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Progressive Metal

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Primary Stylistic Influences:

Secondary Stylistic Influences:

A subset of Heavy Metal which combines the musical intricacies of Progressive Rock with the heavy, guitar/drum-driven sound of metal. Progressive Metal may also include more overt flavorings of Classical music, such as operatic vocals or symphonic arrangements; bands with modern classical leanings usually skew more towards Avant-Garde Metal. A concrete definition of progressive metal is hard to pin down, so the status of many bands as progressive metal can be ambiguous.


Also, see Technical Death Metal, Avant-Garde Metal and the "Avant-Garde/Progressive Black Metal" section in the Black Metal article. Another notable subgenre is Neo Classical Metal, also known as 'Guitar Virtuoso Music'. This is basically heavy metal with an electric guitar playing classical music instead of rock, and it often overlaps with either Speed Metal, Power Metal, or Glam Metal.

Notable Progressive Metal bands include:

Tropes that apply to progressive metal:

  • Epic Rocking: Good luck finding a progressive metal band that hasn't ever used this trope.
  • Genre Popularizer: The first major chart success for a prog metal act was either Queensrÿche's "Silent Lucidity" or Dream Theater's "Pull Me Under", depending upon your definition. "Silent Lucidity" came earlier, but it isn't a metal song. "Pull Me Under" is.
    • From Fates Warning we have "Life in Still Water," which features James LaBrie performing harmony vocals.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Varies wildly up and down the scale; it can go anywhere from a low 6 to 10. It can usually be found near on the scale to its non progressive equivalent.
    • Neo Classical Metal is often found from between 5-8
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Progressive metal bands are well known for incorporating elements from other genres, to the point where over half the acts in the genre have their own signature style. Here are some examples:
  • Trope Codifier: Dream Theater, in that nearly every act afterwards has been influenced by them in some fashion (even if that fashion is merely "trying not to imitate Dream Theater").
  • Trope Maker: Probably Queensrÿche or Dream Theater. Fates Warning or Watchtower would count if you don't consider either of them to be Ur example instead.
  • Uncommon Time: Used frequently. Again, pretty much all bands in the genre have used this trope at least occasionally, although some are more blatant about it than others.
  • Ur-Example: Potential contenders depending upon one's definition of the genre are King Crimson, Rush, Metallica, Diamond Head, Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Watchtower, Crimson Glory, and Fates Warning. Van Der Graaf Generator may deserve mention as well, but they are a strange case in that they manage to be as heavy as many progressive metal bands (reaching an 8 on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness at the heaviest parts of all three songs on Pawn Hearts, for example) without using electric guitars much.

Alternative Title(s): Prog Metal


Example of: