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01.31.18 The Best of Melodic Death Metal 11.20.16 Kamelot Ranked
01.31.16 Megadeth Ranked07.29.15 Symphony X Ranked
06.22.15 Top 40 Progressive Death Metal Albums06.22.15 Top 40 Technical Death Metal Albums
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10.08.14 Nevermore Ranked01.11.14 Plugging Some Obscure Artists

Top 40 Progressive Death Metal Albums

Progressive death metal should be a simple thing to explain. Mash progressive metal and death metal together. The problem is, progressive metal is a broad term, and quite a few progressive death metal bands either flirt with technical death metal or significantly encompass as well. This tends to muddy easily identifying them. I've made a list for technical death metal, and there are no cross duplicates with this list: anything I feel is primarily progressive goes here. Comparing most of the bands on both lists should help in picking apart the differences of these subgenres of death metal. These are my top albums in this subgenere; I've done quite a bit of listening since my previous subpar iteration of this list, so hopefully things are greatly improved. Also the ranking may not be exact because golly that'd be hard. Limit one album per band.
40Empyrean Sky
The Snow White Rose of Paradise


Yeah, probably not the best to start this list off with a cheesy melodic band, but at least they actually progress instead of just having that atmospheric feel. Some not great clean vocals here and there, but the music's pretty good. You just have to be in a mood for this one, like power metal.
39Cangaço
Rastros


A really neat Brazilian band that plays a thrashy kind of prog death with significant maracatu influences. The result is a refreshing and interesting experience. Definitely looking forward to what these guys cook up next.
38Catharsis (POL)
Bitter Disdain


Cynic worship here. So slightly jazzy and riffy death metal with some good bass. The main issues of this album are that the quality is rough and it's pretty short since it was in cassette format. A solid album.
37Augury
Concealed


Okay, this album definitely skirts the borders of tech death and prog death. In fact, their (not as good) sophomore album I would classify as tech. So maybe they should have gone on that list but I already made it, whoops. Oh well, there are quite a few progressive passages, so it can fit here.
36Illuminati
The Core


This album slays, but there are some problems with it. There are quite a few guest vocalists from various great tech death bands, and the band kicks ass with their jams. There are just really boring interludes that seriously hurt the pacing of the album. I'm looking forward to what they'll do next.
35Dead Eyed Sleeper
Through Forests of Nonentities


I was expecting something more Opeth-like from the cover, but nope, this riffs pretty hard at times. A very solid release.
34Crypt Of Kerberos
World Of Myths


Really good old school death metal with plenty of progressive influence. Not much else to say except that it's pretty damn good.
33Voices (UK)
London


Akercocke resurrected, mostly intact, plays progressive blackened death metal. This album is quite dense, making it a bit of a tough listen at times. But it's pretty much on par with Akercocke's best.
32Akercocke
Words That Go Unspoken...


Yeah, I just talked about these guys. Opeth's rawer, Satanist younger brother that plays death metal. Has quite a few good songs, but there are some parts that aren't too enticing. Still a great album and their others are pretty good, too.
31Lascaille's Shroud
Interval 02: Parallel Infinities, The Abscinded U


Certainly an ambitious one-man project, since this album is two hours long. That's definitely a hurting point because it's hard to stay focused for that album. Well, I often listen to stuff while browsing the internet, but this provides less focus. There were some killer riffs I recall, and it was a pretty good ride. I just don't remember most of it because it was too long.
30Howls of Ebb
Vigils of the 3rd Eye


Like a slightly more legible and weirder Portal. But progressive, of course. Certainly a unique album and I enjoy it quite a lot.
29Dan Swano
Moontower


Some good ol' prog rock mixed with death metal. Dan Swanö is an excellent musician and vocalist. Yeah. Great album.
28Vuvr
Pilgrimage


There is significant jazz influence on this album, to the point to where some songs aren't even death metal. It's an excellent combination of sounds. I just wish they weren't a "one and done" band, since I would have loved to hear a follow-up album.
27Creepmime
Chiaroscuro


They started as a death doom band, but switched to prog death for this one. Excellent riffs.
26Supuration
The Cube


Definitely weird sounds to this one at times, but it's pretty damn good.
25Pestilence
Spheres


Significantly technical, but that spacey feel puts it here. Those bizarre riffs are oddly appealing. Quite the departure from their earlier works, but it's pretty cool.
24Mithras
Worlds Beyond the Veil


This album has very muddy production, adding to the extraterrestrial feel that the album is going for. The production doesn't really hurt the album, even though it sounds like it should. It also has some great spacey interludes.
23Persefone
Core


