Page 1 of 2
#1
This is hardly a new argument, and if I'm being my usual anal self, I'll delete. Wall of text warning.


How is it possible to define progressive metal? Most people will say that it's something of a mix between prog rock and (*genre*) metal; the obvious example is Dream Theater (Yes-style long songs + thrash, bit of power etc). This 'long songs' argument is always something I've found a bit confusing: why is something inherently progressive, if that's the term we're going to use, just because it has long song lengths, usually (but not always) with a standard that's not strict verse-chorus-verse?

Take a song, any song, by anyone, ever. It consists of a one or more sections, arranged in a certain way; it can be a 20 minute-long symphony, it can be a 3-minute, catchy little thing with verse-chorus-verse, it can be 10 minutes of the same riff over and over again. The idea is to fit all these sections together and make what we call a song; a clearly defined chunk of music. Long songs will adhere to this pattern of variation, repetition and so on, but will still basically be a bunch of sections one after another. Sure, they might cross-reference, have motifs, be unpredictably arranged, but at the end of the day a song can usually be broken down into its constituent parts. In this way, a 10-minute song is inherently the same as a 3-minute one, it's just longer, or has more sections. It doesn't necessarily have more complexity in structure and so on (though the assumption is that the song is constructed in a more complicated way).

A song is a song, so what makes it 'progressive'? Is it the song lengths? Most prog rock ended up being all about writing complex, long songs, and hopefully making them coherent and not having Phil Fucking Collins whining away. Gabriel was better anyway... but I digress. It was also, and I think this is the key element, about introducing things into a rock song that one wouldn't ordinarily expect, be it a flute solo or the incorporation of unusual instruments, or a structure which might be a bit closer to that of a classical song than something the Kinks would write. It didn't have to be a long song, it just had to be, if you will, cleverly written, if that makes any sense. In a way, the idea of prog rock songwriting was to do something interesting, different or intentionally something weird (which is where the line between avant-garde music and prog rock starts to blur).

This is where I want to define 'progress' to be a bit more helpful, since it's the word that we derive 'progression' and indeed 'progressive' from. Best I can find:

Quote by thefreedictionary
prog·ress (prgrs, -rs, prgrs)
n.
1. Movement, as toward a goal; advance.
2. Development or growth: students who show progress.
3. Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization: a believer in human progress. See Synonyms at development.
4. A ceremonial journey made by a sovereign through his or her realm.


The general gist of it, I think, is that the use of 'progression' in music is that it's trying to be better than non-progressive music by . But where has the need for complexity come from? Most of these prog rock bands sort of imposed complexity in instrumentation or songwriting onto themselves, for better or worse. Of course, they probably didn't derive all this from the word 'progressive' as I anally am, but they wrote songs in order to make them interesting, or different, or just difficult to play. The term 'progressive' was a loose way of describing rock bands which were stepping out of the box and experimenting.


On to prog metal. Most bog-standard prog metal just adopts the idea of having long songs, and often ends up being quite self-indulgent because of technical skill. I can think of many a song that ends up being far, far too long and complicated for its own good. But how does this make prog metal in the vein of DT progressive in any way, if all it's doing is taking the ideas that prog rock musicians had 20 years before, and making it a bit heavier (and sometimes not even bothering to do that)? Surely that's not progressive, since progressive music aims to progress, not ape, or copy, or start being predictable or straightforward. Long songs have been done before, so has the introduction of new instruments, and so has blinding technical skill, so it's understandable that the genre that often calls itself prog metal doesn't really bring anything new to the table, much of the time; I'm not aiming to denigrate prog metal or anything, don't get me wrong - but why call it progressive any more, when it hasn't progressed in years?


tl;dr: How is most progressive metal progressive?


I realise that I have probably written this incredibly badly and in a very confusing way.
#3
Hey guys I think the latest Emmure alnum is really prog. Like all these influences to creat a really porgressive sound I guess.
#5
I consider King Crimson to be progressive in the way that they use strange timings, exotic chords, different instruments and being generally awesome, the length of the song is a by-product.

Quote by hazzmatazz
youmakemesmile...

Quote by sebastian_96
Today I stole a girls tampons for being such an annoying bitch.





MUFC


My love for you
Is like a truck
Berserker.
#6
I also ponder upon this but not every night.

