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Progressive metal, more commonly know as prog metal, is characterized by genre transgression and instrumental virtuosity. Its signature features are guitar driven songs that have complex time signatures and very intricate playing.

Progressive metal as a genre is associated with acts such as Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Queensrÿche, who had their heyday in the early 1990s, but progressive elements have been fused into metal virtually since the inception of metal. For instance, on their early releases, Black Sabbath would incorporate jazzy passages into their compositions, while also drawing on other genres, and many proto-metal acts also had backgrounds in progressive rock and heavy psychedelic rock. In the early to mid 1980s, some NWoBHM groups, such as Iron Maiden would find direct inspiration in progressive rock acts like Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson and incorporate progressive elements, such as complex song structures, twin guitars and changes in time and tempo into their style, while the cult band Mercyful Fate were known for blatantly disregarding the conventions of composition in popular music, opting for complex and unusual song structures.

So, progressiveness was a part of metal since the inception of the genre, but it was not until the late 1980s and mid 1990s as bands like Watchtower, Fates Warning, Queensrÿche, Psychotic Waltz, and Dream Theater that progressive metal became established as an independent subgenre. These bands would draw both on previously established metal genres, like NWOBHM, and progressive rock acts of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Especially Dream Theater would become iconic of the genre, and their instrumentation, which includes prominent keyboards, became the blueprint for many progressive metal bands to follow. The music that came out was very diverse and even symphonic at times. Not all of it was overly technical, though some bands such as Dream Theater were very technical, while others, like Fates Warning and Watchtower emphasized odd time signature. Psychotic Waltz incorporated psychedelia into their sound, and Queensrÿche began to operate with complex lyrical themes.

After progressive metal had been somewhat popular for some time, it began to take on more extreme forms such as progressive death metal, and so on. Bands such as Edge of Sanity and Atheist took prog metal to greater heights with their infusion of prog and death metal. Atheist also added a jazz/fusion sound to their music to make it true progressive death metal, as did Pestilence on their jazz-influenced Spheres. Also during this time, bands such as Opeth and Voivod changed their style to a more progressive sound. While Voivod changed in the early 1990’s, Opeth became a more progressive metal band in the late 1990’s which was probably an effect of the progressive metal movement that was going on at the time. Some already established metal acts in other genres would similarly cross over into progressive metal territory, such as Savatage, who - although having a background in traditional metal and power metal - released several progressive metal albums. In parallel with the development of progressive extreme metal genres, many power metal acts would take their music in a more progressive direction, resulting in the subgenre of progressive power metal (which is included under power metal here at the MMA) some of which, like Kamelot and Savatage, would eventually become fully fledged progressive metal acts.

Most bands in the progressive metal genre have their own unique style; whether it is more spacey, more symphonic, or more technical while others follow the Dream Theater configuration to a smaller or greater extent (these are sometimes referred to as 'traditional progressive metal' bands), but they all have an equal balance between the influences. Over the years progressive metal has gained the title of having longer songs then regular metal, and while this is mostly true, it isn’t always.

These bands are here because they are different, in a sense, than regular metal bands because they not only include metal but different genres as well, such as jazz/fusion, prog rock, and classical music, and put them all together to make an enjoyable sound. Bands and releases who include progressive elements in their music, but whose central sound is more firmly anchored in another genre are placed in that genre - for instance, Enslaved, whose style is progressive and experimental but still quite firmly based in their black metal roots, are placed in the black metal category, while mathcore and progressive metalcore bands are placed in metalcore.

