The 57 Best Albums of 3rd Wave Prog

For those of us who love prog rock, we live in the best of times.  There’s been more creativity in the years since Marillion’s Brave (1994) came out then ever before in rock history–at least over such an extended period of time.  As I sit at my laptop at 9,500 feet above sea level in the Rocky Mountains, I quickly typed out my favorites.  I’m sure I’m missing some–these were off the top of my head.

Underfall Yard by Jim Trainer
The Underfall Yard by Big Big Train, the ultimate 3rd Wave Prog album.  Art by Jim Trainer.

Anthema, We’re Here Because We’re Here

Ayreon, Human Equation (and, well, everything. . .)

Ayreon, Universal Migrator

Big Big Train, Grimspound/Second Brightest Star (and, well, everything. . .)

Big Big Train, English Electric Full Power

Big Big Train, Underfall Yard

Cosmograf, Capacitor

Dave Kerzner, Static

The Fierce and the Dead, Spooky Action (and, well, everything. . .)

Flower Kings, Paradox Hotel

Flower Kings, Space Revolver

Galahad, Empires Never Last

Galahad, Battle Scars

Galahad, Beyond the Realms of Euphoria

Gazpacho, Missa Antropos (and, well, everything. . .)

Gazpacho, Night

Gazpacho, Soyuz

Glass Hammer, Chronometree

Glass Hammer, Inconsolable Secret

Glass Hammer, Valkyrie (and, well, everything. . .)

Headspace, All That You Fear is Gone

Kate Bush, Aerial

Kevin McCormick, With the Coming of Evening

Kevin McCormick, Squall

Marillion, Afraid of Sunlight (and, well, everything. . .)

Marillion, Brave

Marillion, FEAR

Marillion, Marbles

Mew, And The Glass Handed Kites

Muse, Origin of Symmetry

NAO, Fog Electric

NAO, The Third Day (and, well, everything. . .)

Neal Morse Band, The Grand Experiment

Newspaperflyhunting, Iceberg Soul

Newspaperflyhunting, Wasteland

Oceansize, Effloresce

Pineapple Thief, What We Have Sown

Pineapple Thief, Tightly Unwound

Pineapple Thief, Your Wilderness

Porcupine Tree, Fear of a Blank Planet

Porcupine Tree, Sky Moves Sideways

Pure Reason Revolution, The Dark Third

Radiohead, Kid A

Riverside, Out of Myself (and, well, everything. . .)

Rush, Clockwork Angels (and, well, everything. . .)

Rush, Snakes and Arrows

Rush, Vapor Trails

Spock’s Beard, Snow

Spock’s Beard, The Light

Steve Hackett, Wolflight

Steven Wilson, Grace for Drowning

Steven Wilson, Hand Cannot Erase

Steven Wilson, Insurgentes

The Tangent, Down and Out in Paris and London

The Tangent, The Music That Died Alone

The Tangent, Le Sacre du Travail

The Tangent, Not as Good as the Book (and, well, everything. . .)


8 thoughts on “The 57 Best Albums of 3rd Wave Prog

  1. Bryan Morey

    Gasp! No Dream Theater? Ha. I’d add Images and Words, Awake, A Change of Seasons, Scenes from a Memory, and Train of Thought. I’d add Haken’s The Mountain as well. And because I was so blown away by it, I would add Oak’s 2016 masterpiece, Lighthouse, to the list. Just to annoy you, Brad, I’ll add Neal Morse’s Sola Scriptura, too :p What’s so fun about third wave prog is there is so much for each of us to add to our personalized lists that highlight our own personalities.

    You’ve chosen well with Muse’s Origin of Symmetry. Muse at their proggiest. That’s been my favorite by them since I was 12.


  2. Michał

    Apart from being very honoured to be on the list with two of npfh releases, I am very glad to see many albums I would put there myself. I’m also happy to share your appreciation for post-Brave Marillion, one of the greatest and criminally underrated runs of releases in music histrory.

    (Ok, here goes the ‘runs away and hides’ part: Dream Theater is not on the list? Oh, what a shame, high five!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kruekutt

    My additions: Encores, Legends & Paradox (ELP tribute album from Magna Carta); Robert Fripp, A Blessing of Tears; King Crimson, B’Boom, The ProjeKcts box set, VROOOM VROOOM, The ConstruKction of Light; Marillion, This Strange Engine, Radiation,, Anoraknophobia; Spock’s Beard, V; Transatlantic, SMPTe, Bridge Across Forever, The Whirlwind

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kruekutt

      Oops, hit the wrong button. More: Amplifier, The Octopus; Anathema, Weather Systems, Distant Satellites; Adrian Belew, Side One, Side Two, Side Three, E (trio & orchestra versions); Blackfield (first); Fish, A Feast of Consequences; Flying Colors (first); Peter Gabriel, Up; David Gilmour, On an Island; Haken, The Mountain, Affinity; It Bites, Map of the Past; Kansas, Somewhere to Elsewhere; Dave Kerzner, New World; King Crimson, The Power to Believe; Tony Levin, Waters of Eden, Pieces of the Sun; Mew and the Glass Handed Kites; Marillion, Happiness Is the Road; Neal Morse, Testimony I & II; Mastodon, Once More Around the Sun; Opeth, Pale Communion; Plank, Hivemind; Porcupine Tree, Up the Downstair, In Absentia, Deadwing; Steve Rothery, The Ghosts of Pripyat; Secret Machines, Now Here Is Nowhere,Ten Silver Drops; Sigur Ross, Takk; Sontaag; Spock’s Beard, Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Green & Blue, Hour Moon; Syd Arthur, Sound Mirror. Not to mention live albums, reissues, and my best of 2017. Rather a lot, really …

      Liked by 1 person


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