Washington Think with W.: What Does It Mean to Be Progressive?

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Greetings, constituents. I hope this post finds you well. I know I’ve been absent for quite some time, but like sweet mother democracy, I am a faithful lover, and I will always return to you. You, in turn, lend me your big sexy brain to help me solve riddles of a musical nature. Today I bring you a timely quandary that builds upon some discussions we have previously had.

Today’s Question: What Does It Mean to Be Progressive?

In truth, this is not a new question. Forsooth, our pal Guacamole Jim tackled this very subject on an earlier post about regression vs. progression. Though I would never want to put words in my dear friend’s mouth, Guacamole essentially claimed that there is in fact a key different between progressive music and Progressive music. I essentially echoed this assertion in my review of Leprous‘ The Congregation. Our thesis: progressive music is that which pushes the boundaries of a genre and may in fact be subjective to where a listener is located along the highway of his or her musical journey. In contrast, Progressive music has largely become associated with certain common tropes. In the context of metal, Prog is typically characterized by long songs, cheesy synths, soaring vocals, and instrumental noodling. None of these things are negative in and of themselves, but when many emerging Prog bands sound exactly like Dream Theater, there isn’t much actual progression being made, correct?

Why am I bringing this up again, then? I was browsing the social media superhighway and noticed a post from Leprous talking about reviews of their new album. Apparently, I wasn’t alone in lauding the record.

lepsuc

That’s only the tip of the iceberg. The list goes on and on. So what is it that sets this record apart from its contemporaries? In all honesty, I think it’s the fact that Leprous have penned a truly progressive album without stumbling in the doldrums of Progressive metal. As I asserted in my review, this is a truly groundbreaking record that is unifying in its singular vision of incorporating everything that makes this genre amazing while never becoming simple idol worship. It would seem that the rest of the critics are united with me in this assessment.

So, this brings me back to today’s question. What do YOU think makes music progressive? Perhaps more interestingly, what do you see as the limits of evolution in metal? Has extremity been reached? What do you find challenging? Do you like to be challenged?

Sound off in the comments below.

P.S. Do you have an idea for Think Tank? Send it to toiletovhell@gmail.com! I’d love to collaborate.

Don’t know what the Washington Think Tank is? This is a weekly column where your former President poses a pressing question and allows the top minds at the Toilet ov Hell to investigate his query.

P.P.S. Akercocke of Steele, if you’re out there on a boat somewhere reading this, I have not forgotten you, my friend.

 

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Semi Off-Topic: I don’t think The Congregation would be so succesful (critically) if it was merely proggressive. I think it’s elementary for it’s appraise that it’s clearly building on it’s predecessor.

    • The W.

      As I noted, the unifying nature is what I consider the real reason for its success. It’s able to draw upon a variety of elements form a multitude of subgenres.

  • What do YOU think makes music progressive?
    -Weedlies? lol jk

    Perhaps more interestingly, what do you see as the limits of evolution in metal?
    -The fear/interest of any unknown is always interesting. It is difficult to define what is not yet discovered. So I feel like it is impossible for a limit to be achieved with regards metal as a genre.

    Has extremity been reached?
    -No, sir.

    What do you find challenging?
    -Black metal and power electronics.

    Do you like to be challenged?
    -Sometimes. The joy of music in general is coming across a album that does challenge you when you WEREN’T expecting it. Those albums, they tend to stick with you for the long haul!

    GL

    • God

      I bet you I could scream unintelligibly into a fisher price microphone, put one riff over it and just continuous double bass, slap it onto a cassette, title it something satanic, and sell it on eBay as vintage black metal, and cvlt fanboys would buy it at ridiculous prices.

      Black metal is easy.

      • See Power From Hell

        • The W.

          Don’t get me started.

          • Void Dweller

            What’s wrong with Power from Hell? The band or the Onslaught album?

          • Tyree

            He thinks it’s minimalist metal. I believe that’s what he said the other day.

            Have you heard the new couple of songs though?

          • Void Dweller

            What’s wrong with minimalist? And yes I did, good shit.

          • The W.

            Doesn’t sound at all interesting to me. There wasn’t a single part of it that hooked me at all.

          • Void Dweller

            That’s a shame as the riffs are catchy as shit.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2WHHg0Y040

          • The W.

            If you dig, that’s cool with me 🙂

          • more beer

            Onslaught album.

      • Guacamole Jim

        That’s not what’s being done already? I thought that was the only way they could sound as bad as they do.

        • The Ghost of HD’s Past

          No, it’s not. At all.

          If you and God and the others actually listened to black metal instead of just deriding it, you would know that.

          • God

            Calm down mostly ghostly. Black Metal is my number 3 favorite genre and I know my shit, just poking fun at a common (and sometimes true) stereotype.

          • Maik Beninton™

            People with no sense of humor<<<<<<<<

          • Guacamole Jim
          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            Mad? Not really. But do I feel the need to step in when someone who barely even listens to metal makes a broad generalization about a huge and diverse subgenre? Yes, I do.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I am cosmically offended.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Don’t worry Guac, you are still more metal than Le Tapir.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Let’s go and be posers together bb <3

          • I will bring the tortilla chips 😉

            GL

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            This is gonna be the best poser party ever!

          • As long as KJU doesn’t bring his weeaboo pillow :/

            GL

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            Even if you actually were offended (which I know you weren’t, because you think your shit don’t stink), I wouldn’t care. Some things need to be said.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Black metal does need defending on the internet, I agree. Nobody else on the entirety of the internet is standing up against jokes made at its expense.

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            Yeah, and it needs you to deride it, as well. Because nobody has ever done that before on the internet, either.