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DREAM THEATER Images and Words Album Cover Images and Words
4.41 | 204 ratings
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HAKEN The Mountain Album Cover The Mountain
4.49 | 44 ratings
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AYREON The Source Album Cover The Source
4.65 | 16 ratings
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ANUBIS GATE Horizons Album Cover Horizons
4.56 | 20 ratings
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TOOL Lateralus Album Cover Lateralus
4.37 | 115 ratings
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4.43 | 39 ratings
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient Album Cover Ziltoid The Omniscient
4.36 | 96 ratings
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PAIN OF SALVATION The Perfect Element, Part 1 Album Cover The Perfect Element, Part 1
4.37 | 77 ratings
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AYREON The Human Equation Album Cover The Human Equation
4.36 | 87 ratings
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OPETH Still Life Album Cover Still Life
4.34 | 171 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Anno Domini High Definition Album Cover Anno Domini High Definition
4.35 | 71 ratings
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JOHN ARCH A Twist of Fate Album Cover A Twist of Fate
4.55 | 15 ratings
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The Light Years
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progressive metal Music Reviews


Album · 2008 · Progressive Metal
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"angL" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Norwegian progressive/extreme metal act Ihsahn and is the successor to "The Adversary (2006)". The album was released through Mnemosyne Productions in May 2008. After Emperor originally disbanded in 2001, Ihsahn (real name Vegard Sverre Tveitan) first collaborated with his wife Ihriel (Real name Heidi Solberg Tveitan) on the avant-garde metal act Peccatum, but in 2006 he opted for a solo career, and thus Ihsahn was born. As the case was on "The Adversary (2006)", Ihsahn handles all guitars and keyboards, and most of the singing on "angL". Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar, Spiral Architect...among others) again handles the drums, and bass and fretless bass are played by Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect). Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth makes a lead vocal guest appearance on "Unhealer".

The music on the album continues down the progressive/extreme metal path of "The Adversary (2006)", just better produced, better written, and better performed. Stylistically Ihsahn is still in the same genre as Opeth, and "Unhealer" could almost have been a track by Opeth if I didn´t know better. Ihsahn is not a clone act though and Tveitan still manages to create an original sounding style (despite the obvious references to Opeth). The balance between light and dark, acoustic/distorted guitars, clean/raw snarling vocals, and atmospheric and heavy moods, is something Tveitan masters to perfection. His past in Emperor is not heard often in the music, but the way he uses the swirling neo-classical oriented keyboards, and the occasional blast beat section do lead my thoughts in that direction.

The material on the 9 track (10 tracks on the Japanese edition), 47:22 minutes long album is of a very high quality throughout. Every track is intriguing and memorable, and the quality of the material only drops very few times during the listening experience. Highlights could be "Scarab", "Emancipation", "Unhealer", and "Monolith", but it´s a consistently high quality album which deserves to be listened to from beginning to end.

As mentioned above "angL" is also a very well produced album, performed by very skilled musicians. It´s hard not to praise the inventive drumming by Asgeir Mickelson, but everything on the album is skillfully played. For instance check out the many well played guitar solos and harmony themes. To my ears Tveitan is a bit of a compositional genius too (his classical/symphonic arrangements are also quite clever) and taking all features into consideration "angL" comes of as quite the brilliant release and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME The Parallax II: Future Sequence

Album · 2012 · Progressive Metal
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The Parallax II finds Between the Buried and Me plotting a strikingly fresh course after spending their previous few releases engaging in a controlled flip of their sound; whereas Colors had been a metalcore album infused with prog sensibilities, the Future Sequence finds the group putting prog metal first and foremost, with metalcore motifs and textures being merely part of a staggeringly diverse portfolio of tools and techniques available to them. Metalcore purists may feel somewhat left behind, but if you liked the prog elements on Colors you'll be well-served here. Conversely, if in the end you found that Colors wasn't quite to your tastes due to the residual metalcore influence, you may find that The Parallax II is more your speed.

XANTHOCHROID Of Erthe and Axen Act I

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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This first part of a two-part concept album finds Xanthochroid slipping from the progressive black metal of their debut album to a sort of "blackened progressive metal" sound, with extensive symphonic and folk touches and even more emphasis given to storytelling than the debut. As with Immortal, Xanthochroid's music is focused on exploring the band's made-up fantasy world, but Immortal have never gone as full Decemberists as Xanthrochroid do when it comes to the theatricality of their composition. It might not be absolutely groundbreaking, but it's a more than pleasant prog metal-with-teeth piece which makes me want to listen to the second album to hear the rest of the story.


