Prog Rock

I am always hesitant to recommend bands I have just discovered, at the risk of demonstrating my complete ignorance of a band everyone else has heard of.  "Hey, have you ever heard of these Led Zeppelin guys...."

Anyway, at the risk of such an outcome, I was searching for some 70's/80's style prog rock and found a band called The Mystery.  Prog rock fans might check them out if I am not the last person on Earth to hear of them.  Just as a taste calibration, I like a lot of different music but early Genesis and in particular the live album Seconds Out are among my favorites.

I am just emerging from a fairly obsessive phase over the last few weeks listening to Dream Theater and the related Liquid Tension Experiment almost to the exclusion of all else.

Prior to that I was digging through the John Petrucci and Al Di Meola catalogs.  Also exploring Steven Wilson at the recommendation of a reader.


  1. Tanuki Man:

    I saw Al Di at last year's PRS Experience (he has a signature model PRS guitar) and found the music to be vastly enjoyable but his stage presence made absolutely *no* connection to the audience. He may have said a dozen words total. I expect at least some song introductions and with a crowd that's into the instruments, perhaps something about what he thinks of his guitar. SMH It was off putting.

  2. obloodyhell:

    I'd suggest Madrugada. Best band to ever come from Norway. And one of the best bands I've heard in the last 20 years.

    They are no more, one of their band members died about 5 years ago, so they broke up, but they did some good stuff for about 10 years.

    A small sample:


    The Kids Are On High Street

    Strange Color Blue

    Quite Emotional

    If that stuff interests you, you can also look into the lead singer, Sivert Høyem, who has been pursuing a solo career, largely in Europe, where Madrugada's main fan base was.

  3. MNHawk:

    Hmmm, Benoit David on vocals, Nick D'Virgilio on drums...heck, I'm going to have to check these guys out, now.

    If ever you need ideas just browse, sample, and pick your poison.

  4. Bruce Anderson:

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    I'm a fan of prog-rock type bands... grew up on Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, ELP, etc. Have really been enjoying some new-ish prog influenced bands... always on the lookout for new stuff!


    Nearly anything with a Steven Wilson influence (Porcupine Tree, his band, Opeth, etc.). I'm on a major PT jag at the moment. if your tastes run more to prog- rock than to prog-blues or prog-jazz, would suggest Deadwing or In Absentia. For good live PT, check out, "...Arriving Somewhere". Excellent! The exception that proves the rule: be aware of his ambient stuff (Bass Communion). Shoot me now listening.

    Riverside: a group of former metal castoffs from Poland that wanted to do something more prog-like. The lead singer has this very sweet vocal tone, but can also produce some really great growls that he uses occasionally. Don't worry, it's not like some death metal guy who screams like Cookie Monster (not a fan of that style of, ummm, vocalizing).

    Karnivool: Aussie band that makes a lot of good noises. Check out the album, Themata.

    Rush: Still making good music after all these years. Just picked up Clockwork Agnels and it's pretty good.

    Tool: Interesting band with terrific musicians.

    For something more out there, check out The Mars Volta. Incredible musicianship! Songs are uninterpretable (at least to me).

    Transatlantic: OK... too much of a jazz influence for every day listening... at least for my tastes.

    Three (or 3). Funky band that I first saw opening for PT.

    Pineapple Thief: Cool stuff!

    Recommendation for something other than prog music: Joe Bonamassa. Blues guitar and in particular, 70's blues rock guitar. Really good stuff! For a little flavor of the guy, here's Joe at a Dallas record store wailing away on a borrowed guitar at the request of an autograph seeker: Captured on a cell phone, so not great video-audio quality. But you can see and hear how he plays.


  5. Bruce Anderson:

    BTW: Just listened to ~5 minutes of Mystery and immediately added three albums to my Amazon cart. Gracias!

  6. MNHawk:

    I'll second Riverside as well as Big Big Train.

    Plus, there's always old stuff still to discover, I'm sure. I listed to all that growing up and only in the past decade, have I discovered Nektar, Caravan, Camel, Gentle Giant, Focus, PFM, Banco, Family ect.

  7. SamWah:

    Sorry. I don't care. I'm a Spike Jones kinda guy.

