Looking for instrumental progressive metal
April 5, 2012 3:45 AM   Subscribe

What are some other instrumental progressive metal groups like Animals as Leaders?

I'm looking for progressive metal -- without vocals -- that has a lot of unique guitar playing.

I just listened to Animals as Leaders' first album, so I'm looking for similar groups.

Concrete examples: CAFO and Tempting time. Thanks.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Some ideas, from tamest to most WTF:

Many Arms. Not strictly metal, but instrumental, super shreddy, and on John Zorn's label Tzadik.

Dysrhythmia. Definitely instrumental prog metal. I really loved them back in the early 2000s, stopped caring for a while, and just heard their new album (not yet released, I think) which just killed. Great stuff.

Their bassist is Colin Marston, who is pretty much the ur-guitarist you're thinking of, so check out his other discography. He plays in the black metal project Krallice (which is amazing, but has vocals and isn't particularly prog) with Mick Barr, who is also an astounding guitarist.

Barr is incredibly prolific. His solo work is mostly tagged as Ocrilim and it's also definitely worth checking out Orthrelm, and he has a TON of stuff on Bandcamp, so it's easily checked out. This stuff is mindblowing, seriously. It may even be TOO progressive for you.

Hopefully these give you a good start. You can probably start tracing threads from Marston and Barr to other experimental stuff if you like what you hear.
posted by The Michael The at 4:21 AM on April 5, 2012

I don't know a ton about the genre, but was into Periphery for a bit. They have a vocalist, though their first album is available instrumental as well. If I'm not mistaken, vocals were written after all songs on the album had been recorded, so instrumental versions stand well on their own. Personally, I prefer the instrumental version. If you visit their Wiki page, there are lots of links to bands they have toured with that probably have similar styles.

Their guitarist, Misha Mansoor is insanely talented and has his own personal Soundclick page with lots of random and experimental tracks, some silly and fun, some truly awesome. He also did some sound engineering for AALs first album according to their Wiki page.

(Full disclosure, my boyfriend's roommate works for their management company, though I was into Periphery before I met him and found out that connection)

(Even fuller disclosure, I also kinda peripherally [heh] know Misha Mansoor, though haven't spoken with him in awhile...DC is so damn incestuous)
posted by Gonestarfishing at 6:37 AM on April 5, 2012

If you haven't listened to Liquid Tension Experiment, you might like it. It's the guitar and keyboard player from Dream Theater, along with the old drummer, and Tony Levin on bass and chapman stick. It isn't super heavy all the time, but they've got two albums which are all instrumental (OK, there is whistling on one song).
posted by markblasco at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2012

Scale the Summit - not quite as complicated as Animals as Leaders, more arpeggiated stuff, but still cool

Paul Gilbert - he of Mr. Big fame. Eric Johnson-esque, but I like his work more.

Behold... the Arctopus - challenging jazzy metal with lots of crazy time signatures
posted by starvingartist at 9:34 AM on April 5, 2012

The first thing I thought of was Blotted Science.
posted by saladin at 9:56 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

FYI, Behold... The Arctopus is one of the aforementioned Colin Marston's bands. So, common thread there.
posted by The Michael The at 9:57 AM on April 5, 2012

Seconding Behold... the Arctopus, another of Marston's projects.

Many of Ron Jarzombek's albums are completely instrumental.

On preview: beaten.
posted by Bangaioh at 9:59 AM on April 5, 2012

Coming back to say Ooh! I just noticed one of your tags is djent. In that case DEF check out Periphery/Misha Mansoor. Some say he is the pioneer of djent. Says so in the Wiki, so it has to be true!
posted by Gonestarfishing at 10:52 AM on April 5, 2012

One more... check out Evan Brewer's solo work. He's the bassist for tech death metal band The Faceless, but he does a lot of other non-death stuff, too, including (I believe) jamming with fusion jazz bands. He's a pretty amazing player.
posted by starvingartist at 12:06 PM on April 5, 2012

Pelican is pretty good too. (sample song)
posted by toothless joe at 8:12 PM on April 5, 2012

I'd like to recommend Monkey3. My favourite song of theirs is Je Et Bikkje.
posted by mirthe at 5:23 AM on April 7, 2012

Less overtly technical, but undeniably atmospheric is Cloudkicker. The guy behind it, Ben Sharp, does everything himself. If you want heavier, I recommend Beacons, for more atmosphere I recommend Fade, which just came out this Summer. All of his stuff and the Miroist recommended below are pay what you want on bandcamp.

Some tracks: We're Goin' In, We're Goin' Down

Oh, God. Make sure to listen to the end for an absolutely shredding guitar bit.

Our Crazy Night. That one's a little more subdued and comes off the newest album.

For balls out heavy try Dagger from Vildhjarta. It's not instrumental, but it's got the sound I think you're after... really atonal but still melodic in spots.

And finally, though they've only got one EP out right now, try Miroist.
Not as big of a fan, but A Mercurian Summer by Angel Vivaldi is pretty okay. Veers more towards the accessible and blatantly melodic end of the spectrum, but you might like it.

Hope that helps.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 7:05 AM on August 31, 2012

Since this thread has zombified, I'll point out that the Dysrhythmia album I mentioned above, Test of Submission, came out and is awesome. I'm listening to, and loving, it right now.
posted by The Michael The at 7:40 AM on August 31, 2012

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