Donnerstag, 30. November 2006
Most of you probably know "The 101 rules of Black Metal" and the diversions as "50 rules of hardcore", "100 rules of True Metal", 101 rules of Extreme Metal" and so on.
I actually (and finally) found: "The 101 Rules of Prog Metal"!!!
The 101 Rules of Progressive Metal
1. Insist that your definition of prog metal is sacred and that the only
progressive bands are the one you deem to be so.
2. Accuse anyone who disagrees with you regarding rule 1 of lacking
musical intelligence and not being a true prog fan.
3. Have contempt for mainstream music.
4. Insist that most people listen not to the music, not to the lyrics
but only the chorus and that is why prog metal is not mainstream.
5. Accuse anyone who disagrees with you regarding rule 4 of lacking
musical intelligence and not being a true prog fan.
6. When showcasing a new prog metal band to a non-musician friend, put
on the most technically difficult song, and skip directly to the solo part.
7. If your friend says that it is cool, tell him that he has grasped the
grandeur of prog and shown that his intelligence is superior to that of
the mainstream sheep
8. If he doesn`t, accuse him of lacking musical intelligence and not
being a true prog fan.
9. Renounce all contact with friend in rule 8. Racial purity isn`t all bad.
10. Make sure your drummer has a double bass pedal.
11. If he hasn`t, kick him out and get another one who has. Single pedal
is NOT prog.
12. Own every side-project a member of Dream Theater has been involved
in. Listen to approximately none of them regularly.
13. When a mainstream fool asks you what prog metal is, tell him
something along the lines of "prog is the evolution of musical
expression and experimentalism in rock". In any case, make sure that the
person in question is left with no idea of what prog metal is. He
wouldn`t have understood anyway.
14. Insist that music should always progress, although as long as you
write an album in the prog vein, you don't necessarily have to.
15. Accuse anyone who disagrees with you regarding rule 14 of lacking
musical intelligence and not being a true prog fan.
16. Refer to progressive metal as intelligent music for intelligent
people, preferably at every occasion where a mainstream group or genre
17. Note that the above does not qualify as arrogance any more than
pointing out that wine is drink for the more sophisticated.
18. A song under four minutes is NOT prog. If you are stuck with a song
under four minutes, insert a phrygian solo trade-off between the
guitarist and keyboardist as long as needed.
19. If a mainstream fool tells you that shredders are mindless wankers,
tell him that "at least they can tune their guitars, har har", and walk
20. Spocks Beard is NOT prog. If anyone disagrees, kill them.
21. Humming along with the melody to a prog metal song is forbidden.
Burn all albums you own with hum-along melodies.
22. Loathe all music you used to like before you got into prog. This is
not optional. When asked why, tell people that "I am into GOOD music
now, why would I go back?".
23. Accuse any prog metal musician that cuts his hair of selling out.
24. Often state that you don't only listen to prog. Jazz is a good choice.
25. Yeah...like you have more than 3 jazz CDs in your collection...
26. Never accept ANY Berklee graduates. The drop-outs are so much better.
27. Riffs in 4/4 are not progressive. If you happen to come up with a
cool riff in 4/4, alternate between 4/4 and progressive time signatures
like 7/8 every other measure to ensure the musical complexity synonymous
with prog metal.
28. Be able to mention 20 bands noone has heard of, not even true prog
fans. Own no releases of these bands.
29. Get an Ibanez. This is not negotiable.
30. Spend 5 hours every day critiquing other musicians on forums.
31. Spend 5 minutes every other day actually practicing your instrument.
32. Yell at people who headbang at concerts: They`re not prog enough to
get the music, what do they expect?
33. Sus4 is your friend. To ensure that your album is a true progressive
release, include at least one part where the keyboard plays ascending
sus4 chords over a single-note broken rhythm in 7/8.
34. Make sure your bandname is either a
b)Some geeky sounding name ripped from some obscure book.
c)Random combination of at least 2 three-syllable words.
