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! And to those debating Led Zeppelin, sorry but no. Led Zeppelin will probably remain the best band ever to me! And it's true they did some prog-metal songs, even some pre-punk songs, and yes, to me, they remain as 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 as nothing to do with Led Zeppelin! And it is one of the reasons why I love it! This is a masterpiece on it's own! They did this fkn brilliant album and they "owe" nothing for it! It is sublime and epic in it's own right!

They are widely hailed as the godfathers of progressive metal, are completely innovative and one of the pioneers of the genre. And just doing what LZ and Rainbow did 40 years ago? Come on. Yes those bands were great in their time but DT blows them out of the water in every way. Page was a wonderful guitarist but Petrucci's skill, talent, and precision is unmatched.

Oh please opeth is much worse than DT, they don't even dream of being like dream (hehehe), for me this is the best album of Dream Theater and then, obviously, the best progressive metal album ever. Images and Words is good, but rudess meant an before and an after in DT

Nothing will ever top Scenes From a Memory. The songwriting, the instrumentation, the storyline. Everything is just perfect.

2 Blackwater Park - Opeth

This album it's poetry, love, hate, life and death. It's pretty much everything you need to listen when you're happy, sad, lonesome or in company. 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 it should also be mentioned among the best albums of music art ever. 400 years from now, music scholars will revere Opeth the way literary scholars talk about Shakespeare today.

I love Blackwater Park... But I also love The Detached by Anubis Gate. Voting on this list was very difficult but in the end epics such as The Drapery Falls, Dirge for November, and Bleak swayed me to pick Blackwater Park.

Definitely Opeth's magnus opus, It is dark and cold. Mikael's vocals go from the most demonic/evil to the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear. The album is packed with amazing musicianship as well, it is truly a Masterpiece. 5/5

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 it 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 as) by the end you feel like you've come a long way, and you remember that it all started with that quiet riff and you finally realize that this song has been going on for 9 minutes. I just get lost in this song.
This song and album is an amazing work of art.

Ænima and 10,000 Days deserve to be higher. Lateralus and Blackwater Park, Close to the Edge, and Animals are my favorite albums. EVER. They are masterpieces too. Personal taste-wise, I don't like Metropolis Part 2 from Dream Theater, and there are other albums I prefer very much. I find that album to be too cheesy, and I don't like the vocalist. Moreover, from what I remember, the lyricism itself was pretty repetitive to the point where you're sitting there thinking, "We get it, the girl is dead." I swear they repeat that seven times throughout the album. It's not even a "good" story. I'll probably have to look back into it again because after listening to that album twice, I couldn't get into it other than the Dance of Eternity. That instrumental is a work of art. However, I prefer my Tool and Opeth.

This album changed my life. I just can't stop listening, it's like a healthy and intellectual drug I am taking! From the satisfactory guitar riffs, to MJK's hypnotizing vocals, to the mindblowing drums and amazing lyrics, this album has it all. Everything is good, but the song "Lateralus" gives me goosebumps after all the times I already heard, and it does NOT feel like 9 minutes just passed. Highly recommended.

Of course it's great. This album is a slow burn that takes 30-listens to like, 50-listens to love, then you come A Perfect Circle and realise it was love at first sight. Epic!

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 1000 times and always find something new in it! Absolute masterpiece. Vivaldi would be a fan of DT!

Best prog album ever

This is number 1 for me

5 Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche

I remember downloading this album at 3am one night that 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, insomia never sounded so good.
This being a concept album made the experience as a whole even better, reading along 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.
Will never forget that cold winter sleepless night though. 5/5

Clearly all of you who aren't voting this as number 1 have simply never heard it. Yes, Blackwater Park, Images and Words, and Scenes from a Memory are all great, but this album is clearly the greatest. Incredibly story, fantastic vocals and guitar work, not to mention the fantastic rhythm section. Variety? Prog elements? Heavy riffs? Everything you could want in a Prog Metal (or any metal album for that matter) in one album.

Just simply the greatest prog-metal album of all times.
Love the story, the diversity of the songs, the perfect vocals and everything else.
I also know Scenes from a Memory, which is also a great album but I would always prefer Operation: Mindcrime.

