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Progressive rock / metal

Discussion in 'Music Discussion' started by Forostar, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    This topic is not per se about progressive metal of the nineties and this decade. Since some of us are (also) into progressive rock from previous decades, I thought we could share some bands with each other. I am still kind of new to this genre (this wiki page I find very interesting to read) and I bet there are many nice bands to explore. I already know Camel, Wishbone Ash & (of course!) Rush and a few songs and albums by some other bands. Which bands do you guys like?

    I'll kick off with a gem from the Netherlands: Finch

    One of the more overlooked progressive rock groups, Finch were a Dutch instrumental band that recorded three albums in the 1970s.

    1975 Glory Of The Inner Force
    1976 Beyond Expression
    1977 Galleons Of Passion

    "Register Magister" (from Glory Of The Inner Force) -> 9m21s
    "Pisces" (from Glory Of The Inner Force) -> 9m29s

    And here the whole 2nd album Beyond Expression:
    1. part 1, part 2, part 3 of "A Passion Condensed" (20m8s)
    2. "Scars on the Ego" (8m54s)
    3. part 1, part 2 of "Beyond the Bizarre" (14m24s)
     
  2. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I'm not as into this progressive stuff as I used to. Back when I first discovered it, it was a revelation to me, because it was all new to me and really seemed to take me to other levels... now it seems that the only way this effect can be achieved again is if I smoked weed. So I'm not very keen on it. Or maybe I'm just appalled by all the weed smokers who occupy this sort of music. I should probably revisit it all some day.

    Having said that, there are some "progressive" (whatever that term may mean anyway) bands I still enjoy. Jethro Tull would be my favourite I suppose. Great songs and great lyrics; Ian Anderson's flute playing is something else (not like this overused folk element you find with every crap metal band these days). The medieval theme is really fresh and interesting here... and most of all, Tull have the most underrated guitarist ever, Martin Barre. A good start would be the Aqualung album, although my personal favourite is The Broadsword and the Beast.
     
  3. Shadow

    Shadow Deluxe Edition Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    The best band when it comes to classic progressive rock is Genesis. All their albums from Nursery Cryme through A Trick of the Tail are essential. One of the reasons for that is that, unlike many other bands, they actually bothered to write their music. The songs had complex structures, but they were proper songs, not merely set-ups for jamming. Listen to "Supper's Ready" from Foxtrot: there are a lot of distinct sections, but the transitions are seamless and the parts make sense together. If you're turned off by the meandering style of many prog bands, you might enjoy Genesis. If nothing else, they had really interesting and fun lyrics and, in Peter Gabriel, a very expressive singer.

    "Watcher of the Skies" (from Foxtrot)
    "Firth of Fifth" (from Selling England by the Pound)


    Having raved about how focused and coherent Genesis were, it is perhaps a little strange that my second-favourite prog band is King Crimson, who are the polar opposite. King Crimson isn't really band as much as a series of projects with the same name. The only constant member has been Robert Fripp, but his input on each album hasn't necessarily been greater than the other members, which means that there is no easily identifiable King Crimson sound. Each album has its own style or lack thereof. Like most great bands concerned primarily with experimentation, their music ranges from mind-blowing to aimless and forgettable.

    "21st Century Schizoid Man" (from In the Court of the Crimson King)
    "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" (from Lark's Tongues in Aspic)
    "Fallen Angel" (from Red)


    I second Perun's recommendation of Jethro Tull, by the way. Fantastic band.
     
  4. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    When I read the topic's title, I've asked myself : 'Progressive rock -which is the first name that comes on mind ?'
    Well, it's CAN, a mega German group of 70s 

    I personally like everything from them, but to begin, I'd say try every thing from the period 1969 (Monster Movie) to 1973 (Future Days)
    Some samples:

    Vitamin C --> link
    This song which still sounds modern, is recorded in 1972, and it's one of the very first 'beat' songs ever
    (the first beat song is of course Strawberry Fields Forever, I've mentioned it again in a very old post here)
    Vitamin C, is considered their most known song.
    [​IMG]

    She Brings The Rain --> link
    Recorded in 1970, a classic CAN number
    [​IMG]

    Bel Air --> link
    This is an edited sample of a 20minute originally song -a relatively difficult listen, personally I love it
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Electric Eye

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Okay, I'll bite:  what is a "beat" song?  (I am familiar with Kerouac, Ginsberg and "beat" literature.)
     
  6. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    No prob, here are some samples :

    Moby -Disco Lies --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBnraCkeyc8  :dancinggeek:
    Hercules & The Love Affair -Blind --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb8S51M2GAc  :wub:
    Eddie Amador - House music --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WpERMtL-AY  :notworthy:

    Beat determination in en.wiki --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_%28music%29

    (Beat)les --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatles
     
  7. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    The Gods Of Prog Rock, Part the First...

