Best Progressive Metal Albums 2023
Analyzing the best progressive metal albums of 2023 is a complex journey. In a landscape that invites questions like “What’s progressive metal?“ and “Why are prog metal songs so long?” the genre embraces introspection.
Unlike its death metal counterpart, the year for pure progressive metal is subdued, and it is no surprise there is a tendency to believe that progressive metal is far from its prime. A select few bands emerge as custodians of promise, offering fresh approaches and reigniting hope within the echoes of similarity.
Amidst this contemplative juncture, these luminous beacons, defined by progressive metal time signatures, become stewards of creativity and stand as testaments to the genre’s resilience.
As the echoes of similarity fade into the background, progressive metal, even in moments of quiet, pulses with the promise of distinctive musical exploration. These bands, with innovative approaches, shape the narrative, provide the best progressive metal albums of 2023 and let´s see if they are as great as the best progressive metal albums of 2021, which was a good year for the genre.
Progressive Metal Albums 2023 Tier List
As we dive into exploring and enjoying, let’s rank the top progressive metal albums of 2023 from our perspective. Keep in mind, our assessment is based on personal listening experiences, giving some albums more attention than others.
Imagine these albums organized in a tier list – each position reflects a different level of quality. Moving from left to right in each row means a higher level of appreciation. Let’s create the Progressive Metal Albums tier list for 2023:
Progressive Metal Albums of 2023 Ranked
We are going to rank the best progressive metal albums of 2023 from worst to best:
Sermon | Of Golden Verse review:
Of Golden Verse by Sermon is an album that, unfortunately, falls short in several aspects. For those who aren’t fans of the concept, the album may struggle to find resonance. The vocals, while attempting to convey the intended emotions, may not reach the level of excellence expected by discerning listeners. Despite the well-meaning intentions behind the project, the final result leaves much to be desired, resulting in a somewhat disappointing musical experience. In essence, the album may not fully satisfy those with high expectations or specific preferences, leaving room for improvement in execution and delivery.
Periphery | Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre review:
We have talked about Periphery and its album Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre not son long ago, and my thoughts are more or less the same. Despite being a Djent band, they can also fit here (I am sorry, there would be no djent ranking this year).
Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre boasts commendable production, but the instruments’ excessive distortion can be overwhelming. The album, though technically proficient, lacks a sense of inspiration, and despite attempting diverse fusions, the final result tends to echo past works. This repetition leaves listeners yearning for a more distinctive and innovative musical direction.
Enslaved | Heimdal review:
I love it when folk intertwines with metal. But for that very reason, it frustrates me when the potential isn’t fully exploited. In the case of Heimdal by Enslaved, they don’t entirely miss the mark, but I feel they veer off into other directions when they should focus on the initial mission of the album. At times, there are forced moments that lean towards progressive metal which goes nowhere. In the end, I always find myself gravitating towards specific songs and points in the album rather than listening respecting the order of the tracks.
Katatonia | Sky Void of Stars review:
Sky Void of Stars by Katatonia maintains the band’s hallmark excellence in production, delivering a sound that is consistently polished. However, the lingering issue of a lack of punch continues to permeate the tracks. Katatonia’s approach, known for being perfect for newbies wary of more aggressive bands, stands true in this release.
For those nostalgic for the band’s older, edgier version, this album may fall short of expectations. In all candor, the album may be considered a bit mundane, yet it manages to maintain a sound that is undeniably good and pleasantly enjoyable.
Mutoid Man | Mutants review:
Diving into the realm of Mutoid Man´s Mutants, I must admit I’m not usually drawn to the realms of ‘dirt‘ progressive metal. However, this album manages to stand out in a positive light. Its unique fusion of sludge, thrash, and progressive metal, along with subtle commercial rock touches, is presented with a distinctive personality. The artwork, noteworthy and captivating, adds an extra layer to the overall experience.
Yet, it’s worth noting that the album might suffer from a slight pitfall — the presence of too many similar songs. Nevertheless, despite this minor drawback, Mutants proves to be an entertaining journey through a diverse world.
Ne Obliviscaris | Exul review:
We also have discussed Exul in this blog previously. Again, in “Exul” by Ne Obliviscaris, the undeniable talent of the band takes center stage. However, a discerning ear might sense a lack of inspiration throughout the album, except for the standout track, “Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiesence.” In comparison with their previous releases, this album falls slightly short in capturing the same level of creative brilliance.
