Awesome Music / Progressive
This page includes examples of both Progressive Rock
and Progressive Metal
. Being a genre whose parent genres are Rock (or Metal) and Classical music, it deserves a page.
Bands with their own pages:
- The Mars Volta has the EPIC "Drunkship of Lanterns". Regardless of what you think of the band, you can't deny this song's utter epicness. Particularly the last 3 minutes.
- Ditto with "Aberinkula".
- "Day of the Baphomets" is utterly awesome. Everything about the song is badass. From the bass solo to the dueling guitar/saxophone bsolo to the crazy percussion solo, everything just works to form one of TMV's best.
- "Cassandra Gemini" is often regarded as the band's best song. Thirty-two and a half minutes, none of them boring.
- "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull has, as crazy as it may seem, an epic flute solo.
- Thick as a Brick: One 43 minute long song, one hundred percent prime Tull.
- "Baker Street Muse, take one..."
- A Passion Play. Like Thick as a Brick, it's a single-song album (although there are pressings where the song was given individual movements - sixteen of them, to be precise).
- And what other ode to human dignity rocks out lke Aqualung?
- "Songs From The Wood".
- "Bring me my broadsword, and clear understanding..."
- "Farm On The Freeway", and, from the same album, "Jump Start". The flute is indeed a heavy, metal instrument.
- Thought the studio version of "Budapest" wasn't awesome enough? How about the live version? It starts off quiet and gentle, but then gradually builds up into an explosive hard-rocker.
- The Jethro Tull Christmas Album. Releasing a Christmas song is a big gamble for a rock band, let alone a whole album, yet Tull managed to pull it off unbelievably well. What you get is an album that genuinely captures the wintry feeling of Christmas, using a mix of original songs, re-recorded Tull favourites, and traditional Christmas music with a Tull twist. It is, quite simply, magical.
- Homo Erraticus. 8044 years of British history condensed into one 52-minute album. Starting with a hard-rocking georaphy lesson. It also happens to be Ian Anderson's most successful solo album, peaking at No. 14 in the UK charts. For a Progressive Rock Concept Album to do so well is remarkable achievement in 2014.
- Jeff Wayne's musical version of War of the Worlds. The first track "Eve of the War" is one piece of awesome music and sets the tone for the whole album!
- Those who don't get goosebumps after hearing Richard Burton's narration at the beginning of above mentioned track when the music kicks in don't know proper music.
- "Dead London" is absolutely chilling.
- "Proclamation" by Gentle Giant. In the link provided, pretty much everything the drummer does counts as a Moment of Awesome.
- Kevin Gilbert was a tragically overlooked figure of the '90s prog scene who passed away before reaching his true potential, but his completed works make up one hell of a legacy. His work with Toy Matinee, Giraffe, and the Tuesday Night Music Club (he cowrote many of Sheryl Crow's earliest hits!) are nothing to scoff at, but his magnum opus is unquestionably The Shaming of the True, a rock opera chronicling the rise of a young musical talent and his subsequent fall at the hands of a fickle industry obsessed with catering to 'the next big thing'. The complexity of the composition, poeticism of the lyrics, Kevin's emotional vocals/guitar/piano, and the timeliness of the themes he presents come together to create an unforgettable auditory experience that will haunt you long after the final chord. While the album loses a lot of its power if not consumed in one session, 'Certifiable No.1 Smash', and 'Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Man are particular standouts that work equally well as standalone tracks; the latter should be considered essential listening for fans of Gentle Giant. Equal kudos has to be given to Gilbert's colleague and close friend Nick D'Virgilio, who was tasked with finishing the album after the former's untimely death in the fall of 1996. It took nearly 4 years to compile the material Kevin left behind, record backing tracks when necessary, and mix the whole thing together. When it was released in 2000, it was met with plenty of critical acclaim. Sadly, Shaming is out of print and not yet available on iTunes, but it's relatively easy to find a hard copy on Amazon or eBay.
- Yes are almost synonymous with awesome prog.
- The whole Close to the Edge pretty much embodies this trope. Three tracks of absolute awesome on one album: the title track with its epic scale, followed by the beautiful, rousing "And You and I", before kicking into the adrenaline rush that is "Siberian Khatru". There's a good reason why Close to the Edge has been rated more than once as the #1 progressive rock album of all time. Especially the segment "I Get Up, I Get Down," with the organ flourish at the end. Chills.
- The Yes Album is pretty bloody brilliant too. "I've Seen All Good People" takes the crown, but "Starship Trooper" (especially on headphones) is also pure awesome.
- "Roundabout" is eight and a half minutes of pure awesome, anchored by one of progressive rock's greatest ever basslines from Chris Squire and some killer drumming from Bill Bruford. The instrumental break featuring a duet/duel between Rick Wakeman on keyboards and Steve Howe on guitar is virtuoso rocking at its best (ditto the guitar and keyboard riff that underpins the bridge of the song), all tied together with some wonderfully off the wall lyricsnote as sung by Jon Anderson (with close harmonies by Squire and Howe). This song experienced a rise in popularity following its use as the ending theme of the 2013 anime adaptation of Jojos Bizarre Adventure.
