Definition of Prog

One of my fans Andrew Grabowska is writing a speech about progressive rock and metal for his class, he chose me as his source and I’m quite honored.

He wanted answers to some of his questions:

  1. Why do you listen to/enjoy progressive metal and rock?
  2. Why did you chose to write and play it?
  3. Is there anything else you think is important about progressive rock and metal in comparison to other genres?

Well, below was my reply.

I started playing guitar when I was 15, and we played and covered a diversity of metal songs from different bands with my previous band Nu.Clear.Dawn.

At some point I was almost finding heavy metal sounding a bit boring to me, specially the standard song structures, verse chorus verse chorus solo chorus, also the regular guitar chords. I mean don’t get me wrong here, there are a lot of great metal bands out there that I enjoyed playing and listening to and still do sometimes, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Scorpions, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Iced Earth.. The is pretty much endless but still something was missing for me, perhaps the fun factor.

When I first got into prog, it was mostly Dream Theater and Rush that I listened to, and what got me into Dream Theater was Pink Floyd, when Dream Theater covered for Pink Floyd in A Change of Seasons, and how I got into Pink Floyd is quite the story.

Now why do I enjoy listening to prog? The song structures are different, sometimes there’s no chorus at all, sometimes very short lyrics, sometimes long intros, so there’s always the element of surprise, the music is diverse as well, different melodies, different moods, different builds in one track, odd time signatures, and of course some tracks are long which allows for instrumental sections, I just love how everyone in the band could get to solo at some point, in the end the band is not only the singer and then the rest of the band. It’s the singer, the guitarist, the drummer, the bassist, and everyone has their moment to shine.

It pretty much goes the same when it comes to writing and playing progressive music, plus, playing progressive rock is a lot of fun it’s almost like a video game, as a guitarist your left hand and fingers need to move around and hit the right notes on the fretboard while your brain is getting ready to play the next part in the song which is completely a new section, and it keeps progressing!
The chords sound a lot wider, jazzy, each position gives you a different mood, unlike the regular power chord that’s pretty much what every metal song is made of, why play the same four boring chords over and over and wait for the song to be over?

The same applies to everyone else in the band, the drummer has to remember all these odd time signatures and not mess up, and that’s where the fun is. Playing 4/4 time signature gets very old specially for a drummer. When you’re playing a progressive song you have to keep going, the band keeps going, the song keeps going and the melodies and harmonies unite to create an epic song. If you mess up you’re back to the last checkpoint, and keep practicing until you can play the whole thing in one shot, like a pro!

A lot of people think that playing prog is very hard. I almost thought the same, before I first picked up my guitar and tried to play a Dream Theater song, lucky for me I had the transcribed notes and guitar tabs for the song, so I started to learn the parts and I was surprised how extremely easy and fun some sections were to play, despite how difficult they sounded. (Check out guitar tabs and jam tracks from Solipsistic)

You don’t have to be a highly technical musician to play progressive rock or progressive metal, and all new prog bands are missing the point nowadays, they put everything they know in one song, like showing off their muscles.

Music is NOT a race, music is NOT a competition, music is art.

Now tell me why do YOU like prog?

Shant

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