Metal Evolution-Episode 11: Progressive Metal (DVD)
Released: 2012, Alliance Films
Not sure which episode I zoned out of the most – this or the one on nu metal.
Everything covered is this episode just added evidence to why progressive metal bores me to tears; starting with the bands that influence today’s prog bands (Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Rush) to what actually defined a prog band.
The fact that progressive metal was born during the time of grunge could also explain why it never crossed my path in its earlier days.
Last but not least, is Dunn’s exploration of Progressive Metal which opens frustratingly with Mastodon describing the roots of Progressive Metal, when a band like Dream Theater, Queensryche or Fates Warning would have been the obvious, more deserving choice. In fact, in a colossal blunder on par with the exclusion of Blue Oyster Cult back in episode 2, Dunn skips Fates Warning entirely. This simply does not do justice to the history of the evolution of progressive metal when you eliminate one of the three key progressive metal bands. So yeah, plenty of coverage of Rush an important foundation, but already well documented. Dunn does do Dream Theater and Queensryche justice as well and there are plenty of interesting moments and some questionable inclusions like Meshuggah and Tool.
According to Jeremy Wagner, author of Mean Deviation said in his book that there are two types of Progressive. The small ‘p’ progressive meaning bands that evolve musically and sonically. The there is the capital ‘P’ Progressive which is the genre with specific archetypes. Unfortunately, in my opinion alone, Sam and crew decided to focus the episode on small ‘p’ progressive. I was hoping the episode would focus on the Big ‘P’ genre but it focused more on modern bands on the fringes of Metal bands like Tool, Mastodon, and Dillinger Escape Plan. However, it was the right choice to make because the entire series is all about evolution. All the Dream Theater/Fates Warning/Queensryche clones are not really evolving, just emulating. The episode starts flawlessly tracing the origins of US and UK progressive music up through the 70’s (tons of Rush) and then into the 80’s with birth of the big ‘P’ Progressive genre with Queensryche and Dream Theater. It was a good episode to end the series with as this style is truly the most evolutionary as compared to various retro or ‘true’ Metal movements.