Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prog and You

Posting lately has been pretty sporadic, and I understand that many of you are impatient.  "Entertain me with your inane opinions and ridiculous analogies!" you say, arms crossed in front of your most br00tal shirt, stinky beard hanging disdainfully in front of you.  I know, bro.  I know.  But the thing is that my wife and I have been playing Portal 2 and I've been writing music for my grind project, which hasn't left me a lot of room for writing.  Also, I haven't really had anything new or interesting to listen to lately; I was picturing, when I started this crappy blog of mine, that I would be flooded with requests to write up peoples' bands.  "Check out my band.  We r like meshuga crosed with Red cord lol," they would say.  And then I wouldn't constantly be having to examine my iPod and CD collection for stuff to frantically write about.

But that obviously isn't going to happen, so I'd like to talk about something near and dear to me.  Prog metal.

I have lots of crusty friends.  They wear Saint Vitus and Eyehategod and Despise You shirts; some of them have stupid cutoff shorts, which they wear with boat shoes while simultaneously (and ironically) decrying hipsters (I'm looking at you, 8===D).  They don't like prog.  In fact, prog metal is like their kryptonite.  They scatter at the mere mention of it, frantically stuffing leaves and twigs into their ears to thwart the ingress of any and all music that could be associated with James Labrie.

I don't get it.

I, on the other hand, was reared on prog.  I got into metal with almost the sole basis of finding music with the most badass guitar playing available.  The obvious first steps for sick, pointless shredding is into Power Metal and Prog, where wank is the gold standard and the measure of a band can be directly correlated to the steady stream of note-diarrhea that is ejected from the strings of their guitars and the electronic strings of their keyboards.  Prog metal doesn't shy away from the forbidden metal taboos, the things that we as fans take for granted every day.  Smiling on stage?  WHAT THE FUCK?!?  Why is that dude wearing a puffy shirt and leather pants?

Because he's PROG, brah.

Prog does what grind does, but better.  And I'm not talking about grinding, either.  I'm talking about the abrupt, explosive shift in music that occurs in both genres.  Grind will be blasting along, then suddenly, without provocation, we're thrust into the midst of a chugging breakdown or half-time stomp.  Prog does the same thing, but takes a different approach.  In prog, you'll be placidly listening to a part where the singer is singing about a faraway land over acoustic guitars, and then suddenly BOOM, a two minute circus jam breaks out, complete with xylophone patch on the keyboards and jaunty backbeat.  Then WHAM, you're hearing them play blastbeats with sweep picking "riff" and guttural-slam vokills.  And now you're back to the acoustic guitar, thirteen minutes of your life spent on a fantastic odyssey with a group of aging longhairs.

I love it.

I've often fantasized about starting a prog band.  We'd be so awesome; it would be a flurry of keyboard and guitar solo wanking and dumb haircuts and our singer would play the tambourine while the other members traded extended solos.  I might even start playing fretless guitar to make sure that we had a slippery sound that would turn off everybody but the biggest prog nerds.  And hurdy gurdy solos!  I have ideas.  But it's really hard to find a bunch of people who are virtuoso level players at all, let alone players that would be into the whole "puffy shirt and chest hair" scene that I would want to construct.

I've always wanted to be huge in Japan.

But alas, my prog days have sailed, my heyday of listening to two Dream Theater albums a day gone like my thin twenty year old body that I managed to bloat and destroy with booze and burritos (but my colon, however, is still steady and predictable).  But I will soldier forward, buying every Dream Theater album as close to release as possible and listening to every second of it over and over, and I will not apologize.  I love shred.  I love wank.  I love sappy lyrics and ballads that get all fast in the middle so that a really shreddy guitar solo can be shoehorned in.  It's one of my favorite things, and something that I've held with me for years now.  We all have those things, and it just so happens that my guiltiest of guilty pleasure music is played by a bunch of dudes who need yearly prostate exams and occasional colonoscopies.

I often wonder if I'm the only person in the world who loves Gridlink, Trap Them, Tragedy, and Dream Theater.  All of the boners that I've met who listen to Dream Theater always like shitty stuff like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth, and they write bad poetry and defend their taste in music by saying "I listen to it because it's funny."  Metal isn't funny or ironic, and listening to something just because it's funny makes you a hipster wang and I don't like that.  Grow a personality and develop some taste and then let me know why you're into metal, you dick.


Anyway, I just wanted to rant about that.  But I'm asking a serious question.  You've seen the kind of stuff that I cover on this blog.  Much of it is quite tr00 and br00tal.  I just admitted to liking Dream Theater.  Is there anybody out there man enough to admit that they also listen to Dream Theater?  Or is prog a completely dead scene?

Is there anybody out there?

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get to listening to my new Anaal Nathrakh album.


  1. Yeah, I like Dream Theater - Images And Words is as killer as it is cheesy. Hell, even Rush nestle along side Ramesses on my iPod.

    As for more recent traditional prog, well... Devin Townsend is by far the king of it. Deconstruction is a audio equivalent of waking up half naked in a circus that's mid-performance.

    Also, you got the new Anaal Nathrakh?! Lucky motherfucker, the creepy e-mails worked then?

  2. I've never hopped on the Devin Townsend boat myself. I was disenfranchised with SYL (I think I just had the wrong album) and an interview I read with Townsend where he totally douched out. The consensus is that I'm being unfair.

    I got the new Anaal Nathrakh. A writeup is imminent. It's hard to say if the creepy emails actually worked; I send so many of them out every day that it's really difficult to know what pushes who over the edge. Just ask Sacha Dunable from Intronaut or Patrick Lukens from Cut Your Teeth; I'm full to brimming with internet creeper vibes, and I'm unfortunately not afraid to bombard people I don't know with half-cocked ideas or drunken praise.