    Yes
    They were among the first real prog bands - those who played prog full-time, instead of merely influencing the genre (e.g. the Beatles were at times very proggy, but they weren't a prog band). They also became the biggest, and the definitive band for the symphonic prog subgenre. After two somewhat interesting albums, they got Steve Howe on guitar and produced the phenomenal The Yes Album. They were at their peak for the next two albums, when they had Rick Wakeman on keys: Fragile and Close To The Edge. Anyone who doesn't know those 3 albums doesn't know prog.

    Genesis
    They weren't quite as successful as some other Gods Of Prog here, but their influence has perhaps been greater than any other band's ... it's impossible to conceive of Marillion if there had not been Genesis first. The essential albums are Foxtrot and Selling England By The Pound, but (like Shadow said) anything from Nursery Cryme to Wind And Wuthering excels. Despite their reputation of "going pop" in the 80s, they never abandoned prog - although they took its sound in a pop direction as well. Check out 80s Genesis prog classics "Home By The Sea / Second Home By The Sea", "Domino" and "Driving The Last Spike".

    Pink Floyd
    I don't think much needs to be said about Floyd, as they're so well known. Their space-rock sound has had a massive impact on later prog bands, especially Ayreon and Dream Theater. To really appreciate the Floyd, I've found it's good to listen to all the albums in order, starting from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. You can hear how parts of their style/sound were there from the start, while other parts developed over time. Sure, that's true with many bands, but I think Floyd is an exceptionally dramatic case.

    King Crimson
    These guys can get extremely weird at times and took me a long time to get into. They're almost impossible to categorize, due to both avant-garde leanings and diversity of style/sound. Yet they were a big part of this scene. Original singer Greg Lake went on to ELP, and later Bill Bruford (drums) came over from Yes after that band made Close To The Edge. I like the Red and Larks' Tongues albums the best, but your taste may differ.

    Emerson, Lake and Palmer
    Keith Emerson is a freaking inhuman GOD on keyboards. Palmer's great, even Lake has his moments, but the reason to listen to ELP is for Emerson. Brain Salad Surgery is their best album, with "Karn Evil 9" standing as their magnum opus (with honorable mention to "Tarkus"). The real tragedy: Jimi Hendrix was going to join this band, met with ELP and everything was planned out, but died before it happened. HELP would have been mind-blowing.

    Jethro Tull
    Their greatest accomplishment was supposed to be a joke! They tried to make a parody of all the prog rock albums with their side-long epics. In the process they nearly outdid all the other bands here, since Thick As A Brick is one of the greatest prog albums ever. They kept more blues in their sound than most other prog bands and had a notable folksy leaning too.

    Camel
    If you like Genesis, you'll like Camel. Their sounds have some similarities, though Camel had a substantial jazz influence. (Prog that swings!) Their first three albums are fantastic. The best place to start is with Mirage, which contains the epic "Lady Fantasy". Their first (self-titled) album has some really grooving instrumental parts, especially the song "Six Ate". Their third (all-instrumental) album, Music Inspired By The Snow Goose is a good mellow listen.

    Have you noticed a trend here? All of the above Gods Of Prog are British. I'll post about some American prog in Part the Second...
     
  8. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I didn't know that  :blink:
     
  9. Shadow

    Shadow Deluxe Edition Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    When Aqualung came out, Ian Anderson was annoyed by critics who called it a concept album, as it had not been his intention to make one. So he decided that if people wanted a concept album, he would make one and make it as over the top as possible.
     
  10. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I just read about Tull's proggy period on wiki (that is 1972-1976) and I have to laugh a bit about it.

    What do you guys think about this formula?
    Over the top + length = prog   ;)

    @no_5: That's an illusion less, isn't it? ;) Do you still like that album as much, knowing it was a big joke to fool the critics? Maybe Anderson made even fun of the whole prog rock genre, who knows?
     
  11. Perun

    Perun Climbing like a monkey Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Agree.  :halo:
     
  12. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I brought it up because I always saw Tull as a folky rock band, and when you look at their career (if you have to believe wiki) they had a proggy period for about 4 years. 4 years in a career of 40+ years?

    Only because the songs in that era were longer...(?)
    Of course there are more aspects to prog rock but still....
     
  13. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    The Gods Of Prog Rock, Part the Second...

    Some notable American proggers:

    Frank Zappa
    Zappa had a wider diversity in his output than anyone else, and much of it would not qualify as prog. But many of his rock songs (especially his jazz-influenced instrumentals) are prog classics. Zappa isn't for everyone; his music is relentlessly experimental, his melodies are often bizarre, and his humor sometimes requires a strong stomach. Zappa was the George Carlin of music: his humor started as biting social satire, and devolved into hateful unfunny rants. But if you stick with his earlier stuff, there are many hours of great music there. Hot Rats, Over-Nite Sensation and Roxy And Elsewhere are three superb albums that make good starting points if you're new to Zappa. For the more advanced listener, check out the live albums You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Volume 2 and OZ which are outstanding from start to finish.

