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Hidden Treasures - March Metal Madness (Progressive Metal)

March Metal Madness continues this week with a trip into the progressive side of Metal. We're going to span a lot of time in 4 tracks in the hopes that this week playlist captures one of Metals most interesting and best sub-genres. Progressive. First a little background courtesy of Wiki-Pedia and sponsored by Jons-mind-o-pedia...

Progressive metal blended elements of heavy metal and progressive rock music, taking the loud "aggression" and amplified electric guitar-driven sound of the former, with the more experimental, complex and "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter. Progressive metal often utilises the conceptual themes associated with progressive rock. Throughout the years, progressive metal has borrowed influences from several other genres, including classical and jazz fusion music.

Whilst the genre emerged towards the late-1980s, it was not until the 1990s that progressive metal achieved commercial success. Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Tool and Fates Warning are a few examples of progressive metal bands who achieved commercial success; additionally, heavy metal bands such as Megadeth incorporated elements of progressive music in their work. Progressive metal's popularity started to decline towards the end of the 1990s, but it remains a largely underground genre with a committed fan base.

Well, I'm not sure of that decline part. It sure hasn't declined in my view of things. I sure wish our sponsor would double check their facts! Onto this weeks playlist...


Fly By Night

1 - By-Tor and the Snow Dog

The songs "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" and "Rivendell" are examples of the inclusion of fantasy themes into Rush's music. "By-Tor & the Snow Dog" was inspired by Rush roadie Howard Ungerleider's story of him staying at Anthem records manager Ray Danniels' house, where Danniels' German Shepherd growled at him, and a tiny dog also owned by Danniels tried to jump on him. Ungerleider told Rush about it and they thought it was hilarious. This song at the end of side one of the original LP has a recording of jingle sounds which continues into the locked groove and thus plays indefinitely on manual record players - Very metal!!

Iron Maiden
Piece of Mind

2 - To Tame a Land

Nearly every song on the album was inspired by movies or literature, whether it's history, mythology, sci-fi, or fantasy; this approach got them tagged as a thinking-man's metal band. No less than four songs are about battles and warriors, and a couple are about flying, underscoring the heights of the drama that the band is aiming for. The album closes on a big, progressive note with "To Tame a Land," an epic retelling of Frank Herbert's Dune that evokes the desert planet via Middle Eastern guitar melodies. In the end, even if Piece of Mind is the most obviously inconsistent of the classic Maiden trilogy, its many high points are no less awe-inspiring, and it's no less essential for anyone with even the most basic interest in heavy metal.

Dream Theater
Metropolis, Pt.2: Scenes From a Memory

3 - Scene Four: Beyond This Life

Few bands subscribe to their dense blend of progressive rock and post-Halen metal, and those that do usually don't have major-label contracts, the way Dream Theater does. There was a point where they tried to straighten out their sound somewhat, as they flirted with straight-ahead, laid-back metal on 1997's Falling into Infinity, but with its 1999 studio sequel, Scenes from a Memory, Dream Theater delves straight into old-fashioned prog rock. Scenes from a Memory is an unabashed concept album, told in two acts, about the 1928 murder of a young woman and how a modern man is haunted by the crime. A convoluted, difficult tale is told in a convoluted, difficult fashion, with no less than four tracks clocking in at well over ten minutes and three others ranging from 6:30 to 8:50. Clearly, this is intended as some sort of masterwork, and what's remarkable is that Dream Theater comes close to creating a masterwork with Scenes from a Memory. The album plays more like a suite than a collection of individual songs.

Porcupine Tree

4 - Shallow

The album is based on a screenplay written by Steven Wilson and Mike Bennion, and is essentially a ghost story. Wilson had expressed the intention to eventually have this film script made into a movie. Porcupine Tree have always been pigeonholed with the modern prog movement, but the reality is that they're both a riff-addicted metal band and a troupe obsessed with rich harmonies and memorable refrains. Take the grinding guitar work of "Shallow" which dukes it out with frontman Steve Wilson's undeniably melodic chorus before easing into the delicate, beautifully crafted "Lazarus." Few bands exhibit this kind of depth. The album includes collaborations with King Crimson's Adrian Belew, who plays guitar solos on the title track "Deadwing" and "Halo", and Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt.

