Progressive Metal

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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.

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Avant-Garde Metal):
  • siLLy puPPy
  • DippoMagoo
  • Sisslith
  • adg211288

progressive metal top albums

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HAKEN The Mountain Album Cover The Mountain
HAKEN
4.50 | 55 ratings
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DREAM THEATER Images and Words Album Cover Images and Words
DREAM THEATER
4.39 | 215 ratings
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ANUBIS GATE Horizons Album Cover Horizons
ANUBIS GATE
4.56 | 21 ratings
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RIVERSIDE Anno Domini High Definition Album Cover Anno Domini High Definition
RIVERSIDE
4.40 | 74 ratings
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TOOL Lateralus Album Cover Lateralus
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4.37 | 124 ratings
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PAIN OF SALVATION The Perfect Element, Part 1 Album Cover The Perfect Element, Part 1
PAIN OF SALVATION
4.38 | 83 ratings
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THRESHOLD Legends Of The Shires Album Cover Legends Of The Shires
THRESHOLD
4.78 | 9 ratings
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MESHUGGAH I Album Cover I
MESHUGGAH
4.43 | 40 ratings
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JOHN ARCH A Twist of Fate Album Cover A Twist of Fate
JOHN ARCH
4.54 | 18 ratings
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AYREON The Source Album Cover The Source
AYREON
4.52 | 20 ratings
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AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud Album Cover Under The Red Cloud
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OPETH Still Life Album Cover Still Life
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progressive metal Music Reviews

CLOUD THEORY Torn

EP · 2018 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The world of progressive metal has really been taking off all over the world since Dream Theater came onto the scene 30 years ago but it’s taken a while for some of less metal nations to join the party. Coming from Turkey is a fairly new band called CLOUD THEORY that was originally formed as Woltran in the coastal city of Izmir in 2008 but the band took a while to figure out exactly which musical direction to take.

This band is a quintet that consists of Taylan Tokmakoğlu (vocals), Mert Kuldemir (lead guitar, backing vocals), Gökmen Yoldaş (rhythm guitar), Onur Özkara (bass) and Burak Dünal (drums). So far CLOUD THEORY has only released this one EP titled TORN which contains a mere three tracks but despite being classified as an EP still runs over the 35 minute playing time.

Having settled on a progressive metal sound with some power metal elements, CLOUD THOERY has crafted a sound that is right out of the prog metal playbook with operatic vocals, a central concept wrapped up with progressive time signature changes that involve heavy metal guitar, bass and drums along with an atmospheric cloud cover. The power metal parts come in with the super fast power chords being slammed at high speeds and in many ways is a bit like Leprous in how despite the music’s aggression remains chilled due to the synthesized ambience and the vocals of Taylan Tokmakoğlu.

Like any good prog metal release, TORN is a concept album. This one happens to be about Xhaarn Sword, Balance-bringers and their relationships with the Kingdom of Grand Realm. The lyrics are all in English and tailor made for an international audience and the EP is supposed to be a mere teaser of a much larger concept album to come. The EP is professionally produced and sounds like a bonafide band that has made it to the big leagues.

TORN is an excellent display of power metal infused prog metal as the musicians are all on top of their game and the three length compositions which each extend past 10 minutes are all filled with nice melodic hooks that are extended into labyrinthine prog workouts. In many ways the band sounds like a more Dream Theater influenced version of Symphony X however although the band is quite competent in its delivery, does fail to put an original stamp on the prog metal world so hopefully some creative juices will unleash themselves on any future releases.

SOUL DOUBT The Dance Of Light And Shade

Album · 2017 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Sometimes bands form and then they crank out as much product as possible in hoping that something will catch on in the vast world of music available these days but once in a while a certain act will take the complete opposite approach and spend many many years crafting a sole epic album that they deem flawless in execution. Such is the case for the Italian band SOUL DOUBT that formed all the way back in 2001 in Forli. This band that straddles the line between progressive metal and progressive rock in many ways is a typical band with typical instrumentation. Early members began the project simply for fun before they decided to take it all serious in 2004.

Several years were spent crafting a unique blend of progressive rock and metal and playing live shows and in the process went through many personal changes before recording the self-produced EP “Winter’s Tale” which was released in 2010. At 40 minutes and a concept EP that fused prog rock and metal together with myriad experimental touches, the band was displaying its epic approach at this early stage but it would take an additional seven years of hardcore practice and studio recording for the band to finally release its debut album THE DANCE OF LIGHT AND SHADE that was released independently in 2017.

