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Favorite Prog Rock/Metal artist(s)


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I think this should be an interesting topic and it seems almost mandatory when talking about a genre as diverse as Prog Rock/Metal. Feel free to go beyond the classics and not to limit yourselves to one band or artist and really find the one's that you love and couldn't be without. I'll make my post when I thought about it some more because this one's really tough.

And yeah, I'd say if it's in the progarchives database we can call it Prog, so check that in case you're not totally sure if it really fits in the genre description.

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I'm probably not going to doublecheck every last one of these on progarchives at the moment (but I'll try to get links up eventually), but I have a pretty good idea of what's there.


Favorites (excluding most of the classic or really huge bands. DT, Opeth, Rush, Yes, and so on. So maybe I should call this "bands that should be better known"):


Agalloch - I guess I'd call them atmospheric black metal with progressive influences. Their first three albums are great, as is their (mostly instrumental with clean guitar) EP The White.


Atheist - Technical death metal with (depending on the album) jazz fusion influences.


Cynic - Focus was a great tech-death album (from which I'll try to release a song soon!), Traced in Air is also quite good and a lot softer.


Disillusion - especially Back to Times of Splendor (the album), but their other stuff is good. Big death metal influence, but they have softer songs too.


Enslaved - I really like Riitiir. Kind of like black metal Opeth, I guess? Should probably give some more of their more recent albums a thorough listen.


IQ - The Road of Bones is magnificent. Neo-proggish.


Leprous - anything from Tall Poppy Syndrome onward is great. Some black metal influence (they were Ihsahn's [formerly of Emperor] live backing band), but not too much. Pretty unique.


Ne Obliviscaris - influenced by technical death (or black? Not really sure about their  metal type stuff, but they have a clean vocalist who also plays violin. Really cool stuff.


The Ocean - Pelagial is a great album. I also remember Precambrian being pretty cool, though it's been a while since I listened to it. Progressive metal with sludge influences. Working on charting Mesopelagic.


Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson - even though they're pretty big, they don't have a bajillion customs, so I'll mention them here. Don't have a ton of stuff, but In Absentia is an awesome album. Luminol is really groovy on bass for the first few minutes.


Riverside - one of my absolute favorite bands - mostly prog rock, but there's definitely metal in some of their songs. Out of Myself, Second Life Syndrome, and ADHD are some of my favorite albums. Guitarist is relatively sparing, but very effective and emotive. Definitely going to chart a good amount of their stuff (three songs are currently in the works). Their singer/bassist also has a side project called Lunatic Soul that's also really good.


Scale the Summit - instrumental and quite technical, sometimes veering between crushingly heavy riffs and beautiful soft parts. Atlas Novus and Oracle are probably good tracks to check out. One of their guitarists has a side project (the bassist is also the one from StS) that's significantly less heavy.


Seventh Wonder - progressive metal with clean vocals (Tommy Karevik who's now Kamelot's frontman). Bassist is a total beast. Mercy Falls and The Great Escape are great. Waiting for their new album.


Sigh - black metal with everything influences. Imaginary Sonicscape is an absolute prog classic in my book. Custom in the works for Corpsecry.


Symphony X - I mean, look at my list of customs thus far. Progressive metal with significant symphonic and neoclassical influences at times. Very technical, especially on guitar.


I think that's good for starters, but there are probably some I'm forgetting. Sometime later on I'll try to link progarchives and some suggested songs for each band.

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Nice list and quite a few names, I don't recognize; probably because I'm more into the Rock than the Metal site of Prog.

I'll put up my list soon. I'll just have to go through my database and sort out all my favorite artists. There'll be quite a few that you'll never have heard about, I'm sure. I'll try and make a playlist as well, so you can get a taste of my favorite tracks. There'll be a new topic for that. ;)

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Yeah, I think a big part of that is that I first really got into discovering new bands around... 2008, I think? So I'm mostly caught up on stuff since then (and on some stuff from a few years before then). I figure out which genres I tend to like the most, then keep up with the best of the year lists on progarchives and rateyourmusic and check out stuff that satisfies some combination of goodness and fit to my tastes.


However, for a lot of the earlier stuff, because of the way history selects winners and loses, they're often either a) considered so classic and essential that it's hard to be into prog without hearing all about them, or b ) now faded from our attention and obscure, so that it's hard to hear about them without someone pointing you in their direction.



