Jeff Wagner Discusses Influence and Impact of Progressive Metal
Band Photo: Death (?)
Jeff Wagner, author of the upcoming definitive book on progressive metal (scheduled for release in Autumn 2009), former Metal Maniacs editor and current The End Records staffer, has been interviewed by the Noise Pollution blog of James Mayse.
THE END RECORDS staff member Jeff Wagner. Scheduled for release in Autumn 2009, the book will detail the common movements of pioneers like OPETH, WATCHTOWER, VOIVOD, ATHEIST, DREAM THEATER, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ, CELTIC FROST, SIGH, and FATES WARNING — metal bands who have gone against the tide of tradition and conservatism. Linked by a desire to push heavy metal forward, these varied bands with a couple hundred other black sheep form the hard-to-pin-down category of "progressive metal."
Here's an excerpt:
We haven’t talked at all about death metal. I find much early death metal rather one-note (or one-grunt), but the genre is showing almost as much variation now as is black metal. What was the first band to take death metal’s “traditional” sound and expand it?
Wagner: That’s the chapter I’m elbow-deep in writing right now. It’s a tough call. Celtic Frost were considered a death metal band as much as a thrash or black metal band back in the day, and when they released ‘Into the Pandemonium’ in 1987, it was a total radicalization of all that. But I think what you’re talking about is the purer late ‘80s/early ‘90s death metal sound. Around 1990/1991, several bands began expanding the sound and taking it into a more experimental and/or technical area. I think of Disharmonic Orchestra (‘Not To Be Undimensional Conscious’) and Atrocity (‘Hallucinations’ and ‘Todessehnsucht’) in Europe, and here in the states the first that come to mind are Death’s ‘Human’ album and Atheist’s ‘Unquestionable Presence.’
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