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
4.52 | 52 ratings
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DREAM THEATER Images and Words Album Cover Images and Words
DREAM THEATER
4.39 | 211 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
TOOL
4.37 | 121 ratings
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MESHUGGAH I Album Cover I
MESHUGGAH
4.43 | 40 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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AYREON The Source Album Cover The Source
AYREON
4.52 | 20 ratings
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OPETH Still Life Album Cover Still Life
OPETH
4.34 | 175 ratings
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JOHN ARCH A Twist of Fate Album Cover A Twist of Fate
JOHN ARCH
4.54 | 17 ratings
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DEVIN TOWNSEND Ziltoid The Omniscient Album Cover Ziltoid The Omniscient
DEVIN TOWNSEND
4.35 | 97 ratings
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AMORPHIS Under The Red Cloud Album Cover Under The Red Cloud
AMORPHIS
4.50 | 20 ratings
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progressive metal Music Reviews

MELODRAMUS 1+1=1

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MELODRAUMUS is one of those bands that has found a second coming. Formed in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2005 and disbanding in 2012 after releasing two albums titled “30 Silver Pieces” and “Two: Glass Apple,” the band reformed in 2014 in the new location of Seattle, WA and a completely different lineup with only founding member Zakkary Hale (guitars, vocals) taking the band into its new formation. The newer members on board are keyboardist / guitarist / vocalist Sierra Rae, bassist / vocalist Samuel Hopkins and drummer Max Dail.

This is one of those bands that strives to find a middle ground between progressive rock, alternative metal and indie pop and the third album 1 + 1 = 3 is the purest example of the strategy following in the footsteps of the previous albums. Like the previous albums MELODRAMUS somehow walks the tightrope of sounding a bit like Dream Theater without really venturing too far into progressive metal, carries the atmospheric prowess of heavy prog bands like Porcupine Tree and the compositional fortitude of many an indie rock / pop band alongside a more nuanced modern version of certain prog bands.

In many of the vocal harmonies and counterpoints of the instrumentation in relation to the vocals, MELODRAMUS comes off as a more alternative metal form of bands like Spock’s Beard and other Neil Morse projects. The symphonic touches are mostly pushed to the background while the chunky distorted guitar riffs in the vein of bands like OSI dominate the soundscape but often the metallic elements are completely dropped and more ethereal space rock paradigm is implemented instead. When this occurs there are echoey guitar sequences and groovy bass elements that conspire to emulate many a Stephen Wilson project only with a more developed progressive rock oomf that tackles more complex time signatures and a tad bit more experimental.

The strengths of this album are the strong vocals of Zakk Hale and the accompanying female vocal charm of Sierra Rae with Hale taking the lion’s share of the vocal spotlight however the album overall comes off as way too safe to satisfy in many arenas. Firstly the metal is just enough to give the album a bit of bombast but doesn’t really delivery on the prog metal goods with only some riffing often making this sound like a more bombastic version of Riverside’s often airy fairy approach to a vocal driven musical melodrama. (Hmmm could the moniker offer some hints?) The album comes off as a bit overconfident as well extending past the hour mark and offering a basic pattern of one recycled riff after another with little variation in the compositional flow. It all becomes a bit samey and safe.

This is the type of music that takes things up to a level of metal that many who don’t enjoy metal can feel like they are actually metalheads but in reality this is basically just a progressive rock album that includes some heavy guitar riffs which makes it feel insincere for me. I find the band excels most when it eschews the metal altogether and focuses on the more melodic clean passages that allow the vocals and the intricacies of the softer elements to weave a tapestry of atmospheric rock with some jazzy elements. Other than that this rubs me the wrong way however those who can only want to encounter proggy rock with some metal elements may like this more than me. My main problem with MELODRAMUS is that this sound has been done to death and this album certainly offers nothing new to either the progressive rock paradigm nor the metal universe. Not a bad album per se but nothing that jumps out at me either.

