Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Prog Metal Scene Part 2
More than just brutal riffs and unintelligible screams, heavy metal covers a huge range of sounds and has a massive number of sub-genres that dip into just about any style imaginable. Every week with Unearthing the Metal Underground we highlight three lesser known or unsigned bands that deserve to be heard by the wider music community, and this week includes another look at groups that are well outside the standards of black or death metal.
Last summer we delved into three “progressive” metal bands that throw in non-standard song structures, avant-garde twists, and a healthy dose of ‘70s style prog rock. Below you can find three more groups in the prog metal realm that are all unified by a jazzy outlook, some showy technicality, a strong emphasis on bass playing.
The heaviest of the three bands we’ll look at this week, Spanish three piece Continuo Renacer also happens to be an all-instrumental group, following in the footsteps as such acts as Blotted Science by maintaining a feel of death metal heaviness without using any screams or growls.
Without vocals the instruments really get a chance to shine, and the bass lines keep the music moving forward into ever funkier and more avant-garde territory. The guitar playing on the band’s latest album “The Great Escape” (reviewed here) doesn’t get left behind either, keeping up with impressively technical flourishes. The opening title track from the album can be heard in the player below. Head over to the Continuo Renacer Facebook profile for more details on the band.
Heading out of the purely instrumental territory inhabited by the previous band, Wisconsin’s Orphan Bloom uses a distinctive clean singing that brings to mind a bit of Leprous and meshes seamlessly with the inventive music, which switches between darkly brooding and bizarrely energetic.
A rarity in the metal scene, Orphan’s Bloom’s list of influences actually fits with the reality of the songs themselves. As the band states, its sound is influenced by “genres as diverse as blues, heavy metal, jazz, classical Indian and European music, and acoustic fingerstyle, working to forge a style that is both related to but distinct from the music they love.” Orphan Bloom has already released a self-titled album as well as an EP titled “The Wary Traveler.”
Check out the band’s fusion of sounds by listening to two tracks off “The Wary Traveler” below. More from Orphan Bloom can be found at the act’s Reverbnation page.
“Hole in the Ocean”
A Liquid Landscape
The most laid back and least heavy of this week’s lineup, the Dutch band A Liquid Landscape still keeps up a prominent bass presence along with some interesting guitar acrobatics. The band’s new album “Nightingale Express” (reviewed here) is stacked much more towards the prog rock end than the prog metal end, but anyone who enjoyed the softer forays of Opeth, Anubis Gate, or other prog influenced bands will probably dig this more low key version of the genre. Two songs from the new album are available to stream in the YouTube clips below.
Let us know what you thought of these bands, and feel free to share recommendations of your favorite prog metal groups in the comments below. Check back in again next Monday as we continue to unearth more underground metal bands.
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