Anyways, for the more prog rock oriented stuff, out of the stuff I mentioned above above I'd recommend checking out Agalloch (The White EP and Hallways of Enchanted Ebony are probably the best places to start), IQ, Leprous, Porcupine Tree if you somehow haven't already, Riverside and side project Lunatic Soul, and Chris Letchford.

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This is gonna be a long list because I'll try to really mention all my favorites and I'll also included the classics for completions sake. I'll be saying a few words about each of the artists (why I like them; their style; who they can be compared to; favorite albums; favorite songs; etc) and give links to their page on progarchives.com. While some are quite high profile, there's also a lot of them who you may have never heard of before. To get to know them better, I have created a playlist on 8track you can listen to:


There's shorter and longer tracks but only one from each artist; it still runs up to 7 hours though, so you'll need to take your time to get through it all.


So, let's get this started. I'll update this post with new entries ever so often until I'm done but because of time constraints, I can't write all of them at once:


Al Di Meola - Wow! Off to a great start with one of the best fusion guitarists in the world. If Al Di Meola isn't a genius, I don't know who is. Not only is he an amazing guitar player (who played with Return To Forever before going solo), he's also one of the greatest songwriters I know. His compositions are fascinating and exhilarating and full of imagination and great virtuosity. His style is very prone to spanish and latin american music, Paco De Lucia being a big influence (with whom he recorded one of the best acoustic live albums of all time: "Friday Night In San Francisco"), but there's also a very classic rocky side to his music, especially on the early records and you can hear a lot of Santana in it as well. My favorite album has to be the famous "Elegant Gypsy" which showcases his diverse style very well and with a bass player like Anthony Jackson you also get amazing bass lines from one of the best fusion bass players of all time. My (current) favorite song is on the previous album though and that's the first track "The Wizard". Al Di Meola at his best and very much in the vein of Santana but a lot more experimental.


Aphrodite's Child - Well, this one's a bit tough because the only progressive album is "666" but what an album it is. Led by the (in)famous Vangelis the group put out a double album based on the book of revelations that was so vastly different from what they did before and what others did at the time that it still blows my mind a little when I hear it. It doesn't sound that revolutionary anymore but it stands the test of time and combines great musicianship with even greater songwriting that takes you on quite a trip through the end of times. Their style is still very unique and I don't think I know another artist that sounds quite like Aphrodite's Child does on "666". Favorite track: "The Four Horsemen".
Arjen Anthony Lucassen/Ayreon - No matter under which name Lucassen releases his albums, they are sure to please and I love it. Lucassen is a fantastic songwriter and a great multi-instrumentalist. He takes his time and develops fully fledged narrations presented very much like a musical with different singer for different roles and he doesn't shy away from experimentation. He can write sweetly soft (almost kitschy) ballads as well as hard hitting heavy metal tunes and he almost always manages to make it work in a cohesive manner. Even the lyrics can be quite excellent and the underlying stories are usually very interesting, although not always well developed and inventive. His style is nothing extraordinary and he sound very much like classic Dream Theater with equal parts of synth melodies and heavy riffs, but his approach is usually more refined, more narrative and lyrical. My favorite album is without a doubt "The Human Equation"; it's the total package and delivers greatness on all fronts but you have to listen to it from beginning to end, to enjoy it fully.
Ark - Very short lived band but their self titled debut is fantastic (though the mix on my release is really flat and liveless). The songwriting is fantastic, fluently shifting between soft and hard, quiet and loud, slow and fast, simple and intricate. It can be bare bone, head banging trash metal one minute, jazz-fusion noodling, acoustic flamenco guitar shredding or overladen symphonic epicness the next. The elegant mix of genres is definitely the biggest draw for me and if that sounds good to you as well, then you gotta give this a listen. Favorite track: "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame".
Atomic Rooster - One of the forgotten early greats of Prog Rock. Their debut wasn't anything genius (despite having Carl Palmer on drums) but their following three albums delivered extremely strong material that always stayed very accessible through their strong use of very poppy piano rhythms and melodies. They could still rock your socks off and usually did so, right after they charmed you into your seat with exquisitely composed ballads or got you moving to very danceable, funky rhythms. When they got hard, they got very hard, but when they went soft, they went soft as melting butter. The genius thing about Atomic Rooster was the ability to do both very convincingly and combine them to accessible but still intricately composed tunes. Favorite track (and one of my favorite songs of all time): "Nobody Else".
Beardfish -  Well, what to say about a band called "Beardfish"? They're around for 15 years now and have just released their newest album which is their best in quite a while and probably my second favorite album of theirs. Nothing can beat "Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two" though. It's not only my favorite Beardfish album, it's one of my favorite Prog albums of all time. It got masterly crafted tunes that keep you on your toes, are pleasing to the ears and can even be quite fun at times. Many of the songs are very playful, having a child like innocence one moment and a devious nature the next, similar to many of Zappa's best tunes. Musically they shift a lot between all kinds of sounds that Prog Rock has established over the years, often reminding me of the best parts of Camel, Caravan, Zappa, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Yes, etc. On later albums they tried to establish a harder sound but that didn't work out so well and they have returned to their roots with the newest release. Favorite track: The epic 35 min "Sleeping In Traffic". :D
Camel - A classic act of the genre, so I don't think, I need to say much about them. Like many of my favorites, Camel put an emphasis on narration and tunes with a clear concept but despite the fact that they really started to do that with their second album, the first one is actually my favorite. I really like the first four (after that it get's gradually worse) but their debut is so extremely solid and the tracks on it are so memorable and pleasing to my ears that I can't honestly say, I like one of the others more; at best I'd say they are equally good, even though "Snow Goose" never did it for me. Favorite track: "Separation".
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@@solservo - quite a few of those that I haven't heard of, though a few of them I have (but not necessarily listened too much). I remember having some Manilla Road downloaded, but think I lost track of that. I'm also a little bit familiar with Crippled Black Phoenix, Demians, and Kayo Dot (though for some reason I never listened to them much given that I like Maudlin of the Well), but the rest I haven't heard of. I'll try to check these bands out more fully soon!


