It turns out, hip-hop doesn’t have a monopoly on guest vocalist appearances. Because progressive music emphasizes both experimentation and dynamic contrast, artists inevitably seek out different voices to add to their songs. Many of the following artists are fans of each other, and have toured together in the past. It’s always a fun surprise when one of your favorite singers from a relatively obscure band shows up on the record of another one of your favorite, relatively obscure bands.

I chose these songs based on a couple criteria. First, how awesome is the song? Is it worth my time? The answer has to be “yes.” Second, how essential is the guest appearance to the success of the song? Does it lend something the band couldn’t present otherwise that really makes the song? With those criteria in mind, here’s my top 5 guest vocalist appearances: (more…)

Remember Dimmu Borgir? Well they’re back, in prog form. Eonian is Dimmu’s first album in eight years, following 2010’s Abrahadabra. What sets Eonian apart? Well, simply put, this album sounds more like Epica than Dimmu. They’ve gone whole hog, banking on big choral vocals, strings, horns, keys, and there’s guitar in there, too. (more…)

Does China djent? Apparently. Von Citizen, an instrumental djent band out of Guangzhou, China, have dropped their debut album, Sentience, and it’s a pretty good one. Von Citizen is basically Intervals, Scale the Summit, and Joe Satriani merged into one. The music utilizes a lot of guitar layers and atmospheric synth to create vast but clean soundscapes that are regularly grounded by groovy, punchy djent rhythms. So, by no means is Von Citizen original, but I do think they masterfully combine a lot of what is good in the instrumental djent world, working in the tradition of Animals as Leaders and Cloudkicker. (more…)

Ámr is the seventh full-length album from Ihsahn’s solo work away from Norwegian black metal band, Emperor. Ihsahn has consistently been putting out quality albums roughly every two years, and Ámr lands 25 months after his most recent, well-received album, Arktis. (more…)

One of the beautiful things about progressive music is that it expects listeners to have more than a three minute attention span. These artists understand how to craft songs that are meant to be listened to in succession. Sure, it’s great to enjoy an à la carte selection from time to time, but many artists intend their albums to be greater than the sum of their parts.

For the committed listener, there is no greater pay-off than absorbing an entire album front to back, and discovering all of its secrets. One of the most powerful elements tying a concept together is the motif—those great moments when you notice something familiar, either consciously or subconsciously.  With this in mind, I present to you my top five favorite prog metal callback moments: (more…)

It’s been 14 years since A Perfect Circle’s last album, eMOTIVe. Now, after over a decade of hiatus, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Billy Howerdel have realized a new vision for their collaboration. Eat the Elephant is a different beast altogether. It is by far the band’s softest and most poppy album, squashing any hope for a return to the likes of Mer de Noms. For better or worse, the APC of 2000 is gone. (more…)

Automata I is the the first half of a two part concept album from prog metal giants Between the Buried and Me. Clocking in at a mere 35 minutes, Automata I definitely feels like half an album, given the run time of BTBAM’s previous full-length releases. In many ways, this venture is reminiscent of 2011’s two part concept album, Parallax: The Hypersleep Dialogues, the first part of which was a half-hour long. The second Automata is tentatively set to be released sometime in July of 2018, and it will be interesting to see whether it ultimately made sense conceptually to release this in two parts as opposed to one package.

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Welcome to the Progress Report, a blog for folks who love metal music, but get bored easily. This site seeks to highlight all that’s new and exciting in the metal world. We will focus primarily on progressive and melodic death metal, but will also cover djent, post metal, post rock, and softer prog bands that distinquish themselves.

The Progress Report will primarily bring you editorial articles, especially album reviews, and opinion pieces on the genre in general. Expect to mostly see reviews with high ratings, as we wish not to waste too much of your time. The point of all this is to bring you what we consider the cream of the crop—acts that may be lost in the barrage of music on the greater blog-o-sphere.

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