Greatest Progressive Metal Bands


The Top TenXW

1Dream Theater

DT is unmatched in musicianship. Not only are they extremely technical in the way they approach their instruments, but they also know how to inspire the listener. Notice I said "listener. " People who are brainwashed by the music industry just merely hear DT and don't understand the whole scope of the band. DT presents the classic struggle of swimming against mainstream pop culture. Of course they should have beat Foo Fighters for the Grammy, but at least they got a well deserved nomination. I have been listening to Dream Theater for just over 20 years. I have made the conclusion that there is no one else out there with enough guts to defy the odds like these guys have. Sure there are/were bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush, Van Halen, Metallica, Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and the like. However, for all the reasons as previously posted DT stands in a class/category all their own. If you have never listened to them before don't look for a 3 minute fast food, quick fix. Their music ...more

There are plenty of quality prog metal bands out there but Dream Theater take it that step further, putting them in a class of their own. They are a testament to the genre. Fates Warning, Symphony X and LTE are also brilliant in quality and should be higher!

Too good, possibly my favorite band.. Metropolis Pt2 was simply a masterpiece along with Images and Words. Amazing metal band and one of the greatest of all times. They aren't doing TOO bad nowadays either.

One of the best bands ever for me! My favorite song is probably "The Count of Tuscany", just a masterpiece...

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I think Opeth is the one of the few metal bands that mixes beauty and brutality--all in one song. The moods that they incorporate in their music proves that they are top-notch and should be number 1. "The Night and The Silent Water" and "Ghost of Perdition" = mm/ EPIC


Probably the best prog/death metal band all times, their music is full of emotions and true beauty... I think no band can capture so deep feelings as they do

I love their music, it's just the growling that makes me not want to listen to it. If I could find any instrumental versions of their songs, I'd listen to them all the time. - Songsta41

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Tool... Completely changed my music taste, I used to hear crap dupstep and other electronic, but then I stumbled on tool. I heard it the first time on gth, but for some reason I didn't like it, not until for years later, and I heard them again, still it wasn't great, but there was something, and I just keeps listening, and just got better each time. Tool got me into, Metallica, dream theater, black sabbath, pain of salvation, porcupine tree, iron maiden, circus maximus, or anything with prog and metal.

Something I find interesting, not just tool, but most prog metal band, the first time you hear a song, you don't love it, but slowly liking it more and more, the more you hear it.

One of the most interesting bands in human history I think.

1993 was the year my music taste changed. Well layered intelligent music. No one is declaring love. No one is backing up there ass. Just music. Long songs with a buildup of sound until the explosive climax when the drumming is at It's best. You can appreciate every sound since it was introduced indivivdually. You can feel the tension as every plAyer is holding back like the superego. Inner conflict that finds resolve. Helps me deal with the same conflicts that I face. The philosophies that we all have but don't realize it. Positive messages in songs like parabola, personal stuff like 46&2. Crazy rage we all feel when we endure daily living like in the song ticks and leaches. And the drums. Tribal. Wild.

All members of Tool are extremely talented at what they do, and the lyrics aren't just a way of putting out music like most bands do (not that that's a bad thing). Every song has some sort of hidden meaning in it, and it's totally up to the listener to discover what that is.

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4Symphony X

Fourth? Dont joke! Their guitarist is probably the most talented and skilled of the world. But I prefer Versailles xD

Insane guitar riffs and amazing vocals, may be my all time favorite band.

This should be first. They are so original and have the best vocals that fit in with every song. Their music creates the best mood and anyone who listens to their songs wouldn't stop without listening to more.

Look at their symphonies, come on! They're the perfect junction!

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Mastodon has progressive in their music and there sound has changed many of but remained the same as it is amazing. This band will be a favorite for years to come to all prog lovers.

Tool clearly sets the standard for modern progressive metal. Progressive metal is not all out heavy metal, full-on, all the time. It is peaks and valleys, like Tool. No other band fits in this category altogether, in my opinion.

They are awesome. They have very brutal chanting heavy metal along with beautiful progressive melodies!

They are simply unmatched in modern musical artistry, just listen to Crack the skye (album) and you'll know what I mean.

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Queensryche ws dream theater before dream theater even existed! This is the first real progressive metal band and thanks to them we now have awesome bands like tool and dream theater. Operation mindcrime is an essential album to any prog or metal fan

Oh, come on! Queensryche practically invented the genre of Prog Metal, and Operation: Mindcrime is inarguably one of the best concept albums in all of Metal, let alone in prog. They deserve to be Number 1.

They are the best, followed closely by Dream Theater. Geoff Tate is also easily one of the best metal vocalists of all time. brilliant!

I love Queensryche, but prog rock/metal was a late 60's-early 70's phenomenon.