Album that will last for the ages. There is not one song that would be considered a miss. Love to see to original line up just one more time!

6 Colors - Between the Buried and Me

I am amaze this 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 Color 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 the last years and Colors is clearly a milestone in the history of proggresive 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.

An album that can transition from death metal riffs to a polka breakdown truly deserves to be above 10.

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 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.

This song defines the progressive metal genre!

8 Crack the Skye - Mastodon

A paraplegic wandering the astral plane gets sent on a time travelling mission to rasputin-era Russia. Now that's prog! "Oblivion" is an excellent intro track to ease you into the less-accesible 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, 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 a 98/100 album. Like 1/3 on the songs on Lateralus are just noise like "Eon Blue Apocalyspe" and the rest of the songs like Lateralus, Schism, The Patient, etc are very good songs, 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 Åkerfeldt's voice (oh my god I've never heard such an emotional voice), the riffs, song structure, acoustic melodies, backing vocals, 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. And I'm not saying that Tool sucks here, I LIKE Tool, but there's so much other art that we humans are so fortunate to have at our disposal. Tool fans, I highly suggest expanding ...more

My most beloved work of Opeth! And the foundation of the essencial Opeth-style. Blackwater Park just added a few more rock elements to it, but this one deserves the honor. Especially because it is more of a true concept album in my eyes.

This is probably the only album on this list that I won't mind listening to on occasions.

Best concept album ever

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 excellent orchestrations!

Songs, sound, simply superior!

The Contenders
11 Train of Thought - Dream Theater

I accept that it is close to impossible to choose an number 1. and f you voted for so thing else I don't blame you. there are so many awesome albums on this list that I was overwhelmed at the choice. although this my favorite albums like ocatavarium, images and words, metropolis pt2, blackwater park lateralus, divine wings of tragedy, paradise lost, iconoclast, and many 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.

12 10,000 Days - Tool

This is one of their deepest albums. Starting with the heavy critic to 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 favourite 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...

It's a landmark album in progressive metal genre.It's a masterpiece.

13 Second Life Syndrome - Riverside

Truly the 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 favourite albums of all times.

14 The Divine Wings of Tragedy - Symphony X

Why people are 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 that's 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 under rated. I just could not believe how far I had to school down to find the odyssey!

Symphony X's best album to date. Landmark albums of prog metal.

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

History will show that this remarkable and brutal and progressive death metal album as the high-water mark of modern metal in many years to come, once people get their heads around what they're doing. The likes of this album has 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 are all the poorer for it. Continue on regurgitating your Zeppelin-esque rock albums.

Even better. I now own not only this magnificent concept album, but I now own their cd/dvd of these greats performing it live on cd and dvd. You will have never witnessed anything quite like it.

Of course. These guys are the best on the planet at what they do. Not for the faint hearted, though it can be at times.

16 Aenima - Tool

Yes. I can't listen to this one anymore because I would, in all honesty, 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. Anima is just fantastic.

17 Ghost Reveries - Opeth

Amazingly produced album. The engineering and production value in this album is immense. Perfectly placed instruments, wonderful vocals and quality music. This album deserves number 1 for the production value alone.

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

Best musical album of all times.

18 The Sound of Perseverance - Death

Chuck is the best, heard everything till 2019 and he's still the best, I know petrucci is amazing vai romeo, I played rondat 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 anyways! Wait... No it's not good, it FANTASTIC!

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

19 A Dramatic Turn of Events - Dream Theater

Besides Milke Portnoy not being on here, this album was really good with some of DT best tracks out there. Becomes better per listening also.

Unrepeatable album
John what did you done for us?
you made us unpleasant 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 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.

You seriously can't beat this album. Absolute perfection!

22 Black Clouds & Silver Linings - Dream Theater

Why is this so low?!

23 The Human Equation - Ayreon

My honest, entirely truthful and highly critical opinion of this overcomplicated boredom festival is that for all it's galaxy, alien bull ayreon is quite a simple project. They are simply. Spread the word brothers, spread the word!

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

24 Back to Times of Splendor - Disillusion
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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