Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Albums

The Top Ten
1 Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory - Dream Theater

This is, by far, the best metal-prog ever made! To those debating Led Zeppelin, sorry, but no. Led Zeppelin will probably remain the best band ever to me! It's true they did some prog-metal songs, even some pre-punk songs. Yes, to me, they remain the fathers of hard rock forever.

But it is precisely that: hard rock fathers, and even to some degree, metal ones too ("Rover," "Achilles Last Stand," etc.). But we are talking about progressive metal here! If at some point in time Dream Theater got influenced by Zeppelin, I don't know, but this has nothing to do with Led Zeppelin! It is one of the reasons why I love it! This is a masterpiece on its own! They did this brilliant album and they "owe" nothing for it! It is sublime and epic in its own right!

2 Blackwater Park - Opeth

This album is poetry, love, hate, life, and death. It's pretty much everything you need to listen to when you're happy, sad, lonesome, or in company. It is very adaptable to any situation. The lyrics are just awesome, instrumental passages are over the top, and this band is overall one of my favorites!

This album should not only top this list but also be mentioned among the best albums of music art ever.

Four hundred years from now, music scholars will revere Opeth the way literary scholars talk about Shakespeare today.

3 Lateralus - Tool

This is my favorite Tool album, and also my favorite album of all time. I have to admit, I was a changed man after I heard the title track to this album. I can't really call it a "song," because that would kind of be an understatement. It is not just a song. It is like a meditation session. It is long and teaches you something by the end.

It starts out small with a quiet riff, and you go through this long "pilgrimage" (is the best word to describe it) by the end. You feel like you've come a long way, and you remember that it all started with that quiet riff. You finally realize that this song has been going on for 9 minutes. I just get lost in this song.

This song and album are an amazing work of art.

4 Images and Words - Dream Theater

I'd say this is slightly better than Metropolis Pt. 2. There are no bad songs on this album, and Pull Me Under, Metropolis Pt. 1, Under a Glass Moon, and Learning to Live are absolute masterpieces.

Amazing album! You can play it 1,000 times and always find something new in it! Absolute masterpiece. Vivaldi would be a fan of Dream Theater!

I'd say this is better than Metropolis, Take the Time, Under a Glass Moon.

5 Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche

I remember downloading this album at 3 am one night when I just couldn't sleep. I was new to the band and was curious to hear it. That night turned out to be one of the most satisfying experiences. Insomnia never sounded so good.

This being a concept album made the experience as a whole even better. Reading along with the lyrics made even more sense as the story is very deep, with characters that will have an impact on you.

Later on, I bought the remastered CD with bonus tracks and saw them live in NYC when they played the album in its entirety along with some other classics.

I will never forget that cold winter sleepless night, though. 5/5

6 Colors - Between the Buried and Me

I am amazed this is not in the top ten. It is pure musical perfection.

I would say bands like Tool, Opeth, and Dream Theater, on the whole, are better, but Colors is the best album! Lateralus, Metropolis 2, and Watershed are the only ones even close.

BTBAM is one of the bands that have revolutionized the prog scene in recent years, and Colors is clearly a milestone in the history of progressive metal.

This album includes so many influences and manages to blend them into a masterpiece.

Between the Buried and Me, Dream Theater, Animals As Leaders, and Tool are definitely the most talented bands out there. Colors is a true masterpiece and deserves to be in the top ten.

7 Octavarium - Dream Theater

Very well-made album (musically and lyrically). Great meaning, and songs are strong, sentimental at times, and epic, especially the last one!

Whoever didn't vote for this because they never heard it, go listen to the title track, then say with a straight face you prefer something by Opeth or Queensryche.

One of Dream Theater's best. Deserves to be higher.

8 Crack the Skye - Mastodon

A paraplegic wandering the astral plane gets sent on a time-traveling mission to Rasputin-era Russia. Now that's prog! "Oblivion" is an excellent intro track to ease you into the less accessible masterpieces of this album, "The Czar" and "The Last Baron." If you've ever wondered what a metal version of Yes or King Crimson would sound like, do yourself a favor and give this a listen.

Phenomenal album. One of the best bands of all time.

Great instrumentation and amazing song progression.

A purely amazing album, with epics such as The Czar and The Last Baron.

9 Still Life - Opeth

How is Lateralus above Still Life? I mean, Lateralus, in my opinion, is a 90/100 album, but Still Life is a 98/100 album. One-third of the songs on Lateralus are just noise, like "Eon Blue Apocalypse." The rest of the songs, such as "Lateralus," "Schism," and "The Patient," are very good, but Tool's song structures get repetitive in my opinion.

Still Life is the pinnacle of progressive metal albums. It's a concept album. The lyrics, the theme, Mikael Ã…kerfeldt's voice (oh my god, I've never heard such an emotional voice), the riffs, song structure, acoustic melodies, backing vocals, and darkness of the album. It is absolutely magical. It really feels like you're in a dark fantasy world.

I see many people on YouTube reacting to Tool, getting mind blown, thinking Tool is the only band doing long, complex, soulful songs. I'm not saying that Tool sucks. I like Tool, but there's so much other art that we humans are fortunate to have at our disposal. Tool fans, I highly suggest expanding your musical horizon with Opeth. They are even superior to Tool, in my opinion (not saying that Tool sucks).