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People often view this band as more extreme metal, which is understandable, but they do everything that makes Progressive Metal Progressive, just in their own way. Their compositions will never be as long as maybe Dream Theater or Opeth (Except for I and Catch 33), but each individual riff progresses, as the polymetric guitar floats over the drums, before snapping back into 4/4 for a single bar before blasting off into another bout of syncopated madness. Very underrated among mainstream metal listeners

Progressive Metal and Messuggah not even in top ten! This is joke or what? Sorry but you all are crazy!

There guys are Gods! If you haven't heard of them, I suggest you youtube there stuff. They should easily be in the top 10.

No long speech : Catch 33

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8Between the Buried and Me

Fantastic musicians that incorporate many musical influences like blue grass, or even circus music into metal. They have long epic songs which will have you head banging, or just sitting in awe. The album "Colors" is a one hour long song broken into smaller songs. It is truly a master piece of complex musical theory, and emotions the whole way through. if you like metal at all you have to give it a listen. My two favorite songs on colors are the epic finale "White Walls", and my favorite son of all time, "Ants of the Sky".

This band is awesome! Such powerful guitar riffs and tripping instrumental! I recommend their albums Colors and The Great misdirect to any fan of good metal!

These guys deserve high than 10. the way they incorporate intricate metal riffs, and then go to almost what sounds like classic rock. they truly are a revolutionary progressive metal band. and all of them are flawless at what they do, and no matter how many bands I listen too, I can't find one that comes even close to how good these guys are at their instruments. absolutely amazing.

Agreed. The most technically proficient and diverse metal band currently on the planet. They have no weaknesses. None.

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One of the greatest bands in the reign of metal, that's all what I can simply say. I suggest this band to every metal lover, and I m sure they gonna be amazed

Artcell is undoubtedly a great band, and they got total talents. One thing I feel important to mention that-whatever they make, they never compromise with quality. I guess that should be the motto of each and every band.

Simply awesome these guys are. Just listen to the track ONIKET PRANTOR and your mind will get blown off, trust me.

Great guitar work and amazing vocal.

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10Porcupine Tree

PT are a really underrated band I found about recently, their music is not only original and unique, but also really emotional - the lyrics match the instrumentations and atmosphere of the songs perfectly. - petrucci75hammet

Steven wilson and the crew are underdogs and underrated of course.. Steven wilson is one of the gods of prog/psych rock, gavin harrison is a technical drumming god, richard needs no appreciation and colin carries of a toughest of a bass line with just a simple smile :D and pt is at no. 13? Seriously? ? And from when did gojira and tool become progressive?

Absolutely amazing amounts of talent from every member of the band. These guys should easily be in the top 5 just because of Gavin Harrison!

They're great, but they're not metal by any stretch of the imagination.

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The Newcomers

?Gods of Eden

An immense start to what shall become soon become one of progressive metal's most talented and innovative bands.


Because their first 5 thrash albums are not only the best 5 thrash albums in metal history, but they're also the most progressive thrash metal albums in history.

Metallica is not a progressive metal band. And Justice For All may have had a bit of prog going on but they're primarily thrash.

I love this band, but they're nowhere near Progressive Metal! - CastlevaniaFanboy128

The Contenders


Nevermore is fronted by Warrel Dane--one of the most amazing singers in the progressive metal genre with plenty of formal training. Jeff Loomis, the bands lead guitar player can barely be matched by many. They mix elements of complex time signatures, classical arrangements, and execute such synthesis with amazing precision.

While quite a bit harder than some other progressive metal bands, Nevermore also has a brilliant clarity both live and in studio.

12Fates Warning

While I agree with Fates Warning I don't agree with your selection of "Awaken the Guardian" selection. Their first two albums with original singer John Arch were more "heavy metal" than progressive. "No Exit" is definitely their best work followed by "Parallels" you can't go wrong with either of these. My top 3 progressive bands in order..1. Rush,2. Queensryche; 3. Fates Warning.

This band should be higher on this list, that's why I voted for this, but my real favorite band is dream theater

Can't believe this band is nowhere on this list. The only other band better than this is Queensryche, plain and simple. Great vocals, guitars, acoustics, melodies and heavy riffs.

The most underrated band of all time and 1 of the 3 BEST Progressive!

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Why don't I find gojira, meshuggah in top 10? They are a very innovative step in this genre

Go listen to all of "From Sirius to Mars" especially flying whales

I don't see how these guys are in the top ten, but oh well they are amazing

They move metal music forward in a good way...

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14Liquid Tension Experiment

A side project by the members of Dream Theater except the bassist and the vocalist. Check out "Acid Rain", "Universal Mind", "Paradigm Shift" from the Liquid Tension Experiment albums among the prominent ones and say "I hate Dream Theater".

A great side project from Dream Theater altough is not as good as the band its self, it give us an inside look of the heavy tecnical side of Dream Theater.


Take some of the biggest and best vocalists & musicians to grace the world of prog rock, and many various forms of metal... Put them in a great big melting pot. Stir with care, and you get Ayreon.

