The Best Progressive Metal Bands

Published: December 4, 2013

This list features, in my opinion, the best progressive metal bands that have ever existed. Whether your preference is brutal guitar chugging with monster screams or mellow instrumentation with melodic singing this list most likely has something for you. Prepare yourself.

  1. Tool

    Tool is a progressive metal band out of Los Angeles, CA. They're on the list because they are one of the bands with the tightest studio production and live playing ever. They also feature lots of complex riffage and amazing as well as unconventional drumming.

    Lateralus by Tool

  2. Between the Buried and Me

    This band in an amazing five piece from North Carolina and let me tell you, they really know how to play their instruments. When they first started out they fit more into the progressive death metal sound than just straight metal, but since then they've really developed their sound and include lots of experimental sounds on their albums.

    Extremophile Elite by Between the Buried and Me

  3. Mastodon

    Mastodon is a progressive metal band out of Atlanta, GA that has a lot of sludge/stoner metal influences, awesome and memorable guitar riffage, and some of the most unique sounding vocalist I've ever heard in music.

    The Last Baron by Mastodon

  4. Periphery

    This band is one of the faces of a new fan-named movement in metal called Djent that features lots of crunchy, brutal guitar tones. While their music does feature lots of meaty chugging that doesn't seem to affect their musicianship, also this is the only band on the list with 3 full-time guitarists.

    Mile Zero (ft. Wes Hauch) by Periphery

  5. Meshuggah

    The originators of the Djent subgenre these guys are straight up brutal. They have some of the most mesmerizing polyrhythmic drumming I've ever heard. With nothing but screaming vocals and literally the most brutal tones in existence, these guys are definitely worth checking out.

    Rational Gaze by Meshuggah

  6. Karnivool

    I'm fairly new to these guys, but that doesn't stop me from loving them any. This band sticks out on this list because so far they are the only band on it that doesn't have any screaming vocals. The singer has an awesome voice though, so don't let the absence of screams prevent you from listening to this band.

    Roquefort by Karnivool

  7. Animals as Leaders

    With Animals as Leaders we have our second band on the list with no screaming vocals and that's because they don't have any vocals at all! This purely instrumental band is another member of the Djent subgenre. The leaders of this band Tosin Abasi is an amazing guitarist that uses some very interesting and awesome techniques to establish a unique sound.

    An Infinite Regression by Animals as Leaders

  8. The Ocean

    The Ocean is a thinking man's progressive metal band, with albums that cover subjects from the rise and fall of the heliocentric world view to deep sea excursions that mimic the dark thoughts that inhabit the deepest, darkest portions of out minds.

    The Grand Inquisitor I: Karamazov Baseness

  9. The Faceless

    The Faceless incorperate a lot of progressive influences in their music, but they're most known as a technical death metal band. I like to think of them as progressive metal because of their last two albums were concept albums and they also include some non-standard metal instrumentation such as the saxophone.

    XenoChrist by The Faceless

  10. Protest the Hero

    This Canadian band features clean vocals, screams, an AMAZING bass player, great drummer, and some awesome dual guitar riffage. Pretty much they have it all. Seriously though lead singer Rody Walker has a voice that could make angels crap their pants.

    Bloodmeat by Protest the Hero

I know by the definition of some this list may be considered too unconventional while others may call it too mainstream. Well I don't really care! These are some great bands all around and they all deserve to be listened to. So go and listen!