And while I'm here, Riverside released a single from their upcoming album, so go give it a listen (alternative link for Germans)!

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Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Rush, IQ, Pagan's Mind, Circus Maximus, Yes... Too bad most of this stuff is too hard for me to play! :D 


(and I also like some less-progressive metal like Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Faith No More).


That 8tracks radio thing is genius to let people experience songs. I already dig the first song by Atomic Rooster :)

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All 'my' CDLC's are free to be improved upon and re-released by anybody. Constructive comments are welcome as well :)

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Agent Fresco

Al DiMeola

Al Joseph


Allan Holdsworth

Alter Bridge



Among the Sleep

An Endless Sporadic



Angel Vivaldi


Animals As Leaders



Anubis Gate

Anup Sastry

Apple Pie

Arch / Matheos

Arch Echo




Artificial Language

August Burns Red

Avenged Sevenfold




Bad Salad

Benny Greb

Berried Alive

Between The Buried And Me

Blotted Science


Caligula's Horse

Chaos Divine

Cheeto's Magazine

Chimp Spanner



Circus Maximus




Coheed And Cambria







Dance Gavin Dance


David Maxim Micic

Deep Purple

Derek Sherinian

Destiny Potato

Devin Townsend


Diablo Swing Orchestra


Distorted Harmony

Dixie Dregs

Dmitry Demyanenko



Draw Me A Sheep

Dream Theater




Electric Outlet




Eric Gillette

Evan Brewer





Fates Warning

Flying Colors

Fox Territory

Freak Kitchen





Gordian Knot

Gru (Piotrek Gruszka)

Guthrie Govan








I Am Abomination

I Built The Sky





Instrumental (adj.)