-Eternal Twilight Tranquility(Can`t get much progger than that) -Redolent Arithmetic -Evolution of Vernacular Domesticated
35. Don`t worry about if your band name makes any sense or not. Since
90% of your fanbase is from Brazil and Japan, you can safely ignore
conventional English grammar and instead focus on what`s really
important: The lyrics(see rule 36).
36. Write deep and ambiguous lyrics.
37. If unable to write deep and ambigous lyrics, include at least one of
the following phrases to ensure recognition as lyrical genius in prog
"I`m staring towards ascension divine, caught in my own revelation, a
nightly mystery of soulburning apparition"
"Mornings` gentle caress, a ray of sunlight enveloping the spirit of the
"A timid, palatable genocide, turn towards the decline of mankind, the
festering wound of ages past changes into the soul-spirit of vestigial
38. Use a non-standard instrument like violin, saxophone or kazoo,
regardless of how idiosyncratic it turns out to be. This constitutes
39. Make sure your bass-player has as many strings as possible. Don`t
worry if he uses approximately three of the 11 strings on his custom
Carvin 30 kg bass regularly, just give him a bass solo in the middle of
your mandatory instrumental tune(more on that later)where he can really
show the extent of his instruments capabilities. Imagine the range of
scales on an instrument like that!
40. Release a live-album called "Live in Tokyo".
41. Change time signatures. Constantly.
42. Accuse anyone who does not do so of lacking musical intelligence and
not being a true progressive musician.
43. Your amp MUST be a Mesa Boogie. If a friend of yours tries to
convince you're wrong and you should check out his Marshall tell him
that his tone is thin and buzzy.
44. State that Metallica can't properly tweak the boogies. They're so...
45. Start a Dream Theater cover band with friends just starting out
playing instruments. Spend half of the rehearsal talking shit about punk
bands and how people don`t understand your music.
46. Play a shitty version of a humongously difficult DT song at a Battle
of the Bands-type contest. Metropolis Part 1 or Dance of Eternity are
both good choices, as is Erotomania.
47. When your band ends up last, shift all blame over to the judges;
hey, they have no idea what good music is! Why else would they let that
boring pop band win?
48. Talking about starting playing an instrument; always start with the
most technically difficult song you know. Remember, this is a testament
to your immense talent, so be sure to mention this on every internet
community you happen to frequent.
49. When are you able to play something at half speed very sloppy,
proudly state that you "nail" the song in question.
50. People are bound to ask for a recording of the feat mentioned in
rule 49. However, you are not able to provide it to them, because a)
your recording equipment got dissolved by digestive acid yesterday,
b)you don`t need to prove anything to people. Your word should be good
enough c) you don`t know anything about computers(even though you sit by
one most of the day), as you spend most of your day practicing your
51. Tool is NOT prog. If anyone insists they are, kill them.
52. Hate Falling into Infinity. If the feeling that you actually enjoy
FII(even the "proggier" songs like TOT)sneaks up on you during a glitch
of concentration, remind yourself that DT sold out.
53. Actually, state that DT sold out on every good occasion. This means
every time their name is mentioned.
54. Don't be John Arch. Insist that any pre-Alder Fates is 100% not prog.
55. Do not move on stage. Don`t under any circumstances forget that
nobody at prog concerts pays attention to the audience, including the band.
56. The best songs are those that are over 15 minutes, have multiple
named sections, and have solos by everyone in the band INCLUDING the
57. Accuse anyone who disagrees with you regarding rule 56 of lacking
musical inteli...Yeah, you`ve got it now, haven`t you?
58. Never ever under any circumstances say "Six Degrees Of Inner
59. Never let anyone tell you that Dave Weckl is better than any prog
metal drummer. If they still insist, don`t kill them, but rather put on
the Mike Portnoy drum solo from 1993`s "Live in Tokyo" vid, which still
today is the benchmark for good drumming, REGARDLESS of genre.
