Top 10 Best Progressive Metal Bands
The members of the band’s original lineup consisted of John Petrucci (Guitar), John Myung (Bass) and Mike Portnoy (Drums). The band had multiple keyboardists and singers, but as of and since 1991, the band's lead vocalist has been James LaBrie.
The band released their debut album "When Day and Dream Unite" in 1989, but only gained success and notoriety after the release of their second album, "Images and Words" in 1992. ...read more.
True masters of their craft and innovators when it comes to their instruments. When hearing the phrase "progressive metal", DT is the only pure form of it that I can think of. With a great focus on progressive form and intricate musical composition, no other band creates the familiar sounds of a relatively obscure genre that requires a deep understanding of music and instrumental work, as well as mix in new sounds without ruining either the "progressive" nor "metal" aspects of their field. There is no limit as to what the band can release, from extremely difficult-to-follow solos, to 20+ minute songs, to even beautiful compositions that are film score worthy. Although not the first to make such a splash in the genre, they have nonetheless extracted the essence of it and have continuously worked on it with every record they release. Ambitious, stylistic, and creative. Worthy of taking the number 1 spot.
All these bands are great!, That said, DT has the technical, creativeness and sensibility that really makes them number 1. Opeth is great BUT the growling really is an embarrassment, Mike's talent, voice and inner beauty.. Listen to Bleak from 3:09 on.. The magic of his voice and the balance and beauty of the music really brings you too a special place. Of course, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Trans-Atlantic and of course, Tool, are all great Prog bands I only have a problem with Symphony X.. It's too power metal to me.. It lacks the darker more serious feel of real Prog. A great list though and I am very glad to see Nevermore get put up there!
Technical, beautiful, heavy, epic, dark, melodic and complex. What more could you possibly ask for? Do yourself a favor, take an hour or two and listen to A Change of Seasons, Octavarium, In the Presence of Enemies, Illumination Theory and maybe Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (yes the whole song). And no need to stop there. Metropolis, The Mirror, Scarred, The Great Debate, Stream of Consciousness, Panic Attack, Lost Not Forgotten, I could go on forever. Dream Theater can turn a drop of water into an ocean!
Dream Theater is absolutely stunning in the way they push the boundaries of technicality and quality in song production. The first song I listened to was Illumination Theory, and it was really good, but once I listened to some of the very masterpieces, DT offers, Octavarium, I got so emotional it could feel my skin shivering like a porcupine's quills and the pulsing coming from my heart. Haven't tried any of their biggest hits? You will witness the best Dream Theater can yet offer you regarding expertise level. You won't be disappointed.
True masters of their craft. Combining soft rock and death metal. Polar opposite genres, but ones that go oh so well together. Opeth are true innovators of music and pushed their sound to the absolute limit. No metal band has been this consistently creative. Opeth have, as of late, unfortunately stripped away the death metal sound in favor of worshipping 70s progressive rock groups like King Crimson and Yes. As a result they've lost their own sound and spend time imitating rather than innovating. However this doesn't scar their legacy and the true perfection of their vast discography.
Opeth's Music can't be encompassed by a single genre. However, If I do have to rank them, certainly it will be number 1. Porcupine tree are just slightly behind them followed by Rush, Dream Theater, Tesseract, Riverside etc.
Also, Tool by no strech is a progressive band. They are essentially a nu metal band and just because they have odd time signature doesn't mean they are prog. The genre defining elements are still the melodic songwriting with uneven moments and great instrumentation, not the weird mathematical odd time signatures. and by the way, Tool's Polymeters are only there to massage your intellectual ego, don't have to anything with music. Opeth use odd signatures for a purpose, to create tension
Opeth is perhaps the perfect Prog metal band. Their music goes to show just how much can be done and accomplished by music. Most bands change their style and tone throughout the course of their entire career, Opeth changes their style multiple times in one song. They may start out with a haunting riff, go full death metal just after, go operatic after that and get back to death growls, and somehow make it sound really natural. And their guitar riffs, oh the riffs. As meaty as it gets. And did I mention Mikael Akerfeldt? That man is a genius. Whatever he does, he does amazingly. Opeth is just a complete package. And an almost perfect one.
