Greatest Tech/Extreme Prog Metal Bands

kempokid
Tech/extreme prog metal is a sub genre of progressive rock with roots in Extreme Metal or strongly influenced by it. The style developed by the end of the 80s in the Thrash Metal scene when a number of bands stretched the boundaries of their sound by including elements from Progressive Rock. Death Metal followed a similar path in the 90s and by the 2000s, also Black Metal and Metalcore saw an increasing amount of bands taking in Prog influences. Here are some of the bands and artists of the genre that I consider the best.
The items for this list are based off of the clasifications used on the Progarchives website.

The Top Ten

1 Opeth Opeth Opeth is a Swedish progressive death metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1990 by David Isberg, who invited Mikael Akerfeldt into the band as a bassist. Isberg ended up leaving the band, which lead to Mikael becoming the band's vocalist, guitarist, principal songwriter, and driving force. Along with ...read more.

Atmophseric, dark progressive death metal at its finest. The songs often will have some elements of beauty among them as well, courtesy of Mikael Akerfeldts incredible voice, being able to produce chilling death growls and some incredible clean passages. Their sound is also quite diverse in this area, with some early works sounding more like melodic black metal along the lines of Dissection, while they've also gone the opposite way and made some fairly decent standard prog rock, along with the amazingly haunting Damnation. - kempokid

Opeth is an incredible band with unique and interesting material throughout most of their discography, and even if they've softened, they're still pushing through and continue making great content nonetheless. My only issue with them, however, is their pacing issues. I'm all up for long songs, but Opeth can be boring at some points as some of their tracks tend to be dragged and too extended for their run time. - CrimsonShark

No competition whatsoever. So what, that they had stopped incorporating death metal elements into their music. They've already built a legacy that has been moving from strength to strength since the last decade and a half.

Not a Prog Metal fan but, I kinda dig this band and think that they're one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands of all time.

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2 Death Death Death was an American death metal band formed in 1983 by Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band's ...read more.

Death's later albums were boring and tiring. Sound of Perseverance is quite a unique venture, and I like some of the tracks in it and it's not that meh Soul of the voice, or whatever. I do respect this band a lot for their first three albums. Nothing against them at all.

Now coming to the point that triggered me to express my views.
The person who says Opeth isn't a death metal band is living in his world of ignorance and knows nothing about metal music. They were technically a death metal band, which incorporated pure characteristics of death metal with lots of progression complemented well by impeccably smooth transitioning. They had a few prog rock songs within their albums (i'm referring to albums uptil Watershed skipping the intentional Damnation project), but that doesn't make them a completely prog rock band. I think those people who make these assumptions, don't dare to listen to Opeth's heavier materials because it perplexes their mind to understand their music on a ...more

While their early albums were pure death metal, from Human onwards, they began adding some more progressive elements to their music. These albums are where I personally find that Death shines brightest, as the instrumentation is incredible for the most part, transitioning from section to section extremely clearly, while constantly maintaining the high level of intensity of the music, providing a fairly unique sound in terms of death metal, especially when also taking into account the cleaner sound to it compared to most death metal bands. - kempokid

1. Death
1. Opeth
2. Mastodon
3. Gorguts
4. Gojira
5. Leprous - Black_Abbath

The rest of these guys are great, but Chuck was untouchable.

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3 Gojira Gojira Gojira is a progressive metal band from Bayonne, France. The band was known as Godzilla until 2001. Gojira is composed of Joe Duplantier on vocals and rhythm guitar, his brother Mario Duplantier on drums, Christian Andreu on lead guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass.

What this band does best is making amazingly heavy music, with particular focus on bone crushing riffs. The production and mixing of their music provides it with an extremely large, spacious feel to it, further increasing the intensity of their music, making each individual note feel incredible impactful and powerful. They also are able to weave in some more emotional, beautiful moments in song such as Global Warming and The Gift of Guilt. - kempokid

4 Gorguts Gorguts Gorguts is a Canadian technical death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec. The band was formed in 1989; its only constant member has been Luc Lemay.

