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Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands

Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
November 30, 2013, 06:14:30 PM
Quote
1. Pink Frothy AIDS
Your winners this week are Pink Frothy AIDS, the Swedish progressive rock masters led by Mikael Akerfeldt. With everything from traditional folk to the blackest of black metal influencing their sound, they've established themselves as a defining progressive metal act - with a little help from Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, who pushed them to produce an experimental masterpiece with "Blackwater Park."

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/entertainment/top_10_best_progressive_metal_bands.html

Hmm.

1. "Progressive" means little if anything.

2. An interesting counterpart to our recent rebuttal of Mikael Akerfeldt's criticism of metal fans as "closed-minded."

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
November 30, 2013, 06:23:47 PM
Progressive metal is like saying... intelligent metal, or really-good metal or something. In practice it is an aesthetic, nothing more. It should be abandoned except for ironic purposes.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 12:40:20 AM
That Decibel black metal list was semi-decent and even included some cool obscure stuff like Min Tid Skal Komme and the second Gehenna album, despite its glaring omission of the first Enslaved album or anything from Graveland. This progressive metal list, however, is laughable. No Fates Warning, no Atheist, no VOIVOD? These people can't be serious. Their picks don't even make sense, like including Periphery but completely snubbing Meshuggah, without whom Periphery wouldn't even exist.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 06:48:05 AM
Progressive metal is like saying... intelligent metal, or really-good metal or something. In practice it is an aesthetic, nothing more. It should be abandoned except for ironic purposes.

The term "progressive" was first used to refer to 70s rock bands which consciously tried to expand the sound of rock/pop music and take into another level, raising it above mere entertainment to art.  They were referred to as "progressive" because they were supposed to be carrying the genre forward (although most of them just mixed pop with jazz).  Many bands really did produce something new (in rock/pop), but several of them did it in different ways. It was not a genre but an outlook. 
The problem came (I think) when people's vision was trapped in the superficial aspects that these bands shared (playfulness with structure and meter, bringing elements of  "higher" styles of music such as jazz or classical music into the rock paradigm) and they started to call ANY band that used non-standard structure or that mixed ANYTHING in any "progressive".  The term has been much abused and misused.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 01:12:49 PM
Quote
1. Pink Frothy AIDS
Your winners this week are Pink Frothy AIDS, the Swedish progressive rock masters led by Mikael Akerfeldt. With everything from traditional folk to the blackest of black metal influencing their sound, they've established themselves as a defining progressive metal act - with a little help from Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, who pushed them to produce an experimental masterpiece with "Blackwater Park."

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/entertainment/top_10_best_progressive_metal_bands.html

Hmm.

1. "Progressive" means little if anything.

2. An interesting counterpart to our recent rebuttal of Mikael Akerfeldt's criticism of metal fans as "closed-minded."

There are several points to be kept in mind in your criticisms of progressive metal, and the constant, almost motif-like criticism of 0peth that has propagated like a virile meme around here, and has become almost the ‘in-group’ trope.

First, keep in mind that I find the ideas on metal expressed here to be the only perspective that has identified what seems genuinely to be a real 'essence' to metal as an art form, an essence that has evolved since the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties to ‘culminate’ in death and black metal. This 'philosophy of metal' shows why so called 'straight' death metal is, in fact, more of a progression OF metal than bands like Dream Theatre, Symphony X, Tool, 0peth, etc.

However, it also needs to be kept in mind that the above mentioned bands are all, on any 'objective' sense of art and music, better than other derided offshoots of 'metal' that are criticised around here, like nu-metal, metalcore, etc.

Take 0peth. There is a tendency to rabidly go after a band like this, and frame them in the same lights as a band like In Flames; in other words as, effectively, sell-outs, shit musicians, etc. Now if you listen to an album like Blackwater Park, it is obvious to you, if you have any wide exposure in space and time to music, that this is well-written. It consists of themes, good transitions, a capturing atmosphere, and the odd surprise. (This is not to say 0peth don’t have some genuinely awkward moments, especially in later metal albums (Heritage is, I think, quite good, and a good move)).