60. It would still be a good idea to have that gun ready, though.
61. Drummers: Huge kits are MANDATORY!!!! If all you have is a 4-piece
with 3 crappy cymbals, then you don't belong on stage. A 5-piece single
bass drum kit is the bare minimum and even that's on the edges of bare
bones. If you have a tiny kit BUY MORE DRUMS AND CYMBALS!!!!!!!
62. No, 6 toms is not enough, MORE DRUMS AND CYMBALS!!!!
63. Reform with old members and release an album intended to make up for
years of bad reception from fans (see Yes) or claim your next album will
be a return to past glory (see Queensryche). If it flops, be sure to
blame a producer or record company.
64. When someone asks you why prog metal isn`t more popular if it is so
darned good, tell them that it is because "it is over the mainstream
65. Talent = Technical skill. Hail any band with lightning-speed solos
for their immense talent.
66. Publicly state that your band is non-religious, then make many
religious and/or spiritual allusions in the lyrics.
67. Stress your openmindedness. State that you like all forms of music,
except lower forms of music like pop, rock `n roll, blues, techno,
68. Accuse fans of the aforementioned genres of not being openminded.
69. Get a Kurzweil. As the undisputed <<>> plays it,
you have no choice but to get one yourself, no matter what synthezisers
you actually like. ALL BOW TO THE MIGHTY 88-KEY <<>> KURZWEIL!!!
70. ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNO-KURZWEIL!!!!(Futuruma fans will know what I`m
71. Show off with your equipment. Show off with your playing/singing.
Show off with your *ahem* length. Show off with your girlfriend. Show
off with anything you can think of. Show off with your DOG for god's sake.
72. Get a dog.
73. Play air-drums or air-guitar at concerts. This will make sure that
other prog fans recognize your immense talent.
74. Stuck in song-writing? Insert a part with a slow single-note gallop
rhythm where the singer yells "ENTER THE SUUUNNNNNNNN" several times.
75. Note that you can substitute "ENTER THE SUUUNNNNNNNNN" for either of
the following: "FATHER, MY ADOLESCENCY IS AGONNNNNYYYYYYY" or "THE
APPARITION DIVIIIIIINNNNEEEE". All three are suitable choices.
76. What do you mean, you haven`t trigged your bassdrum?
77. Remember, faster=more progressive. Slow songs cannot be progressive,
best example would be Pink Floyd.
78. If anyone says PF are prog, kindly refer them to rule 1 while you
prepare to do a "Varg", so to say.
79. During recording, make sure that you accuse the producer, the
recording engineer and half of your band of not playing the song
properly at least once.
80. Make sure your album cover contains either a psychedelic
computer-drawn image, a lavish painting with mythological figures, or is
illustrated by Travis Smith.
81. Write epics.
82. In case you didn`t know, epics must be about adolescency, concerning
a legend, or a deep dystopian tale where a cheesy fictional
city/world/pizza shop serves as a metaphor for this world.
83. Have racks with loads of equipment.
84. Have racks without equipment. Who is going to see them if you don`t
85. No intro for your song? Insert a single-note broken rhythm accented
on the snare, with shifting keyboard chords underneath.
86. Refuse to lend prog CDs to mainstream friends. When asked why, tell
him/her that (s)he "will understand when (s)he matures"
87. When playing ANY gig, from the lowliest bar to the most gargantuan
arena, be sure that no member of the audience will leave without having
heard every lick you are able to play.
88. Have at least 5 solo spots during a concert.
89. In case you have forgotten while reading this, prog metal is
intelligent music for intelligent people.
90. No, Marillion is not prog. I kindly refer you to rule 20.
92. Buy new albums from past prog-greats.
93. When they turn out to be crap and nothing like the old albums, hit
yourself in the head with a hammer until you like them.
94. Hold that there is no bad prog, only DIFFERENT.
95. Of course, that only applies to bands you like. See Rule 1.
96. In case you wondered, Dream Theater is and will always be the
benchmark for prog metal. The more something sounds like Images and
Words, the more progressive it is.
