The Best Extreme Progressive Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017





Ten years is a very long time to wait for an album, but Akercocke have rewarded their patient fans, even though they have taken off their suits and refrained from sacrificing goats in the name of Lucifer. Renaissance In Extremis is a quirky concoction of malicious black/death metal, enchanting gothic interludes and atmospheric passages, carefully placed tempo changes and breaks, dreamy avant-garde and jazzy parts and phenomenal progressive rock melodies.

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The progressiveness of the music is, while obviously technical at points, much more focused on writing riffs and varied structures than technical wankery. Cormorant does bring obvious influences from black metal, death metal, doom metal, folk and '70s progressive rock, and absolutely succeeds at putting all of these sounds into place in such a way that the final result feels coherent and not like a disjointed mess. With sections that complement each other so well, Diaspora never really runs out of steam.

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Many screeds have been written about the long transformation act Enslaved put into the motion a decade ago. The skein of yarn is still unwinding as E shows yet another round of subtle changes - the overall tone is gentler, the guitars have more drone, the keyboards introduce a distinct '70s prog vibe, and the rhythms feel more meditative than ever. Overall, Enslaved adds another impressive notch to its belt with an album sounding as awe-inspiring and elemental as cloudfronts breaking on the fells of western Norway.

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Vibrant entwining of fierce growls and deeply emotional clean vocals, intricate guitar riffs and thundering drums against dazzling virtuoso violin and sensitive string parts are the key elements that make up Urn. Ne Obliviscaris bring together epically progressive and extreme facets of metal and offer their ever-growing pool of die-hard fans an album boasting their unique sound.

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Even if Andorra had a thousand metal bands instead of just the one, no one could displace Persefone as the national champions. Loosing vicious cannonades of tech death blistering, arrhythmic djenting, and hardcore down-breaking, Aathma is a many-headed beast when it isn't diving into piano- and synth-driven brocades and launching into space under Cynic's banner (thanks both to influence and the actual presence of Paul Masvidal).

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