So, what exactly do we look for in 2016 when we try and ascertain whether a progressive metal is worthy? We can gather up a list by seeing how "Skylines" avoids the most common pitfalls. First and foremost then is that bloated tendency I mentioned above. Too many tracks within progressive metal are simply further iterations on what we already know of a band's sound. Unisons are arranged a bit differently but are still heavily relied on, ad infinitum, for example. However, perhaps the most egregious examples of this lie with vocalists; in progressive metal albums, the vocal variety which characterized earlier phases of the genre has all but disappeared. This is perhaps the fault of the great (yes, the great) James LaBrie and his somewhat monotone (yet still brilliant) work with Dream Theater. His cohesive style, which favors a certain emotional range over diversity, is everywhere.
As we have mentioned before in a previous article, progressive has many meanings, interpretations, and sub-genres. With some albums, you can point out numerous qualities that gives it it's progressive nature. However, with some albums, you can't explain why it's progressive; it just is. Enter The Deadstation., a 3-piece band from North Chelmsford, MA, who released . They tread familiar waters already paved by bands such as Metallica, Rush, Dream Theater, etc., but they mesh the sound of those legendary groups with more modern metal groups, such as The Devin Townsend Project, to create something very familiar, yet very original. In fact, perhaps their closest contemporary is The Omega Experiment, in that both share 80s progressive metal leanings, and both are very vocal and guitar driven.