For this long awaited debut album the members include Marco Ciancaglini (lead & backing vocals, acoustic & Classical guitars, keyboards, Irish folk and stupid whistles, composer, arranger & producer), Federico Benini (5-string & fretless basses, synth, programming & sound design, composer, arranger & producer), Marco Calbi (electric, acoustic & Classical guitars, dobro), Nicola Casamenti (lead guitar), Francesca Pretolani (piano, keyboards, synth), Ale D'Altri (drums) along with the extra help from Davide Lavia (keyboards, synthesizer) on a few tracks and the extra vocals from Emma Ronca and Jennifer Vargas. 
THE DANCE OF LIGHT AND SHADE is an expansive beast that consists of 20 tracks and clocks in just past the 107 minute mark making this lengthy album a true commitment to undertake however although it’s not without its flaws (lengthiness being the top dog here), SOUL DOUBT truly excelled at crafting an epic slab of metal infused prog rock that runs the gamut from Pain of Salvation and Riverside influenced heavier sounds to more ethereal spaced out slabs of Pink Floyd, excessive uses of modern symphonic prog in the vein of Spock’s Beard or various neo-prog bands along with lush pastoral folky sections as well as ambient and electronic atmospheric contributions. The album is impeccably produced and rather theatrical with operatic vocals and dramatic displays of fiery passion much like the symphonic Italian prog greats of the past.

Despite falling into the progressive metal camp, the album is so diverse that the lion’s share of the musical real estate often falls in the mellow, spacey or chilled out zone however when the metal does occur it is fiery and bombastic and even displays extraordinarily virtuosic guitar solos but for much of this album i would say it sounds closest to bands like Riverside that exist on the prog metal lite side of the spectrum and when the symphonic mid-tempo sections kick in with the female singers adding their harmonies, THE DANCE OF LIGHT AND SHADE sounds like it has permanently parked into the world of neo-prog. While there are experimental touches such as the circus music feel on “Circus Oblivion,” the album is for the most part on simmer with melodic streams cascading with atmospheric grandiosity and epic symphonic suffocation. A bit of Celtic folk music and pastoral touches from 70s Genesis also find their way into the mix.

While there’s really no bad track on this one, the main hurdle for getting through this one is its ridiculously long playing time and while double albums aren’t necessarily a bad thing, THE DANCE OF LIGHT AND SHADE unfortunately doesn’t quite muster up enough diversity to offer up the masterpiece that many consider this to be, at least not in my book. The album in many ways plays like an early Pain of Salvation album for sure but not as dramatically in your face and instead relies on an excess of mellowed padding to keep things from getting too out of control. While i personally would’ve preferred a much more adventurous album that dabbled in as many styles as there are tracks, i cannot deny the top notch quality of this album and for those who love Riverside a lot more than i do, you may actually really, really love this album but for me it doesn’t quite reach the top ranks of par excellence.

KAWN Kawn

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Ever since Myrath emerged from Tunisia to rock the metal world with a unique hybrid of Arabic ethnic sounds with the more bombastic adrenaline energy of metal, only a few bands have dared follow in their footsteps despite the Arabic speaking world of the Middle East and North Africa encompassing a huge population but it seems that many who dare to embrace the modern metal approach prefer to release albums anonymously in digital form only since in some cases it is punishable by death. Geez. Get a grip over there!

Although the band name may make you yawn, there’s a band named KAWN that has emerged from Casablanca, Morocco and consists of Said El Harrami (vocals), Salahiddine Kida (drums), Tarik Heddoun (guitar), Med Amine Benabdelmoumen (keyboards) and Amine Moussaoui (bass) and just because i know you’re dying to know, in Arabic the band’s name is كون ! This group of headbangers was formed in 2015 but only released the self-titled debut in 2019 with nine tracks that squeak past the 58 minute mark. Actually metal has become quite popular in Morocco with many bands like Torpedo, Suicide Machine, Alcantagram, Into The Evernight, Chemical Bliss and Mean Street taking North Africa to the mosh pit.

What can i say about KAWN’s epic debut? Well, is this really from the Arab world? Wow. This band has really learned how to capture the essence of melodic progressive metal in the vein of bands like Leprous, Riverside, Shadow Gallery and Sieges Even just to name a few. This band basically employs melodic progressive compositions that utilize operatic vocals, heavily symphonic accompaniments with guitar, bass and drums that support the main melody. The keyboards are always in the forefront always in full atmospheric mode. There are a few local folk elements but nothing as hardcore as Myrath. In fact KAWN opts to adopt the more recent developments of Myrath with catchier melodies that are aimed for crossover opportunities.

