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User Page: Mike

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Joined 17 years ago
Last Visit 49 minutes ago
Ratings Submitted 1809
Main Genres Set 2411
Artists Added 4072
Albums Added 23566
Trust level 8/10
Permalink http://progfreak.com/user/Mike
About Me
I'm the founder of this crazy website ... I hope it's helpful to you in some way!
Contact me Please write me a mail at info@progfreak.com. Contributors can also join progfreak.slack.com for easier communication (ask me for an invite).
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Manticora - THE BLACK CIRCUS PART 1 - LETTERS 2006
7.6
Orchestral Prog Power Metal
A very nice effort - technical power metal, with lush orchestrations and namy interesting ideas. Unfortunately I can't get past the vocals - they're always so melodramatic, I miss the variability of great singers like Russell Allen or James LaBrie. The whole concept of the album is also a little bit cheesy - but the music and musicianship is top notch.
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Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Evergrey - Recreation Day 2003
8.3
Prog Power Metal
I really enjoy listening to this album every once in a while ... great songwriting and very emotional vocals/lyrics. It's not typical power metal all the time, there are many extensive quiet passages, with great contributions by every band member - and they're never flashy.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Steve Vai - Various Artists - Archives Vol. 4 2003, Compilation
8.9
Non-Prog Rock
This album is part of the "secret jewel box", it contains selected tracks which Vai recorded with other artists. I think it's an important album, essential for anybody who'd like to understand Vai and his musical background. Most of the songs are really different from what he did on his solo albums ... but his style is easily recognizable and at the same time blends perfectly with the mood/style of the song.
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Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Threshold - Subsurface 2004
8.8
Symphonic Prog Metal
This is my favorite Threshold album. Hypothetical is almost as good and a bit more quirky and technical, but this one tops it in terms of songwriting (killer melodies), plus I love its lush/symphonic sound.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Therion - Sirius B 2005
7.4
Orchestral Prog-Related Metal
This is a quite decent album, but somehow the songwriting leaves me cold. It's also quite ordinarily structured, with songs mainly consisting of verse/chorus sections with alternating moods (usually power metal/male metal shouting vocals vs. symphonic power metal/female and male operatic vocals both in choir arrangements and solo). Harmonically it's quite tame, using chord progressions well known from other symphonic metal bands like Rhapsody and Nightwish, and of course also Therion's previous albums. Instrumentation is quite reduced compared to other symphonic metal albums - they're essentially just using drums, bass, guitars and vocal arrangements, keyboards and orchestra instruments are rarely used except for intros, outros and short interludes.

I'd definitely recommend their 2007 album Gothic Kabbalah instead of this one, but if you're a fan especially of Therion's early albums you'll also enjoy this one as well.
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Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana 1937
9.3
Prog-Related Classical
"Prog-Related Classical" ... what I'm trying to say here is that while the Carmina Burana is often referred to as simplistic/repetitive by the standards of classical music, it exhibits many trademarks which would much later also be used in progressive music. A masterpiece for sure, by any standard!
Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Mike Keneally - Wooden Smoke 2001
8.0
Instrumental Minimalistic Prog Rock
A very calm and gentle album compared to Mike's other albums which are much more experimental and quirky. Acoustic Guitar and Piano are the dominating instruments, some tracks with drums/bass, some without, and of course there's Mike's vocals and his "unusual as usual" songwriting.
Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Iron Maiden - Killers 1981
8.3
Non-Prog NWoBHM
One of the first CDs I bought back in the 1980s ... it was on heavy rotation, and I still consider it to be one of my most famous NWOBHM albums.
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Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers 1984
8.0
Retro Prog-Related Hard Rock
This was one of the first CDs I bought back in the 1980s. I remember listening to it over and over again - the sound quality was amazing compared to the vinyl discs, which wear out with each listen. I still like it a lot, but the songwriting is a bit bland compared to Deep Purple's masterpieces of the early 70s.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
The Gathering - How To Measure A Planet? 1998
8.9
Atmospheric Prog Post Metal/Rock
This is a very remarkable album. I'd call it Progressive Epic Atmospheric Metal/Rock. The Gathering started as a Gothic Metal band with progressive elements, and although there still are some edgy metal guitar sounds, their newer albums like this really evolved into some sort of modern Space Rock. It sounds quite electronic at times, but is largely based on traditional instruments.

