The final week of the Toontrack Metal Meltdown is here! And we dip into the world of prog.
Say the word “prog” and you could mean Can, Pink Floyd, Mars Volta, Plini, Periphery, Opeth, Haken, Mastodon, Yes, Dream Theater, Gojira and many more. It means a lot of things to a lot of people, even when you zone in on metal.
So this is our take on prog-metal.
What is prog-metal?
Prog metal, like a lot of things, arguably started with the Beatles. They may have begun as a pop group, but as they got further into the sixties and substances, the weirdness came out. Bands like Yes and Pink Floyd then took this mantra and made it their own.
The metal variant comes in many shapes and sizes, but essentially is still that concept of taking the unusual and making it work. Odd metres, long conceptual songs and non-standard song structures.
Whether it comes in the shape of the more psychedelic Mastodon, or the ultra-modern highly-polished and technically astounding Animals as Leaders, prog-metal is all about pushing the boundaries. Things don’t have to be complex, but it sure seems to help.
Why will I like it?
It’s a challenge! Technical riffs, huge solos and some of the best players that have walked the planet.
Are there any JTC releases to help me with the style?
Connor Kaminski’s Prog Composition Masterclass gives you the ins and outs of how to write your own prog anthem. Not a bad thing to learn.
Al Joseph’s Prog Workout breaks down every aspect of the technical side of soloing within the prog context. It’s also a fantastic resource for staying in shape no matter what style of player you are.
And as featured in our playlist below, Learn to Play: Open by Olly Steele is just an absolute tune full of prog takeaways. Think djent Everlong.
Which guitarists should I check out?
Rich HenshallOne half of Haken’s incredible guitar duo, Rich is a player who can tap the night away. Whether with the band or on his own, his use of open strings is to die for and his penchant for fusion sounds gives him a unique sound.
John Petrucci Being the guitarist of the prog metal giant, Dream Theater, John Petrucci took the early workings of James Hetfield, Steve Morse, and Alex Lifeson, and completely flipped them on their head. Becoming known for ridiculously tight alternate picking, and his songwriting chops, John is one of the GOATs.
Tosin Abasi A player out on his own. His selective picking, thumping, and mind-boggling grasp of odd time has helped him cement a place in the halls of guitar legends. As the founder of Animals as Leaders, he has pushed the boundaries of prog-metal, and what is possible on a guitar.
Can I get a playlist?
Yep! We have tried to cover a swathe of prog-metal but do your best to find more!
Before you go…
Check out Nili Brosh’s take on the Toontrack Metal Meltdown Prog-Metal track