Progressive Music Planet

When Prog Loses its Rock

I’ve been struggling more than usual lately when trying to get into a lot of the music that has been submitted for review to this site. I was beginning to think that either my taste is getting more and more specific or that maybe I am tired of prog. I just was getting more and more bored with things that I was listening to. That does not mean everything however.

So I started to think about what the difference was between the music that I wanted to listen to and/or review versus the music that I find boring as fuck. It turns out it rather easy to explain. The music that bores me doesn’t ROCK. No that does not mean it has to be metal. Last I checked bands like Yes and King Crimson rock as hard as any prog metal band. So what’s the issue?

Somewhere along the line, prog was able to detach itself from rock. It’s called progressive rock when bands like Yes play it. But then in the early 80s bands emulated old Genesis but while some still rocked (IQ, Marillion, Pallas), others watered prog rock down to become easier to listen to. Neo prog was born and while I do like some neo prog (the bands mentioned), much of it does not rock. It’s bland and calculated.

IQ: They keep the ROCK in prog rock!

Neo prog is an excuse to not rock out. It’s prog for people who like to claim they like prog but don’t want to actually be challenged by the music they listen to. Once that happens, you open the door for bands that are based more in classical than rock. I know prog owes a HUGE debt to classical music BUT it’s still fucking rock music. People love bands like Beatrix Players and Iamthemorning but for me, they are so damn boring and safe. It’s not far from elevator music.

Beatrix Players: Elevator music for your snobby side

If your first reaction is “oh that’s nice,” fuck all of that! Prog is supposed to challenge you and at the same time get you moving. If it doesn’t, I have no time for it. And there is A LOT of that bland shit out there. There are entire internet radio shows that claim to be prog rock shows and just shit out hours of dull, pretentious neo-prog. No risks, no actual adventure. “Oh but it’s a concept album with dialogue!” Yeah and the music is as interesting as the shitty concept you’ve dressed it up in.

Gandalf’s Fist’s “The Clockwork Fable”: More dialogue, less rock.

This epiphany has felt good. It turns out that I still love the same music I always have. I’ve been able to quantify the reasons that I hate certain types of music. If you are into the music that I’ve taken a giant shit on, that’s totally fine. There are a ton of sites dedicated to all of that. This planet spins in a different direction than those. You might not agree with what I love but if you do, welcome to the Progressive Music Planet.