A site where I get to complain about music I don't like.
Back during my original article on Prog Rock, I promised a future article on the 2nd wave of Prog during the 90s, similar to the 2nd wave of punk and 3rd wave of ska that were happening roughly around the same time. Well, I guess now is the right time to stop stalling, especially since this was my scheduled article for Sunday, so let’s get started.
As I wrote in the previous Prog article, the heyday essentially ended with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s tragic disco album Love Beach, which led into many Prog bands turning into Radio Rock acts, most notably Genesis. While these bands did have success, they really had abandoned those Prog origins. But eventually, Prog came back, albeit on a smaller scale. While no longer a driving force in the music landscape, bands did come back to the basic sound. It’s hard to pin exactly where the 2nd wave started, but it would be around the early 90s, with the continued popularity of Rush (who I’ll talk about next article), and new bands like Spock’s Beard, the Flower Kings, and Dream Theater becoming successful, with Dream Theater even scoring a hit with “Pull Me Under”. But a big sub genre soon came up, in the form of Progressive Metal.
Essentially, Prog Metal is just what it sounds like; the elements of Prog, like long songs, complex playing, bizarre time signatures, and concept albums, combined with the elements of metal, like grittier vocals, heavy guitar, and faster speeds. Prog can also be combined with Death Metal for what is called Tech Death or Prog Death, like with Between the Buried in Me, Opeth and Meshuggah. Prog Metal bands can either be closer to Power Metal (Essentially Operatic Metal with Piano), like Rhapsody of Fire or Dream Theater, or closer to the traditional Metal sound, like Tool or Mastodon. But in the Prog landscape (which is pretty much the Lord of the Rings landscape), Prog Metal as a whole is what became the most common variation.
But it isn’t all Prog Metal that dominates recent Prog music. Bands that still adhere more closely to the traditional sound still exist, just in smaller numbers. However, while they still stick to the traditional sound — since Prog is all about experimentation — they add a newer layer to it, making something unique. Bands like this include The Mars Volta (which ironically spun off of Post-Hardcore band At the Drive-In), Children of Nova, Coheed and Cambria, and An Endless Sporadic. Coheed and Cambria stand out as especially proggy, seeing as how all of their albums combined tell a story based on a comic written by the lead singer Claudio Sanchez. Don’t get much more Prog than that.
And now, the 2nd wave of Prog continues, not yet imploding in on itself or turning into Pop. While it’s true that the bands aren’t as huge as they were in the 70s, these bands have remarkably devoted fan bases who will follow their bands to the ends of the Earth. And in these days, it’s good to see that artists aren’t all just fleeting, soon to be gone next year. And on Sunday, we look at the band with the most devoted fan base of all.