  8. MingoV:

    I just discovered Dream Theater and Symphony X a few months ago. They came up because I was searching for great guitar music other than Joe Satriani. (That search also led me to Michael Angelo Batio and Steve Stevens, the guitarist for Billy Idol).

    I had not heard of The Mystery or the bands recommended by Bruce Anderson. Thanks for the links.

  9. irandom:

    I'm so out of touch with American music, that I go by the recommendations of Greg Mankiw. Then my brother says he heard of that band months ago.

  10. TheThinker:

    I just discovered these guys this morning; I agree, they are excellent.

  11. TheThinker:

    I'd also suggest IQ, RPWL, and The Flower Kings.

  12. Bruce Anderson:

    Symphony X is really good music... I personally have a difficult time with some of the stories in the songs.

    Other bands to consider:

    For instrumental stuff that's proggy, could try Pelican or Russian Circles.

    For a more mellow version of Riverside's sound, try Lunatic Soul (vocalist for Riverside)

    Sylvan has some good stuff, as does Thought Chamber, Pthosray, Spheric Universe Experience, Stride, Pain of Salvation.

    For just crazy guitar work, check out Freak Kitchen and Matthias IA Ehklund. He can produce some fascinating sounds from a guitar.

    BTW: headphone recommendation: if you're using portable MP3 player, would suggest investing in good headphones. Etymotic ER4P are exceptional! Very clean, clear, and just incredibly detailed (almost analytic). Great sound for portable players. They are like ear plugs that have teeny transducers in them. They passively block sound (which is great for air travel or pretty much any travel where you aren't driving!) and are readily powered by portable players.

  13. obloodyhell:

    If you want to try a psychedelic rock band you might like, there's the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, particularly the song
    Slip Inside This House

    I've always considered it particularly unique in that it's got a pretty good set of "stream of consciousness" lyrics, in which he sings for about 8 minutes with very little repetition or chorus, really, except for the title. There's one chorus that gets repeated once, with a strong riff, "There is no season..." and that's it. The rest is 8 minutes of singing. Very trippy.

  14. eCurmudgeon:

    I'd suggest Morow (, which is an online Progressive Rock radio station.

    Yes, it's French, but don't let that stop you.

  15. Savage:

    Give the album "Once" from Finland's "Nightwish" a try. Their most popular album is "Century Child" but I prefer "Once". Also recently got "Iconoclast" from "Symphony X". Michael Romeo is ridiculous on guitar.

  16. eCurmudgeon:

    Michael Romeo is ridiculous on guitar.

    Perhaps, but the lyrics on that album are so terrible, even the late Ronnie James Dio would have been embarrassed to sing them...

  17. obloodyhell:

    }}} Tool: Interesting band with terrific musicians.
    Indeed, but, be forewarned, they're very harsh. Industrial metal.
    You might try the first album from A Perfect Circle, "Mer De Noms" which is Maynard James Keenan, the main guy behind Tool, along with others. The same kind of powerful, emotionally overwhelming music, but more orchestral and less harsh (don't get me wrong, I love Tool, too, but that kind of industrial stuff is something some people hate, since they want harmony and consonance in music -- this still has some of that harshness but it's more subdued).

    A couple songs:

    A Perfect Circle - 3 Libras

    A Perfect Circle - Magdalena

    Here's the whole album. Since it's a concept album of sorts, it really does need to be heard in its entirety:

    A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms

    Damn, that album is awesome. Can't promise it'll hit you like it does me, but it's really, really good.

  18. obloodyhell:

    Nice little one-shot for you. A Calypso-Rock fusion.

    Burning Sensations - Belly Of The Whale

    They did a full album but this was the only real hit they had.

  19. obloodyhell:

    I listened to the title track it basically melds early King Crimson with speed/death metal. Not awful but not all that original.

    I grant it's exceptionally well executed, mind you.

  20. obloodyhell:

    re: Transatlantic: listened to one song. Seemed like they were trying to merge Genesis, Rush, ELP, and King Crimson, and forcing it too hard.

  21. obloodyhell:

    Listened to two Riverside tracks:

    You need to go back to the originals. This stuff is ok, but it's not original.

    King Crimson, Yes, Early Genesis, Emerson-Lake-and-Palmer. Even pre-"Dark Side" Pink Floyd and Rush.

    This stuff is just riffing on stuff they already did. Decently, but not "Woah!" impressive.