I'm totally indifferent towards this genre and almost all of the bands falling under this category. My relationship with Opeth is an age-old one and even though I've skewed away from them slightly over the years nevertheless, their impact on my current musical taste and knowledge is a significant one. Having said that, they are the band that have lasted in my memories for a longer stretch of time - 21 years ago at a friend's backyard, I got my first exposure to them through the song "Demon of the Fall", and I now I'm listening to it and trying to recall forgotten childhood memories.
Okay so I've tried listening to opeth their pretty good. But Dream theater how are they number one. The voice of the vocalist is Also an instrument, but they don't even have a singer what! I think tool is best because their bass is amazing, Maynard James Keenan has to be one of the best vocalists in the world. Maynard has a way of making any song sound good. I mean I have not heard one song by tool that I disliked. All of tool's songs are smart, have lots of meaning, and make you think. Now I will say this they only have about six albums out, but in my opinion that is smart because that will make people crave them more. Tool's sound can also vary, so they can twist and turn with their music about. TOOL is the definition of talent and are superior all bands. I will say Korn is also another band worth checking out, but they are nu metal.
Tool aren't my favorite (4th favorite in prog metal) but I still think they are a very important band for the genre.
I'm a guitarist and I think Adam Jones' playing is pretty cool. Lots of mysterious palm muting, lots of iconic riffs, doomy string scratching and effects.
Drummer Danny Carey has an interesting playing style where he does his own thing (doesn't stay in 4/4 the whole song like Hair Metal drummers and and adds his own weird African part).
Bassist Justin Chancellor has an hypnotizing bass tone and some good bass lines.
Vocalist Maynard James Keenan has a cool, unorthodox style of signing and is a great lyricist. Aenima and Lateralus are very good albums.
I don't know what it was, I hated Tool and thought slipknot was the greatest in the world. But suddenly something clicked, I loved Tool and just couldn't stand how boring slipknot was. The math involved in Tools music and the chemistry between all the instruments and sounds that seem to make an eternal dance of evolution. Tool changed my taste in music forever, they changed the way I view the world, made me stop listening to crap just because other people are listening to it, They opened my eyes. If you hate Tool, your just not ready for them, go listen to dream theater, they're simpler.
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.
Music is purely subjective. I respect other peoples likes. Symphony X is my ultimate favorite though. I like how the vocals have as strong melody composition as the rest of the music. I like how the lyrics are often negative but aren't too real or anything that you can strongly relate to so they don't bring your down. For a contrasting example, I love Dream Theater, but their lyrics are very powerful and very real and too much listening makes me start to feel miserable. Symphony X doesn't do that despite also having a lot of negative lyrics.
Symphony X should be first! Michael Romeo is the master on lead guitar, Russell Allen has a voice like no other, Michael Pinnella is magical on the keyboard, Jason Rullo tears it up on drums, and Michael LePond commands a thundering bass!
My absolute favorite part of Symphony X is the bass playing. Michael LePond gives his all, his passion for music and dedication shines. On their latest album Underworld, Michael LePond also did some of the co-writing, showcasing his pure talent for the musical world...To feel his bass bouncing off the wall is awesome!
In my opinion, Michael LePond and the talented guys from Symphony X should be #1, they are in my book!
For me the guitarist skills or vocal not the point to be a best prog metal band... Creativity is the important.. I think Progressive Metal is just for Dream Theater.. No other band playing true progressive metal like Dream Theater did... For now. You have great skill in guitar, great vocal, drum or whatever, but you don't have a creativity to improvise your music genre, you can't be a great. We talk about the band, not the individual skill.
Michael Romeo is the best composer, period. Second in guitar to Petrucci. Russell Allen has no equal. Can sing you a lullaby, then scare you to death. So much range, and theatrics in his voice. These guys personify Progressive metal. #1 in my book, followed closely by DT.
Such a great progressive metal band. They have both emotion and energy in their music, which is pretty cool. Brent, Bill, Troy, Brann, they look like they live in U-Haul trailers but they are 4 solid songwriters, contributing equally for both lyrics and music. They have 3 singers (Brent, Brann and TROY) with cool, distinct voices.