97. Proclaim Rule 96 to people with a straight face in all seriousness.
This is not optional.
98. Have side-projects. Make sure that all side-projects consist of
pointless jamming over endless repetitions of clicheed riffs.
99. Make sure that at least one of your side-projects feature Mike
Portnoy on drums.
100. If you cannot get Mike Portnoy, get someone who sounds like him.
101. You mean you have been reading this when you could have been
practicing along to Metropolis Part II or composing a sidelong epic? For
Mittwoch, 29. November 2006
This time, it's back to Norway again for some very technical stuff:
Genre: Progressive/Technical Thrash/Power Metal
Formed: 1993 in Oslo (Norway), still active
Øyvind Hægeland : Vocals, keyboards (also in Arcturus (Nor), Manitou (Nor) )
Steinar Gundersen : Lead guitars (also in Satyricon; formerly in Lunaris, King's Quest)
Andreas Jonsson : Guitars
Lars K. Norberg : Bass, programming (also in Satyricon)
Asgeir Mickelson : Drums (also in Borknagar, Vintersorg, Ihsahn, Enslavement Of Beauty, Scariot ; formerly in Lunaris, Highland Glory)
Kaj Gornitzka - Rhythm guitars (Twisted Into Form)
Leif Knashaug - Vocals (Twisted Into Form)
Sean Malone (Guest Solo on "Occam's Razor")
1996 - self-titled Demo
2000 - A Sceptic's Universe (album)
Spiral Architect was founded in 1993 in Oslo, Norway, when lead guitarist Steinar Gundersen joined the remains of a band called Anesthesia consisting of Kaj Gornitzka (guitar), Lars K. Norberg (bass) and Asgeir Mickelson (drums).
They are influenced by bands like Watchtower, Fates Warning and Psychotic Waltz. The overall idea was to, as genuinely as possible, mix Jazz and Fusion elements with uncompromising metal.
The first official recording showcasing Spiral Architect’s music was the compilation CD "A Gathering…" in 1995, featuring the songs "Fountainhead" and "Purpose".
These two songs were also released as an independent demo in February '96 and promoted heavily worldwide through magazines and the internet. The demo caused a stir in the progressive metal undeground scene, and many record labels were interested in signing the band, but they decided to take some more time and work more intensively on the new material.
The vocals on the 1995 demo were recorded by session vocalist Leif Knashaug. In 1996, they finally found a full time vocalist in Øyvind Hægeland (ex-Manitou), who had an influence on the development of their sound, as they claim.
They then recorded their first and only full length to date : A Sceptic's Universe.
"Spiral Architect opted for a holistic approach to the art of making a record (music, text, lyrics). The album and the philosophy behind it was to reflect the rational and sceptical world view held by the musicians involved.", so they comment on the process.
Signing a contract with Sensory Records in 1997, they recorded the album in June 1998 in Texas with Producer Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Nevermore, Cannibal Corpse and many more).
Not much has been heard from the band since, as, due to their various other musical duties, they don't find much time to work on new material. But they do emphasize that the band still exists, so let's hope for the next effort to be released soon!
For everyone who isn't familiar with their first album: check it out! It is very technical, so much that it might disturb you at first, but give it a few listens. You'll find the quality of their music hidden. At first, it's just too much at once, I guess. But the album does not only offer some stunning bass work, but also interesting song and riff structures and some of the best jazz elements incorporated in Metal. The production sounds somewhat like the first and last Cynic album "Focus", also, they seem to have been an influence on Spiral Architect. So I guess this is for anybody who likes the more complicated side of Prog Metal and Death Metal, while also fans of bands like the aforementioned Cynic and Nevermore, as well as the likes of Watchtower, will find a gem in this.
Clips at youtube.com :
Playing some new stuff and the beginning of "Excessit":
Playing "Spinning" filmed from the drumset (watch this, it's really cool^^):
Bands already featured:
(just search this blog or look in the archive for the band you're interested in - scroll up to the top)
Dienstag, 28. November 2006
I won't limit myself to posting about bands, as I care about posting stuff that is interesting in general.
