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Music Thread
Weekly playlist #2: Prog rock and metal

    It's time for this week's weekly playlist! (Totally not a week late)

    This week's playlist has been organised so that you can listen to it in order. The first few songs are typical prog rock, while the last few songs are progressive metal. The longer you listen, the heavier the songs will get. That being said, here's a runthrough of the playlist:

The origins

    Prog rock started in the 1960s and stemmed out of the psychedelic scene, where groups were starting to get rid of standard practices in writing music in favor of more experimental sounds. Prog rock started to focus on the music as an artpiece itself, instead of in the live performances. Due to this, more complex song structures and in depth lyrics started to trend. An example of something like this would be Van Der Graaf Generator, a British prog rock band who used a Hammond Organ in their sound (See Theme One in the playlist). Later on, bands such as Rush started to experiment more with rhythm and time signatures. The second song, YYZ, has an intro written in 10/8 that is actually morse code for the letters YYZ, the airport code for the band's local airport. Throughout the song they display very technical playing on all parts, with fills and solos that demonstrate their playing ability.

Thank You Scientist

    Thank You Scientist is a seven-piece prog rock band that formed ten years ago and have released three studio albums (the third of which was only released a few weeks ago!). Their style features the same time signature exploration as Rush and the earlier bands, however they have introduced a small saxophone ensemble to create a more jazzy sound which is supported by the use of close harmony in the vocals. Their style differs from the oldschool sound by using memorable and catchy vocal writing which is more melodic and pop-sounding. The guitar style is also more melodic with clear riffs and very technical solos, and the occasional heavy (almost metal) sections add a dynamic contrast that wasn't used much back in the early days.


    Haken are a British progressive metal band that are a little more on the experimental side (as shown immediately after the 11 second intro to "Cockroach King" where the quirky vocals come in). Formed in 2007, they show the same experimental traits as Thank You Scientist in terms of vocal lines and time signature use. They also have jazz influences, shown plainly by the combined piano and bass interplay that cuts off the previous heavy metal riff at 2:50 in Cockroach King. The Endless Knot is from Haken's 2016 album "Affinity", which is a little heavier in places.

Dream Theater

    Dream Theater are the Juggernauts of Progressive Metal. They released their first album, Images and Words, in 1992 and it pretty much defined the oldschool progressive metal genre (it remains their best selling album to this day). Dream Theater are known for their almost constant changing of time signatures and complex writing style thrown in with classic metal riffs, soaring solos, and a powerful tenor vocalist. There are two songs by Dream Theater in the playlist. The first is Pull Me Under, their most popular track from the original Images and Words release; the second is Untethered Angel, the first single released in the build up to their most recent studio album, Distance over Time. Both songs demonstrate the typical progressive metal style that the band defined.
    It is worth noting that while their oldest and newest albums are very similar in style, Dream Theater have gone through a few different phases (most of them hated by their fans). Their self titled album released in 2013 announced a new revival for the band and a slight change in style, featuring melodic vocal lines and choruses which added some light to their previously heavy sound. Their next big project was The Astonishing, an epic 34-song concept album with a running time of over two hours. This album was written almost as a musical, with various characters who tell the story of an uprising against an oppressive government over two acts (with an overture and entr'acte). This album is the most controversial among fans due to its lighter rock sound that contained very little metal. Despite this, it remains a feat of both composition and performance, requiring a full orchestra to accompany the very technical playing of the band.

    To round off the playlist, I thought I would include something a little.... different.


    Djent (pronounced with a silent D) is a subgenre of progressive metal that emerged in the middle of the 00s. The genre originated online, with a small collection of bedroom musicians and youtube artists copying the style of the Swedish thrash metal band Meshuggah. When you listen to songs such as Bleed or Born in Dissonance, you will immediately hear a low and heavily palm muted guitar sound - djent. Meshuggah themselves can be considered progressive due to their influences from math rock and jazz, however it wasn't until the youtube band Periphery popularised this technique that it spread into the progressive metal mainstream. Periphery combine the Djent sound with irregular time signatures such as 15/8 and a strong contrast of melodic vocals and harsh growls or screams to produce a formula for Djent sound. Bands such as Animals as Leaders and TesseracT would soon join them as the leaders of this subgenre, which was denied as a real genre for many years (and still is by some).
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Any suggestions for a theme for playlist no 3?
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