But why do we call rock, rock? Do the lyrics pertain to geology?

It's just a tag.
#7
Well, I think that what you're handling with here is more of an originality issue than a 'progressive' issue, although in my eyes it is very important that progressive metal is original, and keeps bringing new influences into it continually, but the biggest point I think is that the music itself is starting to become less and less important, even in prog..

with musical in general you get more and more artist who don't seem to be able to do anything but copying a previous artist/band, and with metal in general it seems to result in some kind of competition about who is the best. (or in a lot of cases it also ends up in being nothing more than copying something because that's all they can do..)
#8
Quote by jibran
I also ponder upon this but not every night.

But why do we call rock, rock? Do the lyrics pertain to geology?

It's just a tag.


Agreed. Any actual reference towards the dictionary definition of progressive is gone, if it ever existed.
Up The Boro!
#9
True progressive music just progresses and is generally unconventional. Unfortunately, "progressive" rock and metal is starting to become generic and have its own sound, which would pretty much be regressive.
#10
Quote by Dayn
True progressive music just progresses and is generally unconventional. Unfortunately, "progressive" rock and metal is starting to become generic and have its own sound, which would pretty much be regressive.


Basically summed my argument up in about 1/10th of the length

Quote by jibran
I also ponder upon this but not every night.

But why do we call rock, rock? Do the lyrics pertain to geology?

It's just a tag.



Yeah, but it's a tag which doesn't even make sense, and it's not a tag in the way most genres or subgenres are tagged for mere convenience. Death metal, for example, is just a cool name for a kind of music, whereas progressive (x) is supposed to indicate a method of songwriting rather than just a sound. Nowadays, it really is just a sound.
Last edited by webbtje at Sep 24, 2009,
#11
My theory is that the Prog-Rock/Metal does not actually need to be long, but needs to tell a story, with each song being a chapter in the story, and each album being a volume in the story- take Coheed & Cambria as an example, their songs aren't that long, but tell the story of Armory Wars.
just having one album like this isn't enough, meaning that Mastodon do not fit into this category at the moment, it takes a few volumes to make a saga.

that's my take on it anyway, I'm probably wrong, but at the end of the day- it doesn't matter. If you like what you're listening to, then that should be enough.
??? Fund: cba to keep up with it.
will at least try when I get a jerb
੧_\\\

yours,

Alex (mcfreaki)
#12
It's a tricky one to define, most definitely. I like to use it to define the more unconventional bands, that step outside a genre's borders. I'd consider Gojira to be a good example of Progressive Death Metal; but their sound has been copied a fair bit recently.
Quote by DrewsGotTheLife
yea man, who ever doesnt like pantera or think they suck doesnt like metal, end of discussion, they changed the freakin world n made history, so don't be sayin they suck, have respect, same goes for machine head n lamb of god cuz their good too
#13
Quote by webbtje


Yeah, but it's a tag which doesn't even make sense, and it's not a tag in the way most genres or subgenres are tagged for mere convenience. Death metal, for example, is just a cool name for a kind of music, whereas progressive (x) is supposed to indicate a method of songwriting rather than just a soung. Nowadays, it really is just a sound.


Defs,
E.g

Hardcore = hardcore punk
Emo = Emotional Hardcore

Most music = emotional

Hardcore = definitely emotional!

Emo = HXC ?

It's all words these days
#14
Eh, it's just a genre with a specific sound, and because of what the phrase literally means eclectic, unpredictable metal that doesn't fit nicely into any other genres tends to get thrown in there as well.

I don't see much of a problem with the naming of it, to accurately classify the eclectic stuff you'd probably have to make up a genre for each band, I just wish there was more of that kind of stuff as opposed to the Dream Theatre/Symphony X bollocks all over the place.
I'LL PUNCH A DONKEY IN THE STREETS OF GALWAY
#15
Quote by whalepudding
Eh, it's just a genre with a specific sound, and because of what the phrase literally means eclectic, unpredictable metal that doesn't fit nicely into any other genres tends to get thrown in there as well.

I don't see much of a problem with the naming of it, to accurately classify the eclectic stuff you'd probably have to make up a genre for each band, I just wish there was more of that kind of stuff as opposed to the Dream Theatre/Symphony X bollocks all over the place.