Brent is an epic lead guitarist with an epic southern accent, Bill is the riff crafter, Brann is one of the best metal drummers of our time and has the higher, more clean voice and Troy is a unique bassist with epic louder, deeper voice.
If there was a competition of riff writing between bands, Mastodon would obviously be in the last few standing, same with Opeth. Listen to the riff at 8:18 in the song "The Last Baron". Glorious ! Their album "Crack the Skye" is a masterpiece. If you want to get more versed in progressive metal, especially if you're a musician, Mastodon is a must. Try also Opeth, Tool, Dream Theater and Symphony X.
Mastodon has to be one of prog metal's greats because of their mixture of intricacy with brutality. Sure, they are a bit on the strange side because they are technically "Sludge Metal", but it grows on you! Mastodon also is amazing because of their unique approach in story telling, in their classic albums "Leviathan, " "Blood Mountain, " and "Crack the Skye. " Each of these albums have their own characters, but they are fantastic anyways!
Mastodon are one of the best bands ever. They have had many sound changes that all worked out well. They have only excellent albums with my favourite being leviathan. Also I love the fact that they have three different voices.
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 considered a progressive metal band but are also a technical death metal and groove metal band as well. And masters of work like flying whales and stranded really set the standard for them. Plus I love how there are two members of the band that are actually brothers.
Beautifully criticized society, a journey to save the world through flying across the space to find another planet to live on since our planet got destroyed by, presumably, global warming and a soul crushing goodbye to Joe and Mario Duplantier's mother.
Excellent Prog metal band.
From mars to Sirius was an amazing death metal masterpiece, and their new stuff is pretty great too.
Personally I think:
1. Dream Theater
But I voted for gojira because 12 is too low for them.
Underrated band. I have been listening the metal music for years, I've knew a lot of band. and I can honestly say that gojira is the most special and the most interested band in this music genre. Reasons are that intellectual band, different themes,lyrics and effective technical song I mean progressive being.
So it should be high in metal listes. not just this list.
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.
With albums such as Operation Mindcrime, Empire, Rage for Order and The Warning, Queensryche are definitely one of the best progressive Metal bands out there. For me, they're number one in this genre.
I can speak only for myself, but Queensryche is easily in my top 5. When non-metal people ask me to describe progressive metal and give an example they might have heard of, I lead off with Queensryche.
Queensryche really turned prog metal into what is now. Bands like Dream Theater owe everything to them. They are one of the few prog bands that can be heavy while still remaining provocative.
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
Metal that uses Atheist's free jazz arrangements combined with the influence of Metallica. And then there's the koan-structured lyricism and advanced terminology such as Chaoshpere, Catch 33 and Obzen. This band goes beyond music and deep into the realm of subjective and universal philosophy.
What an awesome band. Thomas hakee is probably my favourite drummer of all time alongside George kolias (Nile). Frederick thandernal is a guitar god and Kidman's vocals match the whole atmosphere perfectly. Every album thy have made is glorious. Well maybe except from contradictions collapse which is still a solid album.
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.
Band's underrated. These guys are well respected among the prog rock community but they fail to get mainstream attention unlike, say, Tool for example, which is another band that I personally love. Porcupine Tree can be dreamy, psychedelic, really complex and proggy, heavy or just really emotional.
Also Gavin Harrison's drumming is incredible.
Porcupine is an atmospheric, often times melancholic progrock band that don't spend their time noodling around. In Absentia is probably their most popular album, Deadwing is just flat out nostalgic, and Fear of a Blank Planet is probably the greatest album I've ever owned musically and lyrically speaking. Be prepared for some depressing rock anthems.
They've got some bone crushing riffs, I think they are prog metal. One of my favorite band. Such emotion ! Steven Wilson is a genius songwriter. Listen to Anesthetize, one of the greatest song in all music ! Any serious songwriter NEEDS to study Steven Wilson's work both in PT and his solo career.
I only discovered them a year ago. Wish I had head about them earlier. Not since I leaned about Pink Floyd in my youth has a band impacted me that much. For those of you that don't know PT listen to Fear of a Blank Planet, you will not regret it. One of the best bands ever, if not the best!