Album · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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It’s not often you see a singer or musician involved with two different albums from two different bands being released within a month of each other, but that’s exactly the case for famed vocalist Fabio Lione, who has certainly been very busy in recent years, since leaving Rhapsody of Fire. Earlier this month, he released a collaborative effort with Alessandro Conti, and now his current main band Angra are set to release their ninth full-length release, ØMNI, this coming February. I’ve had my struggles with Angra in the past, not enjoying their first couple of albums much at all and even finding most albums with Edu Falaschi to be solid but forgettable, outside of career high point Temple of Shadows, but I had hoped they would finally win me over with Fabio joining the band, as he’s by far my favorite of their three singers. Unfortunately, their previous album Secret Garden didn’t do much for me, so I had just about written the band off until I received the promo for ØMNI. Even then, I had my doubts after a couple of listens, but after giving it some more time, I have to say, this is the first time the band has truly impressed me outside of Temple of Shadows, and while it may not quite reach the heights of that masterpiece, it’s definitely a great album that can stand alongside it as by far my two favorite Angra releases to date.

While Angra is generally described as a power metal band, they stand out from most bands in the genre by having very diverse songwriting and by including some unexpected elements, such as a unique kind of percussion they include on many of their albums, as well as some very unique melodies. Their songs often stay in a more relaxed tempo than many power metal bands, and while this can work out well, I generally find their albums lack a lot of energy, which was especially a problem with Secret Garden, an album which I thought had some huge highs, but far too many lulls for my tastes.

With ØMNI, the band really hasn’t changed much, as the percussion is definitely in full effect on some tracks, the melodies are certainly unique and a bit bizarre at points and the songwriting is certainly varied, with many softer sections, but overall it definitely packs more of a punch than its predecessor, with the heavier sections really standing out in a positive way, giving the album a much-needed energy boost. Compared to Secret Garden, the prog elements are fully intact, and if anything this release has some much more complex compositions as well as even more technically impressive musicianship, occasionally reaching close to Dream Theater levels, and of course the symphonic elements still appear from time to time. The biggest difference is that where the previous album had shockingly little power metal compared to other Angra albums, this album has about the amount listeners would expect, with three full tracks of speedy power metal and many speedy bursts found on other songs. The songwriting is quite varied, as ever, and while the second half definitely is softer and slower paced, on the whole, there are enough heavier sections to keep it engaging this time around. Obviously, performances are strong all across the board and the production is flawless as always. It’s also worth noting that this is a concept album, based around a futuristic setting in the year 2046, though personally, I don’t find the lyrics to be either a selling point or a negative: They’re just kinda there.

One thing that’s definitely a selling point for me is vocalist Fabio Lione, who has to be the most prolific power metal vocalist in the world at this point. Seriously, it’s getting hard to find bands in the genre he hasn’t been involved in at least some way or another at this point. Regardless of how active he is, though, his voice still sounds as strong as ever, carrying the melodies perfectly as always and bringing in some extra power to enhance the heavier tracks. He gives an emotional performance that really lifts one particular track I’d probably find a bit lacking him and simply does an outstanding job all around. There’s also help from guitarist Rafael Bittencourt on a few tracks, as with Secret Garden, and he does a solid job, though I definitely prefer Fabio’s vocals over his. There are also some guest vocals on one track, which I’ll describe a bit further, but needless to say, they’re a real treat.

Moving on to songwriting, which tends to be my biggest problem area with most Angra albums, but this time around that isn’t the case. Opening track “Light of Transcendence” is a blazing fast symphonic power metal track with uplifting melodies, wonderful guitar work, a super catchy chorus, heavy riffs and an excellent guitar solo in the second half. It’s an amazing track that really got my hopes up for the entire album the first time I heard it. Next is lead single “Travelers of Time”, which is a pretty interesting track. It starts off with some of that percussion I described earlier as well as some very heavy, almost djent like riffs which carry on throughout the verses, but then as the chorus hits the track goes full speed away and becomes another epic, speedy power metal track that’s sure to please fans of the genre, with Fabio delivering some amazing vocals as always. The track gets heavier again later on and Rafael delivers some of his best vocals, which lead to a pretty memorable guitar solo, followed by an even more epic final run through of the chorus. Between this track and the opener, fans are treated to one heck of an awesome one-two punch to start the album.