So here I'd like to introduce to to 3 videos of keyboard guru Jordan Rudess (now in Dream Theater) that I found on youtube.com:
All those tracks are taken from Rudess' last solo effort "Rhythm of Time", featuring guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, Greg Howe and Vinnie Moore, as well as Rod Morgenstein on drums, with whom he founded the Rudess/Morgenstein Project ( "It all began one evening on the Dixie Dregs 1994 Full Circle tour in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when a sudden power failure shut down the guitar, bass and violin rigs. For unknown reasons, the keyboards remained unaffected. What followed was a spontaneous 10 minute drum/keyboard jam which inspired the creation of this project." - from jordanrudess.com)
Enjoy them and feel free to leave me comments and feedback! Commenting is open to everybody!
Genre: Progressive Modern Thrash Metal
Formed: 2003 in Cagliari (Italy), still active
Giorgia Fadda - Vocals
Fabio Carta - Vocals
Henrik ‘Guf’ Rangstrup - Guitars ( also in Sinfonia, formerly in Blu Infinito)
Marco Angioni - Bass (formerly in Motivi Per Litigare, also plays guitar in KTL)
Raphael Saini - Drums (played in several Death Metal bands as the Cagliari Porn-Grind outfit Machescazo, Melodic Death band Blu Infinito (where Henrik made a studio appearance), guest drums for Avant-Garde Death metal band Misbelieving, (formerly) Abiura, (formerly) studio guest for Mutilated Soul)
2004 - self-titled Demo
2005 - The White Noise Within
The band started out in 2003 when Henrik Rangstrup, having moved to Italy 1 year prior to founding Chaoswave for personal reasons and also plays in the Danish Progressive Gothic Metal band Sinphonia, aimed at creating a sound reminiscent of Nevermore; aggressive, harsh instrumentalisation with melodic vocals.
Indeed, the band does sound somewhat like Nevermore, although more modern and aggressive.
He then gathered together Marco Angioni, who is also a guitarist for Progressive Rock band KTL, as well as a producer (i.e. the first Misbelieving E.P.), drummer Raphael Saini, who had experience from playing with several Death Metal outfits, including Misbelieving, thus being acquainted to Marco.
According to the band, the two singers Giorgia Fadda and Fabio Carta were actually a sort of lucky pick, since they weren't known for their vocal talent (yet).
The four-track demo simply entitled ‘Chaoswave’ was the first release of the band. It was released in November 2004, distributed in around 1500 copies, and was quite well received by the press, as well as attracting the attention of Dutch label DVS Records, offering them a deal not long after, so that the debut album "The White Noise Within" could be released on a larger scale in the beginning of 2006. At the moment, the band seems to be occupied with touring. Catch them if you have the chance!
In my own opinion, Chaoswave, although sounding a lot like Nevermore and also influenced by Lacuna Coil, Meshuggah and a tad of Fear Factory, they manage to create a fairly unique sound that will certainly appeal to fans of the aforementioned bands, but also to Prog fans that prefer songwriting over musical abilities; while all the instruments are played flawlessly, there's no excessive soloing and 15-minute songs. The "progressive" part rather erveals itself in the form of sometimes very experimenal sounding vocal lines, as well as odd time signatures and interesting rhythm patterns. In general, Chaoswave's music is rather focused on rhythm, which most probably invokes common references to Meshuggah.
So if you're open to a rather modern sound and out to check out something unique, give Chaoswave a try. You won't regret it!
Chaoswave's Official Website
Chaoswave at Myspace (go here to listen to 3 Songs)
Download 2 Songs of "The White Noise Within" here!
Clips at youtube.com:
Chaoswave at Progpower 2006 performing a song, as far as my knowledge goes, not off the "The White Noise Within" album.