          • Guacamole Jim

            It seems we both fill a need. Since I’m exceptionally witty, should I be the Joker to your Batman? Or, since my shit doesn’t stink (literally true) should I be Batman to your Joker?

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            You can be The Joker. Go practice your best Heath Ledger impression. And don’t forget the overacting and oxycodone.

          • Can’t we all just get along ? 🙁

            GL

          • God

            I actually think Jims getting turned on by this.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Better put your raincoats on because soon this place will be filled with guacamole!

          • Dagon

            Then I might have to start licking everyone… Damn it, not again!

          • #LeaveGLAlone T-T)

          • Maik Beninton™

            #LeaveGJAlone

          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            #LeaveKN&FAlone

          • Maik Beninton™
          • Kevin Nash & Friends

            Who would name themselves Dlone?

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            I live on the same edge that you guys do, except you guys really take chances. You guys are so brave when you group together and share the same opinions, and then disregard anyone who doesn’t agree with you. Courage.

          • God

            We don’t disagree per say, you just started being a cunt and hurling personal insults. That hurt your arguement pretty bad.

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            I think I started pretty civilly, actually. I said he was wrong, and that he had no frame of reference because he didn’t listen to black metal. He was the one who answered back with the antagonistic meme. But we wouldn’t ever want to call Guac Jim a provocateur now, would we? He’s a great guy! He wouldn’t do that!

          • Maik Beninton™

            You know he was joking, right?

          • God

            You didn’t say he was wrong, you made a baseless claim that me, him, and countless others don’t actually listen to black metal when we certainly do. You displayed that you couldn’t take a joke and Guacy Jim lives for jokes.

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            Whatever. Seriously. I know I’ll never win here in this situation. The circle jerk is too strong. Everything is a joke in retrospect when you want or need it to be.

            Just know there are more people that feel the way I feel. I’m just the guy that says it.

          • God

            Can’t joke without offending anyone. *continues to circlejerk*

          • HD,

            This is one of my favorite memes. This is what you would say if you were going on a first date with some nice lady friend. Hang loose, man. Try not to over think. Not everyone (or anyone) is against you.

            GL

          • God

            I just don’t see what he is so upset about. Make one joke about black metal and then he wants Jim to die. Boggles my mind.

          • *Bojangles my mind.

            FTFY.

          • Maik Beninton™

            I’m don’t react to his provocations when it goes against my opinion because I might agree with him on other topics, and that’s what you should do.

          • We should all just close our browsers for 30 mins, do some work, and come back at 2p. Everyone will be more level headed then.

            GL

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Tapir does not like all this hostility.

          • Stop, you’re making the tapir go out in a rampage and stab someone T-T)

          • Guacamole Jim

            I didn’t honestly mean for any of it to happen 🙁

          • #LeaveTapirAlone T-T)

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            It’s really sad to see when things like these happen, even though they are rare.

          • Maik Beninton™

            No it’s just that you’re taking things too serious and being asshole about it.

          • Scrimm

            Seriously WTF.

          • KJM

            Umm, I’ll just go ahead and take that oxycodone thanks.(runs home quickly)

          • more beer

            That`s the right thing to do. Get high and stay out of this shit storm.

          • Void Dweller

            Best death ever.

          • Tyree

            Do you like any black metal? Shot in the dark here.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I haven’t found a lot of black metal that grabs me, to be perfectly honest. I don’t dislike it, though. Coming from the background that I did (jazz, prog metal, etc) it was hard for me to come around on black metal to a point where I could appreciate it. I’m in that period now where I’m beginning to explore black metal on its own terms, and am understanding it as such. So I guess yes, I do enjoy black metal, but it’s a work in progress.

          • Void Dweller

            So, are you into theory?

          • Guacamole Jim

            Music theory? Yeah, I do enjoy it, though I’m not very good at it. I learned music basically by ear, so learning theory was playing catch-up for a long time. But rhythmic theory fascinates me.

          • Tyree

            Music theory is for nerds.

          • It’s true :'(

          • Tyree
          • C.!

            <3

          • Stockhausen

            Let’s hug.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah fuck all that. I’ve been playing for 28 years and I couldn’t even give you the definition of music theory.

          • Tyree

            Same. I just hit shit, and hope it sounds alight.

          • Scrimm

            THAT’S music theory.

          • God

            Hey man, no shame in hitting the more user friendly black metal first then working your way to the classics and more obscure stuff. That’s how I did it.

          • Agreed. It is essential that we constantly impugn the metal credentials of others.

          • God

            PLAYER 4 HAS ENTERED.

          • The Ghost of HD’s Past

            Cosigned, especially when those individuals make statements when they don’t have any idea what they are talking about.

          • God

          • KJM

            I also need you to get the hell off my lawn. Only 80s Metal is real. ZARDOZ SPEAKS TO YOU.

          • Dude how was the RUSH show???

          • KJM

            Fucking awesome!!

          • Good. I am glad it was awesome. Was it as good as the other times you saw them?

          • KJM

            Better than most because of all the classic material they haven’t played since the late 70s and early 80s.

          • Damn, that sounds like a treat for sure!

          • Pretentious is Kvlt O)))
          • Tyree

            Maybe she’ll put your face on her magazine this month? Probably not though. because it’s always me me me with her. God I hate Oprah.

          • Stockhausen

            Oprah is a goat.
            http://youtu.be/K-CFEPBWI78

          • I AM DYING HAHAAAAAAABWAHAHAHAAA A

      • KJM
      • RJA

        I’m interested!

    • The W.

      You raise a really goods point about being challenged unexpectedly, and I hadn’t really thought of that.