The wonderful voice of Anneke is the constant element in this 1 hour 43 minutes journey. All the instruments just support the vocals, there are very few solo spots for guitar or keyboards. The whole album just flows from melody to melody, from song to song. And these melodies are really great.

If you like mellow albums like Opeth's Damnation, or Porcupine Tree's Sky Moves Sideways, you might want to give this a try, if you enjoy female vocals, too.
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Comment by Mike
Rhapsody (of Fire) - Triumph or Agony 2006
7.3
Neo Classical Prog Power Metal
This album suffers mainly from a lack of inspiration and sounds to me like a "routine job". Musicianship and production are stellar, that's not the problem.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Haggard - And Thou Shalt Trust... The Seer 1997
7.4
Orchestral Prog-Related Doom Metal/Classical
I don't know ... it's a decent album, technically. But somehow their approach of combining classical (medieval) music and Doom Metal puts me off. Maybe it's the chord progressions - they're just too tame und unadventurous for my taste. Or the clean male vocals - they're muffy and uninspired.

If you're new to classical/metal "fusion" then by all means check this album out ... but don't stop there and also try Rhapsody, Kamelot, Symphony X, Adagio and many other bands who not only combine two genres, but are also trying (and succeeding) to add their own unique style.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Green Carnation - A Blessing In Disguise 2003
8.6
Experimental Prog-Related 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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Comment by Mike
Shadow Gallery - Carved In Stone 1995
8.4
Celtic Epic Neo Prog Metal/Rock
I really like this album ... from all the Shadow Gallery albums it's the one with the most folk/celtic influences, and while there are some quite heavy bits it maintains a very acoustic sound. The epic (Ghostship) is outstanding ... it's like a more progressive version of Iron Maiden's Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
GPS - Window to the Soul 2006
8.0
Prog-Related Rock
Interesting! The vocals are quite unusual ... kind of like Jorn Lande meets Tom Waits. There are quite a few Neo Prog bands which released strong albums in 2006 ... this album easily belongs to them as far as sound and instrumentation is concerned, but the songwriting is not really progressive, except for a few tracks. Ryo Okumoto on keyboards is a huge asset - his mellotron and subtle strings are always present, and together with the strong songwriting and excellent musicianship the result is a really worth-while listen ... if you're into Melodic Neo Prog or AOR.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Carmine Appice - Ultimate Guitar Zeus 2006
8.1
Retro Non-Prog Hard Rock
One of the highlights of the year 2006 for me. The sheer number of guest stars here is amazing, and what's even better: the collaboration really works. It's not at all an album for guitarists (as the title suggests) or drummers (as it's by the amazing Carmine Appice). There are vocals in every track, and the overal style can be described as a combination of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, King's X The Black Crowes ... and then all the influences of the guest stars which include Steve Morse, Brian May, Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen (!), Ty Tabor and many more.
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Steve Hackett - Wild Orchids 2006
8.1
Eclectic Prog Independent
This is quite a genre-defying monster of an album. It touches so many styles, moods and sounds - at one time it reminds of Tom Waits, then swings over to completely symphonic non-rock classical music, only to suddenly return to a Adrian Belew-esque New Art-Rock Post-Pop groove. It's not chaotic though - each of the 13 relatively short track seems like a coherent episode of an incoherent dream ...

I like it, and this being the first Steve Hackett album to get my hands upon I'm eager to explore his discography!
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Review by Mike 17 years ago <Permalink>
Mastodon - Blood Mountain 2006
9.0
Experimental Prog Extreme Metal
This is the first Mastodon album that I get to listen to in full length - and I really like it. Usually I find (Post) Sludge Metal interesting musically, but the vocals put me off. Fortunately it is just one of many influences here, and I'd say it's more like a Post Doom/Independent/EMO album, with a heavy dose of Thrash thrown in. There is much experimentation going on, and they're never calculable.