The production is crystal clear and the elements of music work quite well but the problem with KAWN is that at this point this band lacks any sort of originality and this really sounds like some generic prog metal band from about 10 years ago. Having done its homework quite well, these musicians who clearly have the potential to imitate the greats of the genre seem to rely too much on hero worship and in the process forget to add their own stamp. This is not a bad album per se but there’s really nothing that jumps out and grabs ya either. This is a very by the numbers sort of prog metal album based in the symphonic camp that just sort of passes you by like a nice breeze and then is completely forgettable.

With all those beautiful rhythms and ethnic music that Morocco is famous for i’d expect a few more influences form the culture around but KAWN seems to want to escape its homeland totally and create some substandard Euro-vision album instead. Nobody told these guys that this party ended a while ago but hopefully they’ll figure that out and add some creative juices to the next album assuming they are still around to make one. Decent inoffensive music and perfect for background static if you’re engaged in other activities but lacking anything remotely original that gives it a bite. Melodies are mediocre at best and instrumental delivery is equivalent. The album is too long and there’s not even one track that makes me want to revisit this album. Unfortunately KAWN makes me yawn like a nap on the lawn and i’ll sleep it all off until the break of the dawn.

AZAZELLO Ступени наверх (Upstairs)

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Russia is the world’s largest nation at least in terms of surface area which means that there are a lot of places outside the largest cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Eastern part of the country is remote and hosts only a handful of majorly populated areas and i can only imagine how remote things were before the age of the internet. So what do you do to entertain yourself? Well, it seems like you can booze it up with vodka to pass your day away or you can turn your attention to something more positive like making music and with nothing else to do you can craft some of the most amazingly cool music that sounds like nobody else! That’s exactly what the band AZAZELLO did having formed in the small city of Tynda which sits near the Chinese border between Lake Baikal and the eastern port of Vladivostok. Known as a crossroads of two major train routes, it is not known for much else and one of those destinations where the travel agents tell you not to waste your time visiting.

This band originally formed in 1994 under the moniker М.О.Р.Г. and released a demo the same year before changing its name to AZAZELLO which is a demonic character from the novel “The Master an Margarita” by the Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov. Led by singer / guitarist Alexander Kulak, AZAZELLO is one of those progressive metal bands that really knows how to deliver a satisfying album. I’m not sure of the discography exactly as different databases list different albums that precede this one which is titled UPSTAIRS and secondarily Ступени наверх in Russian. Some sources say this is the second album and some say the fourth but whatever the case, it is agreed upon that UPSTAIRS is where the band really hits its stride and found its own unique sound that adopts the intricacies and complexities of progressive rock that play well with the band’s mastery of heavy metal.

This is a well crafted album that fuses symphonic prog elements with highly technical thrash metal but manages to keep things really melodic. The intro simply titled “Opening” provides a lush acoustic guitar instrumental to coax the listener into the classical melodies before the title track unleashes the metal. Sounding like a mix of Dream Theater with more adventurous guitar riffs that remind me of Watchtower’s guitar gymnastics, AZAZELLO somehow keeps all of the virtuosity on the leash and keeps the melodic flow in tact although there are shifts in tempo, dynamic shifts and different jammy interludes. While only three of the tracks are vocal oriented, they are the more grounding that meaning they provide the melodic riffs and backbone of the album while the instrumental parts are allowed to sail away into the adventure zone however the melody is king on this one as twin guitar attacks and proggy keyboard runs allow at least one instrument to keep the rhythmic drive in tact as well.

In addition to the western influences AZAZELLO adds some of the ethnic Russian folk sounds which give this album an exotic feel which is amplified by the lyrics sung in Russian despite the titles of the tracks appearing in English on the album itself. Kulak delivers some extremely proggy electric guitar runs but his acoustic guitar playing is as lush and pastoral as a neo-prog band whereas the rhythmic bombast of Demitry Bakay on bass and Idris Faridonov on drums are the main providers of jittery detours of tempo deviations and Dream Theater style workouts. Vitos Afanasiev not only provides some excellent keyboard workouts that are in league with the greats like Keith Emerson but he occasionally plays flute, harp and vibraphones to give the album an extra timbral richness during the softer parts and occasionally the band bursts into some jazzier moments but generally speaking this album has virtuosic workouts much in the vein of Dream Theater’s “Images And Words” although because of the melodies and folk influences sounds nothing like that album.