  • God

    I agree on the idea that there is a clear distinction between prog music and progressive music. I think the reason why I was so blown away from leprous is because it was truly unlike anything I have ever heard before. I went in expecting another Haken clone or dream theater worship but was pleasantly surprised. For me, for something to be truly “progressive” it has to incorporate something new and do it well. Which is no easy task.

  • You’re only making me reinforce my belief that proggresive music is a just genre or one more method of expression, more than an attitude of “proggresion” or a way to “push the boundaries”.

    • God

      See and I thought this article was saying the exact opposite. That what it means to be progressive is no longer confined to the Prog genre tag.

      • They just changed “la onda”.

        • Pretentious is Kvlt O)))

          That’s like every guy I graduated with.

      • The W.

        You’re correct.

  • It means to not have breakdowns, and therefore be musically worthless.

    • God

      xXbreakdownsarehardcoreXx

  • KJM

    I’m just not a fan of extremity for it’s own sake. You’ll notice that I don’t comment at all on the Noise or Power Electronics articles until they go off-topic. I read the articles and give the stuff a go, but I just can’t hang.

    • Guacamole Jim

      Not everyone is, and that’s fine. Not everyone actively needs to seek out challenge or new experience, and not everyone’s challenge and new experience is the same. That’s (I think) the point W. is trying to make. That sort of music is inaccessible, and for good reason.

  • Question: is Leprous’ newest only available in physical form from overseas? I’d really like a physical copy, whether it’s CD or vinyl, but I don’t want to pay crazy shipping 🙁

    • Are you living in Venezuela?

      • Dagon

        Lol @ the expense of these venezuelan mexicans

        • I don’t why these latin american jokes works that much in every context. It’s a gold mine, I use them every day and always hit in the right place.

          • Dagon

            We are the laughing stock of the world, Link. Africa is too fucked up to make fun of – you’d be arrested by the PC police. South America is all that’s left for good ol’ poor shaming humor.

          • And since we live there, there’s no regrets!

            AYY EL MÍOOOOO!!!

          • Dagon

            HOORAY

          • Stockhausen

            After returning to the US from Europe, I want to incessantly make fun of people with a Midwestern/Southern accent. Look up any YouTube clips of the movie Fargo to hear a Midwestern accent.

    • The W.

      Looks like the Inside Out North America store is temporarily closed.

    • The W.
  • Guacamole Jim

    I think it’s fairly obvious what my contribution to this think tank will be, since it’s directly linked in the article 🙂 You’re spot on about what I was trying to say, dubs.

  • Tyree

    Most progressive metal these days is just awful to me and it really was so in the past too (Cynic Sucks). Like this Leprous is just terrible in my opinion, and I wouldn’t even call this metal. It seems when you mix progressive and Djent with metal it just takes the metal out of metal. Also, I think people confuse technicality with progressive sometimes, so here is a question. Is technicality progressive?

    The most progressive thing I heard this year that I liked was the new Dødheimsgard which is extremely progressive but still sounds metal as all fuck.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCFEETZX3SY

    • The W.

      That Dødheimsgard album is wild.

      • Tyree

        It really is a roller coaster of a ride into some bizarre and dark places.

        • Tyree

          Another one, in which I still need to listen to in full is the newest
          Arcturus. Enjoyed what I heard so far on that.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uWIg5hI7hE

          • The W.

            See, what I’ve heard of this so far really doesn’t sound progressive to me at all.

          • Tyree

            Well, I really don’t listen to a lot of progressive shit, so this certainly sounds progressive to me. Or if you’d like to call it “Avant-Garde”.

          • The W.

            And that’s where my point about subjectivity in music comes into play. To us, progressive means different things.

          • Tyree

            Here is one, which I asked above. Is technicality progressive?

          • The W.

            Umm, inherently, I would say no. There are very technical bands (like Nile) that I wouldn’t call progressive.

          • old_man_doom

            Nile, I would argue, are regressive—but that’s totally fine. Huge fan of Nile’s old school approach

          • KJM

            weedlies + deedlies =/= progressive

          • Tyree

            I think it’s all the weird electronics/instuments that makes it progressive to me. To me metal consists of Guitar, Bass, and Drums. When you add other stuff to the mix it becomes some what more progressive.

          • The W.

            By that token, would you not consider Botanist metal?

          • Tyree

            I don’t know who that is. But, I was referring to Arcturus more specifically. Metal can be metal with electronics and other instruments. I’m not saying it’s not, but it’s different (Progressive). Classic metal bands like Slayer, Metallica, Sodom, Venom, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath were really strictly Guitar, Bass, and Drums.

          • The W.

            Botanist are a black metal band with a hammered dulcimer instead of a guitar. And I think you have a much narrower definition of metal than I do, and that’s okay.

          • Tyree

            And that’s ok right? I’m not trying to be a dick here. I understand that metal can be broadened or progressed, but that does not work for me most of the time. A good heavy riff, blast beats, and some nasty sounding vocals is really all I need. You know this too, I’m a very meat and potatoes kind of metal listener. I like my metal oldschool sounding really. Look at black metal these days, I believe it has progressed incredibly with out losing it’s true nature. all of this dissonance (Skronk as you’d call it) that is in it is progressive to me. I think it can be a little over done sometimes though.

          • Dagon

            If I may slide into the conversation, I agree with your last sentence. Sometimes it sounds like a band or an artist is trying to “progress” or to use your example, to skronk for skronk’s sake, and it ends up achieving nothing for me. I still like songs.

          • The W.

            ^See my comment above. It’s absolutely okay! And yah, I’d say the increasing dissonance is causing stuff to be progress (and I don’t actually like every skronky record that has been released).

          • Dagon

            EVERY SKRONK ALBUM EVER PLAYED AT ONCE

          • The W.

