5 New Prog Albums You Should Listen to Before New Dream Theater

As promised, I commit to it. Is Dream Theater, an undefeated ghoul of prog arena, on its knees? The band is set to release brand new self-titled album on September 24th and Prog Sphere was one of the first to have it featured as streaming.

While the topic is still hot (and it’s going to be for quite some time), it felt right to come up with a special that shows where actually this album stands comparing with some of other “flagships” released in 2013. Maybe “compare” is not a right word to use, as there are 5 progressive albums selected by yours truly that are slightly topping the NYC proggers. Shall we begin?

I am not going to make any lists in here, it’s always ungrateful doing so, methinks. Instead I’ll just give a space to five albums that can beat-the-sh*t-out-of new Dream Theater. Oh gosh, I shouldn’t be that harsh.

Circle of Illusion – Jeremias – Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms

Jeremias - Foreshadow of Forgotten Realms

Progressive rock operas, and rock operas in global, do not seem to be a thing (anymore) nowadays. Jeremias is described as a progressive rock opera for 21st century. If this description makes a sour smile on your face, make sure to remove it immediately, because this album brings badly needed excitement and inventiveness on a dull progressive metal scene, while not risking anything. This is a bombastic, symphonic straight hitter that doesn’t suffer of any pre-configurations. Its joker is that you actually didn’t expect it and when it hits you once, it already wins all over you. You can listen to the album here.

Leprous – Coal

Leprous-Coal

The third album by Norwegians sees the band evolving rapidly, becoming one of the leaders of (if-that-exists) new wave progressive metal bands. In general, I dismiss anything labeled with “new wave”, but this is not to be considered a genre label, but to show that progressive metal in 2013 knows how to be different. And that’s what Leprous serve with Coal. Organic, non-predictive sound that speaks a lot within eight numbers the album is comprised of.

Alessandro Bertoni – Keystone

Keystone

Many will say that it’s easy to produce a great album when you have a great line-up around. Well, that’s not always true. Alessandro Bertoni gathered great line-up, that’s true. Brett Garsed, Ric Fierabracci and Virgil Donati are well known to the broad prog and jazz masses, and Bertoni had definitely a tough task to justify the attention he received. Keystone is a prog-fusion album that is quite focused on the subject. Fully instrumental, it’s an album that puts melody and groove in a mix that is kind of unconventional for this genre. Therefore, it’s positively different. And that makes it stands out. Listen to the album at this location.

Haken – The Mountain

hak

UK progressive rockers are back with their third album and their story is quite similar with the Leprous story. Though, they walk the (not so much) different roads, these bands are colliding in terms of innovation and prowess to experiment and bring something unusual. The Mountain is a record that is heavily grounded in 70′s progressive rock, but Haken established their own sound already with previous two albums and with the new one they are transforming to a leading prog force.

Omb – SwineSong

Vector_Templates

This Israeli band emerged on the rocks of already established Amaseffer and Reign of the Architect, employing the band members from this two bands. Although it would be unfair to label them as progressive metal strictly, they are largely based on the mentioned genre expanded by avant-garde sound, what is setting them on a whole new level. Plenty of interesting vocal harmonies, vocals coming all the way from cleans to growls and all that heavily spiced with precise rhythm section and astonishing guitarwork of Yuval Kramer. Stream it here.

Besides these five albums, there are lot more of them that maybe deserved to be found here. I will mention new albums from Virgil Donati, Maschine, Scale the Summit, Volto!, etc.

To summarize, it’s clear that none of these albums will be welcomed as Dream Theater‘s Dream Theater, but just so you know – there is a lot more going on under the surface.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

13 Comments

  1. #GoogleMyAss (@iLeonD)

    September 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    You are clear on some sort of mind altering substance here. It’s hard to compare different prog releases as they are very musically different. All great choices here but I wouldn’t think of comparing them to Dream Theater.

    • Nikola Savić

      September 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Why not to compare? If they are musically more inventive, noone is saved. Be it Rush or Haken, they all are to be criticized and compared. Of course they are musically different, that’s the essence of the genre. Down to its core they all call themselves progressive bands.

      Dream Theater’s new album is just another DT album, quite generic. There are of course some great moments here and there, but far beyond what others offer at the moment.

  2. Marcel Haster (@MarcelHaster)

    September 17, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I feel DT is often hyped and is viewed as THE prog metal band. But it is often a matter of personal taste. I have a load of DT albums, but hardly listen to them. I see so many other great prog metal bands that sound much more interesteing than DT. But sadly they always seemed to be viewed as lesser, which is absolutely not the case!

    • Dave

      September 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      Marcel…You are absolutely right on!!!

  3. Steve Hughes

    September 17, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    I’m listening to OMB – SwineSong. It’s effin Fantastic !!! Pain of Salvation on Steroids. After just one listen its the best album I’ve heard since PoS’s Remedy Lane. Loving it !!

  4. Mike

    September 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Such a silly way to advertise others music. To say all these bands will beat the shit out of the new Dream Theater. Why, cause you say so? Of these albums I have listened to Alessandro’s “Keystone”. Good album, but completely different than DT. It’s like Planet X or Virgil’s solo album. It’s like saying Hamburgers are better than Pizza. It’s personal preference.

    • Nikola Savić

      September 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      I am saying that all these albums offer much more than new Dream Theater which is generic.

      • Mike

        September 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

        Generic compared to who?…….If they sound like someone else, it would be cause DT influenced that someone else…..again, IMO it’s about preference…..that growling, I think it’s obnoxious and juvenile……but that’s just me. And it’s possible for someone to like ALL of the albums equally.

  5. albert

    September 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I agree with the Haken, it’s a fantastic album and much better then the new DT and this comes from a DT fan. Thanks for the info on the other albums, I will check them out. By the way, are you coming from the territory of former Yugoslavia? I ask becacuse of your name:-) It’s nice to see that somebody from Croatia or Serbia is running this beautiful site. Greetings from Croatia:-)

  6. Pingback: Prog Sphere: Listen to SwineSong Before the New Dream Threater | OMB Band

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  8. ɥɔnoɹƆ ʇʇɐW (@mattcrouch)

    January 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve been a Dream Theater fan for almost 20 years. The above list makes me realize that I guess I am not a prog fan.

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