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This looks like the best Hidden Treassures since.......last week? Nah, this looks awesome, and I will definetely listen later today, even though I know/have these tracks already, except for Dream Theater (I've heard the album). I don't really care that much for DT. I bought the first album in '89, but didn't really like it. Then they got  another singer, and I do NOT care for his voice and attitude. He's an idiot imo.

I never-ever saw Maiden as a "Prog-Metalband". Sometimes these "labels" can be quite annoying. 

If I was asked to recommend one DT album to own it would easily be Scenes From A Memory.  I understand the annoyance factor they have.  I love just about everything they did up to Scenes and then they became hit or miss until their last two albums which are quite good IMO.

No Therion, Threshold, Into Eternity, Opeth, Symphony X, Anacrusis, Orphaned Land, Nevermore, Tool, Star One, Ayreon, Fates Warning, King's X, Savatage or Devin Townsend and his many projects?

Is there a part 2?

I always found that Rush song to be very funny. Makes me laugh every time I hear it. It's kinda over-the-top.

"Piece Of Mind" was my most visited Maiden album for many years. Listened to it a few weeks ago and still really like it. Maybe it's not my favorite right now, maybe it is. Haven't thought much about it, until now. I still won't answer, though. 

I haven't listened to this Dream Theater album in years. Maybe I'll listen to it today. Probably not, but I could if I wanted to.

Have you heard the new Steven Wilson album? Should be album of the year until (or unless) something better comes along. 

Nice listen, now you need to get cracking on Part 2. You could do a whole month of shows on progressive metal and I'm glad I gave you that idea.

Down with cookie monster vocals! Don't own any, won't own any...  No plans for a part II thinking of a different metal angle, one that will grate heavility on those who listen!  Yes - I'm out to annoy my 3 listeners metal sensibilities.  bwahahahaa....  bwahahahahha...  BWAHAHAHA ...

In all seriounsness, or not, Maiden has always been more of metal band than a prog band but Dickinson did b ring some prog feeling to the band and the closer I posted (dang, this would have worked on my other totally 100% unique closers playlist) comes close...

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son was a prog metal album, plus a majority of Dance Of Death.

And those bands I mentioned? A majority don't have CM vocals, so get cracking. 

Again, it's a matter of taste, but I certainly agree, that Opeth, Tool, Aeryon, King's X and Devin Townsend are great "bands". Threshold, Savatage and Symphony X I don't really care about. No cookie Monster vocals (as far as I remember), but it's just not for me. Not enough brains behind it, I think (not like the new Steven Wilson, now THAT's a good album :-)) Maiden, I never "saw" King's X as Prog-Metal. Maybe they became more Prog later on, since I didn't really "follow" them after Dogmanstar, or whatever it was called. I saw that album as kind of "Grungy". In fact, the first 3-4 King's X-albums was a bit "pre-grunge" to me. Not entirely, but a bit.

To me, Prog-Metal is... like.... when bands like Symphony X or Dream Theater plays rather long complicated tracks, just like Prog, but with a Metal feel.

But I don't really care, which bands are labeled as what. To me, there's only good or bad music.

And the real Maiden is the one fronted by Paul Di'anno, and that's goddamn NWOBHM. (now there's a playlist idea for ya!!)

there you go again !!!  making good sense out of a personal taste topic...  :-)

Oh, and yes, Steven Wilsons new album is brilliant!  We probably cant talk about it enough on here...

You have already talked about it enough. Neal Morse's album is better.
Enough? We haven't started!!

So far in 2015: Best album, best track, best guitar (solo), best drummer, best production, best album-cover/package.

I think, he will play the whole album from start to end at the concert, with "special effects" (video of the story) in the background. I think, I'm in for a treat!!

Morse's album ain't bad, but it's not great.
It's better than Wilson's.
So what is the best song and guitar solo? Raven was way better than this.
My favorite track is "Routine" and the guitar-solo on (I think it is) "Regret 9".

You just don't get it, do you.

This is actually better than Raven. Wilson is an artist, that keeps on developing.


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