            Oh, by the way, apparently that video of the whole album was messed up somehow. You may not like the actual thing anyway, lol, but it doesn’t sound quite like that,.

          • Man, that latest Botanist album has really been doing it for me lately. Tasty.

          • The W.

            Hammer of Botany?

          • Lacertilian

            Now it’s out of the way, new Lotus Thief must happen

          • The W.

            And by the way, I’m enjoying this discussion. It’s okay that we life different things, and I’m not offended you think Leprous sucks. This is sort of what the blog is about. All of us writers have different interests, and it’s cool when we overlap sometimes.

          • God

            One of the primary reasons I love it here.

          • God

            I just love anything Vortex contributes vocals to.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            I on the other hand don’t really like Vortex.

          • God

            Different strokes for different tapirs

          • Liked him in small doses on La Masquerade; a full album of Vortex is overkill. (A full album of Overkill can also be overkill.)

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            I agree 100%.

          • That is because I am 100% correct.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Rarely.

          • But I am often at least 33% correct, and never 0% correct.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            You are 0% correct quite often, this moment being a good example.

          • Your calculator is a dumb calculator.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            W0w, y u so mean to my calculator? He’s been through a lot dude. Not cool.

          • Your calculator was a 10-10-01 conspirator. Where’s zzzzzzzzzzz? I’m sure he has proof. (Was that enough Zs?)

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Was zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzd finally banned? Haven’t seen him here.

          • Don’t know, but he was certainly spouting the negative vibes there for a while, and nothing gets you snatched up by the Toilet Police quicker than negative vibes . . .

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Yeee, he was really giving beer and KJM a lot of shit. I will not miss him if he got banned.

          • Nope. There was a novelty appeal to his schtick at first. But then he revealed that it was not a schtick–he was serious. Which is more sad than funny, so . . . good riddance?

          • more beer

            Yep no respect for his elders!

          • more beer

            He`s at Alex Jones boot camp!

          • Where all sanity goes to die?

          • more beer

            Without a doubt!

          • more beer

            This is the one place on the internet that everyone respects each other. It need`s to remain that way.

          • more beer

            Where are you that you are still awake? I`m in Denver. It`s not that late here.

          • I remember that guy. He called me mean things…but you would’ve thought I deserved to be called those things.

          • more beer

            Someone took over the Mexican congress. It`s a conspiracy! 10/10/01 No one cares. Mexico got invaded . How is that a world problem? I could care less!

          • Arcturus was certainly progressive in their early days, but they haven’t progressed anywhere at all for about 3 albums.

          • Lacertilian

            Couldn’t get into this. Wanted to try again but it’s hard with all the new shit coming out.

    • God

      I guess when it comes down to “what is progressive” it really depends on the individuals interpretation.

      Side note, loving A Umbra Omega

  • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

    Prog = keyboard player, and a fashion sense.

  • EsusMoose

    I would say the thing that separates progressive music from experimental and therefore be progressive is that the music is the usual first point of distillation in the metal pipe line. A sound must be made and then distilled to the point where it is approachable either through the audience getting used to the new sound or the sound taking being meld by an artist to a approachable form. Leprous has a mix of both, the Congregation seems to be a logical step from Coal but even more so hones a sound that is both their own and a unique voice among staccato riff groups. They fall into the typical Prog term through odd rhythm and general oddness, also really high vocals.
    I would say the extent of metal is only as large as the realm of music is. Its evolution will depend on what other genres and tones it takes in, as well as what movements take the forefront.
    I think some groups hit a certain wall of extremity along the boundaries of controlled chaos vs noise where depending on the artist they may harness the sound or sound like ass.
    I have no comment on the challenging nature of some music as I’ve never thought about it enough to differentiate albums that bore me due to a perceived lack of direction and ones that I’m just unable to dissect anything

  • Beefhammer McPubies XIVIII

    Might I slide this on over? The best prog metal album and best album ever. My favorite album for the last 10 years.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCCX9EBUIbE&list=PL08863D7F2A79E182

  • Coolstorybro

    If it sounds like this, it’s progressive. If not, chances are it isn’t progressive and it also sucks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd4jeeu90Rk

  • Óðinn
    • The W.

      Love this album.

      • Óðinn

        Then you may want to consider that you have good taste.

    • ME GORAK™

      INTENSE!!!!!! GORAK LIKE!!!!!!

      • Óðinn

        I’m glad you like it GORAK.

  • Dagon

    While last year was filled with musical discoveries and me experimenting with my own boundaries regarding extremity, a.k.a. “how low can you go?”, this year I’ve found myself listening to the stuff I like the most.

    I looked at my best of the year so far list in a thread Tyree started on FB and mine is much different from everyone else’s, and far more accessible, I would say. I have not returned to the challenging music I enjoyed, like Valis’ Mastery or Dendritic Arbor’s Romantic Love.

    • I go to eat, and when I return I see the disqus and I say:

      “Why I’m still here in the Toilet? I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS!”

    • God

      I love some obscure challenging stuff sometimes, but look at my iPod, and you’ll generally recognize almost all of the stuff on there.

      • Dagon

        TBH my biggest challenge is power metal. I find it easier to enjoy harsh electronics than power metal lol.

        • God

          Power metal has to fit a very delicate balance for me. Just the right amount of cheese and musicianship. I would honestly recommend highly some Adagio (French power metal band) as a good reference to the type of power metal I enjoy.

          • Dagon

            I’ll try it when I’m feeling especially masochistic. Is masochistic a word?

          • God

            It is now! But honestly, Adagio is the least cheese I’ve seen from a power metal band. If you like a little symphonic thrown in and some serious riffage, they may be right up your alley.

