe formula. Devon's vocals are much evolved compared to his PS aera, he screams less often. He concentrates on melody and phrasing instead, which is a very good thing.

The Haunted : after some sphaerical keyboard textures, a hefty guitar riff kicks in. The verse again heavily relies on Devon's voice. It really has a "haunting" quality to it, and Devon's guitar work complements it perfectly.

The Drowning ... -> show full review
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Psychotic Waltz - Bleeding 1996
8.0
Experimental Stoner Prog Metal
This is an amazing album, unfortunately the last that this awesome band made before they split up. It's somewhat different from their other albums, a little more relaxed and not as complex as A Social Grace or Into The Everflow. But I like it very much, and I gave it 3 stars because the other Psychotic Waltz albums are a bit better, and some tracks on Bleeding are not very progressive, but just plain metal. Still, they're very good. All in all, the album will not disappoint Psychotic Waltz fans, but is not essential for the general prog fan. Fans of Sabbath-inspired Metal can add one star to my rating.

From all the Psychotic Waltz albums, this is the one that's most similar to the music of Dead Soul Tribe, the band that the Psychotic Waltz singer founded after they split up (Devon Graves/Buddy Lackey). Having said that, it's clear that it's also not as complex as masterpieces like A Social Grace and Into The Everflow.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Dixie Dregs - California Screamin' 2000
8.2
Instrumental Prog Fusion
The Dixie Dregs are the ultimate Fusion between - well, Fusion and Country. Steve Morse and Rod Morgenstein are the constant elements in their lineup. Violins also play a major part in their music, keyboards are more supporting elements in the background. I'll just list the standaout tracks and tell you what I think about them:
As their regular studio albums are quite hard to find in record stores, I recommend this album as a perfect way of getting to know the world of the Dregs!
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Neal Morse - One 2004
9.5
Epic Retro Prog Rock
This is the second album from Mr. Morse since he left Spock's Beard. In my opinion it is better than the first one (Testimony) in several ways. It's less emotional than Testimony, because it is not autobiographical.
One is a very tight album, and very cleverly constructed. Highlights are Author Of Confusion, which is a very complicated track with lots of breaks, frenzy druming and guitar riffing and Gentle Giant like vocal fugues that have become a trademark of Neal's songs, and The Separated Man, which contains some amazing oriental sounding parts and - as a contrast - is based on acoustic guitars.

All the other songs are brilliant as well. Cradle to the Grave might seem a little cheesy to some (It's a duet sung by God and man), but it is so well done that one can hardly complain about that.

Musicianship is stellar on this album, as is the production. Neal's guitars sound very modern on this album, compared to the fuzzy sound on Testimony. Mike Portnoy does an even better job than on Testimony, giving the songs plenty of room to breathe. As a whole, the album also seems more compact than Testimony - clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, it fits on one CD.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Porcupine Tree - Staircase Infinities 1994, EP
7.8
Eclectic Prog Rock
This is a very cool and laid back album (EP). It is out of print, but it is included in the recently published re-release of Up The Downstair. I think that it's very good, but not a masterpiece, because - apart from Cloud Zero and Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape - it is just too mellow and monotonous. A few occasional outbursts of more structured and focussed playing would have done wonders. The only uptempo track (Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape) is also the most repetitive one.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Royal Hunt - Eye Witness 2003
7.5
Prog-Related Metal
This is a very pleasant metal album. It would be an excellent addition to any metal collection, but it's not really a progressive album like their 90s albums, so they get one star less than they would deserve from a metal standpoint.

The tracks are all quite ok, no fillers. The production is very good, with the guitars and vocals dominating the mix.

There are a few standout tracks: Wicked Lounge has extremely cool lyrics and saxophone, a very laid back track compared to their usual neo-classical prog metal. The Prayer features church organ and majestic vocal arrangements ... their singer is phenomenal. Most of the other tracks are power metal songs with occasional glimpses of neo-classical interludes and solos on synth and guitar.
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Royal Hunt - Paper Blood 2005
7.0
Prog-Related Metal
This is a tremendously well done album. I'm not sure if it satisfies the requirements that some people define for prog music, but it does for me.