DARKSTAR Heart Of Darkness

Album · 1999 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Heart Of Darkness" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US/German progressive metal act Darkstar. The album was released through Institute Of Art Records in 1999. Darkstar is a project initiated by Siggi Blasey (Sequencing, Sampling) from German progressive metal act End Amen and guitarist Dan Rock from US progressive metal act Psychotic Waltz. John McKenzie performs drums on the album and Danik Thomas plays the bass. "Heart Of Darkness" was recorded in late 1998. Partially in San Diego and partially in Frankfurt.

Stylistically the material on "Heart Of Darkness" continue down the same ambient/atmospheric progressive metal road as the material on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Marching Into Oblivion (1995)". Only this time around there are some tracks on the album which feature vocals (both male and female). The album is dominated by instrumental tracks though. Epic sci-fi atmospheres, melodic guitar themes, huge synths and sequencing, and the occasional sample (there´s for example a George Bush sample from the Gulf War on the opening track "Dark Paradise"). Although the instrumental tracks generally work better than the material featuring vocals, it´s not without it´s charm that Darkstar have opted to include vocals. To my ears "Flight To Nowhere" is THE highlight of the album though. A pretty amazing instrumental that builds towards a harmony guitar finale, which can´t help lead the listener´s thoughts toward Psychotic Waltz in their prime.

While "Heart Of Darkness" is overall well produced and features a layered and detailed mix, it unfortunately suffers from exactly the same issue as it´s predecessor did. The drums and the bass simply aren´t that well sounding. The former doesn´t feature the most pleasant sounding tone and the latter is more or less buried in the layered mix. It doesn´t help that both the drums and the bass aren´t playing anything which add to the music either. They work solely as a solid rhythmic backdrop to the atmospheric keyboards and the melodic guitar themes. It´s not a huge issue, but it´s not exactly a positive feature either.

Upon conclusion "Heart Of Darkness" is a relatively interesting sophomore release by Darkstar and while I don´t think it quite reaches the dark sci-fi majesty of it´s predecessor, it´s still more than worth a listen. Dan Rock is a phenomenal guitarist with a floating personal style and guitar tone, and his playing on this album is worth the price of admission alone, but the material is generally of a good quality too and despite a few issues with the sound production and the anonymous playing of the rhythm section a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

PERVY PERKIN INK

Album · 2014 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Sometimes a ridiculously bad band name prevents me from exploring a said band's music and such is the case of the ghastly denominated PERVY PERKIN. I couldn't think of a worse name for a progressive metal band if i tried, however once i finally explored this band that emerged from Murcia, Spain and currently resides in Madrid, i have to admit that despite the hideous moniker and rather uninspiring album cover art for its three full-length releases that i was completely enthralled by the band's debut album INK which hit the world in 2014. This group of perves was formed in 2010 by Carly Pajar'n (drums, percussion, vocals), 'lvaro Luis (guitar, bass), Dante (guitar, bass, vocals) and Ugo Fellone (keyboards, acoustic guitar) but was soon joined by lead vocalist Alejandro Macho. Soon thereafter Fellone left the band and was replaced by bassist Pablo Aks.

About the ridiculous name. In an interview with Prog-Sphere.com, guitarist Dante explained that the name was derived from an interest in astronomy and as it turns out 2483 PERKIN came up as a name for a celestial body from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which according to some is the exploded remains of the long lost planet Tiamat. The PERVY part of the equation was added to personify this asteroid who had a hatred and jealousy for the Earth so great that it designed a plan to lock its orbit into a trajectory that would ultimate crash into the planet and extinguish all life much like the theoretical asteroid that was the demise of the entire existence of dinosaurs some 65 million years in the past. While it is helpful to understand how this name came to be, admittedly it doesn't make me like in the least bit but despite the silly name, this band of young musicians is quite the talented bunch!

While the album's title INK has a mere three letters, the debut album boldly encompasses a whopping 137 minutes of listening experience which immediately pegged the band by many as being overly pompous, overweening, overbloated and much too adventurous for its own good. Those are the kinds of comments that generate my interest but to invest over two hours in a newer band that i have never heard? Well, sometimes you just have to let a few tracks flow and either you love it or leave it. Luckily for PERVY PERKIN i stuck around and despite the album's admittedly excessive use of listening time, this band has the knack to keep the active and adventurous listener intrigued as one melodic development cedes into the next all the while a callithump of musical genres perform tricks like circus animals performing on cue.