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".
It is impossible for these guys to disappoint. Each album takes a new step but still retains a certain quality of technicality and insanity. Colors is their magnum opus and arguably one of the best achievements in prog in the 21st century, The Great Misdirect has their best song in Swim to the Moon, The Parallax 1 and 2 show their expert storytelling but are also technical marvels, Coma Ecliptic took a more proggy turn with less harsh vocals on "focus on melody" (haha), and now Automata has a very dark undertone that kind of mashes all of their past stuff. Truly a great band. Just listen to any of their 3 album closers from '07 to '12 and you'll hear why they're so respected.
Colors is likely the best metal album of the 21st century. BTBAM hasn't looked back since. The Great Misdirect and both Parallax albums show amazing growth and variety, and Coma Ecliptic is proof that they can do concept albums, too. Some of the best overall musicians I've ever heard, incorporating the most interesting parts of music in their songs.
I opened for BTBAM on their first tour with The Red Chord. I was super pumped to see The Red Chord, then this little guy got out on the stage and burned away my soul. Tommy's lyrics are amazing and I quickly became a fan. When they added in Blake Richardson, I thought I had found my new messiah (I play drums). From the start of BTBAM they have always been on top for me!
I would argue that this was the first progressive metal band. Sure, Queensryche was around first but they were making heavy/power metal with a few slightly odd time signatures. Crimson Glory had yet to write any original material. The moment where progressive metal truly started was when Fates Warning released their second album, The Spectre Within. But they perfected it with their third album, Awaken The Guardian, which was where they shed their Iron Maiden roots in favor of a progressive/power metal sound. Perfect Symmetry is arguably the first progressive metal album that couldn't be placed under any other sub-genre (Crimson Glory was prog/power, Dream Theater's debut had power metal influences as well). Awaken The Guardian is my all time favorite album.
Fates Waring are the Godfathers of Prog Metal. One of the greatest bands ever. It really wasn't until their 3rd album "Awaken the Guardian" that they became prog but they only got better. No Exit and Perfect Symmetry are 2 of the greatest Prog metal CDs ever. And their latest 2, Darkness in a Different Light and Theories of Flight are both amazing works taking Prog Metal to a higher level. The Big 3 Prog Metal bands have always been, Fates Warning, Queensryche and Dream Theater. Some of the other bands mentioned are not Prog here..
There is no other band who have the same style like Fates Warning. They are too progressive that their style keep on progressing with each album. All
their albums have unique style. Though other bands like Dream Theatre are very good, they have the same style in all their albums. Fates Warning is my favourite and they will always remain my favourite throughout my entire life. I hope they keep on releasing more albums. May they live long.
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.
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.
This band not being in ProgArchives is probably the only elitistic non-inclusion of that site I know opposed to the multitude of gatekeeping on Encyclopedia Metallum.
This is what metal should sound like.
No words necessary..
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.
Just recently discovered PoS, and absolutely fell in love with them. Truly progressive metal, they do crazy things that most bands wouldn't dream of attempting.
My vote put them on 12th, leaving Fates Warning behind. I think they should be at least on the 10th though...
Absolutely brilliant, seriously - and these guys are awesome live too!
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!
Arjen got me started in the genre. The best thing about these albums is that you can listen and listen and still not hear every good song. I have been listening to him for 10 years now, and I just found an incredible song on the human equation the other day that I missed on the first listen through.
This is the band where members from all over the music world come and exchange cookie recipes. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. I own the Human Equation: and although it may be one of their darker works It features James LaBrie >cough< number one >cough<. This band deserves that place!
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.
Dream Theater without a singer is a dream come true.
Dream theater without a singer? Yes please
Orphaned Land at 123? Yeah sure, there are a lot of other prog metal bands that may be better than Orphaned Land. But seriously, this band has quite a unique sound and many of their songs hold very important messages and themes.