Iron Maiden



Jack The Joker

Jacob Collier

Jakub Zytecki

James Labrie

James Norbert Ivanyi

Jason  Richardson

Jethro Tull

Joel Lindfors

John Petrucci

Jordan Rudess

Joseph Magazine






Kiko Lourerio

King Crimson





Liquid Tension Experiment


Lost In Thought

Lunatic Soul

Lux Terminus


Magic Pie

Marco Sfogli


Mattias IA Eklundh

Mekong Delta






Modern Day Babylon

Moon Tooth

Mouse On The Keys





Native Construct

Ne Obliviscaris

Neal Morse


Next To None

Nick Johnston

Night Verses


Nova Collective





Orphaned Land



Ozric Tentacles


Pagan's Mind

Pain Of Salvation



Paul Wardingham






Pink Floyd

Planet X


Poh Hock


Pomegranate Tiger

Porcupine Tree


Protest The Hero







Rabea Massaad


Rendezvous Point

Rhapsody Of Fire





Scale the Summit


Semantic Saturation

Sergey Golovin

Seventh Wonder

Shadow Gallery



Sithu Aye

Sketch The Sky

Skies Over Bethany


Snarky Puppy


Sons of Apollo

Soul Secret

Spastic Ink

Special Providence

Spheric Universe Experience

Spock's Beard


Step In Fluid

Stephen Taranto

Steve Morse

Steven Wilson


Sun Caged

Symphony X








Thank You Scientist

The Algorithm

The Aristocrats

The Bad Plus

The Black Mages

The Contortionist

The HAARP Machine

The Helix Nebula

The Mars Volta

The Omnific

The Paralydium Project

The Resonance Project

Their Dogs Were Astronauts

Theo Young


Thought Chamber



Tigran Hamasyan

Tony MacAlpine








Twelve Foot Ninja


Universe Effects



Valis Ablaze

Vanden Plas






Wide Eyes


Within The Ruins







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My Favourite Prog Bands (At The Moment)

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  • 2 weeks later...

My list isn't big, but I love too much next prog bands:
- Pink Floyd - my favourite band ever. Their compositions is very simple as harmony, but full of many details. You can listen to one song again and again and every time you'll find something new in those three chords. Plus great lyrics by Roger Waters make the songs real piece of art (yes, I prefer 1971-1983 years of the band). I can't tell how much I love their music and why I love it.

- ELP - three great musicians united together to play music. What I love in ELP? At first, the skill of musicians. Carl Palmer is one of the best drummers ever, Greg Lake is great bass player (I love his playing on 'In the Court of Crimson King' too), he also has nice voice. And, finally, Keith Emerson probably the best keyboardist ever (sorry, Rick Wakeman). Secondly, the music. Sometimes their music is very difficult to understand (for example, Tarkus which I don't like). I think that music don't need to be hard too much. Anyway, I love their Karn Evil 9 suite, I love their work on 'Jerusalem', 'Jeremy Bender' (thanks to Aludog, who made those songs for RS), 'From the Beggining' and, finally, 'Lucky Man' (classic rock ballad with prog elements). But my favourite work by ELP is 'Pictures at an Exhibition'. I didn't think before that classic music could sound such great as rock arrangement.

- King Crimson - I listened to only album by King Crimson - 'In the Court of Crimson King'. I listened to some songs as 'Pictures of the City' (copy of 21st Century Schizoid Man) and 'Easy Money', but 'In the Court of Crimson King' became one of my favourite albums ever. It won't a great news if I say that I found '21st Century Schizoid Man' the best track from whole album. There's fanstastic drumming by Michael Giles! Such nuances! Amazing!

- Genesis - I didn't listen to them too much too, but I can say that I love what I've listened to. 'Watcher of the Skies', 'Dancing with a Moonlight Knight', 'Harold the Barrel' are pretty progressive. 'Land of Confusion' and 'I Can't Dance' (the first Genesis's song I've heard) are more pop compositions, but they sounds good too. Especially I love 'I Can't Dance' video.


Some people would say 'Where's Yes/Rush/Jethro Tull/Camel/etc.?'. I say: 'Yes, I don't love them. Don't hate, I'm just not a fan. I tryed to listen, for example, Yes, but I just don't understand them' 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not at all certain how the different genre's are determined so I can't say for certain which bands are considered "progressive" etc.


That being said the bands I've followed for decades and I think are defined as prog/rock are:


Pink Floyd

Jethro Tull

Uriah Heep




Of these Rush is my all time favorite and the one band whose songs I'm determined to master (at least on Bass)!

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Scorpions and Uriah Heep are usually classified as hard rock and I personally don't think of them as progressive but their still great bands in their own right. Uriah Heep is the only band I ever saw live, that's actually how much I love them.

Can't disagree with the rest of your list; all class acts and the epitome of classic progressive rock.