They can sound a bit cheesy at times, and Spiritual Migration may suck, but this album and their debut are pretty damn good.
22Kartikeya
Mahayuga


Pleasantly surprised with this one. Significant Hindu influence in the lyrics and during some parts, but most of it is pretty riffy prog death.
21Alkaloid
The Malkuth Grimoire


A bit of a lengthy ride, but this album has definitely impressed me. I think cutting the four Dyson Sphere songs would improve this album, but it's really good for a debut.
20Disaffected
Vast


There were a few symphonic death metal albums in my tech death list. This is the only one in the prog list, and it's pretty clear from the playing style that it belongs here. Keys embellish the sound.
19Korpse (UK)
Pull The Flood


Really good stuff with psychedelic influences sprinkled throughout. Great riffs.
18Sadist
Above the Light


Don't have much to say about this one other than it slays.
17Duobetic Homunkulus
Ani já ani ty robit něbudzeme


!T.O.O.H.! survives, !T.O.O.H.! thrives. Even though it's just the former guitarist from that band, you can definitely feel its influence in the music. Very technical, but there's enough progressive feel to swing it over to this list.
16Morbus Chron
Sweven


This is how you break away from being yet another neo-old school death metal band. This album has an overall weird sound to it, but it works so well.
15Edge of Sanity
Crimson


Is there anything more that needs to be said about this album?
14Pan.thy.monium
Khaooohs and Kon-Fus-Ion


Crimson isn't Dan Swanö's best, however. This is just some weird shit, but I like it a lot. For a more straightforward death metal, look no further than this band's debut.
13Stargazer
The Scream That Tore the Sky


Some strong musicianship and complex songs make this a very compelling album. Very strong bass work, too. They jam pretty hard. Their other albums are damn good, too, but their production is weaker than this one.
12Death
Symbolic


A classic. Enough prog influence for me to put it on this list. Sound of Perseverance may be more proggy, but I like this one better. I probably should listen to more Death other than these two albums.
11Wayd
Decadence


I don't know why these guys aren't as well known as Atheist and Cynic, because they're certainly on their level. I guess they just don't have a "classic" album under their belt. Doesn't matter, because they kick serious ass. I've only heard this one and Barriers, and both slay.
10Lykathea Aflame
Elvenefris


This album is all over the place in brutality and calmness. It's certainly a fantastic experience, that's for sure. Not sure how to properly praise this album, so I'll just say if they ever make another album, they better keep that snare sound.
9Cynic
Focus


I love this album, but those vocoder vocals are rather hit and miss and even they grate on me sometimes, so I had to knock them down a bit for that. Very complex musicianship with a nice jazzy feel to things. How Could I has one of the best guitar solos in music, and it's a fantastic album closer. Too bad Cynic aspired to make worse music after this album for whatever reason.
8Phantasmagory
Odd Sounds


Significant Cynic influence to be heard on this album. They've used their inspiration well to craft a very compelling album. Why is it above Focus? Because of the track Everlasting Change. 16 minutes of awesome.
7Violent Dirge
Craving


Another Cynic worship band. But it's like if Cynic decided to go full death metal after Focus. And no vocoder, either!
6Phlebotomized
Immense, Intense, Suspense


Immense and intense for sure, but I don't know about suspense. This album kicks ass. Excellent riffs and some really weird but compelling parts.
5Inanna
Transfigured in a Thousand Delusions


Yes, this obscure band does deserve to be this high. They riff so damn hard, but you can still feel the progressive stuff all over the music. Really excellent stuff.
4The Chasm
Deathcult for Eternity: The Triumph


A very strong album with melodic-sounding riffs. The Chasm has one of the most consistent discographies in metal, so definitely check out their other stuff because it's all fantastic stuff that's some of the best in all of death metal.
3Timeghoul
Complete Discography


A rare death metal gem that only put out two demos before they left for their home planet. Has some otherworldly atmosphere going on. Okay, putting the compilation might be cheating, because the prog stuff is only the last two tracks that are the Panaramic Twilight demo. But who cares, Timeghoul is amazing.
2Hacksaw to the Throat
Wastelands


Impeccable musicianship on this album. Everything flows greatly and the riffs are melodic and tight. The band particularly shines when they go mellow, such as a lengthy bridge on the title track and the track Obsidian Sun, which is just piano and cello. And it's amazing. This was my favorite that topped progressive death metal for me for quite a while, until I heard...
1Dark Heresy
Abstract Principles Taken to Their Logical Extreme


This album, man. I knew this was going to be excellent from that opening Dissection/Sacramentum-like riff, but I didn't know how awesome it would turn out to be. Any brief description I'm struggling to add on wouldn't do this justice anyway.
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