Top 5 best progressive music of 2013 so far
If this year's prog releases are indicative of anything, it's that, no matter how much things change, some things will just (no matter how stubbornly) stay the same. Despite the readily visible influence of djent and neo/post-prog, some acts seem to be content doing the same things that worked forty years ago. The result is a notably varied countdown of this year's best in progressive music (so far):
The haunting thing about The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) isn't just its unnerving subject matter; it's the album's tendency to get under your skin in ways that it shouldn't. Every intense solo, every soulfully delivered vocal line, every finely constructed passage of instrumental splendor has an eerie, subtly profound quality that will leave listeners slackjawed. The Raven, to put it more bluntly than the album itself, is every progressive rock fan's wet dream.
2. Pomegranate Tiger — Entities (Independent)
Canadian instrumetalists Pomegranate Tiger struck like a bolt from the blue, self-releasing their stupefying debut Entities. Combining all of the best elements of djent, tech death, and Scale the Summit-esque metal, Entities is an immaculately constructed release, somehow creating a work whose measure as a technical achievement matches how ridiculously enjoyable it is. This is one of the few albums that is truly as much fun for the listener as it is for the band.
3. Big Big Train — English Electric (Part Two) (English Electric)
The second half of Big Big Train's incredible English Electric had a lot to live up to, and in comparison it's easy to say that it's weaker than it's first half. But there's no denying that, taken alone, Part Two is a fantastic release from an acclaimed band, fusing neo-prog, post-rock, and classic rock into something more moving than it has any right to be. English Electric is undoubtedly Big Big Train's most affecting album yet.
4. Scale the Summit — The Migration (Prosthetic)
Scale the Summit are a monstrously proficient band, and judging by the entry two slots up, strongly influential as well. The Migration, the Texan quartet's fourth album, takes their high-flying guitars to new heights, beautifully fusing soaring melodies with ever-more baffling technical proficiency. The Migration is undoubtedly the culmination of years spent perfecting their uniquely moving songwriting, making it their best yet.
Vultress is very much a no-frills band (as far as that term goes for progressive music), writing tunes that are, at their heart, straight up rock pieces. Though they make some concessions to modern standards for progressive rock (notably some heavier metal sections and the occasional death growl), Vultress, on the whole, do an amazing job of showing what amazing work can be accomplished without the bent for needless novelty.
Runners up: TesseracT — Altered State, Anciients — Heart of Oak, Moth — Endlessly in Motion