After that strong start, we get one of the more bizarre and interesting tracks in “Black Widow’s Web”, which opens up with some very soft but quirky and kind of unsettling female vocals, which are very effective in setting the mood for what turns out to be a dark, heavy and very intense track. It’s more mid-paced compared to the first two tracks, though it does speed up at points, and it has a memorable chorus. The most notable feature of the track, though, aside from the uncharacteristically heavy, and again almost djent like riffs, is the inclusion of some very powerful and intense death growls, which show up frequently during the verses and chorus. Later on, there’s a section where the music gets even crazier and heavier, with the death growls being the sole focus. I’m sure some folks may be turned off by this track, but I find it to be one of the best on the album, and it’s certainly something I wouldn’t have expected from Angra.

After that, the album settles down somewhat. Next is “Insania”, another more mid-paced and progressive track, which still has some heavier sections, though it’s much calmer and melodic compared to the previous track, with its speedy and fun chorus being its best feature. It’s another epic track, with a nice use of symphonic elements, interesting drum patterns, great vocal melodies and some of that classic power metal feeling in the chorus. Following that is the first ballad, “The Bottom of My Soul”, which is led by Rafael. It’s a solid track in its own right, with a nice chorus and a nice use of symphonic elements, as well as an epic guitar solo later on, but I find it to be the weakest on the album overall. The pace picks up again after that, though, with “War Horns” being another fast-paced power metal track, falling somewhere in between the heavier “Travelers of Time” and the more melodic “Light of Transcendence”. It has some punchy guitar work, strong vocals, and another catchy chorus, as well as occasional voiceovers, which thankfully don’t distract much from the music. Definitely another one of my favorites on the album. Perhaps the biggest oddball on the album and one that took several listens for me to fully appreciate, is next, that being “Caveman”. It starts out with some odd rhythms, more of that djent influenced guitar work, and it features some of that unique percussion as well as some very odd chanting. Initially, I wasn’t really feeling the track and thought it was a big misfire, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the early parts as an interesting experiment and then after a while Fabio takes over and track becomes more melodic before eventually speeding up and delivering an epic power metal chorus. The instrumental section in the second half is very interesting and has a lot going on, and overall it’s certainly an interesting and very progressive track, which has actually become of my favorites over time, though I can see it being hit and miss for some folks. One thing’s for sure, though: That chorus is incredible, and easily the best on the entire album.

Moving into the last few tracks, the pace drops off a bit. Next is “Magic Mirror”, probably the most progressive track on the album, and one that brings Dream Theater to mind at times, with some of the complex guitar work in the second half, as well as the chorus. It also has a slight touch of retro prog rock during some of its softer moments, and it’s a pretty calm and melodic track overall, though it has one explosive heavy section in the middle, where the pace picks up. It’s definitely a very complex and engaging track, that shows how much the band has evolved over the years. After that is “Always More”, the second ballad, and while it starts off feeling a bit boring, with verses sung decently by Rafael, once Fabio jumps in to sing the chorus the track really picks up, as he delivers a very emotional performance that lifts the track to new heights. The final run through the chorus, in particular, is incredible and really enhances the song. The last full metal song is next, with the first part of the title track “Infinite Nothing.” It’s another progressive, mostly mid-paced track which has some great instrumental work, especially from the guitars, and of course, Fabio does an amazing job on vocals as always, delivering another emotional chorus. It’s a bit calmer than I’d expect for an epic length track, but it has quite a few memorable sections and is a great track overall. Lastly, we have “Infinite Nothing”, the second part of the title track and an orchestral piece containing melodies from all the previous tracks on the album. It’s a nice way to close the album and definitely brings Temple of Shadows to mind.

Overall, ØMNI is a pleasant surprise, being the second Angra album that has fully impressed me, and it comes right after their previous album left me feeling quite disappointed. It features the usual trademarks of the band, while also including some much heavier guitar work than expected at times, as well as some extremely varied and effective songwriting that helps lift it up to greater heights than most of their other albums. I expect longtime fans to be divided on it, but I’d highly recommend it to fans of power metal and prog who want a more varied and challenging album to listen to, as well as for anyone who can’t get enough of Fabio Lione.

