Progressive metal became huge in the early '90s, with Queensrÿche and Dream Theater having several hit singles that were played regularly on MTV. Since that time, the genre has expanded to include death metal, jazz, and classical elements. Bands have forged their own identities mixing these new elements with what the early pioneers of the genre brought to the table.
Progressive Metal Pioneers:
Dream Theater hit it big with 1992’s Images and Words, behind the single “Pull Me Under.” The band was highly skilled with their instruments, even in the early stages of their career, and their songwriting was top-notch. Fans enjoyed their modern twist on the classic progressive rock sound. Dream Theater would build up a large fan base and continue to grow off the success of Images and Words.
The heaviest of the three pioneers of the genre, Fates Warning took a heavier approach to progressive rock, stripping it down to the bare essentials. 1988’s No Exit would be the album that showcased the band at their most progressive, with the 20-minute epic “The Ivory Gates Of Dreams” being the band’s magnum opus at the time of its release.
Queensrÿche’s third album, 1988’s Operation: Mindcrime, is considered one of the finest concept albums in progressive metal. Leaning towards the progressive side, Queensrÿche’s songs were catchy and upbeat, yet had an edge to them that gave them the extra kick to please fans of the metal side of the genre.