These guys are quite unique... they should definitely be higher up. I love bands like Symphony X, but in some cases they just sound like Dream Theater but with a better vocalist. Periphery has very interesting and awesome guitar, bass and vocals, and their drummer is just something else. Usually with metal bands, the drummer just hits a ton of double bass and uses basic rudiments, though Halpern just takes creativity to another level for a metal band. He may not be as fast as Mangini, but at least he doesn't sound like a robot half the time.
They have been popularizing the genre even more among metal fans. While Dream Theater definitely deserves number one, these guys should be at number 2. Not many bands are able to put the amount of work into their music that theses guys are doing. And only a year after Alpha Omega they are making new music. That is what I call dedication to the fans.
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.
I recently started to listen to these guys. They're amazing. I've binged all of their albums from start to finish and can't wait for P4: Hail Stan to drop on April 5th (a week).
I wish I could fathom the hype surrounding this band. They're undoubtedly proficient in their instruments. Yet, I don't think they've put out anything extraordinary or influential that justifies them being ranked among the greatest artists. Speaking from a general perspective, incorporating violin doesn't add value to music when the focus is predominantly directed towards skill exhibition than on complementing the soundscape. Introducing many musical elements isn't more important than structuring them cohesively to give the music a more purposeful air. I'd suggest you listen to some early My Dying Bride albums if you have a little itch for violin work in metal. Check out the track 'For My Fallen Angel' from their album Like Gods of the Sun. They're not extravagant in their approach, but the utilisation is enough to move you.
Ne Obliviscaris just blew my mind from the very first time I heard about them. Mesmerizing Prog Metal with amazing violin... And they only have one album out. These guys deserve a top ten spot on the list, and I'm sure they'll get there within the next few years. Definitely the best Metal band to come out in the last few years.
Excellent newer band, unique sound that includes violins, very good balance between clean vox and harsh vox. Tim falsetto is amazing, their 2017 album Urn is one of the best in metal this year.
This band is incredible. They have produced some of the most beautiful and well written music imaginable. Portal if I is one of the best albums you will ever hear
Seventh Wonder has one of thw most amazing singers ever. I was afraid that Tommy Karevik would leave aside this band after joining Kamelot (which I think deserves 2nd place) but it wasnt the case. Mind blowing musicianship and heart touching stories. Break the silence and Tears for a father are just unbeliavely heart breaking, every time I listen them I end up crying. And Amazing in every way, and Mercy Falls second best concept album ever! And plus, they aren't just another attempt to copy Dream Theater. Vote for them!
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.
Vocalist is phenomenal, nothing in the music is overpowered, and one of the best prog metal bands out there. Tommy the vocalist has the most amazing control I've ever heard I think.
Certainly the best prog black metal band and one of the best prog metal bands. Every album they've released I'd good or a masterpiece. The voice is one of the absolute bests and the compositions are magnificent.
Can't believe they're this low on the list. If you like prog and black combined, check them out.
This bands deserve top 20 at least, best progressive black metal band out there in my opinion
I lived through this era. It was insane. There was a before CG and after. They made all metal at the time seem obselete. Then Grunge *really* made metal obsolete, and CG self-destructed. Worth a listen today, it's retro enough to sound fresh again, unlike some of their contemporaries.
Crimson Glory's first two albums are the two albums ALL Progressive Metal bands claim to have been inspired by. Period.
The originator with one of the most amazing haunting voices ever.
Midnight is The greatest vocalist period.
Last 4 albuns are prog death, Opeth is prog death as well... I love both, but Death should be definitely on 3 or 4 at least... I say 3 or 4 only because the first 3 albums are pure death... anyway best death metal and the best band ever in my opinion
Wow Death is WAY to low on this lost. I mean, sure their old school stuff is pure Death metal. Put their newer albums; specifically Symbolic and especially The Sound of Perseverance, are death and progressive metal mixed. R.I.P Chuck.
Amazing band. Simply spectacular and one of my all times favorites BUT not progressive. One of the best death metal bands ever. Period
They belong here not at number one on death metal list. They only have 2 death metal albums and rest are all prog metal (except SBG)
Extremely underrated, but nothing less than genius - this is Psychotic waltz. "A social grace", "Mosquito" and "Bleeding" are excellent albums, but "Into the everflow" is one of the greatest pieces of music ever created.