Kind of what I think too. I refer to stuff as prog metal for the sake of convenience, but I think of the really progressive ones as being the ones who are genuinely doing something unique and different, or at least were at the time they started putting their stuff out. Dev, Meshuggah, Akercocke, etc etc.
#16
Quote by webbtje
Dev, Meshuggah, Akercocke, etc etc.


Woah, I've started calling that Avant Garde Metal.
Think about it; 20 years from now Web Junior could be asking 'why is avant garde metal called avant garde metal? It's not like it's against the grain any more'

Weird but plausible though...
#17
Quote by jibran
Woah, I've started calling that Avant Garde Metal.
Think about it; 20 years from now Web Junior could be asking 'why is avant garde metal called avant garde metal? It's not like it's against the grain any more'

Weird but plausible though...



I already think that now, since a lot of them tend to be a bit irritating and try to out-weird each other
#18
Quote by webbtje

On to prog metal. Most bog-standard prog metal just adopts the idea of having long songs, and often ends up being quite self-indulgent because of technical skill. I can think of many a song that ends up being far, far too long and complicated for its own good. But how does this make prog metal in the vein of DT progressive in any way, if all it's doing is taking the ideas that prog rock musicians had 20 years before, and making it a bit heavier (and sometimes not even bothering to do that)? Surely that's not progressive, since progressive music aims to progress, not ape, or copy, or start being predictable or straightforward. Long songs have been done before, so has the introduction of new instruments, and so has blinding technical skill, so it's understandable that the genre that often calls itself prog metal doesn't really bring anything new to the table, much of the time; I'm not aiming to denigrate prog metal or anything, don't get me wrong - but why call it progressive any more, when it hasn't progressed in years?



Thank you. I'm sick and tired of bands who use the term "progressive" to label their band when really they are another copy and paste band with melodic leads. I would go on but this isn't the time to rip on the band I don't like. Plus, that wouldn't be very nice either
| (• ◡•)| (❍ᴥ❍ʋ
#19
Can we at least agree that Dream Theater are wankers of the highest degree?
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#20
Quote by webbtje
I already think that now, since a lot of them tend to be a bit irritating and try to out-weird each other



Not mentioning any names

psyopus

Quote by dead-fish
Can we at least agree that Dream Theater are wankers of the highest degree?


Talented wankers IMO
#21
Quote by dead-fish
Can we at least agree that Dream Theater are wankers of the highest degree?


Meh, it was mostly because of them that I got the whole train of thought (lolol) going, as I really don't think they've genuinely done much that's actually new or progressive in absolute years.
#22
Petrucci sure does have a huge wanking arm though
| (• ◡•)| (❍ᴥ❍ʋ
#23
Quote by jibran

Talented wankers IMO

Yes, I'm sure they jizz for miles and miles...
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#24
Quote by jibran
Not mentioning any names

psyopus


Talented wankers IMO


Dude like them or not Psyopus do weird like I do picking my nose.

It feels perfectly natural and sometimes you can find the perfect nugget.
#25
Quote by dead-fish
Yes, I'm sure they jizz for miles and miles...

And last as long as their songs.
#26
Their songs are incredibly fun to play, but I can't say I can get much enjoyment from listening to them.

And yeah, collossal wankers.
I'LL PUNCH A DONKEY IN THE STREETS OF GALWAY
#27
Quote by webbtje
Meh, it was mostly because of them that I got the whole train of thought (lolol) going, as I really don't think they've genuinely done much that's actually new or progressive in absolute years.

Well, they are rehashing their old tricks, which were progressive back then, the question is, are they still progressive?
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#28
Quote by LucasGtrGod
Dude like them or not Psyopus do weird like I do picking my nose.

It feels perfectly natural and sometimes you can find the perfect nugget.


This is what you call natural?

DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME? DO YOU LOVE ME?
| (• ◡•)| (❍ᴥ❍ʋ
#29
Quote by dead-fish
Well, they are rehashing their old tricks, which were progressive back then, the question is, are they still progressive?



I think we established the answer to that question a few posts ago.


I guess the true great prog bands today are Isis, Baroness, Pelican etc etc you get my drift.
#30
Quote by jibran
I think we established the answer to that question a few posts ago.

A few posts ago, I was whining about Dream Theater, what's your point?