Mainstream listeners might have a hard time digesting this very dense and inaccessible opus, metal-friendly prog fans will find it a very worthwhile listen.
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Comment by Mike
Ayreon - Actual Fantasy 1996
8.2
Prog Metal/Rock
This is the most accessible Ayreon album, with many really good songs and awesome production (the re-release is a big improvement, with re-recorded drums). There's no big concept like on Electric Castle or The Human Equation, but the typical Ayreon spirit is more than enough to create a good flow.
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Comment by Mike 17 years ago
Queensrÿche - Promised Land 1994
9.3
Experimental Prog Metal
Absolutely brilliant album, and their most progressive effort to date. This is actually quite experimental and daring music compared to Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, which I also happen to like very much, but never considered to be particularly progressive.
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Statistics
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Albums
Artists
2022
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Studio
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DVD
EP
All
Favorite LPs of 2022
1
2
...
14
1-20 of 278  
Porcupine Tree - CLOSURE / CONTINUATION
 #1
9.2
Avant-Garde Prog Rock
Charile Griffiths - Tiktaalika
 #2
9.0
Prog Metal
Pure Reason Revolution - Above Cirrus
 #3
9.0
Prog Metal
Big Big Train - Welcome To The Planet
 #4
9.0
Symphonic Prog Rock
Black Midi - Hellfire
 #5
8.9
Prog Rock in Opposition/Independent
Ghost - Impera
 #6
8.9
Epic Non-Prog Metal/Rock
Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture
 #7
8.8
Prog Post Extreme Metal
The Dear Hunter - Antimai
 #8
8.8
Prog Rock
Pattern-Seeking Animals - Only Passing Through
 #11
8.8
Eclectic Prog Rock
Oceans Of Slumber - Starlight and Ash
 #13
8.6
Prog-Related Rock
Derek Sherinian - Vortex
 #14
8.6
Prog Jazz/Rock
The Michael Schenker Group - Universal
 #15
8.6
Neo Classical Non-Prog Metal
Playgrounded - The Death of Death
 #16
8.5
Prog Post Metal
Motorpsycho - Ancient Astronauts
 #17
8.5
Prog Post Rock/Metal
Cult of Luna - The Long Road North
 #18
8.5
Prog Metal
Kaprekar's Constant - The Murder Wall
 #19
8.5
Prog Rock
Star One - Revel In Time
 #20
8.4
Prog Metal
Playlist
1
2
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131
1-20 of 2613  
Swans - Love of Life 1992
 3 hours ago
7.8
Prog-Related Independent
Ulver - Scary Muzak 2021
 23 hours ago
Wave
Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth 1998
 23 hours ago
9.3
Orchestral Prog Power Metal
Between The Buried And Me - Coma Ecliptic 2015
 one day ago
9.0
Prog Metal
Ulver - Scary Muzak 2021
 2 days ago
Wave
Weezer - SZNZ: Autumn 2022
 3 days ago
7.5
Prog-Related Rock
Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary 2016
 4 days ago
8.8
Heavy Prog Metal
Anathema - The Optimist 2017
 4 days ago
Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here 2010
 4 days ago
8.9
English/British Atmospheric Prog Rock
Charile Griffiths - Tiktaalika 2022
 4 days ago
9.0
Prog Metal
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon 1973
 11 days ago
9.8
English/British Minimalistic Experimental Prog Rock
Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth 1998
 11 days ago
9.3
Orchestral Prog Power Metal
Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth 1998
 11 days ago
9.3
Orchestral Prog Power Metal
Pagan's Mind - Enigmatic: Calling 2005
 11 days ago
8.7
Prog Power Metal
Noekk - The Water Sprite 2005
 12 days ago
8.2
Eclectic Prog Post Rock
Tool - Lateralus 2001
 12 days ago
8.9
Experimental Prog Metal
Steven Wilson - Insurgentes 2009
 13 days ago
8.8
Prog
Symphony X - V: The New Mythology Suite 2001
 13 days ago
9.7
Technical Neo Classical Prog Power Metal
Steven Wilson - Insurgentes 2009
 13 days ago
8.8
Prog
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