PERVY PERKIN can be thought of as one of those multi-genre juggling acts that has taken the disparate sounds of classic and modern progressive rock and mixed it all together with the more modern Dream Theater strain of progressive metal. Perhaps most closely related to bands like Haken, PERVY PERKIN tackles the seemingly impossible task of mixing and melding influences such as Dream Theater, Ayreon, Pain of Salvation, Opeth and Symphony X on the prog metal side of the equation along with a multitude of prog rock references such as Pink Floyd, Camel, Kansas, Rush and the Neil Morse projects such as Spock's Beard and Transatlantic amongst others. Add to that additional references to soundtrack music such as Ennio Morricone, Muse, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Frank Zappa and more and you can only imagine how much went into the making of this sprawling prog rock / metal album of epic proportion. Add even more touches of jazz, electronica, folk and more and you get the drift.

There is literally too much happening on INK to adequately convey the creativity displayed on it in mere the mere writing of a review. This is a type of band that must be experienced but it does require the proper investment of time and effort to connect with it. This is hardly an album for those who take the fly by night approach of simply sampling. While the accusations of a lengthy rambling album with no cohesive design may be true in small part due to the fact that the tracks are independently designed and exist within their own continuum of things, well'. so what. Many albums are a collection of disparate tracks and there have been no claims that this is a concept album of any sort. What it does convey is how talented this collection of Spanish musicians has become in their relentless pursuit to leave no prog rocks unturned. Admittedly an idea that has been done before and nothing new but PERVY PERKIN channel all of the technical wizardry into a strong emotional connection which is what keeps the album listenable for its duration.

While it's true there are some moments of 'down time' where an idea lingers too long or the vocal performances aren't up to the standards that the music demands, the album is for the most part an instrumental exploration and reinterpretation of all the aforementioned influences along with ample heaps of creative input. While the tag metal often accompanies the works of PERVY PERKIN, the heavier parts are not as common as the more middle of the road prog rock ones. In the end, this is not a magnum opus by any means. This is the work of a young band with a fertile creative drive that at times borders on a naive charm but always executed in a satisfying manner. While it may have been wiser to release the material as two albums or even edit out some of the more meandering parts, the truth is that i don't find any material on here to be unlistenable. In fact most of it is rather refreshing and interestingly performed. With two tracks over 20 minutes and 2 hours worth of listening material, this is truly one for the prog- o-holics out there but PERVY PERKIN delivered an exciting overdose of everything prog on its debut INK.

DREAM THEATER Distance Over Time

Album · 2019 · Progressive Metal
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UMUR
"Distance Over Time" is the 14th full-length studio album by US progressive metal act Dream Theater. The album was released through InsideOut Music in February 2019. It´s the successor to "The Astonishing" from 2016. A double concept album release which divided the waters. Some felt it was pompous and overblown, while others lauded it´s epic scale concept and praised the boldness of the band.

With the release of "Distance Over Time" it would seem Dream Theater have gotten their epic scale album wet dream out of their system, and that they have also listened to those who felt that their experiment was a bit too much, because "Distance Over Time" is very much back to basics Dream Theater progressive metal. Sure there´s the epic moment here and there, but that´s not unusual for Dream Theater, but most tracks on the 9 track, 56:51 minutes long album are relatively short and to the point. Don´t expect "regular" vers/chorus structured tracks though, as Dream Theater as always toy with song structures, and incorporate complex instrumental sections, but the music is generally more immediate and hard rocking/heavy than the case was with much of the material on "The Astonishing (2016)".

It´s almost pointless at this time in their career to talk about how skilled and virtuosic the guys in Dream Theater are, because that´s been the focus of many reviews and interviews over the years, but I´ll get it over with as fast as possible, and just quickly mention that Dream Theater are still at the top of their game performing their music. James LaBrie still hits the high notes with ease, and although the riff style, the solo style, the keyboard sounds, the bass playing, and the drumming aren´t exactly surprising anymore, it´s all delivered in an extremely high quality. "Distance Over Time" also features a powerful, detailed, and overall very well sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. So check mark on that too.