UPSTAIRS is one of those albums that’s too good to be true. It sports some amazingly beautiful cover art with a set of tracks to match its magnanimous nature. The music is based on classical music so remains extremely melodic but yet has some of the most angular jagged workouts that gives that amazingly satisfying prog gluttony but it’s never overdone and when it feels like they may stray too far, the band reverts back to a melodic prog / metal band. The softer elements are perfectly balanced with the heavier ones and the sense of familiarity is perfect balanced with the exotic sounds of the Far East. The musicianship is outstanding and even Kulak’s vocals are perfect for the job. Add to that there are enough art rock elements to keep things interesting throughout. This is an amazing gem that i can’t give less than 5 stars!

SAL Y MILETO Sal Y Mileto

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Latin America has really stepped it up in the last couple decades in regards to metal bands emerging from every possible nook and cranny however the tiny country of Ecuador hasn’t seemed to emerge as one of the stand outs, however there are plenty of interesting bands that have come from that nation sandwiched between Colombia and Peru with the Latacunga based SAL Y MILETO being on the top of the list. I’m not entirely sure what the moniker refers to. SAL is the Spanish word for “salt”. Y is “and” and MILETO as far as i can tell can only refer to a region in Southern Italy where a battle was carried out in 1807. Some sources claim that MILETO represents poetry and comes from a Greek city from where the philosopher Thales was born.

The band prides itself its independence and ability to play whatever it wants and in the process has been tagged as Ecuadoran Free Rock because of the band’s unique mix of progressive rock, blues, hardcore, electronica, jazz and heavy metal. The band existed from 1994-2012 and was founded by Paul Segovia, the guitarist and vocalist who experienced an untimely death during the band’s existence. SAL Y MILETO also stood out for having a co-creater named Peky Andino who contributed only a role of writing lyrics. He is a playwright, screenwriter, television director and Ecuadorian actor and currently one of the most prolific dramatists in the country. During its active years SAL Y MILETO released 2 EPs, 2 Live albums and 3 full-length studio albums with this self-titled debut emerging in 1999.

At this stage the band was a quartet and consisted of Paul Segovia (guitar, vocals), Igor Icaza (co-founder and drummer), Cesar Albarracin (bass, flute) and Y Victor Narvarez (guitar) however there must be uncredited musicians on board because there are plenty of jazzy parts with a saxophonist delivering some serious squawks. It’s actually rather difficult to classify this band because although they have metal aspects, equal amounts of just plain proggy hard rock, funk, jazz, blues and even traditional South American ethnic music. For the most part the songs are structured with vocals and lyrics are in Spanish however the band adds a lot instrumental overdrive with heavy alternative rock / metal segments, creative guitar and bass slides and bluesy solos as well as bombastic heavy metal alongside folky flute and wild saxophone adventures with a sizzling sax. The idea of incorporating urban poetry into music was the primary inspiration for the lyrics.

The music can go from soft and pastoral to eruptive and even anarchic in no time which creates a sense of excitement with SAL Y MILETO’s approach. This is a very eclectic band but somehow keeps the tracks from becoming too different from each other. This is very melodic music and very easy to grasp on the first listen but it has lots of sub-hooks that keep you coming back for more. In other words, this is a very mature and capable band even at this stage in its career. There was obviously a fiery passion burning that the members all agreed upon which is why this works so well. Most tracks employ a funk based groove with metal guitar riffs that sporadically deliver angular time signature freak outs but a few tracks like “Soledad” are softer more like vocal jazz with some pop hooks. The final track “Mi Vida es un Yahuariocro” is a pure unadulterated traditional song although it was written by the band.

“Miles de días en el vetice suicida” follows the ballad and shows how quickly the band moves on with its eruptive metal opening that then fades into a cerebral style of space rock. All in all, SAL Y MILETO is a vibrant Latin prog band that delivers a style unlike anything i’ve heard before and does it in a way that is instantly captivating with strong melodic hooks, just enough metal bombast and various escapades in jazz, space rock and other styles and while the ethnic touches aren’t the prominent feature on this debut, they do add a sense of authenticity to the band’s origins when they do emerge. This one was a huge surprise as i knew nothing about this band except they were from Ecuador as i’m trying to expand my awareness of prog and metal bands from lesser known nations of the world. Definitely interested in exploring the band’s following albums because this one is a winner for sure.

progressive metal movie reviews

DREAM THEATER Breaking The Fourth Wall

Movie · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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rdtprog
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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AtomicCrimsonRush
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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AtomicCrimsonRush
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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Dellinger
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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Earendil
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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