          • Dagon

            Most of the time it’s the vocals that kill it. I may be enjoying a song until someone starts singing and it becomes grating to my ears. God I hate Angra. And Shaman.

          • God

            Not gonna lie, the vocals for Adagio may or may not be your thing. But he tends to have some serious pipes and doesn’t do ridiculous highs all the damn time. Occasionally there is a growl or two peppered in.

          • Dagon

            I couldn’t even get to liking the Visigoth album because of the vocals, and they really aren’t as offensive as some other power metal bands.

          • God

            Do you normally not like cleans?

          • Dagon

            To the contrary, I like cleans, it’s just the delivery I hear in most PM that turns me completely off.

            One record with pompous and somewhat cheesy vocals that I absolutely loved this year is Cave Of Swimmers’ Reflection.

          • Power merol is a very difficult genre with all that clones over clones of bands.

          • KJM

            And all that dragon sodomy…

          • #SaveTheDragons

          • #LeaveDragonsAlone T-T)

          • Scrimm

            Same. Turned it off about 5 seconds after the guy opened his mouth.

          • Dagon

            The exact same thing happened when I tried to get into Noble Beast.

          • Scrimm

            Them too.

          • Scrimm

            Power Metal<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

          • Óðinn

            Yeah, the vast majority of Power Metal does not appeal to me.

          • Listen to some Shaman huehuehuehue

            PLEASE COME TO BRAZIL m/

          • Dagon

            See: below. Or above, fuck disqus.

          • I know where you live, the brand of your hair products and your dislike for Shaman.

          • Dagon

            Wait, do you know the brand of my hair products? How?

            I honestly don’t recall that hahaha

  • W,

    Did you noticed you linked the video to a sped up version of the album??? I was wondering why it sounded so digitized. I had not listened to it yet or I would have caught it sooner. FYI

    GL

    • The W.

      Oh man, I did not. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • The W.

    As GL pointed, that youtube embed of the full album was jacked up. I’ve changed it to just one song.

    • I’ve seen that original embed before. It’s a slower speed, you just have to click the speed button on the options and change it to 1.25x, but it creates a weird effect.

  • Stockhausen

    I think a big part of a progressive format is incorporating outside influences, such as jazz, avant garde, art music, world/folk music, etc (that does NOT translate to a few weedles and some clean sections). If a band is only operating in the metal realm with influence and stylistic characteristics, it’s hard to label that “progressive” by definition of the word “progress.” But then it’s tricky, as W. points out, to define what outside influences are and how they’re used. Mamaleek’s newest has a TON of outside influence, but I wouldn’t call it a progressive album. On the other hand, Death Karma’s newest has much more of a metal grounding (with some outside influence, of course), but I would call that a progressive album much sooner than Mamaleek’s. Then the idea of the scope of an album comes into play, since we typically associate progressive-minded albums with a larger scope.
    To sum up, outside influences are important to being progressive, maybe, I think, and also scope?

    • Dagon

      What would you call Via Dolorosa? I can only think of “weird”.

      • Stockhausen

        Probably avant-garde/experimental?

        • Dagon

          Yeah, but then again avant-garde is an extremely open tag.

    • I would actually much sooner call Via Dolorosa progressive than Death Karma’s. I look at it as a more-or-less metal album with neo-soul and trip-hop influences (trill) whereas Death Karma doesn’t do a whole lot different from what its members have done elsewhere in Cult of Fire or Lykathea Aflame. In Corn’s discography, I would consider it one of his least progressive works.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdY3ZnETzAU

      • Dagon

        I’m happy to see someone else hearing the trip-hop in it. I’m actually not hugely familiar with trip-hop but it was the first thing that crossed my mind in some moments.

      • Stockhausen

        I absolutely see that, but I can’t not get hung up on the different scopes of the albums. The more intimate feel of Via Dolorosa makes me think avant garde/experimental rather than progressive. I’m not saying Death Karma’s album was particularly progressive, I was using it as an example to point out the problem of my original point. Meaning it all boils down to everyone sucks but me.

  • Void Dweller

    Only derivative and bullet belts are real.

  • I still don’t understand any of this.

    To me:

    Prog=progressive=making the use of extensive tempo and rhythmic changes as a form of expression atached to a genre.

    Dream Theater to me is still prog, Those Darn Gnomes is prog, Gorguts is prog, Cynic is prog…

    I still try to read this and I think you cross progression as experimentation. If that so: older south américa merol would be tagged as progressive because the innovation factor on the form of expression, because they were “pushing the boundaries” of what was merol. I don’t agree with that. Genre tagging it’s a personal decision in the end, I use it to classify moods or “vibes”. That’s what I tried to explain in the first part of the Neofolk guide, and that you, little rascals didn’t discuss.

    My take of music is:

    Language, communication, socialization, artistic expression.

    I don’t value music by the usage of weirdness, odd instruments, novelty. I value music and like music because it makes me feel something.

    • Pretentious is Kvlt O)))

      This is why I love you.

      • Yay!

        Paggli, that Ifing album rulz so much. I listened today Falls of Rauros and I have in queue: The Malediction Fields, from Fen; and Marrow from the Spirit, from Agalloch.

        I know you like “trees’n shit black merol”, so I wanted to share this n_n)

        • Jasper Ringoldsby

          Fall of Rauros rocks my world with every listen. And although I prefer “Ashes Against the Grain”, “Marrow of the Spirit” was still solid.

          >stay “trees’n’shitblackmerol”

          • I like The Mantle more than Ashes Against the Grain, but from what I’ve heard. Both are great albums, of course, Agalloch makes special music.