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the only band I ever saw live



Like, how? I feel like I go to way too few concerts and I still probably average two a year (and until I started living in New Jersey I was never in a particularly good location for concerts. Not that many are particularly close to where I live now, but pretty much every tour passes through New York or Philadelphia).


In other news, new Riverside, yay! Going to be seeing them on the 16th.


Edit: Uh, did it keep the 24 point font line spacing or something?

Edited by albatross213

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Well, tbh, I am not a big fan of live concerts. It's loud, it's crowded and the prices are high. I'd rather listen to music in a controlled environment. Maybe that's because I'm not a very social person or just because of my analytical mind which needs sterile conditions to work at peak performance. On the other hand I have to say that the Uriah Heep concert was a crazy and totally new experience but then again, the crowd was rather small because of the location, so the price was acceptable and I also got used to the volume because it allowed me to stand damn close to legendary and fantastic musicians. The set was great as well and they played extensively. If any of that had been less ideal though, the experience would have been far from enjoyable for me, so it really depends on a lot of factors if I'll go to another concert.

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Well, tbh, I am not a big fan of live concerts. It's loud, it's crowded and the prices are high. 


Me too. I have been on 2 shows - local music festival and Scorpions's concert. Early Scorpions are pretty progressive as I know. They played some acid tracks from that era of the band on the concert. They're still great live band! 

That music fest included Ken Hensley's and Joe Lynn Turner perfomances. They were accompanied by Russian band from Saint Petersburg. Fantastic guys. There also was Pink Floyd Tribute band, great musicians too. I didn't like their singer (he looks and sings like modern rockers, not like Gilmour or Waters), but they are outstanding players! I wanted to go to Deep Purple's concert too, but I hadn't enough money for that.


@@albatross213 - You're lucky. Not every big band/musician visit Vienna or Krasnodar, but many groups make tours in USA, so you can see bands which we'll never see live. I'll never see The Who or Dave Gilmour live, but you could. We don't go to concerts often because not much interesting musicians come to our city.

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@@albatross213 - You're lucky. Not every big band/musician visit Vienna or Krasnodar, but many groups make tours in USA, so you can see bands which we'll never see live. I'll never see The Who or Dave Gilmour live, but you could. We don't go to concerts often because not much interesting musicians come to our city.

I'm a little bit surprised that's true with VIenna. Maybe less so with Krasnodar, since I couldn't have told you where in Russia that was until I looked at a map just now (and I'm not a geographically illiterate American). Though I guess it's a pretty big city.


But while it's true that lots of bands play in the US, not a lot necessarily play close to where I lived. Rochester, NY, my hometown, often gets shows at Darien Lake, an amusement park that's about an hour drive away (sort of a compromise between Buffalo and Rochester, I guess), and sometimes decent shows in town, but otherwise most bands are going to Toronto (3 hours + border crossing) or places 4-6 hours away (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston)


Where I went to college was 3 hours each from Boston and New York (though you'd have to figure out parking and local transportation - you're not driving to the concert venue in either place) and (on the off chance tours went there) an hour from Albany, NY.


Where I am now is about an hour's drive from Philadelphia and 90 minutes by train (costs $33, plus local transportation time and expense on both ends) from New York. Some concerts in New York will get out late enough that the trains stop running by the time they end, so it's also often inconvenient in that way too. If you actually live in New York then there's definitely a ridiculous variety of things that come by and are convenient to go to, but since I don't live in the city I've had to pick and choose and have only gone to three concerts there in five years.


I'm definitely not saying that we have it worse than you do, but unless you actually live in one of the big cities with great public transportation then things probably aren't as nice as you imagine them.



And I totally get being annoyed by the loudness of everything and the craziness of some concert attendees. It's not really my thing either, but sometimes it's worth meeting new people that like the same music you do and supporting the band.

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I agree with you, albatross. Managing to go to good concerts isn't easy anywhere and Vienna actually isn't the worst place to find class acts perform in great locations but you have to be willing to get into the whole experience. Dream Theater is coming to Vienna from time to time and I was actually thinking to go to one of their concerts but prices have been a bit to steep for me back then but I might go once they come around again. :)

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  • 1 month later...


My Favourite Prog Bands (At The Moment)




Damn, we have similar taste. I listen to every single one of those bands except DT and Karnivool :D

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