I hate metal!
Not everyone likes metal. There are plenty of people who genuinely enjoy the easy, simple melodies and lyrics of pop. There are plenty of rap, country, and electronica listeners in the world. Every artist, every genre of music does something a little different and shows the world in a different way. And since everyone goes through the world uniquely, it makes sense that not every person will connect with every type of music. That’s what makes life suck less and why getting to know new people is so important to things like mental health. Variety is the spice of life, and not the kind that brings down Harkonnen wrath upon your house. It does, however, increase longevity.
There’s also a huge number of people who think they dislike metal. Like a kid who “hates” mushrooms or spicy foods or anything that isn’t chicken nuggets. Maybe they heard Messhuggah once and weren’t a huge fan of the growling and ultra wall-of-heavy-sound approach. Or a bad experience with a Metallica fan put them off for, oh say, 10 years… >.> <.< >.> No idea who that might be, nothing to see here folks. A bad experience or starting at the wrong place can put a person completely off something. But you might be missing something amazing
So why try progressive metal?
The “progressive” tag is dedicated to experimentation, and not just in metal. Endless variations, nuances, sounds and feelings. Endless places someone might find their niche. And there are so many ways to get in; no matter your comfort zone, there will likely be a band or album you enjoy. It’s an excellent way to get beyond the hyper-loud, aggressive sound of many metal genres and really dig into what the music is all about. Here’s a hint: not 100% Satan and death. Shocker, eh? I mean, there is that. There is beauty and emotion as well as weird, fun, hilarious stuff hidden out there.
Symphony X’s “The Odyssey” was my gateway into a world of music I had never even imagined. It was so well done; the instrumentals and singing were perfect. And the album was fun, but also touched on mythology and legend, with an overall lighter sound than most metal I’d heard before. Metal, amazing playing and orchestration, and nerdy themes?! When did this mana from heaven descend?! A while back, it turns out. I’d been missing out!
As I expanded to their other albums, I developed a huge taste for their often theatrical sense of style, even as it got heavier. This was metal! Not rock at all! And I liked it! I dabbled in Angra, Myrath, Xandria and other power-metal bands until I met Haken. My beloved Haken. The Mountain dropped my jaw and still does to this day.
So where the heck do I start?!
Rather than reinventing the wheel, I often refer back to r/progmetal’s epic post by Genderlessperson, “A small guide to get into prog metal.” Make sure you give this guy upvotes, because it’s obvious how much time they poured into it. They cover (generally) what prog metal is, why you should listen to it, why they wrote the post, and how to really use the guide. He gets into specific recommendations on prog metal classics and their classifications. Hate ultra-heavy vocals and dark themes? Stay away from death/black styles. Or don’t if you do like that stuff! Really enjoy calmer electronic sounds? Maybe give ambient groups a listen. There’s a genre mix for everyone.
And they do this for. every. single. major. subgenre. Indeed, excluding new releases, you can easily build a playlist of several month’s of music from only the stuff here. I know I am slowly making my way through the classics and their musical successors, and it’s giving me so much joy. That’s what music is about – finding your joy, letting out the little person screaming in your head, or giving them something to yell along with.
Don’t discount metal if you haven’t touched a few of these as you don’t want to miss several years of musical happiness. Don’t repeat my mistake! You never know what you like until you’ve really tried it a couple times. And that’s why my daughter keeps getting curry even when she says, “No” over and over. Someday she’ll realize…
So I really, really, highly suggest heading there to find some lovely albums to try on for size. The comments are usually lively enough that if you ask for help, someone will give it! It’s a great community.
Annndddd, if you tell me what you like, I might be able to help you find your niche! Helping others is the one thing I love more than music itself.