- Between "The Gates of Delirium", "To Be Over", and "Sound Chaser", you'll be wondering why Relayer gets bashed.
- "Fly from Here", proof that even without Jon Anderson, they're still in excellent form.
- That proof was already available twenty-two years before Fly from Here was released. Take the examples of "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit".
- The Alan Parsons Project's 1982 epic, "Sirius"/"Eye in the Sky", is considered Awesome Music, as the instrumental "Sirius" has been used in many different places, most notably as the theme for the Chicago Bulls during the Michael Jordan era. For those who don't care for sports, The Weather Channel's decision to use the song in their 1987 documentary Clash of Seasons will work - there's no better music to complement footage of destructive tornadoes.
- "I Wouldn't Wanna Be Like You" is a fantastic funk-inspired track with a classic guitar solo. (Ian Bairnson, the man responsible for APP's guitar solos, deserves a lot more recognition than he gets.)
- On the subject of guitar solos, "Can't Take It With You" has a great one.
- Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells". The first few minutes, having been used as the theme of The Exorcist, are the most well-known, but they don't sound like, do justice to, or even hint at the majesty of the second half, particularly the buildup to and entrance of the bells (begins at 2:25 in the video).
- The MC for the 2003 remake is none other than John Cleese.
- The 'Finale' section of "Tubular Bells (Part 1)" is pretty awesome, but it's nothing compared to the end of "Ommadawn (Part 1)". Mike's just good when it comes to epic pieces, and he knows how to close them.
- Four Words: "Far Above The Clouds".
- "Amarok". A song so epic, it's an hour long. And it only grows more interesting as you read further into its history. Originally, Mike only had to make one more album in order to be free of his contract from Virgin Records. Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, tried to make Mike do an album that would be essentially "Tubular Bells 2", with some good clean bits he could splice up and use in another film. In retaliation, Mike made a song about an hour long, which couldn't be broken up into segments, and was a good old-fashioned "Fuck off" to the music industry. He even included the words "FUCK OFF, RB" in MORSE CODE in it, about 48 minutes in. And there's the eternal choir in the background going "arsehole, arsehole". What's more, after the album was made and his contract ended, he signed on with Warner Bros. Records. And THEN he made Tubular Bells II, essentially denying Virgin the chance to make money from it. The whole episode is probably one of the greatest Take Thats in music history.
- The 24 minute "Taurus II" from Five Miles Out. An epic start to a great album.
- "Crises" is, quite simply, beautiful.
- Mike Oldfield's music becomes even more awesome when you learn that he is a completely self-taught guitarist who developed the virtuoso skills of a learned expert by the age of fifteen.
- The year is 1989. For the first time in its history, a Grammy is given for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. The award is given to Jethro Tull for Crest of a Knave. Over Metallica. (Tull's record company published a press ad with a picture of Ian Anderson's metal flute, with the headline: This is a metal instrument.)
- Van Der Graaf Generator. This band is an acquired taste, sure, but once you acquire said, taste, prepare to have your mind blown.
- Tool - The full version of "10,000 Days". Yes, the one where you have to mix 3 songs together just to hear the epic. "It's time now!/My time now!/Give me my!/Give me my wings!" If that doesn't send a chill down your spine when you hear it, you may not be human. Listen to it in its epic entirety here.
- Tool does have their share of CMOAs that aren't quite so long; "AEnema" anyone?
- The ending part of "Eulogy". Or "Parabola". Or most of Undertow.
- Hell, the entirety of Lateralus deserves a CMoA, but the highlights would have to be Maynard James Keenan's epic metal scream at the end of "The Grudge", "Schism", "Parabol/Parabola" (especially the transition between the two of them, goddamn it's so amazing), Lateralus, and then the procession of "Disposition/Reflection/Triad".
- Of course, Lateralus becomes much more coherent (and thus, extremely epic) when one realizes the album is really meant to played in an entirely different order, (hinted at by the repeat references to spirals in the lyrics) which brings it from merely being a very good prog-rock album to a insanely insightful concept album.
- "Pushit" and "Vicarious" too. And as with most Tool songs, the endings are the best part, but you need to listen to the entire thing to get the full effect.
- "Jambi" anyone? Mostly that awesome bassline and talk box...
- Heck, their entire catalog qualifies as Awesome Music. Especially "Right in Two"...
- Keenan's side project band Puscifer brings us "The Humbling River".
- Also Keenan's cover of "21st Century Schizoid Man" is Bad Ass in music form and features Robert Fripp himself.
- REO Speedwagon's "Roll With The Changes." It's a joyous enough song to begin with, and guaranteed to make you sing along to it...and then the Hammond organ solo starts and makes it EPIC.
- Genesis are awesome enough to get their own page, but their two frontmen have produced many awesome tracks in their solo careers. Peter Gabriel has his own page as well, while Phil Collins has given us "In the Air Tonight", the soundtracks to Tarzan and Brother Bear, and the 10-minute account of railway disasters, "Driving The Last Spike", which may be his masterpiece.
