Top 10 Albums of 2017 | Progressive Metal | 2 of 3
Welcome back. This is the second of three lists of Top 10 Albums of 2017 here at Power of Prog. This time we count down the Top 10 Albums of 2017 . We are also at a point in history where there is as much progressive metal as there is it’s paternal genre progressive rock.
As many know who follow this music, progressive rock now has its branches in many other genres or sub-genres of heavy metal music. This list below is compiled from traditional progressive metal, extreme progressive black metal, progressive power metal, cinematic progressive metal, progressive death metal and a progressive rock/metal opera. Without further delay here are my Top 10 Albums Of Year, Progressive Metal.
Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric and Acoustic Guitars/Bass Guitar/Mandolin/Synthesizers, Hammond/Solina Strings/All Other Instruments Ed Wabry – Drums
Original Cast Members/Vocalists
James Labrie – Dream Theater- As ‘The Historian’ Tommy Giles Rogers – Between The Buried And Me – As ‘The Chemist’ Simone Simons – Epica -As ‘The Counselor’ Mike Mills – Toehider – As ‘T-H1’ Floor Jansen – Nightwish – As ‘The Biologist’ Hansi Kursch – Blind Guardian – As ‘The Astronomer’ Tobis Sammet – Avantasia/Edguy – As ‘The Captain’ Michael Eriksen – Circus Maximus – As ‘The Diplomat’ Nils K Rue – Pagans Mind – As ‘The Prophet’ Zaher Zorgati – Myrath – As ‘The Preacher’ Tommy Karevik – Kamelot – As ‘The Opposition Leader’ Russel Allen – SymphonyX – As ‘The President’ Will Shaw – Heir Apparent’ Wilmer Waarbroek, Jan Willem Ketelaars, and Lisette van den Berg – Scarlet Stories as ‘The Ship’s Crew’ You … Insert Name Here … as ‘The Audience’
Production Lori Linstruth – Photo Stills/Ajren Lucassen & Ayreon Cast Wayne Joyner – Lyric Videos for Everybody Dies and Star Of Sirrah
Matthew Cerami – Vocals/Guitars/Bass Jordan Navarro – Guitars/Drum Programming/Keyboards/Additional Sounds Jordan Navarro And Nick Shann – Drum Programming/Arrangements
Additional Musicians Nick Shann – Guitar Solo & Stringed Arrangememnts on ‘The Long Road Home’ Violin on ‘My Father, My God Benjamin Ian Meyerson (Fin Amor) & Justin Barone (Consonance) – Additional Lyrics & Vocal Arrangements Samantha Marie Rae (Nectar) – Guest Vocals Charles Buonsera – Bass Solo on ‘Evisecrate Divine’
Dreadnought are certainly one of those bands you can never judge the book by its proverbial cover or in this case the name of the band. When you peel away the cover and begin to peel the layers back it is a a Melodic Christmas over and over and over again. This band have their own Periodic Table of Elements as far as music is concerned. My goal for this review will to elaborate the multiple elements in a very conclusive way without boring the reader of the review.
When I use to live in Denver, Colorado back in the later 1990’s, I began to notice just how utterly diverse the entire I-25 corridor was as far as music was concerned. One day you could be in Denver at a metal show, the next day be out in Boulder, Colorado at a ‘Jam Band’ style festival and a day after that be in Colorado Springs, Colorado at some ‘Alternative Music’ show. It seems Denver is one of the few areas that allow for such diversity in the music and arts to breathe and flourish without much persecution. It has always seemed that the Denver, Colorado area has been able to really coexist as far as musical genres have been concerned.
Denver natives Dreadnought have certainly embraced this attitude of diversity within their music and art. They have taken many various elements within music to truly form their own unique sound. At first glance or listen many questions come to the surface that could leave some to pigeonhole this band in one particular genre or another. However listener beware this band are totally adamant that they will never be pigeonholed at all whatsoever. So it leads to the pressing questions, who are Dreadnought and what style are they?
Is this band Black Metal? Are they Avant Garde? Are they progressive metal/rock? I would have to say they are all that a a whole lot more. Dreadnought are on the very new vanguard of a all new intelligentsia cropping up among several genres that seem to get closer together as time and music evolves. For a band with only four members they give the listener the appearance that there is a entire symphony orchestra to accompany them. Dreadnought are also coming along at a perfect time where many genres are embracing various elements of one another and allowing the melting pot to cook to perfection.
