Overview of Underground Progressive Rock/Metal

Sometimes the best music is that of the underrated

By: Rach April 17 Aug | 2018

Progressive music is one of the most challenging genres to grasp and most diversified to absorb.

Dating back to the mid to late 60's, Progressive Rock emerged in the UK and US as a broad genre rich with #classical and #symphonic influences with a lot of #keyboard use and lengthy #compositions of many movements - usually consisting of a #concept or theme within the same song and as part of a bigger concept album.
Progressive is indeed the story-telling art of music, the literary form of #music.
It is also classified as - but not limited to - Art Rock due to its #experimental and avant-garde approach to Rock. It is the musical #language of the intellect, with a high level of technical difficulty that makes it an exclusive genre to master.

In other words, psychedelic #sounds made love to classical, #jazz and #folk influences and added poetry to the mix to give birth to what we know today as progressive. It is untraditional, unconventional and sometimes inexplicable. The experimentation and #instrumentation are so open-ended with eclecticism and fusions.

There were many waves of Progressive Rock over the decades with so many variant characteristics and that is why it is sometimes so hard to describe what is progressive or name one or a few bands that would be representative of this genre. Certain #metal subgenres integrated prog rock elements prominently in Black Metal, Neo-Classical Metal, Post-Metal and Power Metal. Progressive Metal was the fusion between Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock and did not achieve commercial success till 3 decades after the emergence of the mother genre.

When we think Progressive Rock/Metal, we think of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Genesis, Rush, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake and Plamer, Camel, Kansas, The Allan Parsons Project, Marillion, Queen, Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Meshuggah, Opeth, Tool, Anathema, Ayreon, Symphony X, Muse, The Pineapple Thief, Riverside, Periphery, Between the Buried and Me, Haken...as well as Orphaned Land, System of a Down, Kamelot, Iron Maiden and Alter Bridge... This is an accurate example of how Progressive bands, while all joined by the nomenclature of the genre and many common characteristics in composition, do not remotely sound the same and some are even completely worlds apart.

The whole culture behind progressive was sporadically received with much ambivalent #interest in the genre and so progressive rock #festivals weren't organized till the 90's like ProgFest in 1993 and NEARFest in 1999, other annual festivals being ProgDay, Rites of Spring Festival, The Rogue Independent Music Festival, Baja Prog, ProgPower USA and ProgPower Europe.

Let's observe the following: Genesis' "Foxtrot" (1972), King Crimson's "Larks" (1973), Camel's "Mirage" (1974), Kansas' "Leftover" (1976), Rush's "2112" (1976), Pink Floyd's "Animals" (1977), Marillion's "Clutching at Straws" (1987), Meshuggah's "Destroy Erase Improve" (1995), Dream Theater's "Metropolis 2: Scenes From a Memory" (1999), Tool's "Lateralus" (2001), Opeth's "Blackwater Park" (2001) and Porcupine Tree's "Fear of a Blank Planet" (2007) have all made it to the Rolling Stone's "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time" and that list also includes other #albums by these same #artists and albums by most of the aforementioned progressive rock and metal bands. Any progger would testify to the excellence of these classics and whether you like one more than the other or not at all, it is only a matter of taste that comes in play here, as the musicality behind these words is no less than genius.

Now, let's shed light on the world's finest progressive rock/metal bands that might not have made it to top lists or might not have been heard of by the entire #community of prog music lovers worldwide, but are indeed successful and influential in the genre, ranking on top of this list are: Antimatter, Katatonia, Soen, Riverside, Blackfield, Devin Townsend Project, Avantasia and Allen/Lande.

Look these bands up, explore, listen, admire, criticize, indulge and educate yourself more and more by the day in the never-ending journey of music exploration.


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