- Electric Light Orchestra:
- For starters: The cover of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from On The Third Day. The intro sounds epic, not to mention it's one of the few rock songs with a violin solo. Then there's the rest of that album: "Bluebird is Dead", "Oh No Not Susan", "Dreaming of 4000" etc.
- "Twilight", especially in Daicon IV.
- "Fire On High" is 5 minutes of distilled instrumental ass-kick, and would not sound out of place as boss-battle music in an RPG.
- "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle", a hard rocker with Marc Bolan playing as second lead guitar.note
- The entire-3rd-side-taking "Concerto for a Rainy Day", showing that if needed, Jeff Lynne can pull off classical pop and do it AWESOMELY.
- Iron Butterfly's 17-minute epic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".
- The Engineers in general, "Come In Out The Rain", "Home", "How Do You Say Goodbye?" and "Forgiveness" in particular.
- Porcupine Tree's 55 minute "The Incident", as well as "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" and "Anesthetize", without mentioning countless earlier works. "Voyage 34", "Russia on Ice" and "The Sky Moves Sideways" anyone?
- Also "Even Less" (14 minute version), "Buying New Soul", and "Radioactive Toy".
- "Trains" is one of their most popular songs for good reason. From the same album, ".3" is pure Tear Jerker.
- Steven Wilson's work as a solo artist also deserves some mention, combining all of his musical interests over a 20-year musical career, including progressive rock, metal, art rock, ambient, and electronic music. The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) sets gothic yet immersive storytelling against a 70s-style prog rock backdrop.
- The Enid have been around long enough to have produced several CMsOA; the original recording of "In the Region of the Summer Stars suite", "Something Wicked This Way Comes", "Chaldean Crossing", "Tripping the Light Fantastic", "Riguardon", "Terra Firma" and "Malacandra" are among the finest musical works known to man (or perhaps one should say "largely unknown" due to the band's cult status).
- Keith Emerson's oeuvre, starting with The Nice, later with Emerson, Lake & Palmer/Powell and solo projects, has produced many fine works (sic), but it all comes together with The Nice's "Five Bridges Suite" for group and orchestra, seamlessly, and apparently effortlessly, blending rock, jazz and classical styles.
- Pure Reason Revolution. Oh, just listen.
- An Endless Sporadic's "Impulse", considered by many to be the best Guitar Hero song PERIOD.
- Emerson, Lake & Palmer need their own section here. Brain Salad Surgery was pretty epic, and "Toccata". Seven minutes of some of their heaviest, darkest, and most awesome material.
- Chris Squire's "Hold Out Your Hand" is pretty epic. Keep in mind the lead instrument in the song is bass guitar!
- Prog superband Transatlantic's 70+ minute epic The Whirlwind has some truly amazing moments. Part XI, "Is It Really Happening?", in particular the second half.
- Strawberry Fields Forever. It practically invented Progressive Rock
- The band Dead Letter Circus. All of their songs probably count, but standouts include "Here We Divide", "One Step" and "The Space On the Wall".
- If you ever thought The '80s didn't produce any good prog (besides perhaps Marillion) then just listen to "Outer Limits" from IQ. Dated 1985 and suitably epic in scope. There is no soul left to save in you if the climax of the song doesn't do anything for you:
You're not alone, so don't look back
You better see it's getting black
You're not alone, surrender now
You're gonna fall in line, you better learn this time
I'm trying to get there
I'm falling from nowhere...
- Chicago's "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon" was one of the first successful prog-rock epics from a non-British band. And "Elegy", from which "The Approaching Storm" is one of its movements, is arguably the proto-"Starless", from the haunting poetry to the atonal middle section. Yeah, there was a day when Chicago out-King Crimsoned King Crimson.
- Coheed and Cambria's "Welcome Home". Incredibly awesome in its own right, and the trailer song for 9.
- What happens when you re-arrange a centuries-old Yemenite folk song as a metal song? You get Orphaned Land's "Sapari".
- Joe Satriani is considered one of the best guitarists ever, and for this reason, all his songs count. However, Surfing with the Alien is a highlight. Also "Satch Boogie".
- Progressive/folk metal band Agalloch has a lot of masterpieces. A small selection:
- Magma has a lot of these, but K.A. and the famous Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh (all sung in their own invented language!) stand out particularly.
- Pretty much all of Pomegranate Tiger's work, but major props to their 11 minute masterpiece "New Breed" which is nothing but 11 minutes of sheer technical mastery.
- Seventh Wonder. The entire track list of The Great Escape is unbelievably powerful, but special mention goes to "Move On Through".
- Prog Rock's crack addicted cousin Math Rock is none too shabby either. Sure, he may be a tad spastic and all over the place, but he still puts out some pretty rocking tunes:
- Steve Hackett's "Dark Night In Toy Town" makes a great theme for any final battle.
- Rotary Connection, with its beautiful mixture of psychedelic soul and jazz, was doing things at their founding in 1967 that prog-rockers would do just a few years later (with Minnie Riperton as co-lead vocalist). That makes a good part of their catalogue some awesome proto-prog rock! Check out especially their second album Aladdin.