The Best Progressive Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2016


1.  Devin Townsend - Transcendence 262
2.  Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary 160
3.  Haken - Affinity 159
4.  Evergrey - The Storm Within 112
5.  Fates Warning - Theories Of Flight 89
6.  Anciients - Voice Of The Void 75
7.  In The Woods... - Pure 72
8.  Oceans Of Slumber - Winter 55
9.  Votum - :Ktonik: 23
10.  Dissona - Paleopneumatic 22
11.  Dream Theater - The Astonishing (write-in vote) 13
  Opeth - Sorceress (write-in vote) 13
Total votes:
1103



Mastodon hasn't slowed its output at all, but we know tons of you people are pining for old Opeth, and Anciients has come to give you the combination of those two bands that you always wanted. Dropping technical riffs over sludgy grooves and contrasting thick growls with the type of haze-obscured cleans that would make Troy Sanders proud, Anciients rips through over an hour of music in what feels like no time. Voice Of The Void explores all kinds of fascinating places, and everywhere it goes, it brings its magnificent combination of fuzz, precision, and brutality with it.

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Devin Townsend - Transcendence

Devin is back! Oh well, he never really left, but after a few lackluster releases (for his god-high standards), there's no doubt that Transcendence is up there with his greatest works. There are the soaring and uplifting vocal lines and melodies, the aggression and screams, the catchy tunes. This is the whole Devin Townsend experience, with his trademark layered sound, and an emotional output to dwarf many storms. Come and enter the Transcendence too!

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The mathematical strictures of djent keep Dissona locked into tight grooves while power metal's symphonic grandeur digs up majestic choruses; the lofty and unfettered vocals lift the album into more distinctly progressive realms, and the free use of electronic elements add an entirely new feeling to Paleopneumatic. This album is never fully one genre, but a magnificent fusion of many, which is why we find ourselves here in the prog category. Top-notch performances and a willingness to follow the rabbit hole as far as it goes make Dissona a formidable force and an experience not soon forgotten.

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Evergrey's newest album, The Storm Within, is a strong follow-up to Hymns For The Broken and that is a feat in itself. Evergrey's consistency is almost unmatched in prog metal and this 10th album is another milestone. Tom S. Englund's vocals are just as strong, the guitar work is just as energetic as ever and the distinctive melodies stand out. Straightforward yet audacious, The Storm Within is the perfect way to capture what Evergrey is all about with the usual finesse.

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Prog masters Fates Warning sure know how to turn back time, or have drunk from the fountain of youth. Theories Of Flight marks a return to yore - somewhere around the Parallels era - by having more melodically accessible and subtler progressive metal stamps across its eight clever and sophisticated tracks. Vocalist Ray Alder has never sounded better, guitarist and main lyricist Jim Matheos is still on the mantle with his exquisite songwriting, and drummer Bobby Jarzombek and bassist Joey Vera enhance the resolute backbone of their sound. Fates Warning must have sat in their DeLorean and set the flux capacitor to 1991.

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As you might be able to tell from the cover art and any individual second of "1985," Haken rushed back to the genesis of prog to find inspiration for Affinity. Yes, you heard us; the gentle giant of modern prog metal has taken quite a step away from the albums that made it popular, but don't be a cynic; the focus is still on inventive songwriting and mellifluous, mind-altering textures, finding a spacey sound undoubtedly procol harum. Hop on the big, big train and experience the modern prog mastermind's latest kraftwerk.

Uh... something something Peter Gabriel.

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It's been quite a wait to finally listen to a new In The Woods... album... And, well, it's Pure bliss. While not avant-garde anymore, the Norwegians certainly didn't lose any songwriting skills in their shifting to a unique prog sound that's unmistakably their own. Mysterious, melodic, subtle, and above all beautiful, this is a gem to be discovered and savoured.

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Debuting their first full-length with the new singer Cammie Gilbert, Oceans Of Slumber's Winter is perfect in its little imperfections. You may think you know Oceans Of Slumber, but the change is dramatic. Cammie Gilbert elevates the band to a whole new level of perception with her astonishing vocals. She will make it worthwhile for you if nothing else will. And pay attention to that cover of the Moody Blues classic "Nights In White Satin" - it's a gem.

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Clearly Votum took a giant step forward with :Ktonik:. This dark, brooding monster alternates mellow moments and heavy guitars to create nine emotionally-charged songs of a post-infused, keyboard-enhanced, heavy prog album that's both deceptively simple and really intense. Simply beautiful!

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Dan Swanö and Ragnar Widerberg make the perfect team in Witherscape and they're coming into their own. All the songs on this album are memorable and offer a remarkable chapter in the journey. With both catchy clean vocals and powerful growls, the progressive instrumental fluidity is also constant. Whether you prefer Edge Of Sanity or Nightingale, you'll find this fascinating. After a promising debut, Witherscape release their crowning achievement: The Northern Sanctuary.

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