Granted that each and every instrument player in that band is HIGHLY,extraordinarily talented. I myself am a HUGE admirer of John Myung(bass), John Petrucci(guitar) and Mike Potnoy(drums)(I think Jordan Rudess overdoes the honky-tonk on the keyboard). But THAT very talent is something that works against this band at times. Overall, I feel their music is just TOO calculated (weird time signature-this and beat skip-that). Once you think you've FINALLY figured out the beat pattern of one section of the song,they change the damn pattern to another mind boggler. It just gets too frustrating. I mean,music is something that connects with the soul as much as it does with the mind. I feel the soul connection lacking in bulk in Dream Theater's music. And lets not even START with the solos, those things go ON AND ON!!! Its like: "Yeah OK,you can play.I believe YOU!!!NOW can you stop??". Another aspect that troubles me is the vocals. At times, his voice is soothing, but for the most part of the song he's just WAILING. There's no other description. They are the kind that make you want to say "SHUT UP!!!" more often than not. And I'll never forgive him for pooping all over 'Master of Puppets'.
These were the reasons why I seldom heard Dream Theater and for the most part, Progressive Metal itself. But then there came a time when I thought "They can't ALL sound like DT,can they?" and that was when I treated myself to a HOST of AMAZING bands. Bands that strike the perfect balance between progressive thinking and melodic outlook. Bands that make catchy YET intelligent music. To hear them,click on their names. To all you adamant worshippers of Dream Theater, let me help you free your mind...
Well, lets just say that if you're HALF the metal (or even music) fan that you claim to be and you haven't heard Opeth, hiding your face around other metal-heads would be a good idea. For me, Opeth are nothing short of phenomenal. Their unique style combines progressive song structures, unconventional time signatures, switches between aggressive and calm moods and between clean and harsh singing. Yes,their songs are long as well, but at least there are no 4 to 5/4+5 minute long solos and frustrating beat skips involved. Opeth instead,rely on continuous rhythm and scale changes AND of course,the vocal style changes. The latter is the reason why Mikael Akerfeldt counts as one of the best vocalists in metal today,and THE best for me. To sum it up in layman's language, expect soft,haunting melodies laced with fast,aggressive ones,topped with vocals of both dark and light kinds and seasoned with jazz-influenced basslines and occasional death metal-influenced drum patterns. A treat indeed.
2. Symphony X :
Well if Opeth were progressively haunting, these guys are EPIC. With a guitarist who could give more than fair competition to John Petrucci (Michael Romeo) what with his 8-finger tapping style and all, these guys take the 'Progressive' aspect to a whole new level. Expect sweep tapped neo-classical leads, atmospheric keyboard rhythms as well as solos, neo-classical bass shreds, well above average drum playing and semi-aggressive yet clean singing. All nicely packaged within a progressive shell of long,multi-rhythm songs with well-placed beat skips and unconventionally epic time signatures. Unleash the FIRE!!!
3. Amaseffer :
Well if you've visited my blog regularly,you would have noticed my review of Amaseffer's debut album 'Slaves For Life'. If not, well these guys are a VERY new band from Israel whose debut album released in June this year. Their style is basically storytelling oriented. They use traditional instruments along with the regular guitars and drums (AND symphonies as well). Their song-structuring involves continuous rhythm shifts and is regularly punctuated by dialogues in Hebrew,serving as the perfect backdrop for the story of Moses. The vocals on this album have been given by Mattias Levin (most well known with Therion) and are REALLY well delivered. All in all,these guys are going to be under many a watchful,hopeful eye of fans of great music.
4.Into Eternity :
This particular band from Canada is one of the most enjoyable prog-metal bands I have heard till date. Their music is a combination of modern Death Metal and Progressive Metal styles. Think fast,technical(yet melodic) riffs, mood and time signature swings, the occasional blast beat battery among the regular double bass-dominated drumming style and VERY dexterously played bass. The vocals,as in Opeth, are both clean as well as harsh. But instead of the progressive singing style adopted by Mikael Akerfeldt, Into Eternity's Stu Block uses a very modern rock style of clean singing and guttural death metal vocals. All in all, VERY catchy and very progressive at the same time. DO NOT overlook. I mean it.
Another very talented band is this one from Sweden. Evergrey's music can be described as dark/gothic progressive metal. They regularly use symphonies and clean guitar tones. Their music tends to be very dark and a bit ambient and their lyrics are usually about negativities associated with society e.g kidnapping, extortion, war, abduction etc. But this band also has its fair share of romantic poetry. They tend to not use very unconventional time signatures but their 'progressive' stems from their rhythm changes and choice of note sequences. Highly reccomended.
6.Circus Maximus :