          • Jasper Ringoldsby

            Mantle was the first album of theirs I heard, so it is dear to me. Mantle is also one of my favorite words. Double win!

          • I love all of their albums, but Marrow of the Spirit was the one that really spoke out to me the most.

          • JR have you checked out Fauna? If you like FoR and Agalloch you may dig them.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbd0Iz2NYx8

          • Jasper Ringoldsby

            The music is good but the vocals were just not quite my jam; and though they make up such a small part of the song as a whole, I’m more of a “vocals” guy than a “music” guy. But I think youre probably the first person to suggest music to me. So thanks!

          • I’m more of a “music” guy I guess, although I do not listen to much music without vocals. Hmm…while I’m beating the Cascadian drum, have you ever heard these guys? The vocals here take a bit of a back seat too, so maybe this won’t be your jam either, but the vocal styles are varied, as is the music.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9BEj9gLfFA

          • Jasper Ringoldsby

            Not a big fan of instrumental music either. I have maybe 2 instrumental albums, and they are both by the same guy. However, I do enjoy songs that are more music than vocals. This is one of those times.
            This is some good shit friend.

          • Yeah, I have some movie sountracks and some instrumental Ulver shit, but that’s about the extent of it. Glad you dig Skagos–they need more love.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Ulver is love, Ulver is life.

          • In the interest of proving you wrong I would say that Shadows of the Sun is not Love and Messe is not Life; otherwise you are quite correct, sir. (75% correct–a new high score.)

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            I love all of their albums. I do not agree with the popular opinion that Shadows is their best, but it is really good. Blood Inside is probably my fav.

          • People say Shadows is the best? Who? Where do these people live? I want to draw dicks on the mail in their mailboxes and burn down their pools.

            Personal faves are Bergtatt and the Willy Blake album. Blood Inside is quite tasty, but I think I like Wars of the Roses a little better. Shadows just bores the shit out of me, to the point where I sold it out of spite.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            I’ve seen and heard a lot of people saying that it’s the best. Wars of The Roses is pretty dank too. When they played England live last year I jizzed hard. Nattens Madrigal is probs my fav of their metal stuff. I heard that their next album will be about Julius Caesar’s assassination. I’m prett excited.

          • Lol TL;DR. Right back at you, you son of a bitch.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Eyyyy fuk u

          • Fangirl.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Guilty as charged.

          • Joke’s on you, HAHa

          • Whatcha guys talking about?

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            We aren’t talkin’ ’bout bleach, why are you so interested?

          • Cuz I like listening to Ulver while chugging down some bleach.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            That’s impossible! You don’t like good music!

          • I like some good music.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            No

          • Here: I’ll give you a list of bands that I consider good, and then you’ll tell me if I like good music or not.

            Opeth
            Ulver
            Between the Buried and Me
            Steven Wilson
            Cobalt
            Blut Aus Nord
            Iron Maiden
            Edge Of Sanity
            Death
            Haken
            Soen
            Agalloch

            That’s all I can think of at the top of my head for now.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Ok I’m game:
            Opeth – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them.
            Ulver – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them
            Between the Buried and Me – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them
            Steven Wilson – isgood, but you don’t actually like
            Cobalt – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them
            Blut Aus Nord – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them
            Iron Maiden – mediocre
            Edge Of Sanity – don’t really care
            Death – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them
            Haken – don’t care
            Soen – don’t care
            Agalloch – they’re good, but you don’t actually like them

            Get rekt

          • You don’t care about EOS? Crimson is one of the best pieces of music ever in my opinion. And Soen are great. I can understand not liking Haken or Iron Maiden tho.

        • KJM

          “trees’n shit black merol”
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfgHWtafAMc

    • God

      I can respect this. Link for Prog president 2016!

    • ME GORAK™

      PROG OR EXPERIMENTAL????????

      https://youtu.be/TBZFA80oSXc

      • KJM

        Awesome is what this is.

      • Dagon

        GORAK!!!

      • KJM

        ME KJM LOVE FANTOMAS!! NOT CARE ABOUT SILLY FAITH NO MORE OR MELVINS!!!

        • Dagon

          U NO CARE ABOUT MELVINS????????? ME DAGON SMASH YOU!!!!

          • KJM

            WHEN KJM SAY THAT, HE MEAN HE WOULD RATHER SEE FANTOMAS AGAIN THAN MELVINS. MELVINS OK, BUT KJM NOT CARE SO MUCH!!!

          • The caveman is turning you guys from Bruce Banner into The Hulk.

          • Sir Tapir the Based™

            Tapir would really enjoy some new Fantomas stuff. I love Melvins, but their latest albums haven’t tickled Le Tapir.

          • KJM

            I’d settle for one more show from them.

        • DUDE listen at 10:28 ish

          • KJM

            ayyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi,ooooooooh

        • ME GORAK™

          ALL BANDS GOOD!!! BUT FANTOMAS UNIQUE!! HOPE NEW ALBUM SOON!!!

        • Beefhammer McPubies XIVIII

          Heard the new Faith No More? It is the bee’s knees.

      • To me, experimental.

        To me, prog is more about order and more akin to “classical”.

        This stuff is filled with weird noises. It’s well constructed, but the direction isn’t about expressing something about the rhythms and more about the overall vibe that the weirdness offer.

      • Óðinn

        Experimental / Avant-garde Metal.

      • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

        Mike’s love for the Boredoms really oozes on this Fantomas album.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDzBpQ0GcoU

    • The W.

      I think this a semantics thing. To me, progressive means pushing the boundaries forward. Experimental is like tossing the boundaries out

      • If that so, I think you must have novelty as an intrinsic characteristic of “pushing the boundaries” in your concept. That’s the “ugh factor”, the “it’s the first time I’m listening this/it’s the first artist doing this”.