Extremely challenging, dissonant music in every way, sounding what Captain Beefheart would have sounded like if he wrote death metal. The songs seem to transition every 5 - 10 seconds, bringing in new, heavy riffs, sounding as if it almost doesn't work properly, yet always just being able to have it work, providing the listener with a feeling that is hard to create, almost always having them be slightly put off due to how unpredictable the music can get. - kempokid

One of the least accessible metal bands ever. Which is a compliment in a metal context. - Metal_Treasure

5 Between the Buried and Me Between the Buried and Me Between the Buried and Me is an American progressive metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina. Formed in 2000, the band consists of Tommy Giles Rogers, Jr.

The way this band transitions from one riff or section to another seamlessly, no matter what the change is, ranging from heavy death metal breakdowns to bluegrass, makes it an incredibly interesting listen. Each song is incredibly dynamic, going from riff to riff extremely quickly, while still being able to keep it sounding extremely good the whole way through. The clean sections also tend to be great, breaking up particularly intense sections and bringing in some amazing melodies in the process. - kempokid

6 Nile Nile Nile is an American technical death metal band from Greenville, South Carolina, United States, formed in 1993. Their music and lyrics are inspired by Ancient Egyptian/Near Eastern mysticism, history, religion, and ancient art, as well as the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
7 Leprous Leprous Leprous is a Norwegian progressive metal band formed in 2001 in Notodden, Norway. The band gained prominence as the backing band for former Emperor frontman Ihsahn's live shows.

Each album they make is quite difficult to get into, and each is different from one another, but always very complex and interesting. The band always sounds very fresh and interesting, never seeming as if they've hit a roadblock, with some albums focusing more on vocal harmonies and a slightly symphonic sound to them, while other delve deep into extremely dark atmosphere, while always clearly maturing as each album passes. - kempokid

8 Ne Obliviscaris Ne Obliviscaris Ne Obliviscaris (Latin for "forget not") are an extreme progressive metal band from Melbourne, Australia, formed in 2003.

I politely disagree that what they do isn't incredible:

1) they do duets between clean and unclean vocals - the clean and harsh vocalists sing simultaneously, harmonizing their vocal lines (can you name another prog metal band that does it?)

2) many metal bands use violins but it's occasionally and usually in the background as part of the arrangement. But Ne Obliviscaris use violins all the time. And they offer dueling solos between a guitar and a violin. And sometimes between a violin and a bass.

3) their composing skills are incredible and one of their songs is studied at a Music Conservatorium for its composition.

@Ananya - they aren't "extreme" prog only from the angle of complete metal music illiteracy. - Metal_Treasure

While I'm not as keen on them as many people are, I still cannot deny that I do see a lot of merit in their music, particularly how well they blend violin into their music, as while the idea itself isn't necessarily anything absolutely ridiculous or incredible, the execution of it truly is, as these passages of violin at atmosphere and pure beauty to the harsh music. - kempokid

Ne oblisviscaris doesn't need to be in top ten when there are other bands on the list who are way more skilled, talented and great.
Their songs aren't anything unusual or of a new concept, Simply walks in the crowd - Generic and not complex at all.
Using violins all the time isn't going to do much, riffs are pretty overshadowed, their stuff don't flow well..and the albums sound similar to each other as they clearly lack inspiration.
And they aren't "extreme" prog from any angle.

I agree with Kempo, they are neither ridiculous nor incredible.

P.S - Ne obliviscaris fan(s)...Don't think of your opinion as a fact.
And try not be hypersensitive or delusional about It. Can't take my opinion? Ignore it. - Ananya

9 Sikth

While I'm not a major fan of most 'Djent' bands. I find Sikth to be the massive exception to this, due to how unhinged they sound, sounding similar to System of a Down if they decided to become heavier. The vocal work in particular provides this, being quite bizarre in general. Their more experimental moments also separate them from other 'Djent' bands. including some elements of eerie atmosphere and the like. - kempokid

10 Cryptopsy Cryptopsy Cryptopsy is a Canadian technical death metal band from Montreal, Quebec, formed in 1988. The band has sold over 300,000 records.

