A Conversation for Progressive Rock

The Future for Prog Rock

Post 1

Megson1

I sense there is going to be an accepted rebirth of Progressive music in general quite soon. It won't happen overnight but will gradually evolve as more and more mainstream acts attempt to push the envelope a bit further. It won't be the retro/copyist or neo prog bands that gain the approval of the press and media as it's all been done before. Don't get me wrong, I love all that stuff but it isn't quite progressive enough in the true sense of the word.

Mansun came close a few years back with the album 'Six' - I guess the timing wasn't quite right and it was too great a leap from their debut 'Attack of the Grey Lantern'. Radiohead and Muse are two of the mainstream leaders now (both fabulously talented groups and completely different) - I am also in awe of The Mars Volta's 'De-Loused at the Comatorium' - I read so many rave reviews of this album that I had the faith to order it without having heard a note!

There's a lot happening in the metal scene too with Opeth, a predominantly death metal outfit, releasing a beautiful, symphonic masterpiece 'Damnation' aided by the production, singing and playing of Porcupine Tree's and No-Man's Steve Wilson. Fair to say that Opeth's previous offerings, 'Deliverance', 'Blackwater Park', 'Still Life' and 'Morningrise' have all been progressive, mixing style such as folk, doom metal, light and dark in equal measure - each track a rollercoaster.

Anathema too lean more toward Pink Floyd than they do Paradise Lost these days - their latest album ' Natural Disaster' is beautifully melancholic, thought provoking and reflective building on the success of other recent releases 'A Fine Day to Exit', 'Judgement' and 'Alternative 4'.

Keep a look out for Pineapple Thief and Nightwish. The former currently blur the boundaries between indie and prog on their third release 'Variations on a Dream' - in similar fashion to Mew (the finest Danish pop/rock act ever) with their classic 'Frengers' (the final track on 'Frengers' is Comforting Sounds - 9 minutes of bliss culminating in a five minute beautiful climax with swathes of mellotron, synth, guitar and trumpet. It's got to be heard to be believed). Nightwish are virtually unique; a symphonic metal group complete with orchestral backing and some operatic vocals mixed in there as well. Beautiful stuff and my ramblings will never do it justice. Their latest album 'Once' is gaining fabulous, well-deserved reviews.

Music is evolving and at quite a rate at the moment. Keep looking outside of the singles charts for the best of the action. True progressive music often needs more than a 3-minute single to sell itself. Radiohead have enough credibility to get away with it - I don't know of many other bands that would have got the airplay that Yorke and company received for Paranoid Android. Fair play to all concerned - there is a God after all and a future for music. But, who would have wanted to miss out on 'OK Computer'? Paranoid Android is great and truly rocks. No Surprises is simply beautiful. But the album as a whole is greater than the sum of it's individual parts and that's what truly great progressive music is all about. This is where the true genius, true musicianship and total excitement lies.


The Future for Prog Rock

Post 2

Mike D'Anna

Of all the bands you mentioned, Radiohead IMHO has the most potential to spearhead a full-on prog revival, if only they'd decide to do it. Also there are many other contemporary bands that have mainstream potential, such as Spock's Beard, Echolyn, and the Flower Kings, just to name a few. Also, don't forget Tool; while I'm not a big fan, the boys are apparently huge Crimson fans, and some of their live shows with Fripp sitting in are not bad...if you can find the bootlegs.

smiley - cheers


The Future for Prog Rock

Post 3

Robbo

Nightwish are not unqiue in anyway, as there are hundreds of Sypmhonic And Ochestral Power Metal bands that actually do it FAR, FAR better.
Along with the fact that Once is a completely awful album and a saw sign they've sold out.

Prog's future more lies towards AG stuff such as bands on the Elitist label or groups like ATSSD.

Mainstream is not Prog's future, only it's death. Prog has to get back into it's underground groove so people can get on with making good music without all the silly bandwagon jumpers and posers.


The Future for Prog Rock

Post 4

Megson1

If you are referring to the likes of After Forever, Rhapsody, Epica, Tristania, The Sins of Thy Beloved, etc, then I can see your point to an extent. However, to say they do it better is a matter of subjective judgement and not an objective observation. Nightwish's 10 minute opus, 'Ghost Love Score', is exactly the kind of track from 'Once' which people, having bought the album for the commercial cuts, will regard as a work of genius and make them explore the genre further. Of course, we are talking more Gothic Rock/Metal here but the divide between something like 'Ghost Love Score' and Progressive Rock becomes ever more blurred when one considers the success of Rick Wakeman's 'The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table' from the early 70s and how similar they are.

Furthermore, Nightwish's commercial success hold them in good stead and although one would never wish Progressive Rock to be diluted or tainted by accommodating itself for radio airplay, the only way prog will survive is to increase it's fan base appeal. Radio can go a long way to support that.

I have recently discovered another fabulous group 'Lacrimosa'. They have been around for over 10 years but I had never heard of them until recently. Believe me, if you are a fan of symphonic progressive rock, you will love their more recent output such as 'Fassade' and 'Echoes'. Happy listening! smiley - smiley


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