The foremost quality of this album is the level of sophistication in every aspect of the music - the production, the songwriting, the arrangements, the vocals etc.. I think that this album is a perfect combination of their previous albums The Mission and Eyewitness. It is much more diverse than The Mission, and much more complex than Eyewitness.

There are many unusual sounds they rarely used before. The only problem for me is that most of the songs are based on standard rock song structures, reminiscent of Deep Purple and Whitesnake. But they add so much complexity, neo-classical interludes, solos etc. that it never get's boring - if you're into that kind of music.
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Porcupine Tree - Deadwing 2005
8.8
Eclectic Prog Rock
This is a nice "progish" album. It is not a prog masterpiece, because you have to put it in relation to In Absentia and Lightbulb Sun. But it's definitely quite sophisticated, yet easy to listen to, never get's boring, and the melodies really grow on you pretty fast.

I can understand why some people call this alternative, as it has an alternative touch. But Porcupine Tree has always been difficult to describe, a quality that's not uncommon for prog artists. I'd say that this is a good starting point to get to know Porcupine Tree, if you don't mind a rough edge towards prog metal or alternative.

People looking for the Floyd centric mellow records which Porcupine Tree are famous for should go for Sky Moves Sideways or Voyage 34, Deadwing is considerably more heavy.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Kamelot - The Black Halo 2005
8.8
Symphonic Prog Power Metal
Simply wonderful. This is their best record to date, and for me is THE masterpiece record that I always hoped Rhapsody would make ... but they didn't, Kamelot did. I give it 4 stars, because although this album has much more progressive moments than the previous Kamelot albums, it is still more Symphonic Power Metal than Progressive Metal. But if you're a Power Metal fan, you can add one star to my rating.

Actually, on this record they managed to incorporate many different approaches to songwriting and
sound. I hear Nightwish influences, very subtle Dream Theater and Symphony X hints in the guitar riffs, and Shadow Gallery is also shining through in the keyboard layering and epic chord progressions. And, of course, Rhapsody. While I love their stuff as well, I was always bothered by the accent of the singer and the cheesy lyrics. None of these problems exist on the Black Halo, except maybe for some latin/italian passages, but they are performed flawlessly.

With all that said, if you're not into symphonic (as in classical) orchestration and operatic singing, you might be a little bit careful ... but if you're looking for an album to begin with in this genre, this album is IT. It's very much better than many of it's direct peers (Therion, Nightwish, Rhapsody) because it has more facets and diversity.

The limited edition is a bit of a let down, because the bonus tracks are merely shorter versions (radio edits) of album songs, but the digipack is quite beautiful.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Symphony X - The Odyssey 2002
9.2
Technical Prog Thrash Metal
This is a really excellent metal album. The discussion about it being inferior to V or Divine Wings reminds me of the Dream Theater: Train Of Thought discussions. The albums are quite similar in their effects on fans and critics.

I think that while it is not as good as V or Divine Wings, The Odyssey is slightly better than Twilight in Olympus. There are no weak tracks, but apparently some are more prog and some more metal. The
epic, Awakenings and Accolade II are standout prog tracks, ALL of the other tracks are wonderful (power) metal songs.

The band is playing very tight, and - again very much like Train Of Thought - the keyboards not very prominent ... but they're there, it all blends nicely into a power metal onslaught, culminating in a symphonic epic (sadly, the classical instruments are samples).

The limited edition also features the older track Masquerade as a bonus, re-recorded with Russell Allen vocals and a nice symphonic intro.
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Shadow Gallery - Tyranny 1998
9.2
Technical Neo Prog Metal
This is as well a masterpiece as their latest effort, Room V. Tyranny is often compared to Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, but I don't think that this is appropriate. Shadow Gallery is more prog, whereas Queensryche is more mainstream rock/metal. Let me clarify that I love Mindcrime as well and consider it to be a masterpiece, too. But it is more accessible than Tyranny, which takes some more time to grow on you.