Prog...?
Hmm, I guess they kinda are. - AdamDestructorJr.

The Contenders

11 Meshuggah Meshuggah Meshuggah is a Swedish progressive metal band from Umeå, formed in 1987. They are often considered the fathers or founders of the djent metal sub genre due to their use of downtuned guitars. They are also known for their song “Bleed”, which is known for its extremely complicated instrumentation, ...read more.
12 Obscura Obscura Obscura is a technical/progressive death metal band from Germany, founded in 2002. The band became prominent when members of Necrophagist and Pestilence joined Steffen Kummerer to release the critically acclaimed second full-length album, Cosmogenesis. The band was named after the Gorguts album Obscura. ...read more.

They are a very overrated metal band. I find their music/riffs lacking in emotion and substance. The only thing that they do arguably better than most of the bands on this list is pretentious wankery. They never seem to utilise their strength in the right way or direction and therefore, the output sounds like a hodgepodge of one hundred different elements of music. Technicality at a reasonable degree adds a whole new dimension into the music but this band oftentimes tends to go beyond that limit.

If you wanna hear how to correctly incorporate jazz elements in extreme metal, give a listen to their song Diluvium (2018). The jazz elements don't make the song lose its metal feel, tempo and technicality. I needed to say this because many metal bands who try to do it often sound like bands playing cheesy lounge music. - Metal_Treasure

13 Voivod Voivod Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Québec. Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger, Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain, Dominique "Rocky" Laroche and Michel "Away" Langevin.

I haven't listened to too much of them so far, but I really love what I'ver heard so far (Nothingface). I've heard it described as Gentle Giant if they went metal, and I can somewhat see the comparison, as both favour much shorter stretches of music that are filled with many different ideas, along with embracing the quirkier side of their respective genre. - kempokid

14 Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon is an American heavy metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in early 2000 and composed of bassist Troy Sanders, guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor.

While a couple of their later albums are somewhat questionable, in general, this band has put out some incredible material, ranging from extremely heavy, chaotic and aggressive, to sludgy and more prog focused. The technicality here provides for some great songs, especially in terms of some of the riffs that the band comes up with. - kempokid

15 Spawn of Possession Spawn of Possession Spawn of Possession was a technical death metal band from Kalmar, Sweden, founded in 1997. In 2017, the band announced their split up via their Facebook page.
16 Horrendous Horrendous
17 Beyond Creation Beyond Creation
18 Blotted Science Blotted Science Blotted Science is an instrumental technical metal supergroup formed in 2004. It is headed by Ron Jarzombek, bassist Alex Webster and drummer Hannes Grossmann.
19 Enslaved Enslaved Enslaved is a Norwegian extreme metal band formed in Haugesund in June 1991. They are currently based in Bergen, Norway.
20 Animals As Leaders Animals As Leaders Animals as Leaders is an American progressive metal band from Washington, D.C. It is composed of guitarists Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes along with drummer Matt Garstka, having been formed by Abasi in 2007. Their musical style has also been described as djent.
21 Haken Haken Haken are an English progressive metal band formed in 2007 by multi-instrumentalist Richard Henshall, guitarist Matthew Marshall, and vocalist Ross Jennings.

I don't know if this counts, but it seems tech-y to me

22 Vektor Vektor Vektor is an American progressive thrash metal band from Tempe, Arizona. The band was formed under the name Locrian around June 2003, but changed their name to Vektor in 2004.
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List Stats

100 votes
22 listings
260 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Death
2. Obscura
3. Opeth
Metal_Treasure
1. Gorguts
2. Gojira
3. Death
cjWriter1997
1. Opeth
2. Death
3. Gojira
kempokid

WRemix
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