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SONS OF APOLLO Psychotic Symphony

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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The family tree of Dream Theater projects is overwhelming as over the years each member has contributed a dizzying amount of collaborations to other projects. Very much is that the case with Mike Portnoy who left one the pioneers of progressive metal in 2010 and has since barely stood still for a second with his many bands such as The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors, Metal Allegiance and his countless Neal Morse projects as well as touring with countless other groups ranging from Twisted Sister to Avenged Sevenfold. In short, the man has remained quite busy but somehow has eschewed the progressive metal scene. That is until the newly founded SONS OF APOLLO entered the scene. Considered a supergroup for great reason, the newly formed band unleash their debut album PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY and shows Portnoy retracing his footsteps back to the Dream Theater heyday with healthy doses of the multitude of other prog metal bands that followed in their wake.

Once again Portnoy joins up with the equally prolific and ex-Dream Theater superstar Derek Sherinian, who together are the primary architects of the band as songwriters-in-chief and progenitors of an entirely new band that they claim to be the real thing and not a mere one off studio project. Also invited to the mix is the outstanding bassist Billy Sheehan who has worked with such greats as David Lee Roth, Steve Vai, Mr. BIg, Talas and also The Winery Dogs. The group is filled out with vocalist Jeff Scott Solo who got his start on the first two Yngwie Malmsteen albums but also sung for Journey, W.E.T. and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. And finally, the reason i even bothered to check out this SONS OF APOLLO album at all is one of my favorite guitarists on the scene Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal who in addition to having crafted some of the most diverse and creative solo albums has played with Guns N Roses as well as Art of Anarchy. He has also been a fairly prolific producer on the indy underground scene with such artists as Evoken.

Progressive metal has become a bit predictable over the years and although a few bands like Ayreon, Between The Buried And Me, Opeth and Mastodon have found new ways to express themselves within the genre, more often than not the genre is littered with technically gifted musicians retreading already heavily trodden musical pastures and in that regard SONS OF APOLLO marches on in an almost identical trajectory. Yes, the near hour long listening experience is chock full of complex compositions gussied up with heavy guitar riffs, outstanding solos, rich keyboard atmospheric constructs and percussive technical wizardry of stunning virtuosity but guess what. This is the best album Symphony X never made and that’s exactly the problem with PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY in a nutshell and made all the more sad by the fact that this a veritable who’s who in the top ranks of musical creative and technical musical expression. Only the expression part is missing.

Back to Bumblefoot. This is a guy who put his heart and soul into his first five albums where every track had more ideas stuffed into them than most bands muster up in a career and while the other members in this musical cast have had more “normal” careers, they still have had their fingers in many pies and have exemplified a number of styles in the process. PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY on the other hand is a woefully uninspired by-the-numbers prog metal more in the vein of Symphony X at their most progressive (think “V”) although there are some bursts into symphonic based prog rock moments when Sheridan lets loose on the keyboards. Likewise Bumblefoot dishes out some of his classic squealing guitar solos between the cracks but the problem arises from the compositions themselves as the different suites that make up the tracks sound as if they were lifted verbatim from albums such as “The Odyssey” or classic Symphony X around the turn of millennium.

Don’t get me wrong, this is quite the listenable album and one that is well delivered, divinely produced and dripping with technically challenging workouts with some nods to classic hard rock, however the whole thing comes across as woefully achronistic as if it’s a long lost album from the early 2000s that has only now emerged. Add to that, the insipid lyrics and been-there-done-that overall stylistic approach. Yep. Another clone band has emerged made all the more painful by the excellent talent on board. Perhaps these guys have been so busy in their respective projects that somebody forgot to tell them that this stuff is rather overdone at this point in progressive metal history. In short, if you simply can’t get enough of the Symphony X style and need to hear a modern day Starcastle does Yes version of progressive metal, by all means check this out, however for yours truly, there are too many other innovative musical gems out there to check out and when i hear this i simply want to push STOP and immediately throw in Symphony X’s “The Divine Wings Of Tragedy” instead. Not a good sign.