So it´s of course the songwriting which should be the main focus when writing about the details of "Distance Over Time", and to my ears Dream Theater hit spot on what they do best on "Distance Over Time". Powerful riffs, melodic guitar solos, intricate keyboard work, and a rhythm section capable of playing very complex beats/bass lines. The melody lines are catchy and although the tracks are fairly complex, they are still pretty easy to sing along to, which has almost always been one of the great strengths of Dream Theater. A good balance between technical playing and catchy melodies.

I´m not gonna mention specific tracks, because "Distance Over Time" is a varied high quality progressive metal album through and through, and there´s not a weak moment on the album. It´s not the most standout album in the band´s by now large discography, but it´s definitely not among their less remarkable ones either. To my ears it´s their strongest release since Mike Mangini replaced Mike Portnoy. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

RUBYCONE Pictures of Susceptible Housewives

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The music we hear from the Republic of Moldova in the Western world is admittedly quite scarce if practically non-existent but in the modern world where we are all connected, while most of us haven’t even heard of this Romanian speaking nation that was once the wine growing region of the former Soviet Union, the people there are quite in tune with what has been happening in the West ever since and music is defiantly no exception. Emerging from the capital city of Chisinau, the quartet of musicians collectively known as RUBYCONE took their name from the river in Italy which was crossed by Julius Caesar, a term which has since been popularized to mean the ultimate boundary. It is quite the case that RUBYCONE took this name because they do indeed transcend unique brackish crossroads of music. In this case the world of progressive metal and post-rock.

RUBYCONE still exists and has unleashed a few released as recently as 2017’s EP “Old Northern Whale” but it all began back in 2009 with the band’s debut PICTURES FOR SUSCEPTIBLE HOUSEWIVES which dons a rather hilarious 50s black and white album cover with the jocular hilarity of Frank Zappa, however the music is quite a serious affair and the team that consists of Roma "Romones" (guitar), Nikita "Primus man"(drums), Stas "VStas"(bass) and Stas “Norfeus"(guitar) conjure up a veritable smorgasbord of “Red” era King Crimson mixed with heavier elements of modern progressive metal all mixed up with the post-rock sensibilities of Mogwai, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and the more metallic approaches of Isis. The result is quite the pleasant blend of instrumental prowess all teased into smoothly flowing celebration of 11 tracks that rock the house and hypnotize the mouse. Bitchin’ cool.

A few things make this album unique. Firstly, it’s from Moldova! OK, Moldovans may not agree but hey, i’m in the Bay Area in California, so sorry to say that Chisinau is not exactly on my radar on a daily basis! Secondly, this is a unique mix of elements. The aforementioned King Crimson from the 70s mixes with effortlessly with the more aggressive djent leanings of modern bands like Animals With Leaders as well as the post-rock / metal hypnotism of bands like Isis and Mogwai. While not as cerebral as Godspeed!, the field samplings of vocals and other sounds do indeed bring that band to mind in that department. While not creating an entirely new paradigm of musical experience, RUBYCONE nonetheless found an interesting way to take certain influences and putting them on the work table to create a totally new beast and one that is a captivating listen from beginning to end.

Other than the field samples of vocals this is completely an instrumental experience however certain guitar parts were specifically used to mimic a vocalist’s melodic dominance but only in certain segments which also adds to the mystique as the band sort of morphs into different phases without abrupt changes. While the music can be soft, placid and even surreal, it can also burst into super heavy bombast with virtuosic guitar solos whizzing by at a million miles per second but usually this floats along at a mid-tempo range and nothing gets too OMG-mommy-i-wanna-hide-under-the-table-ish. Comparisons, hmmm. On the metal side defiantly Isis or Pelican. On the post-rock side Mogwai, Explosions In The Sky, Tortoise. Surprisingly this band eschews any local folk influences and there is absolutely nothing on here that would connect RUBYCONE to the geographical area from whence they came. Overall, this is a wonderful album that sounds familiar yet fresh in many ways.

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
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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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