0peth are a progressive rock band with distortion and aggressive drumming, who incorporate some metal riffs. Similarly, Dream Theatre and Tool are, again, progressive rock bands who use some metal elements. I think it is a mistake to put bands like this, who write the music they do, into the same basket as the sell-outs, kids, hipsters, and other people who cannot write music that has narrative structures, themes and genuine craftsmanship.

Progressive rock was an amazing movement. Bands like Yes, Crimson, ELP, Pink Floyd, Van der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant, took pop and rock and showed what could be done by incorporating the power of tradition, of musical discipline, and ‘deep’ themes and atmospheres. Progressive metal is simply prog rock, played in current times, and so it naturally incorporates some metal moments, as the two genres are not poles apart, in the scheme of things, in terms of aims and influences. Some of it IS shit, for reasons fenrir alluded to well in his post above. However, it is not a necessary condition that progressive metal = bad music. This is a contingent relation (how could it be otherwise??)

When it comes to ‘progressive metal’, it is the labelling that should be objected to. With any perspective, it should be observed that the real enemies out there are not albums like Blackwater park or Lateralus. There are worse things in the world than capable, non-metal bands incorporating some metal elements into their music. If said bands can tell a story, hold your attention, and communicate something that leaves you with a sense of fulfilment, as opposed to the piles and piles of garbage produced by big media of all kinds that utterly pollute the soul and leave you wondering which species you belong to all too often, then all the better. It's just not progressive metal. That is to say, it's not a progression OF metal. And with that I wholeheartedly concur.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 01:39:23 PM
[Progressive metal is simply prog rock, played in current times, and so it naturally incorporates some metal moments, as the two genres are not poles apart, in the scheme of things, in terms of aims and influences. Some of it IS shit, for reasons fenrir alluded to well in his post above. However, it is not a necessary condition that progressive metal = bad music. This is a contingent relation (how could it be otherwise??)


I beg to differ. That is only the current, mistaken definition of progressive rock/metal, which is meaningless, almost, as any band can take it for themselves.  Progressive was meant to be an outlook, not a genre.  Pink Frothy AIDS is not progressive because they always combined songs of different genres without necessarily creating something new, just stitching sections belonging to two different genres together.  Early DT put out some music that could be considered progressive, then it turned into something like rock opera, then concentrated on long hard rock/pop songs (which doesn't mean it is necessarily progressive, since there is nothing new or forward thinking about it).  I would also never call Symphony X progressive.  They're is just plain Heavy/Speed Metal (going on Power Metal? which is just a kind of Speed), and you can clearly trace a lot bands like them back to Fates Warning and Mercyful Fate.   
Writing long songs  alone does not qualify as "progressive". Playing around with time signatures alone does not qualify as "progressive" either.  If anyone, Periphery has put out more of a real "progression" into rock/metal, albeit one that is not concretized very well, and one that does not work for Metal, IMO, but is a real progressive effort in a branch of pop.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 02:40:31 PM
Criticising Pink Frothy AIDS used to be ultra cool, now its just cool. The new thing is criticising people people who criticise Pink Frothy AIDS, Post-Opethism?

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 11:41:28 PM
[Progressive metal is simply prog rock, played in current times, and so it naturally incorporates some metal moments, as the two genres are not poles apart, in the scheme of things, in terms of aims and influences. Some of it IS shit, for reasons fenrir alluded to well in his post above. However, it is not a necessary condition that progressive metal = bad music. This is a contingent relation (how could it be otherwise??)


