Progressive metal is an interesting genre that crosses different boundaries with each band that comes into the scene. You could say the genre has always existed as prog or progressive music. Tool and Dream Theater are some of the earlier well known bands to have incorporated progressive elements into metal. Over time, bands have incorporated these elements into their music have done so in different and personal ways. Below, we’ll go over different progressive bands that stand out with their own twist on progressive metal.
Gojira give me some slight death metal vibes but overall I could see the progressive tagline associated with this artist. Some songs remind me of some Slipknot albums, but I wouldn’t compare the two entirely. Gojira takes progressive into their own hands and can’t really be compared to other bands.
Born of Osiris
Considered djent by some, a progressive offspring, Born of Osiris has a truly unique sound. Combining synthesizers and heavy metal in a special way, BOO has evolved from deathcore to their own brand of metal. Every Born of Osiris release is filled with a smiliar them with each song from the band feeling like a dream.
Thank You Scientist
Thank You Scientist is a very interesting progressive band with some ska elements thrown in there too. I hate to compare the band to ska just because of additional instruments the band has but the structure of the songs have a ska vibe to them. Hailing from New Jersey, Thank You Scientist’s songs are full of groovy sections that make you want to move in strange ways. The band takes clear inspiration from bands like Chicago as well to create their unique jazz-fusion progressive metal style.
While overall considered progressive metal, Opeth has been doing it since 1989 and include various elements from different genres into their music. Jazz, classical and folk music styles are just some of the styles found throughout all of Opeth’s music. Although Opeth has gone through many member changes to the point that no original members remain, the band itself has become a staple within progressive metal.
Similar to Born of Osiris, Periphery have an ambient sound that can be easily identified to recognize them. Periphery have cycled though a few singers but Periphery’s current singer’s ability to handle all vocal duties in worth noting. It’s no wonder From First To Last recruited the vocalist for an album and some re-recordings of fan-favorites.
Tesseract has been playing obscure progressive metal since 2003. Credited as a pioneer of djent, Tesseract’s sound doesn’t evolve necessarily but the maturity of their music is heard through each release. The band found their signature sound early on and have built upon that core structure since forming, staying true to what they know.
Animals As Leaders
Animals As Leaders are another band that their own form of fresh progressive with their experimental progressive sound. Recently featured on the Bill & Ted Face The Music soundtrack, Animals As Leaders can create create an atmosphere of sound with their incredible music. Founder of the band, Tosin Abasi, has even been picked by Guitar World on their list of Greatest Guitarists.
Each song and album by Polyphia is an instrumental masterpiece from from beginning to end, without question. Over recent releases, the band has taken a more experimental approach than they previously did. Inspired by all genres of music, including rap and pop, the band have evolved from excessive shredding to melodic riffs. Although the band has always been experimental, they do not have a vocalist and the last few albums from the band have seen features from other musicians to make up for it.
Between The Buried And Me
Although I’m not, or at least was not, a fan of progressive metal I have always been a fan of Between The Buried And Me. It’s hard to really pinpoint an exact genre for Between The Buried And Me, with a variety of releases such as concept albums and covers. Almost every BTBAM release is a concept album in it’s own way with the band always exploring extraterrestrial and often related topics. On top of an entire covers album and concepts albums, the band has a very specific sound that has evolved over time. Originally a much more death metal band with some progressive elements at first, BTBAM quickly became the progressive giants they are today. With songs at an average of 8 minutes, Between The Buried And Me tells long stories with their songs and records.
Overall, I’d have to say any band considered progressive metal has their own signature take on the genre, leading to a sound that makes them al stand out individually as progressive is almost always just a bridge between genres.