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DREAM THEATER Breaking The Fourth Wall

Movie · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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It seems like it was just yesterday that the Luna Park DVD was released. Now it's another one from the Boston Opera House less than a year later. The show is divided in three acts. The first act is tracks from the last two albums and the song "A Trial of Tears" from "Falling to Infinity". The second act is 5 songs from the "Awake" album to celebrate his 20th anniversary and the third act is the encore celebrating again "Scene from a Memory" with his 15th anniversary. On those 2 albums, the band use the same pattern by starting to play the technical, fast and heavy songs like "The Mirror", "Lie", "Overture 1928" and "Strange Déjà Vu" and finishing with the slower and emotional songs like "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream", "Space Dye Vest" and "Finally Free".

"The Illumination Theory", the most progressive and the epic song of the last album is played with an orchestra in the second act which is the perfect fit with this song that contains an irresistible classical break in the middle. The picture is crystal clear and the camera work more satisfying than the "Luna Park" DVD. As for the sound, I had to crank up the volume very high to get the full sound. Again, I wish we could hear John Myung louder, but that's what happens on live recording, it rarely match the sound quality of a studio release. James Labrie's voice is in nice shape as well as all others members. It's another nice addition to your Dream Theater collection. 3. 8 stars.

DREAM THEATER Dream Theater - Score: 20th Anniversary World Tour Live with the Octavarium Orchestra

Movie · 2006 · Progressive Metal
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I always look forward to putting this DVD on as I know I am going to get the best of both worlds; symphonic orchestrated music and full on Dream Theater prog. I agree with some reviewers that the setlist is not exactly mind blowing but it nevertheless spans the 5 year history. It is interesting the way the orchestra blends into the metal sound, similar to the Metallica S&M concert, or indeed Kiss Alive IV. It is always of interest when metal meets symphony. The DVD "Score" is very well produced, sharp editing throughout and excellent sound quality. There is nothing wrong with the visuals at all, with the band members sharing the spotlight, but the problem lies in the setlist itself. There are too many omissions and some opportunities wasted in the early part of the concert.

It opens with some deadset oddities such as The root of all evil, I walk beside you, Another won and Afterlife. It isn't until Under A Glass Moon that it really takes off showing the power of that brilliant track and Petrucci's amazing guitar solo. Later we are treated with The spirit carries on and the entire suite of Six degrees of inner turbulence; absolutely flawless and indispensable on the live stage. After an ovation the band belt out Vacant, The answer lies within, Sacrificed Sons and the masterpiece epic Octavarium that is quintessential to the band. The Encore: Metropolis Pt. 1 is a brilliant way of ending the concert to a rapturous crowd.

Disc 2 is packed with some hit and miss Bonus material including a mammoth 20th Anniversary Documentary, that has some fascinating info on the band and the way that not everything goes to plan on a tour. Portnoy has too much to say and now it is a bitter taste now he has scarpered and been replaced. The Octavarium Animation is terrific, and the live performances are always a treat including Another Day (Tokyo - 1993), The Great Debate (Bucharest, Romania - 2002) and Honor Thy Father (Chicago - 2005).

The DVD comes with high recommendations due to the visual quality, and overall package. Ignore the early part of the set and just enjoy DT at their absolute best in the middle half of the concert accompanied by masterful orchestration. A must for all DT fans and one of the best DT DVDs available to this point in time.

DREAM THEATER Live at Budokan

Movie · 2004 · Progressive Metal
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One of the first DVDs I saw of Dream Theater before the onslaught of DVDs that have come since. This is an early performance and of considerable interest as a result. These were the glory days of Dream Theater ramming prog down the throats of the hungry Budokan fans. It is an incredible performance best seen than heard though the audio experience offers much as a type of Dream Theater concoction of the best of the earlier years. The CD is good listening but the visual persentation is incredible. There are a few odd surprises scattered in the mammoth set list but the classics are here and played to perfection. Beyond This Life is a huge epic clocking 19:37, and with some dynamic lead guitar from Petrucci. The Test That Stumped Them All is always a killer track live and sounds fresh and powerful with huge bass runs of Myung and Portnoy's slamming percussion.

