Monday, January 24, 2011

What is Progressive Metal?

By Anish Thapa

  Progressive metal emerged as sub-genre of progressive rock which have instrumental playing like progressive rock with heavy metal twist with powerful guitar driven sound. It is a very technical genre of music. Most of the guitar players, drummers, pianist and other instrument players listen to them because progressive metal songs improve technicality and dexterity of instrument playing. Covering progressive songs increase the knowledge about music. Like progressive rock songs, prog metal songs are usually much longer than standard metal songs, and they are often thematically linked in concept albums. As a result, prog metal is rarely heard on mainstream radio and video programs.
  Prog metal got introduced in 1980s when bands which were influenced by 60s and 70s progressive rock bands such as Rush, Yes, Pink, Atomic rooster, Focus, Queen etc took elements of these progressive rock groups primarily the instrumentation and compositional structure of songs and merged them with heavy metal styles associated with early Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Bands such as Fates Warning, Queensryche and Dream Theater were first to define this genre of music. The three flagship bands for prog metal of the time each had somewhat different sounds. Queensryche had by far the most melodic sound of the three and was ultimately the most commercially successful. Dream Theater have more traditional progressive sound and also built much of their earlier career on the band members' instrumental skills. Fates Warning were the most aggressive and heavy with the thrash and extreme metal sound of that time.

  Now the band such as Pain of Salvation, Tool, Opeth, Threshold, Symphony X and the project Ayreon are also in progressive metal genre with their own signature sounds. It was started as progressive rock sub genre but now it is a completely different ball game. Now prog metal can be broken down into countless sub-genres corresponding to certain other styles of music that have influenced prog metal groups. For example, two bands that are commonly identified as progressive metal, King's X and Opeth, are at opposite ends of the sonic spectrum to one another. King's X are greatly influenced by softer mainstream rock and in fact, contributed to the growth of grunge, influencing bands like Pearl Jam. Opeth's growling vocals and heavy guitars often see them cited as progressive death metal.
  Most of the time people are misinformed that progressive metal and avant-garde metal are same. Yes they both favor experimentation and non-standard ideas, but there are rather large differences between the two genres.Prog metal experiments with complex rhythm and song structure with traditional instruments. While avant-garde metal experiments with the use of unusual sounds and instruments. Progressive metal gives more emphasis technicality and theoretical complexity like in jazz. Where avant-garde metal is more unorthodox and tends to question musical conventions.
Progressive metal is great music to listen. So try it out.
To find out more about progressive metal bands and to watch and listen to their songs CLICK HERE.

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