Bands already featured:
(just search this blog or look in the archive for the band you're interested in - scroll up to the top)
Sonntag, 26. November 2006
I'm gonna start off the Prog Metal Blog with a band that definitely deserves more attention:
Genre: Progressive/Power Metal
Formed: 2000 in Oslo (Norway), still active
Michael Eriksen - Vocals (also in Carnivora)
Mats Haugen - Guitar
Glen Mollen - Bass
Truls Haugen - Drums (also in Insense, played bass in Black Comedy)
Lasse Finbroten - Keyboards (also in Tritonus)
Espen Storø - Keyboards (2000-2005)
2005 - The 1st Chapter (album)
I stumbled across this band when I was trying to find bands that sounded somewhat like Dream Theater or Symphony X, and with CIRCUS MAXIMUS, I definitely found that and more.
Their first release, "The 1st Chapter" is easily the best Prog Metal album of 2005, and spans a variety from Scandinavian Pop to Death Metal. I can definitely recommend this band to any Prog Metal fan.
Biography (taken from the official band site):
The new wave of Norwegian progressive metal has found a worthy representative in Circus Maximus. Very accessible vocal melodies blending perfectly with progressive metal tunes. Norwegian Circus Maximus became a full line up in 2000, consisting of long time band-mates Michael Eriksen on vocals and brothers Mats & Truls Haugen on guitar and drums respectively. In addition the band consists of keyboard mastermind Espen Storø and Mats' old high school buddy Glen Cato Møllen on bass. The band has a wide variety of musical influences, from pop/rock to 70's Prog-Rock to Heavy and Death metal, all of which is melted together and gives the guys their unique sound. The melting pot creates a mixture of great melodies, groove, heavy riffs and weird odd time signatures. After recording 2 demos, which received rave reviews in Norway, as well in Europe and the states, Circus Maximus hooked up with Danish based metal agency Intromental Management in April 2004, and soon after got signed to the American label Sensory Records (who in turn licensed the album out to Frontiers Records for the European release). During summer of 2004, the band completed the song writing for the debut album, "The First Chapter", which was recorded in various studios in Norway, and mixed in October 2004 in Denmark at Jailhouse Studios with well-known producer Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Pretty Maids, Wuthering Heights) at the helm. The sound is impeccable, the musicianship is out-of-this-world, Michael's voice is amazing (reminding of Tony Harnell, Joey Tempest and Ronnie Atkins), and the songs are simply put outstanding. A superb mixture of classic hard rock anthems and progressive technical bits and pieces. Just listen to such awesome tracks as the upbeat opener "Sin", the beautiful ballad "Silence From Angels Above", the grandiose "Glory Of The Empire" or the 19 minute magnum-piece "The 1st Chapter". This album will for sure appeal to all fans of bands such as Symphony X, TNT, Dream Theater, Pretty Maids and Queensryche. Beware of the Circus ...
Circus Maximus Official Website
Circus Maximus at Myspace (go here to listen to four songs and watch 6 videos)
Media at Circus Maximus' Website
Clips at youtube.com :
Part from "Why Am I Here?" @ProgPower USA:
Soloing by Mats and Lasse:
Slideshow from ProgPower USA:
Since I have searched the net quite a while for a comprehensive source for Prog Metal (i.e. bands, music samples etc.) and couldn't find anything like that, I will do my best to introduce all of you to some bands I enjoy and recommend, while I encourage members of Prog Metal bands that want their band featured (or people who know a band they want featured) to contact me.
All in all, I want to create a comprehensive blog for Prog Metal fans that wish to find out about bands they'd probably like and media to check out on those bands.
By the way, when I say "progressive metal", I also include Technical/Progressive Death Metal, Progressive Power Metal, maybe also Prog Rock and Fusion. To a certain extent you can be sure to find about every style of Metal here - as long as it at least includes progressive elements.
I understand that some may not like Death Metal vocals while others don't enjoy Power metal vocals or keyboards, but i want this to be more universal than just one style of music.
So enjoy your visit and send me feedback!
The first real post will be here soon!