The worst question that I have to deal with is whether something is “prog” or not. I’ve fallen victim to having to ask that question many times when it comes to reviews or posting content. It drives me crazy. While I have my own idea of what prog is (and most people know I stretch the term quite far), in order to have a site that people can enjoy music that they like…well, I need at least SOME boundaries.
Lately, I find myself not giving a shit what genre something falls into. I’d rather listen to good music whether it’s King Crimson, Miles Davis, Cheap Trick or whatever. But are they prog? Fuck that. Are they GOOD? Yeah! But even so, Miles Davis stretched jazz well into the prog zone and even Cheap Trick recorded very progressive songs like “Stop This Game,” “Need Your Love,” or “Gonna Raise Hell.”
The unique thing about prog is unlike other genres, it can easily meld into another genre and add value. I suppose that is what I love most about it. It demands you stretch your definitions. This is why really don’t understand people that claim only bands like Yes or ELP or early Genesis or Rush (70s only! ugh) or Crimson are prog. Some people actually claim Pink Floyd isn’t prog. Those people are the prog version of “Flat Earthers.”
Prog evolved since all of those bands started it. And even those bands changed through the years and (in my opinion) were still very progressive. But again those narrow minded progsters just won’t have it. Just because YOU didn’t progress doesn’t mean THEY didn’t. I’d rather Genesis try their hand at prog pop than sound stupid with more Supper’s Ready clones. How is doing the same thing for 50 years “progressive”? It really isn’t.
On the metal side of things, those that deride Maiden being prog or early Priest or yes even Sabbath are insane. I think part of the problem there is the snobbery that goes against metal as a whole. Not all metal is three chord stupidity. Let’s remember that Lemmy was in Hawkwind, so maybe Ace of Spades isn’t overly clever but those early Hawkwind albums are incredible and quite prog. Maiden? I am not even going to justify that. No need. Priest? “Sin After Sin” and “Stained Class.” Sabbath? “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Sabotage” but there are many tracks on many other albums.
Prog was bound to find its way into metal like it had done with rock. Much of metal is very classical in nature (some like Voivod even have jazz elements) and bands like Yes were practically lifting classical passages. So again, open your mind to other possibilities. I think the question isn’t “but is it prog?” but rather “does it challenge you?” and most importantly “but do you like it?”