10 Awake - Dream Theater

This is my personal favorite from DT. Not a big fan of James' vocals, but I do enjoy them here. The album has a darker feel as well, and the production is so clear you can hear every note. The whole album just feels so musically inspiring from beginning to end in all of its aspects. 5/5, a must for any prog metal fan out there.

Not even in the top 10? Are you crazy? In my humble opinion, their best work so far!

A perfect balance between technical and sentimental, deep lyrics, and excellent orchestrations!

The Contenders
11 10,000 Days - Tool

This is one of their deepest albums. Starting with the heavy critique of our society, Vicarious, which transitions to Jambi, a beautiful song that talks about whatever you want it to talk about.

And then Wings for Marie and 10,000 Days. My god, is this album deep.

I'll vote for this one, but it's my least favorite album of theirs. There are some standout tracks, but it becomes a bit of a chore and is far too ponderous to compete with their other material.

In my opinion, the best album Tool has made so far. Can't wait for their new album to finally be completed.

12 Train of Thought - Dream Theater

I accept that it is close to impossible to choose a number 1. If you voted for something else, I don't blame you. There are so many awesome albums on this list that I was overwhelmed at the choice.

Although this is my favorite, albums like Octavarium, Images and Words, Metropolis Pt. 2, Blackwater Park, Lateralus, Divine Wings of Tragedy, Paradise Lost, Iconoclast, and many others are almost unbelievably awesome!

If you're struggling to find a #1 progressive metal album, just log in to eBay, type in Between the Buried and Me's album Parallax II: Future Sequence, punch in your credit card details, and you'll soon be in possession of the greatest 72-minute progressive metal album ever made. Easy.

13 Second Life Syndrome - Riverside

Truly one of the shiniest gems in the history of prog metal. A very versatile and yet extremely cohesive album.

The very best of Riverside.

Just perfect, one of my favorite albums of all time.

14 The Divine Wings of Tragedy - Symphony X

Why are people so blind? Metropolis Pt. 2 by DT is one of their worst albums, apart from Dance of Eternity.

And The Divine Wings of Tragedy is clearly and well known as the greatest prog album of all time.

One of the best albums ever made. Of Sins and Shadows, The Accolade, Sea of Lies, and not to mention the masterpiece Candlelight Fantasia.

All Symphony X albums are underrated. I just could not believe how far I had to scroll down to find The Odyssey!

15 Ghost Reveries - Opeth

Amazingly produced album. The engineering and production value in this album are immense.

Perfectly placed instruments, wonderful vocals, and quality music. This album deserves number one for the production value alone.

This is the album that brought me from prog rock to prog metal.

Best musical album of all time.

16 Aenima - Tool

Yes. I can't listen to this one anymore because, in all honesty, I have played it over a thousand times. The gold standard of progressive rock/metal (though I don't think they're metal).

It's a classic, what else can be said? Everything comes together beautifully. Tool is hands down the most consistent band to ever constantly put out good albums.

10,000 Days has no business being above Aenima. Aenima is just fantastic.

17 The Parallax II: Future Sequence - Between the Buried and Me

History will show that this remarkable, brutal, and progressive death metal album is the high-water mark of modern metal in many years to come, once people understand what they're doing.

The likes of this album have never existed before.

Hey, the greatest progressive death metal album of all time is at #61 on the best progressive metal album thread. Not that I care: I own the CD and the live CD/DVD of this epic, and anyone who doesn't own them is all the poorer for it. Continue on regurgitating your Zeppelin-esque rock albums.

18 The Sound of Perseverance - Death

Chuck is the best. I heard everything till 2019, and he's still the best. I know Petrucci is amazing, Vai, Romeo. I played Rondat's Vivaldi's Tribute.

I know, I know, they are all amazing musicians, but Chuck was the one who made me love music. RIP.

Never would have guessed it was a prog album, but good anyway! Wait... No, it's not good, it's FANTASTIC!

If you're not at least familiar with this, you have no idea what you're missing out on.

19 A Dramatic Turn of Events - Dream Theater

Besides Mike Portnoy not being on here, this album was really good with some of DT's best tracks out there.

It becomes better with each listening also.

Unrepeatable album. John, what have you done for us? You've made us dissatisfied with other music.

20 Paradise Lost - Symphony X
21 The Detached - Anubis Gate

Very happy Anubis Gate is in the top ten and getting lots of attention. They really know how to range from intense to beautiful and atmospheric pieces of music. Another great album by an underrated band. If you haven't listened to them, I strongly encourage you to do it now!

You haven't listened to prog until you've listened to Anubis Gate. Dream Theater and Opeth aren't the only prog bands out there. Expand your ears!

Not just one of the best prog albums ever made. Not just one of the best metal albums ever made. One of the best albums ever made, period.

22 The Human Equation - Ayreon

This should be higher on the list. What an incredible album. Probably my favorite Ayreon album.

23 Back to Times of Splendor - Disillusion
24 Black Clouds & Silver Linings - Dream Theater
25 Remedy Lane - Pain of Salvation

This album, in my opinion, should be in the top 20 at least.

Excellent musicianship, great vocals... their last great album, unfortunately.

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