Despite the overall lack of inspiration, the exceptional quality of “Misericorde II” acts as a compelling draw. It’s a unique gem that elevates the album and prevents it from being ranked lower in this list. While the album as a whole might not reach the heights of their previous works, the brilliance of this particular track ensures its place as a noteworthy addition to Ne Obliviscaris’ musical repertoire. That is always the main issue with Ne Obliviscaris: one or two songs gather all the effort and focus.
Fall of the Albatross | Rite review:
With the album Rite by Fall of the Albatross, my appreciation for instrumental albums finds a perfect match. The album boasts exceptional dynamism, offering an entertaining journey that doesn’t succumb to the pretentious pitfalls often found in similar works. While it may initially appear without a clear focus, the band skillfully directs its intentions, creating a cohesive musical experience. Notably, the production quality contributes to the overall excellence of the album, making Rite a compelling and enjoyable instrumental endeavor. They made a smart decision by not making the album excessively long as in instrumental albums, it is key.
The Wisdom Tree | A day without a yesterday review:
Diving into the sonic realm of A day without a yesterday by The Wisdom Tree, I encounter yet another fantastic instrumental album, but with a distinctive emotional touch. The presence of fantasy themes adds a whimsical allure, reminiscent of a musical journey through otherworldly landscapes. Notably, the guitar melodies and tone exude a Steve Vai and John Petrucci vibe, injecting a unique flavor into the compositions. In fact, I can notice numerous sources of inspirations, sounding familiar to me in some parts of the album but maintaining the own essence of the band. Overall, this album is a beautiful masterpiece, delivering a pleasant listening experience with a captivating blend of entertainment. The intricate phase changes and fusions, including jazzy vibes and keyboard multiple sound effects, contribute to the album’s richness and make it a truly immersive musical adventure. I also liked a lot the more “metal” sections as well as the flamenco ones. A day without a yesterday is truly an instrumental masterpiece!
Haken | Fauna review:
Fauna emerges as a masterful album, particularly in its conceptual richness. The album weaves intricate narratives around complex and emotive situations, each story centering on a specific animal. Notably, Haken’s historical vocal struggles seem to have undergone a significant transformation in this release, connecting more deeply with the listener.
A standout moment is the mesmerizing “Eyes of Ebony,” a composition that transcends conventional brilliance, revealing a depth of beauty that resonates profoundly. The remaining tracks maintain a high standard, collectively contributing to the album’s overall excellence. Haken successfully navigates the currents of contemporary progressive metal, avoiding the pitfalls mentioned in the post introduction. Rather than succumbing to generic rhythms, the band crafts a distinctive identity that refuses to be lost in the sea of imitators.
In essence, Fauna is not merely a musical endeavor; it’s a rich and intricate tapestry of sound and storytelling. Haken’s artistry shines through, delivering a compelling and nuanced work that elevates the standard of progressive metal and progressive rock.
Dawn of the Ouroboros | Velvet Incandescense review:
We all should know Dawn of Ouroboros at this stage of the year and also we have reviewed this album twice. In the realm of outstanding releases, Dawn of Ouroboros has quietly crafted a masterpiece that unquestionably ranks among the best albums of 2023. This under-the-radar gem, once it catches the attention it merits, is poised to become a benchmark in the realm of progressive black Metal. According to the band, this opus rightfully falls under the progressive blackened metal umbrella. Velvet Incandescence skillfully intertwines clean vocals and spine-chilling growls, creating a profound and enduring impact.
The band’s adept use of immersive and hypnotic sound effects, especially notable in tracks like “Velvet Moon,” “Levitating Pacifics,” and “Healing Grounds,” adds a layer of captivation to the overall sonic experience. As a fervent admirer of original bands, Dawn of Ouroboros epitomizes what I cherish in metal music.
Which is the best Progressive Metal album of 2023?
From my point of view, Velvet Incandescense is the best progressive metal album of 2023 due to is emotional component, rawness and power.
Final Ranking of the Progressive Metal of 2023:
Here is a list of all progressive metal albums which we have talked about in this post:
- Sermon – Of Golden Verse | 10º
- Periphery – Periphery V: Djent Is Not a Genre | 9º
- Enslaved – Heimdal | 8º
- Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars | 7º
- Mutoid Man– Mutants | 6º
- Ne Obliviscaris – Exul | 5º
- Fall of the Albatross – Rite | 4º
- The Wisdom Tree – A day without a yesterday | 3º
- Haken – Fauna | 2º
- Dawn of Ouroboros – Velvet Incandescense | 1º