Who is the best progressive metal band of all time? That's what we put to Ultimate Guitar readers this week, and they pulled out the goods in a big way. Progressive metal is one of the most popular genres around these parts, and if anyone can tell you who is better than the rest, it's them. So which progressive metal band is better than the rest? Find out here.
These ambitious new-school prog hopes know more than a thing or two about brain-smashing polyrythms, with a good dose of melodic metal to balance the brutal passages. With three guitarists, it's no wonder their last album "Periphery II: This Time It's Personal" won the Ultimate Guitar award for Best Album of the Year in 2012.
9. Symphony X
This New Jersey act first found fame in Japan in the mid-'90s, but the rest of the global prog community soon picked up on their talents. While leaning more towards symphonic and traditional metal, they draw on many elements.
8. Porcupine Tree
Steven Wilson once saw this band as his solo project (albeit with a raft of very talented musicians), but it eventually grew so established in its own right that he's had to go and start a new solo project under his own name. They're currently on hiatus, and with Wilson chasing a career in the film scoring world, fans are eager to know when they might reform.
7. Protest the Hero
If one band has emerged as a major new favourite among the Ultimate Guitar audience in 2013, it's Protest the Hero. Their latest album is fan funded, which shows how much support they've garnered from early releases on proper labels. While their sound is certainly very new-school compared to other entrants on this list, their technical writing ability certainly earns them a place in the top 10 today.
French technical metal. Now there's a set of words you don't see together every day. But that's what Gojira do best. They sounds a lot like bands on the American label Hydra Head, but have their own level of brutality which is hard to match.
5. Dream Theater
One of the best known and most influential progressive bands of all time, with songs as long and sprawling as a book from "Lord of the Rings." Foudning member Mike Portnoy left in 2010 amidst heavy drama in the Theater camp, though new drummer Mike Mangini has impressed many with his ability to fill such a large pair of shoes and bring his own sound to the table.
4. Between the Buried and Me
With six studio albums under their below, BTBAM have earned a fervent following - including the aforementioned Mike Portnoy. They bounce between all kinds of metal styles, from death metal to thrash and beyond, but they know how to have a soft side too.
Magnificent and wonderfully introspective music. Tool are known for experimenting with mathematics in their work, but don't stick blindly to rules that don't sound good in practice. Instead, the results are an astounding mix of human celebration and a huge metal sound. Fantastic.
Mastodon do progressive metal in style, and make their songs sound effortless compared to the cerebral efforts from others on this list. A Mastodon is a large, heavy, extinct animal - these guys sound just as heavy, but they're alive and kicking with a tour show that wows crowds around the world.
Your winners this week are Opeth, the Swedish progressive rock masters led by Mikael Akerfeldt. With everything from traditional folk to the blackest of black metal influencing their sound, they've established themselves as a defining progressive metal act - with a little help from Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, who pushed them to produce an experimental masterpiece with "Blackwater Park."
That's the end of our top 10 progressive metal artists. Hit 'Like' to teach your friends a thing or two about great music, and let us know who your personal favourite is in the comments. Artwork by Dan Luvisi