I beg to differ. That is only the current, mistaken definition of progressive rock/metal, which is meaningless, almost, as any band can take it for themselves.  Progressive was meant to be an outlook, not a genre.  Pink Frothy AIDS is not progressive because they always combined songs of different genres without necessarily creating something new, just stitching sections belonging to two different genres together.  Early DT put out some music that could be considered progressive, then it turned into something like rock opera, then concentrated on long hard rock/pop songs (which doesn't mean it is necessarily progressive, since there is nothing new or forward thinking about it).  I would also never call Symphony X progressive.  They're is just plain Heavy/Speed Metal (going on Power Metal? which is just a kind of Speed), and you can clearly trace a lot bands like them back to Fates Warning and Mercyful Fate.   
Writing long songs  alone does not qualify as "progressive". Playing around with time signatures alone does not qualify as "progressive" either.  If anyone, Periphery has put out more of a real "progression" into rock/metal, albeit one that is not concretized very well, and one that does not work for Metal, IMO, but is a real progressive effort in a branch of pop.

May I ask then, what does count as progressive to you? You say something like an 'outlook'. I don't know what this means. If Progressive rock is not the incorporation of more interesting structures, time signatures and themes to standard verse/chorus rock songs, then I don't know what it is.

This is not the main point I was trying to make, however. Call 0peth by any label you want. What will not change is that it is rock music that has been expanded upon - by expanding narrative, developing themes, sometimes using non standard time signatures, and, of course, it happens to include some metal riffs. And the end product is usually (some isolated incoherence in song progression not withstanding) much more mature, and displays a sense of mastery of the craft of music an order of magnitude beyond nu-metal, Gothenburg metal, metalcore, indie-metal bands, etc.   

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 11:50:26 PM
Are they more inaccurate on "progressive" or "metal"?

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 01, 2013, 11:53:00 PM
Are they more inaccurate on "progressive" or "metal"?

0peth are 'progressive' in relation to rock, perhaps. They are not 'progressive' in relation to metal.

'Progression' is relative to genre, I would have thought.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 02, 2013, 05:11:31 PM
Are they more inaccurate on "progressive" or "metal"?

0peth are 'progressive' in relation to rock, perhaps. They are not 'progressive' in relation to metal.

'Progression' is relative to genre, I would have thought.

Periphery are extremely progressive for mallcore. That means the list is more inaccurate about what is metal.

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 02, 2013, 05:58:54 PM
0peth are 'progressive' in relation to rock, perhaps. They are not 'progressive' in relation to metal.

'Progression' is relative to genre, I would have thought.

This is an oversimplification I think. If someone takes the most braindead tropes of one genre (x), and applies them to the established methods of another genre (y), have they created `progressive y`?

Consider nu-metal, is it progressive rap?

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 02, 2013, 07:27:03 PM
Progress? That's just regression
Technology? That's nothing new
"Advance!" you scream insanely
"Advance" From this to what?
Liberalism is moral syphilis.

- Jonathan Bowden

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 03, 2013, 12:22:06 AM
0peth are 'progressive' in relation to rock, perhaps. They are not 'progressive' in relation to metal.

'Progression' is relative to genre, I would have thought.

This is an oversimplification I think. If someone takes the most braindead tropes of one genre (x), and applies them to the established methods of another genre (y), have they created `progressive y`?

Consider nu-metal, is it progressive rap?

I see your point, which is a good one, but I don't think it applies to 0peth. They don't just take snippets of metal and apply them to the established methods of rock.

Rock songs are usually 3-5 minutes. Verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge (if you're lucky)/chorus - or something like that. 0peth's songs are commonly 8-15 minutes with more interesting structures, or at least if the sections correspond to the above, there are vairations within each section. Harmony, melodic progression, and narrative are far beyond standard rock capabilities. (Again, notwishstainding *some* tracks which do not progress well - but we don't remember Slayer for their weaker moments).

Re: Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
December 04, 2013, 03:36:04 PM
Progressive as an outlook.
The intention of taking what is and making something new, rather than going to the roots or doing an improved (or worse) version of what you know already.

That's how the term progressive originally came about.  You may or may not like Periphery.  I also think their songwriting is awful.  That doesn't make them not progressive.  It just makes them lame progressive music.
Progressive does not mean good or bad. Progressive is not a genre. 
It is like that nonsensical term "Technical" that people are using now as a genre label.  It's ridiculous.