    Kansas
    There's much more to this band than their hits like "Carry On Wayward Son". The title song from their third album Song For America is a monsterpiece, and one of my all-time favorite songs. The albums Leftoverture and Point Of Know Return contain the hits, but also have a host of obscure classics (the latter album in particular is full of great songs). Later albums are mostly worth ignoring, as main composer Kerry Livgren left after POKR.

    Jim Steinman
    He first got famous as the guy who wrote the Bat Out Of Hell album for Meat Loaf - that album being a prog classic by itself. Steinman combined rock with the bombast of opera, and created a style that is worked with pop too ("Total Eclipse Of The Heart", "Holding Out For A Hero"). Not usually considered prog, but I think he belongs here.

    Dixie Dregs
    A mostly instrumental band on the edge of jazz fusion from Florida. This is where Steve Morse (now with Purple) got his start - in fact it's mostly his project. They took a few albums to reach their peak, which started with the album Dregs Of The Earth. They weren't especially well known in their prime, but turned out to be hugely influential on later artists.

    And since "American" can mean "North American", we can't ignore...

    Rush
    Like Floyd in my last post, what is there to be said that you don't already know? For traditional prog, A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres are the classic albums. The quintessential rush album is Moving Pictures, with Permanent Waves being the next to check out if you like MP. The way I see it, Rush has had more influence on later bands than any other prog band - even more than Floyd.

    Saga
    What?! Canada produced two great prog bands?! Yes they did, and shame on you for not knowing about Saga! They wrote an 8-song saga (thus the band's name) about Einstein's brain saving the world, and split up the songs over their first 4 albums. To further confuse the matter, the songs weren't even released in the right order. Their music is rock with a pop influence; the guitars and keyboards are well balanced, neither dominating the band. The songs are "normal" length (3 to 6 minutes), but every second is packed with power and excitement. Saga proves that you can be a great prog band without playing long songs.

    Next installment: Neo-Prog!
     
  14. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Good to see Saga mentioned here.  :ok:

    For the ones who didn't know this yet: Saga is one of Nicko McBrain's favourite bands, and Worlds Apart is Nicko's alltime favourite album (of any band).

    I saw Saga a couple of years ago on their "farewell" tour. The band still exists but without Michael Sadler.

    I like a lot of Saga albums, my favourite Saga song is probably "Mouse in a Maze", and from their later work one of my favourites is "We'll Meet Again".
     
  15. Rotam

    Rotam Night and day I scan horizon, sea and sky

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Interesting reading.
     
  16. Shadow

    Shadow Deluxe Edition Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I like Yes, but even on their best albums I sometimes find them a bit overwhelming and dull. I think it might be Jon Anderson's voice that does it. Compared to Peter Gabriel, he lacks the charm and charisma that makes Genesis so exhilarating.

    While I agree that Zappa's later works aren't as funny as the early ones, I don't think the music got worse. Some of his best work came late in his career, and a new listener does himself a disservice if he ignores the post-70s material.

    Brilliant song.


    I've listened to the first two Finch albums now. Good stuff with some great melodies, though not outstanding. It'll need a few more listens to sink in, but I don't hear anything really different in their music. That's not bad - originality for the sake of it isn't something I value - but I think I would have liked it even more if I had heard it when I first got into prog rock.
     
  17. Forostar

    Forostar Conjure the Death Star again

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Glad you checked them out! :)
    That's the problem with the more obscure bands... They often appear later in the ears of the listener than Yes or Genesis or any other big name. I actually see some assets of this band, namely the excellent musicianship. That bassplayer (Peter Vink -> Vink is the Dutch word for Finch) rules, he's very fast and has a powerful sound! And I quite like the guitar stuff as well.

    By the way, I am not a big fan of Jon Anderson's voice either, and that's why I still didn't check some of their classic albums.
     
  18. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    I like it so much more now  B)

    Yeah, same here, I don't agree with everything SMX mentioned, but it's a good effort
    Although I can understand why, I wouldn't classified them as prog
    Such artists are Pink Floyd, Tull, Zappa & Steinman for Bat out of Hell pt.I.
     
  19. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Sorry if I was unclear - I wasn't referring to the music. However, most of Zappa's later albums are guitar solos, weird Synclavier stuff, orchestral works and other extremely experimental stuff. So I do think a new listener is wise to avoid it for the nonce, and get to know the 70s stuff first. Much of the later stuff is great, but I think it's hard to take if you're not already a fan of Zappa's better-known works.

    A couple albums from the early 80s are the end of the classic period: Joe's Garage and Tinseltown Rebellion. After that, his albums contained more filler between the brilliance.
     
  20. ______no5

    ______no5 The Angel Of The Odd

    Re: Progressive Rock (sixties / seventies / eighties)

    Technically Joe's Garage is late 70s  :p
    Seriously though, I love this album, as I love Tinseltown Rebellion which was my very first Zappa vinyl
     

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