        Beware, I’m not trying to ditch you and your thinking. I’m just trying to understand and diferentiate what I think it’s the exact concept on what you are defining here.

        • The W.

          I think you’re getting it. Truthfully, I’d say very few albums actually really push the boundaries.

      • Also:

        I was always despised the tag ‘avant-garde’. But, do you think it’s interchangeable with ‘experimental’?

    • Beefhammer McPubies XIVIII

      Some underground prog metal for you:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUaSi0raSiY

  • Kevin Nash & Friends

    This is a good question W. Progressive is not just about weedlies and deedlies. It’s about pushing the boundaries of music to places that people haven’t gone yet.

    • KJM

      It’s about Roger Dean album covers and long capes.

  • I’m not a fan prog per say but all music is progressive in some, way, shape or form. Metal progresses when new artists borrow from older ideas and add variances to the formula. Example – Entombedcore. To be fair I dug the one Leprous song I heard and think it appeals to an audience beyond prog.

  • Óðinn

    This is an interesting question. Thanks to W. for raising a thoughtful question.

    Progressive, like the term Avant-garde (vanguard), denotes that you are first, ahead of the curve, and that others will follow your path at some point. Once others come to your position, you are no longer progressive or avant-garde, assuming you’ve stayed in the same place. Artistically, these terms can present a problem if you try to assign rigid ideals to what “progressive” art means. If everybody is doing the same thing, and has been for some time, how is it progressive? So, what is “progressive” or “avant-garde” could either mean that you are ahead of the curve at any point in time, or it could mean that your music falls into a category with rigid ideals like Prog Rock, which may have been ahead of the curve at one time, but has become it’s own fairly rigid category. I like to look forward, so I prefer to think in terms of the former. To me, a band like Yes might be “Prog Rock”, but their sound is no longer progressive in 2015.

    • old_man_doom

      I like your definition. I would also add that there’s almost a certain level of arrogance that goes along with claiming to be “progressive” in the sense that a band is, as you’ve put it, “ahead of the curve,” leaving others behind. I think there’s a fine line between being revolutionary and being insufferable (case in point: Liturgy). I haven’t parsed it out all the way yet, but I think this is part of the reason why progressive and avant-garde tags are somewhat scorned by the community at large. I don’t know how clear I am being here because this a pretty complex epistemic issue for metal.

      It is also a pretty high-stakes issue for me, as someone who labels his music with the “progressive” tag. I’m not even sure if it is at this point. I just like to make my music with no restraints, just whatever I’m feeling fits the song’s atmosphere, and sometimes that includes replacing guitars with synths or having sprawling soundscapes of weirdness. Is my music progressing the future of other musical endeavors to come? Probably not, but it challenges my personal sensibilities and comforts, so I like to think that I’m doing something that is different, if only just to me.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Speaking of progressive (and just plain awesome stuff), who’s seen the pictures of Shining playing on a goddamned rock outcropping (Trolltunga or “troll’s tongue”) 2,300 feet high? Fuck.

    https://instagram.com/shiningnorway/

  • JW(E)G

    One of few albums in my Bandcamp list that I feel captures the spirit of the “experimental” end of what can be termed “progressive”. It’s very nearly avant-garde even…

    https://scythia.bandcamp.com/album/sov-a-space-metal-odyssey
    (comic space opera set to black-jazz folk metal with vague hints of industrial-metal weedlies)

    Everything else in my collection with the ‘progressive’ tag falls into an ambiguously-bordered ‘atmospheric black metal’ subgenre – though the progressive nature trappings create enough diversity within the one tag that it’s tempting to create even further subdivisions (PS: don’t. It gets messy).

  • Óðinn
  • Rho Stone

    I always thought progressive music was not about progress, but progression. What I mean is that it’s not about pushing the boundaries of music as a whole but a term of composition. Progressive music doesn’t tie itself to traditional song structure (verse, chorus, verse) and doesn’t restrain itself to logical scale progression or time signatures, like both academic (classical) music and all that derivates from the blues (rock, metal, etc.) does.

    • The W.

      Again, this is an issue of semantics. Are we talking about Prog music or progressive music?

      • I FINALLY FOUND THE WORDS IN MY HEAD OF HOW TO EXPLAIN YOU MY POINT OF VIEW!! 😀 😀 😀

        The key is the word you’ve used: semantics.

        progressive music=innovative and vanguardist structures/instruments/theory/style. This is what I understood as

        Prog=the genre as a whole, from a compositional aspect; doesn’t need to be innovative because is a language.

        What I wanted to explain since the beginning: if you use the semantic mindset, you have to name the things by the name they are. Semantics doesn’t involve ambiguity and doesn’t involve heavy interchangeable synonyms; using the word progressive as another term for “tangible progress” is, in fact, going againts the principles of modern semantics: every word have an exact meaning in the end that cannot be deviated.

        You can feel that it’s something weird because Rho and I are in the same line. Like Rho said, it’s a language, it’s a musical perspective, in which you don’t use verse/chorus/verse as a form to express a message and trascend genres, it’s an attitude toward the expression.

        I still give you the benefit of doubt with this:

        Some people says that Spanish is a very direct language and we have plenty of synonyms in which every word means something very specific: it’s not the same say ‘casa’, from ‘hogar’, from ‘residencia’ (those words are still interpret in english, don’t worry), but what I want to explain is that spanish language value very much the specifcness in the spoken and written word.

        There are two reasons, and I don’t know why, we disgress in our positions (guac/you against rho/link); or is it a really genre tagging confusion as a whole (which we explained both here) or it’s a mere cultural reason.