Dreadnought’s approach to the progressive music side is rooted very heavily within the 1970’s and spans nearly three generations. Dreadnought are also a band that constantly changes the questions when people believe they have all the answers concerning the band. Over the remaining duration of this review I will point out many of the various elements that make up the Dreadnought sound. Vacant Sea begins with a beautifully isolated female vocal that creates a atmosphere to the listener in attempt to gain their undivided attention. This soon subsides and the beauty of percussion enters in along with a profound rhythm section before the female vocal comes into a harmonic bliss with the instrumental portion. The progressive aspect of this is rooted within the 1970’s in the tradition of Yes, King Crimson and ELP. The jazz style sections are a reminder of bands like Jaco Pastorius era – Weather Report with various elements of Caravan and Camel.
The Black Metal aesthetic runs in the tradition of both old school low fi resolution sounding guitar atmospheres in the tradition of early Mayhem, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. It is also met by some heavily laden Atmospheric Black Metal much like Agalloch and Summoning come to mind along with some elements of both Shoegaze and Blagaze. All of this is much like a marriage of sounds along side with with very intricate time signatures and various chord progressions make for a very unique sound that separates Dreadnought into their own unique and independent sound.
The duel female vocal between Kelly Schilling – Guitar, Flute, Clean and Harsh Vocals and Lauren Vieira – Keys, Clean Vocals is definitely something groundbreaking within all the various musical genres present on the album. They have taken what Cadaveria (ex Opera IX) did to a entire creative level. These two ladies have also brought something to this style of Progressive Extreme Metal and that being a singer/songwriter element to the genre. Vacant Sea immediately dives into all these elements.
This track may be 17+ minutes but rest assured the long instrumental parts have a specific purpose and mean something and lead somewhere. Dreadnought are not the type of band to have insignificant fillers just for the sake of making the length of time rendering the song to appear redundant.
(Dreadnought – Vacant Sea – A Wake In Sacred Waves)
Within Chanting Waters opens up much in the vein of Opeth’s Leper Infinity from Blackwater Park meets Agalloch’s The Mantle with a twist of early King Crimson. The rhythm section of bass and drum really rips from the very first note and chord progression. The band certainly and deliberately are taking their sound to the next level and showing various depths of dimensions with this one. The band certainly displays their progressive prowess here as far as incorporating chord progressions and time signatures that sometimes get drowned out with the more extreme elements. The clean female vocal and the extreme metal vocal allow the track to breathe in such away where both vocals appear to take on a split personality to the central story. In the mind’s imagination it seems like there is a calm and angry side being conveyed in the vocal. Jordan Clancy – Drums, Alto/Tenor Saxophone, has a very keen sense of how hard to hit the drums and when to fall into the general rhythmic background. The band also display the very prowess of engulfing the listener into their various layers of diverse atmospheric elements.
The Luminous Scale immediately opens up into a very diverse progressive atmospheric chord progression. The deep tones of the rhythm section along with the semi – atmospheric guitar certainly hook the listener into a mellow disposition. This is a preparing the listener for the duration of the album. Throughout the album the band’s chord progressions, passages and riffs all have a unique purpose that deliberately lead somewhere. There is absolutely no insignificant filler anywhere on the album. The keyboards really have a distinct presence on here as well. Those are beautifully done by Lauren Vieira – Keys, Clean Vocals. Kelly Schilling – Guitar, Flute, Clean and Harsh Vocals has a very heavily Summoning style vocal on here as well. They both echo and haunt the listener’s very soul and hook it all at once. The rhythm section totally engulfs and assault’s every last sense within in the listening audience. The flute in this track as a very Jethro Tull to Camel vibe stemming from 1970’s progressive rock. Kelly Schilling – Guitar, Flute, Clean and Harsh Vocals, is certainly the Black Metal equivalent of Ian Anderson or various flute players in the history of the band Camel.
A Drifting Reign explodes right out of the gate with deep rhythm sections along with a beautifully played lush piano chord progression. It takes a break and the band sets a deep atmospheric rhythm section between various layers of piano and horned sections that is quite psychedelic in nature. The subtle psychedelic elements are also blended with very lite post metal elements as well. This is the final track on the album. This is also the most eclectic and eccentric track on the album blending many of the bands never ending elements and talent together like a progressive buffet feast on the ears.
By now it is perfectly clear they refuse to be pigeonholed into one genre. It is this approach and attitude that will allow the band to play live on various and very different bills and festivals. Their infrastructure will also allow them the creative space to do what they want and what their fans want instead of a power hungry and a monetary beast with the mainstream side of the industry that is a continual disease to artists and creativity. Dreadnought’s A Wake In Sacred Waves will be a album talked about 20 years from now as a album that both expanded progressive music and exposed further possibilities that display that progressive music will always have many directions to go in. Dreadnought’s A Wake In Sacred Waves get a 5/5 for perfection.
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