The prog rock/metal is a sub genre that you either love or just don’t get. This being the case, we sat down with Nottingham atmospheric prog-metal band Fjords, who just dropped their new album, Onirica, to get their thoughts on some of the finest acts the genre has to offer.
Before that though, check out their suitably epic video for “Prometheus”:
– Hugely underrated and often eclipsed by other bands coming from the early 90’s progressive death/doom metal scene, this Italian band has such a phenomenal grasp of melody, atmosphere and feel. Every single one of their albums has been a huge inspiration and whilst difficult to choose, their best album is probably Novembrine Waltz.
Favourite track: “Come Pierrot (Novembrine Waltz)”
– This band are really unique and bring something different to the progressive death metal genre. Their long, journey like compositions (ignoring their second album Gloria) and interesting use of rhythms and dynamics make for captivating listening. Their first album Back to Times of Splendour is as close to a perfect album as they come. While I didn’t enjoy their follow up and presumed they had moved on, this year (15 years later) they released another incredible album (The Liberation) that almost matches their debut.
Favourite track: “Back to Times of Splendour”
3. Edge of Sanity
– Dan Swano is brilliant, he has been involved in so many great projects (either playing, writing or producing) but his most impressive to me are the two Crimson releases under Edge of Sanity. Both are around 45 minute songs, huge musical journeys, recurring themes, huge riffs and varied atmospheres … doesn’t get much more prog than that.
Favourite track: “Covenent of Souls (part of Crimson II)”
– You can’t really talk about progressive music without Opeth being mentioned, there aren’t many bands that have contributed so much exceptional music to the genre. To me they are one of those special bands that are so unique it is almost impossible to draw influence without sounding exactly like them. Their story like songwriting, acoustic passages and mix of dark and light defined the progressive death metal genre.
Favourite track: “Blackwater Park”
– One of the biggest progressive metal bands to have existed and deserve all the success they have had, managing to be accessible and incorporate mind bending rhythms is a feat in itself. The prominence of the bass, complex rhythmic backbone of the songs and the hypnotic atmospheric passages always keep me going back to listen to their albums.
Favourite track: “Lateralus”
– A staple of the death/doom metal scene of the 90’s, it isn’t until later in their catalogue that you would probably start to classify them in the progressive metal category as well. Anders (Blakkheim) is one of my greatest guitar influences, his haunting melodies and emotive songwriting fly in the face of the self-indulgence often associated with progressive music. Every album has something, but my favourite would be The Great Cold Distance.
Favourite track: “Day and then the Shade”
– Relatively new band compared to others I have mentioned, they fall into the modern progressive metal movement that all too easily gets labelled “djent”. While they have elements of that, they mix soaring vocals with huge guitars and interesting rhythms to create a truly epic sound.
Favourite track: “Juno”
8. Devin Townsend
– The godfather of progressive metal, Devin is an incredible musician and has produced a huge catalogue of amazing music. My favourite album is probably Terria, the juxtaposition of heavy and serene perfectly mirrors the nature themes of the album. Whilst his guitar writing is a big draw, it is the power of his vocals that really hit me every time.
Favourite track: “Kingdom”
Fjords new album, Onirica, is out now and you can pick up your copy from here.