        *phew!*

        Hope I made it good 🙁

        • The W.

          Could be a cultural thing. Also, as Old Man Doom says somewhere in here, this is also a bit of an epistemic thing where you start categorizing things on a philosophical and knowledge level.

          Anyway, the English language flows like a river, and the meaning of words are often not concrete and can shift over time. Literally used to mean “actually”, but its common use now is closer to “figuratively” which is the antonym of literally. Very strange.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Personally, I think it’s easy to fall in a mental ditch regarding the genre labeled Progressive because the bands that laid the groundwork were actually experimenting but they did so with a solid foundation of knowledge & musicianship. IMHO, I think when you abandon melody & structure for your musical ideas that is when you are crossing over into the Experimental genre. Mike Patton’s “Adult Theme for Voice” is a perfect example…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qu9z5S6TO4

  • Max

    The discrepancy between “Progressive Metal” and “progressive metal as in Dream Theater clones” was very comprehensively dealt with in Jeff Wagner’s Mean Deviation book, which spends a lot of time talking about the Big Three (Fates Warning, Queensryche and Dream Theater) but devotes equal time to the likes of Voi Vod and Celtic Frost. It’s well worth a read.

    When I’m being lazy, my personal take on the definition has always been that a progressive rock band is any band which does something on their current record that they didn’t do on their last one. So more broadly I’ve always seen “Rock” and “Progressive rock” as basically synonymous terms. The Beatles certainly qualified as either.

    But I accept that such a definition potentially oversells a band’s artistic achievements. Were Judas Priest being “progressive” just because they used guitar synthesizers on Turbo when they hadn’t previously? Especially since there’s nothing you can do with a guitar-synth that you can’t theoretically do with a keyboard-synth, which was hardly an unprecedented instrument for a rock band of any genre by 1986.

    Ditto for adding a mandolin or bagpipes: It might change a band’s sound and even songwriting considerably. But does it change the overall language of rock or metal? AC/DC or Korn with bagpipes doesn’t sound even notably different from AC/DC or Korn without.

    Similarly, I’m not sure we can bestow the honour “progressive” on somebody who figures out, between albums, how to play shredding guitar solos where previously he’d only mastered power chords. It’s a massive progression personally, but it’s not unprecedented in music generally and it’s starting from a low bar, whatever the merits of good ole power chords. So I wouldn’t necessarily label, say, Tom G. Warrior’s output between Apocalyptic Raids and To Mega Therion as a hallmark chapter in “progressive metal” even though other parts of his work unquestionably qualify.

    We should probably also disqualify outright genre-hopping. In 20 years, hardcore has basically gone from being a punk subgenre to a metal subgenre by almost every conceivable measure except haircuts. There’s a ton of progression there, but whether it has advanced music as a whole is debatable; especially given that metal has been mastered in advance by actual metal bands.

    Self-conscious experimentation, too, is perhaps stretching the definition further than warranted, once we get into “unlistenable for its own sake”-type fare. Are Metallica progressing with something like Lulu?

    What we’re left with is: “Progressive” anything, be it rock or metal, is any band who are developing the internal musical language of their genre somehow, in a way that so far only they (along with whichever also-rans aren’t going to get the credit) are speaking. In other words – if you can’t write a certain type of metal song (or capture a certain type of mood, etc.) without using a violin, then by using one when nobody else so far has and writing a new type of metal song, you’ve entered prog territory. If you’ve figured out how to incorporate jazz-fusion techniques into a 20-minute metal song when nobody else has so far done either, then you’re being progressive. If you employ a time-signature that other metal bands have so far avoided, you’re being progressive.

    Once those particular precedents are set, however, they lose their “progressive” tag; because the progression has already been ventured. At that point, “progressive metal” becomes a checklist of tropes (as W. put it) as surely as “death metal” does – bearing in mind that death metal has proved every bit as progressive throughout its history, despite being brazenly generic.

    What we’re left with today is a set form which happens to include long songs, tempo changes, keyboards and high-end playing skills. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but nothing unprecedented about it either. You could just as easily call it “Rush metal” or something. Just as, in an alternate universe, djent might have been called “Meshuggah metal” and gothic metal might have been called “Paradise Lost metal”. And death metal might have been called…well, “Death metal.”

    • The W.

      Max, this is the most thorough comment in this thread, so thank you. I hadn’t really thought too much about a microcosm of bands themselves progressing versus the macrocosm of the genre as a whole, but your definition (and mine as well) leads me to the further question of whether we can really tell a band is pushing the genre? To me, this Leprous album sounds very unique, but there are elements other bands have used. Who’s to say some other band I’ve never heard didn’t also do the same thing?

      I realize this is a strike against my on point, in a sense, but I guess it all remains largely empirical.

  • Beefhammer McPubies XIVIII

    One of the best prog rock songs/bands ever. Sooooooooo very underrated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK7_8Rr7ZU

  • Lacertilian

    Before I delve into the comments (and find out just how wrong I am) here I’m going to briefly mention what I consider to be ‘progressive’ music.

    I consider a song to be progressive if it doesn’t follow a standard structure of intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc. If riffs and/or themes are not repeated often then I guess the song progresses somewhere. Kind of a simplistic viewpoint but I find it easy to get caught up in the maelstrom of artistic concepts if I can’t be reductive in some way.

    Similarly, for an album to be progressive I think it needs to flow from one track into another and take you on a journey where you end up somewhere that doesn’t necessarily correlate with where you began.

    But again, what do I know, I’m just a reptilian bystander in a world of apes.

  • Count_Breznak

    Sadly, most of the time “our most progressive album yet” = “we sing clean now”.