Memorial Day Weekend Prog and Prog Metal Round-Up

There is a lot of great prog and prog metal currently in the pipeline – either that has already been released or that will be in the coming months. Plenty of new singles and whole albums out.

Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant

Australian prog metal band Caligula’s Horse released their brand new record, Rise Radiant, today. For some reason their music never really connected with me before, but this album has. It is insanely good. It has the technicality mixed with the quirkiness that this generation of prog metal has become known for. Outstanding vocals as well. I’ve got some homework to do on their back catalog. If all goes well, they’ll be coming to North America next January-February for the very first time.

Haken – Virus

I’ve been able to listen to an advance copy of Haken’s new album for a few weeks now, and it is quite good. It has been a slow burn for me, but that could have something to do with absorbing it in the background while I work from home. It has the heaviness and the technicality we are used to, and melodies abound. There’s a gentleness in Ross Jennings’ voice that strikes me as something new, but I could be wrong. There are also musical nods to their last album as well as “The Cockroach King.” The title is bound to upset some people, but it’s not like Haken could have possibly known what was going to befall the world when they wrote and finalized the album. The release date has been pushed back a few weeks to June 19. I expect this is due to production issues with supply chains in the western world having been shut down for over two months. The band released another single today.

Nick D’Virgilio – Invisible

Big Big Train drummer Nick D’Virgilio has a new solo album coming out. Based on the single, it has a bit of a Big Big Train vibe in the song structure and general progression, but there’s also a Broadway theatricalness to it. The latter, according to D’Virgilio, comes from his time working with Cirque de Soleil. The album title comes from being an invisible member in the orchestra pit. Nick obviously plays the drums on this album, but he also sings. Anyone who knows his work from Spock’s Beard knows what a great voice he has. Jonas Reingold plays bass, Randy McStine plays guitars, and Jordan Rudess plays piano and sythns. Brass and string sections are courtesy of the Abbey Road Studios orchestra. Yeah this is some next level stuff. I’m looking forward to hearing the whole thing. Out June 26.

Frost* – Others EP

Frost* is releasing 6 tracks – 32 minutes – that were recorded at the time of the Falling Satellites album back in 2016. The first three tracks sound quite a bit harder than that album – definitely in prog metal territory with a lot of electronic influence thrown in. The final three tracks are a little more laid back. The result – stellar. A song was just released from the EP, and the EP is due out June 5.

Cov3r To Cov3r

That’s right – Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, and Randy George are back with their third album of covers. Pre-order launched today. You can get the album on vinyl or CD, and they also have an anthology of all three albums available. There are covers of Jethro Tull, David Bowie, King Crimson, and more on this album, and Yes vocalist Jon Davison makes a guest appearance on a song. Pre-order link:

Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want to Live?

Long Distance Calling is a new band to me, but that’s a problem on my end. I’m listening to the advance review copy of this album as I write this, and it is amazing. The album calls into question issues of artificial intelligence and what we want our future to look like. It is mostly an instrumental album, but they don’t leave the melody behind. A lot of instrumental music can be quite boring, but this manages to really keep my interest through style changes, time signature changes, and sound changes. There are some spoken parts on the album as well, which help tell the story.

Voivod – The End of Dormancy EP

This three track EP is highlighted by a special version of a track, “The End of Dormancy,” off their last album. This version includes a “metal section” – referring to instruments made of metal, including trumpets, saxophones, and trombones. The result is nice mix of heavy metal with a brass band. The EP also includes two live tracks recorded at  2019’s Montreal Jazz Festival. Pre-order for release on July 10 starts today:

That’s it for this round up of recent and upcoming releases in prog and prog metal. Give the singles a listen this holiday weekend (holiday here in the US anyways), and if you can afford it during this crappy time, send the artists some love by pre-ordering or ordering their new albums.


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