Heck, the current top 2 on this list (DT and Opeth) both had their respective vocalists taking huge roles on the SAME Ayreon album.

Ayreon is a concept that has been masterfully carried out by Arjen Lucassen in order to present some of the world's greatest album line-ups presenting some of the world's greatest music.

You have your prog, folk, metal, neo-classical, symphonic, and god knows what else when you listen to Ayreon. Each album is a concept album, some of which have the best stories and characterisation to ever grace the world of music.

As you can tell from my endless raving, there is a lot to be said about why Ayreon is as special as it is. It is an awe-inspiring musical project that deserves every bit of attention it gets.

With the recent release of "The Theory of Everything", Ayreon is quickly solidifying Its' identity amongst the top bands and musicians. The project is simply outstanding in every conceivable way.

It's not only the musicianship and vocals that will blow you away; It is the entire way the arrangements fit their titles.

Ayreon will make you believe the unfathomable!

It is impossible to be more progressive than Ayreon. Arjen Lucassen is simply one of the best musicians around these days. There is simply no other band to compare Ayreon with.

Oh damn... Just voted for myself, I didn't know I had to say something here, haha! Anyway, thanks for the kind words all :-) Cheers, Arjen.

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16Seventh Wonder

Best progressive metal. All five members are talented. All albums are beautiful art. The great escape is one of the best metal album. Hope they will release more masterpiece albums. Kamelot deserve the second place.

The best progressive metal band in my opinion. The vocals are impressive, as well as the rest of the group. They got beautiful touching songs, as well as energetic songs. Their last albums are two masterpieces.

Amazing band I only found them out a few days ago but now they are one of my favorite prog metal bands

Mercy Falls is a perfect album, every second of it!

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17Anubis Gate

First time I heard Anubis Gate I was sold. The way they play metal and still have those great melodies and the way they build up the emotions and feelings in a song as it rises or falls in dynamic and the pieces in the songs is just fantastic.
I simply love Anubis Gate.

Very few bands are as consistently great through their discography as Anubis Gate are. Progressive metal perfection.

These guys gradually climbed up into my top 5 favorite bands and are highly contagious! Cheers!

These guys just plainly owns the genre.

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These guys can't be compared on any other band. Its tantamount to putting a man up against a boy. NO band can compare to these guys. Every single band you Bozos so proudly defend were influenced by RUSH. You spout off about technical playing and musicianship, Rush is the epitome of technical and still able to make music people want to listen to. Anyone can get a bunch of Berkley educated musicians or back woods hillbillies to put together the hardest notes to play and call it a song. But if nobody wants to hear it, well except for the basement dwellers who also enjoy marching around nude tweaking their nipples. - HaroldBawlz

Well, that's just not true. Sure, lots of bands are Rush-influenced, doesn't mean they're talentless. Not even sure how the fact that they're Rush influenced makes them "untalented". But people who go to Berkley don't come out being able to think of harder notes, they learn how music works and how progressions of these complex riffs can create masterpieces, and a lot of them do a great job of executing that. Listen to Dream Theater and you'll see. - Songsta41

I like metal in its various forms...

But metal is metal, and its all good, but RUSH is way up there and beyond in a separate ethereal place where any of the bands in this list could not even hope to touch let alone reach... RUSH too cool to be metal...!

Do not disservice this band by including them in this list. It would be a lack of respect to even rank them as #1. They do not deserve to be included here... They made history. Their place is in lair for better and greater things.

Yours truly,


At 44? Whoever put them down this low should be ashamed Rush is one of the best bands ever to grace the planet they were innovators, they are legends and will forever be amazing and timeless they proved that intellectual music can connect and resonate with people plus even Kirk Hammett calls them the high priests of conceptual metal

I wouldn't call them metal, although they are one of the best prog rock bands of all time - Songsta41

Definitely not metal. Great, but not metal. Do you want me to throw up Pink Floyd as well?

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19Pain of Salvation

One of the most creative prog bands out there. Daniel Gildenlöw is a genius and a hell of a singer. Just listen to the albums "The Perfect Element" and "BE" and you'll understand...

Every album is conceptual and dramatically different. Masters of their craft. One of the few bands where the musicians could play whatever music style they wanted, and still make it their own.
Daniel is sure a genius and an amazing songwriter. Easily one of the best prog bands to ever rise during the 90's.

Absolutely brilliant, seriously - and these guys are awesome live too!

The most creative Band.

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Periphery and opeth are the best prog bands ever but the guitarist of dream theatre is one of my favourites, I chose to vote this band because it deserves to be higher on this list

Periphery is actually quite important to the Modern Progressive Metal Scene. Maybe people choose to classify them as Djent more, but they do deserve to be higher in this list.

Check out clear and be amazed

Icarus Live is kickin'!

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List StatsUpdated 1 Dec 2015

4,000 votes
157 listings
6 years, 46 days old

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