Many friends of mine listened to it and then complained about it being boring, and all songs sound the same. It is true that Shadow Gallery (like Symphony X, for that matter) have their own sound, that
they vary a little bit from song to song, but not as much as for example Dream Theater did on Images And Words or Awake.

But Tyranny is about killer melodies (the ballads, Spoken Words), stunning guitar/keyboard acrobatics (Stiletto in the Sand), and interesting and credible lyrics (New World Order). The musicians easily match the qualities of Romeo, Petrucci, Rudess and the likes. The singer is also very nice, although when you first hear the vocals you find the voice a little too unspectacular ... but it grows on you just like the
whole package!
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Dream Theater - Train of Thought 2003
8.9
Technical Prog Thrash Metal
This is a good example of a band that made a decision (in this case to make a heavier, more straightforward album, which nonethless is still on a high musical level) which split their fan base in two. Of course it didn't decrease the number of their followers, because even the ones who were pissed of eventually found some ice aspects in the music, and now that Octavarium is about to be released, the wounds are healing nicely.

Now what do I have to say about the music of TOT? It has a very unique charm, but takes more time to settle. I'd say that after 20 times listening to the album from beginning to end, the patient listener will be rewarded, and the killer melodies that strike you instantly on albums like SfaM will become apparent on TOT as well. If you get bored along the way ... you don't have to like this.

This is more metal than prog, but with many twists and the usual stellar musicianship!
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Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
The Flower Kings - The Rainmaker 2001
7.3
Symphonic Retro Prog Rock
This record introduced me to the Flower Kings. I downloaded the track City of Angels and was struck with awe: Very clever chord progressions, together with totally emotional and inspired vocals, and a very natural use of 11/4 in the verse, captain future style keyboard interludes ... very nice.

It's not the best FK album to start with, although it worked for me. I'd go for Stardust first. It's more diverse than The Rainmaker, which is a bit mellow as a whole (although one of the key aspects of FK/Stolt is dynamics and contrasts).
Review by Mike 18 years ago <Permalink>
Shadow Gallery - Room V 2005
9.1
Symphonic Prog Metal/Rock
This is the Shadow Gallery masterpiece that the fans have been waiting for: A worthy successor of Tyranny, with elements from all their other albums - most prominently Carved In Stone - thrown in ... let me rephrase that: carefully interwoven. The songs are divided in the two acts III and IV, which shows that this is really meant to be the successor to Tyranny.

Listening to the first song the heritage becomes obvious anyway, as it's basically an Overture to the new songs as well as a summary of Tyranny, constructed in a manner similar to the Overture 1928 on Dream
Theater's concept album or the Neal Morse opuses. I don't want to go into too much detail on the music, because it really boils down to being "just" what they did on Tyranny and Carved In Stone, but with lots of fresh ideas and beautiful melodies.

The story picks up pieces of Tyranny, but although I didn't give it much thought (didn't listen and simultaneously read the booklet), it obviously isn't about a new world order, but more about the personal life of the protagonists.

Mr. Arjen Lucassen makes a guest appearance, and tracks 2 and 3 feature beautiful female vocals in the same unusual manner as on Tyranny (quite low registers, I wonder if it's the same singer).

One word about the BONUS DISC: Among some acoustic versions and demos of the Room V songs, there's an absolute highlight: The 25 minute medley Floydian Memories. While it's basically a medley, where typically passages from different songs are put together, this track goes one step further and merges different Pink Floyd tracks in a psychedelic way. Marvelous. Wonderful. Masterpiece.

What a pity that apparently they don't tour ... maybe that changes with them signing on to InsideOut, let's hope so!
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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
Albums
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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