Endless Sacrifice is an 11 minute gruelling journey into prog excess with a wild keyboard section from Rudess. The Instrumedley to follow features some awesome musicianship. LaBrie is in fine form on soaring vocals, and shines on such compositions as the 14 minute Trial Of Tears and New Millennium. It is always a pleasure to experience a Jordan Rudess keyboard solo and it is as inventive here as ever. There are some amazing songs such as Solitary Shell, Stream Of Consciousness and quintessential Pull Me Under. The set closes with epic 16 minute In The Name Of God. So overall this is a great set with power metal and tons of instrumental breaks. It is progressive and packed to the gills with mind bending virtuoso solos and material from some of their best albums. It was the "Train of Thought" tour so there is plenty from that album as well as "Six Degrees" and "Images and Words" among others.

The special features are wonderful featuring 'Riding The Train Of Thought" a Japanese Tour Documentary of about half an hour, and John Petrucci Guitar World segment, Jordan Rudess Keyboard World, and a Mike Portnoy Drum Solo clocking 12 minutes. The Dream Theater Chronicles - 2004 Tour Opening Video is okay showing the video the crowd saw in the opening, and Instrumedley with multi-angles is lots of fun. Overall it is a fantastic DVD concert, and all Dream Theater fans must have it.

DREAM THEATER Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York

Movie · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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Since this DVD is a live interpretation from the studio album of the same name, and the source material is great, of course the concert is also a great experience. Of course, having the plus of seeing the band perform is a great advantage for this release, specially given that watching this guys play is a great experience. However, one big disapointment from this release is that it misses many other songs that are included on the CD release of this live album, which I really wanted to see them perform. The performance of the songs is really great, with everyone in fine form... except perhaps LaBrie who at times can't keep to his studio performance. My favourite songs are "Overture 1928 / Strange Deja Vu", "Fatal Tragedy", "Home" and "Finally Free". Now, the video from this concert has many acted scenes from the story inserted throughout the performance, which is kind of nice for it helps to keep track of the story... however, on "Fianally Free", this scenes got extra annoying, and blocked the performance of the band throughout the whole murder part, which is perhaps one of the strongest parts of the album and one I would have loved to see them performing (well, at least the second time they play a very similar section near the end of the song we can actually see the band playing it, but still it is annoying). "Beyond this Life", is also a very cool song, specially at the beginning, but then it kind of drags on and loses some of it's spark. "The Dance of Eternity", however, is one song I still can't get into, just a bit too messy and full of fast and technical playing just for the sake of it.

On the other hand, what usually draggs this bands albums are their ballads. The one ballad I actually liked on the studio album was "One Last Time", though something kind of doesn't work so well on this release... I guess it's the vocals and backing vocals, which are kind of weaker here. However, "Through her eyes" and "The Spirit Carries On", are really upgraded here, with extra vocals from Theresa Thompson and gorgeous guitars from Petrucci.

From the extra songs, I was never a big fan of the "Mind Beside Itself" set of songs, but "Learning to Live" and "A Change of Seasons" are both among my favourite DT songs, and having them on video here is a great thing.

TOOL Vicarious

Movie · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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Many descriptions and reviews on the internet are misleading about the content of this Vicarious DVD, and for that reason I didn't purchase it until recently. What a mistake to wait! This DVD is essential for any Tool fan and an excellent find for anyone who likes the surreal, psychedelic, and strange. The main feature of the DVD is the Vicarious short film, which is Tool's first completely CGI video. Adam Jones and Alex Grey are the two main artists behind the video, and it's a really cool experience to see their ideas merge. Anyways here are the full DVD contents:

1. Vicarious music video (9 minutes)

2. 2 overdubs of the music video with actor/comedian David Cross making hilarious commentary (18 minutes)

3. Vicarious documentary (40 minutes)

4. Footage of the storyboards from Alex Grey and Adam Jones (1 minute)

5. Footage of Alex's art gallery COSM and him talking about it (4 minutes)

Rating: 8/10

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