Between the Buried and Me – Automata I

As they approach 20 years of activity, Between the Buried and Me have surely attained the status of legacy act in the realm of progressive metal with a weight to their name comparable to that of Opeth and Dream Theater; they’re world-class headliners and have crafted some of the greatest records to ever come out of the genre, and they arguably had a hand of influence in the influx of progressive metalcore acts that emerged in the mid-to-late 2000’s. With that prolific status comes its drawbacks, however; much like Opeth and Dream Theater, later-era works are the topic of much debate and are subject to higher scrutiny, and being guilty of creating an album that is just okay is damning.

Dead Empires – Designed to Disappear

The passion that drives progressive metal, especially extreme progressive metal, has to be a multicolored and multilayered thing. Otherwise, progressive metal just falls into the trap of “more variation = more good” and that’s easily disprovable; just because you’ve approach a single theme from several different directions that doesn’t necessarily mean that your album will be interesting. Instead, great progressive metal bands focus on getting across several different atmospheres and vibes on one album, changing both the destination and delivery point to create interest. Consider Opeth’s blend of anger and sadness on My Arms, Your Hearse or Howling Sycamore’s excellent and recent foray into both hallucination and internal power. These kind of varied intonations is what Dead Empires went for with Designed to Disappear and they mostly pull it off.

Hey! Listen to Extinction A.D.!

Changing style can often be a difficult transition to make. Bands can sometimes get away with it if they get in early enough in their career, before they’ve established their trademark sound (see: Darkthrone, Paradise Lost). Later-day transitions, however, can be much harder for fans to stomach, especially if they…

Conjurer – Mire

Debut albums are an odd beast. Even when they’re good they tend to come with a lot of growing pains, and bands at this early stage in their career tend to lack the self-awareness to really exploit their own potential. Sometimes, this rough, unrefined approach is great. It can often…

Half-Life: Trivium

Trivium are a band in a unique position. They exploded onto the scene very early on, accruing a lot of fans and haters simultaneously. After putting out an album that helped define a generation, they stepped back from the spotlight a bit, but their most interesting material actually came out…

VIDEO PREMIERE: Timewaves – The Sickle Is Drawn

Honestly, I just want an excuse to talk about Timewaves. They’re great. I love Nordic progressive metal, and this scratches that itch. Combining that dark, fresh sound with heavier vocals and orchestral keys leads ends up being quite fun. They’re releasing their debut Resilience this year, and trust me when I say, it’s worth waiting for. If you’re into Leprous, but want something more aggressive, like earlier Opeth with more theatrics, then check this out. I present to you, “The Sickle is Drawn”.

Hey! Listen to Hamferð!

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing entity off the coast of Denmark. I was completely unaware of their existence until I researched the background and history of Hamferð, to my knowledge the most famous band from these islands. Their debut album, Evst, flew completely under the radar in 2013, and…

Adimiron – Et Liber Eris

In 2015, Kyle Gaddo told you to listen to the band; citing its equal influences from Gojira, Tool and, to an extent, the nu-metal scene, Kyle found much to love about the groovy and evocative metal that Adimiron produced on Timelapse. And rightfully; that album is damn good. Nearly two years later, Noyan rediscovered the band via a related link and shared his “new found” passion with the rest of us. This conviction led me to listen to them and I instantly fell in love; to the influences cited above I could add Opeth, especially during the Blackwater Park / Ghost Reveries period, which is my favorite. This mix of modern influences and a flawless execution is what initially drew me to the band, once my social circles had brought my attention to them, twice.