Prog metal isn't about sticking sections together, it's about utilizing a specific approach to songwriting. Dream Theater still use that style, hence they're still progressive.

It doesn't say anywhere that progressive should be groundbreaking. Loads of artists were never called progressive, but were hugely influencial. On the other hand, loads of artists used a few aspects of prog, and were never called progressive either.

Writing long songs isn't enough, being groundbreaking isn't necessary, being technical isn't necessary, doing weird stuff isn't enough. It's the whole package.
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
#31
Quote by dead-fish
Can we at least agree that Dream Theater are wankers of the highest degree?


But they aren't wankers. They do lots of very interesting things in their music, have the ability to compose gorgeous melodies and songs, come up with odd rhythms, and to top it off they can all play with a ridiculous amount of technical ability. Yes, they have written some songs that are kind of wanky, but those songs are almost always the "heavy" songs where that kind of thing is accepted, if not expected. But even so, when they do wank, it still sounds badass. Not all of their music is even that heavy, and less of it is wank. The songs they've released as singles the past couple years tend to fall into the wank category because the single releases are trying to appeal to a mainstream metal fan. But when you go back farther in their catalog you will find a lot of incredible music.
#32
Quote by dead-fish
A few posts ago, I was whining about Dream Theater, what's your point?




Further beyond that. More or less said, tags don't represent music etc etc
Not really pressing a point


Quote by dead-fish

Prog metal isn't about sticking sections together, it's about utilizing a specific approach to songwriting. Dream Theater still use that style, hence they're still progressive.



It''s become a standard genre for me, which is unfortunate.
#33
Quote by dead-fish


Prog metal isn't about sticking sections together, it's about utilizing a specific approach to songwriting. Dream Theater still use that style, hence they're still progressive.



But the specific approach to songwriting will still create sections which need to be pieced together to create a song, however that is done.
#34
^That's done in every music! It just proves my point, that looking at it that way doesn't mean that progressive music a mute genre.
Quote by chase09
wank wank wank

Yes, obviously, a band that writes technically for the sake of being technical isn't wanky at all.
Dyer's Eve is awesome, and has an abnormally large penis, which doesn't act as any hinderance to his everyday life despite its freakishly large size.
For unrivaled obedience, user King_ofKumbucha is awarded this spot of honor.
Last edited by dead-fish at Sep 24, 2009,
#36
The term Progressive was first used in music to elaborate upon bands that were doing that to the dictionary's definition. But I think over time it has come to mean less it's true meaning and more a tag for a certain style.

Thats my brief take on it anyway.
LAMMERGEIER
Disclaimer: Dyer's Eve can not be held responsible for the loss of time spent or the insult to your aural senses as a result of exploring this link
#38
tell me this, does atheist count, or is it just technical jazz fusion shit?
Free your mind and your ass will follow
The kingdom of heaven is within
Open up your funky mind and you can fly

Sumdeus
Last edited by romencer17 at Sep 24, 2009,
#39
I'm going with Dyers.


Prog is more of a sound than a mindset now.
Quote by ChemicalFire
The point of underground bands is their not popular or famous most of the time. Thus there is a good chance they suck.
#40
Quote by webbtje
I already think that now, since a lot of them tend to be a bit irritating and try to out-weird each other


Maudlin of The Well/Kayo Dot, Kekal (before Audible Minority), and Sculptured are some of the only bands that consistently write music that happens to be avant-garde as a by-product, not the other way around.

I'd like to establish that there is a difference between being progressive, and just making technical music.
Troo prog bands border on the edge of avant-garde, with a more concise and coherent approach.
Tech bands favor complex instrumentation, but it is generally more deriviative and "unoriginal".

Which makes me wonder about the likes of Protest The Hero, Between the Buried and Me, and even the #12 (I know they aren't considered troo metal, but Worse Than Alone forays into avant-jazz make me jizz, ******).
I consider them prog, because they are generally unconventional and truely moving music forward imo.

Huedit:
Quote by jibran

I guess the true great prog bands today are Isis, Baroness, Pelican etc etc you get my drift.


Post-metal is closer to experimental (a-g) music than anything else.
Great bands, though I haven't heard much from Baroness.

I forgot to mention the work of Colin Marston, but then again, he gets catalogged as a-g muzak.
Last edited by huevos at Sep 24, 2009,
Page 1 of 2