Mammal’s Top 25 In-Betweener Albums, #25-#21

You’ll know some or maybe all of these bands, depending on whether you like prog metal, hard rock, prog rock or all of them. I’ll include the most frequently listed genre label for each album, but this is music I think of as In Between. To me, it’s crossover music bridging the gap between metal, prog and other genres. I’m deeply gratified that the boundaries between different types of my favourite music are blurred so often.


#25: The Yellow Moon Band (UK), psychedelic space rock

Album: Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World
Song: Domini

The band grew out of a folk rock duo formed in 1999. As a four-man outfit, they released only this album, in 2009, and three singles taken from the album. Unusually for this type of music, it uses no keyboards. Typically for this type of music, it uses no vocals either. The instruments are guitar, bass, mandolin and drums.


#24: Amaran’s Plight (USA), prog metal

Album: Voices In The Light
Song: Coming Of Age

This band was billed as a prog metal supergroup, although it included a couple of pure prog members. The line-up was DC Cooper (Royal Hunt, Silent Force), Gary Wehrkamp (Shadow Gallery), Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard, Kevin Gilbert, Tears For Fears, Genesis) and Kurt Barabas (Under The Sun). They stayed together for only this album.


#23: DispersE (Poland), neo-progressive rock

Album: Journey Through The Hidden Gardens
Song: Reflection Of A Dying World

Formed in 2008, the band has released two studio albums and been selective about where and when to do concerts. Critics are often confused about how to label DispersE. Some call them a djent band, not neo-prog. They’ve been grouped in the “Holy Trinity of prog djent metal” along with TesseracT and Skyharbor.


#22: Ambeon (Netherlands); genre: Um…

Album: Fate Of A Dreamer
Song: Cold Metal

Prog metal? Post metal? Even art rock? In my opinion, all of those styles. Ambeon was one of many projects put together by the prolific Arjen Anthony Lucassen. The album includes the typical Ayreon “chunk, chuck, chunk, chunka-chunka-chunka-chunk” bass riffs. In concept, however, it became primarily a showcase for the extraordinary vocal talents of Astrid van der Veen, who was only 14 when the recording was done in 2001. To confuse things further, Astrid has been compared with Kate Bush, who has been labelled everything from pop to “second wave art rock”.


#21: Agents Of Mercy (Sweden), neo-prog

Album: The Black Forest
Song: Black Sunday

Every genre seems to produce a whiz kid who can deliver the output of a dozen other highly talented people. We have Arjen Lucassen in (operatic) prog metal, for example, and Steven Wilson in heavy prog. Metal fans may not be familiar with the name of Sweden’s Roine Stolt, but he’s as much of a giant in neo-prog. He was one of the fathers of the genre with his band The Flower Kings, which spawned superb projects such as Karmakanic and Agents Of Mercy. He was also a key member of my favourite pure prog band, Kaipa. Agents Of Mercy have done three studio albums that all include prog metal elements.

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About ChristopherMammal

I've made it to Mammal. I still hope to be classified as Human one day. Meanwhile I have evolved enough to recognise different types of music as well as the shrieks of certain vervet monkeys who are known for their scurrilous behaviour in the proximity of unguarded bananas.

Posted on November 21, 2013, in Mammal's Top 25 In-Betweener Albums, Metal Lists. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Just when I didn’t know what to listen to, your post shows up! The thing that caught my attention about the first band, The Yellow Moon Band was how you said there are no keyboards (unfortunately I’m a bit tired of an overuse of a certain type of cheesy keyboards in prog). And I have to say it sounds great, I’m very much enjoying the first song!

    DispersE are incredible. So young, so talented, so refreshing! Their guitarist is something special too. And what a live show they put on! I prefer their latest album though, more guitars, less keyboards 🙂

    Ambeon – wow, only 14 years old.. that is impressive! Also a very nice song.

    I knew about The Flower Kings (mainly because Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation is involved with them) but Agents of Mercy was new to me. Sounds like rock-y prog. I like it. Thanks for the prog lesson! 😀

  2. ChristopherMammal

    Thanks for the very kind words. I hope you’ll find more good stuff in the next set of albums.

    Ha, classic prog was built on keyboards. If I want a three-course meal with contrasting flavours from one dish to the next, I order prog with keyboards, a thundering great helping of pulse-pounding metal, and jazz-rock with brass and wind instruments for dessert. Hmmm… I’ll start with Camel, please, then the Fleshgod Apocalypse, and I’d rather fancy some Frogg Café.

    • Haha yes I know! It’s just my taste that changes, Dream Theater (and even their keyboard player Jordan Rudess’ solo albums) used to be my favourites, now they are not. I guess that’s just how it works, some things have to give way for other things. I’m sure the love for keyboard prog will come back to me soon. 😉

      • ChristopherMammal

        Or a new band or even a new style of music will come along and they’ll use synthesisers in a way you enjoy. I’d like it it if more prog bands used piano in their music, as Karamakanic does in this song.

  3. Nice – definitely some unknown quantities there. Meaning to check out Agents of Mercy, as I what I’ve heard of Flower Kings sounds good. Discovered Stolt thru Transatlantic (being a long-time Marillion fan) who I also really like. Their live set in London a couple years back – with added Daniel Gildenlow! – was amazing. Not really a big fan of instrumental bands per-se – prefer songs songs – but like the idea of prog where keyboards take a back seat – a lot of synth-heavy stuff too often sounds kinda cheesy, even virtuoso players like Rudess can fuck up a song with an ill-advised sound choice sometimes.

    Thought I’d throw in a couple of – decidedly non-metal – names with a certain prog appeal who do their thing with mostly effects pedals and a minimum of synth-widdle:

    (spot the nice little nods to The Floyd and The Who respectively…)

    • ChristopherMammal

      Oho, Guls, you’re a hippie! Actually you’re illustrating what most non-metal people don’t realise, which is that many metal fans are not one-dimensional in their musical tastes and knowledge — they merely happen to like music more than the other types of music they also enjoy.

      Both of your video posts are great. Amplifier is a super psych/space rock band. So, by the sounds of it, is Ride. Thanks for the intro to this band. I’ll be listening to more of them.

      Do you know Oceansize? They go well with Amplifier:

  4. Love Oceansize! – both Everyone Into Position and Frames are amongst my fave rock albums. Slightly less keen on Effloresce and Self Preserved and not so familiar with the EPs, except what I’ve heard via YT. Had the pleasure of seeing them just the once on the last tour: when they played Trail Of Fire i was in goosebump heaven! Amplifier and to an extent, Oceansize remind me a lot of what bands like Ride, (early) Verve, Pale Saints, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine etc were doing back in the ’90s. I love all that Shoegazy/Psych stuff from that period


    (sorry about the crap sound on this clip – probably sounded immense on the day)

  5. Loving these bands! Definitely need to sit down with the Yellow Moon Band. Very cool stuff. Also really liked Amaran’s Plight. Agents of Mercy definitely reminds me of POS. I really need to finally get into the Flower Kings too. As for the keyboards conversation, I really just wish someone could replicate or revive Kevin Moore era Dream Theater. I realized thats actually one of the major reasons I like Images and Words and Awake best. Rudess is amazing but… Kevin Moore man… Brought so much style and energy to that band.

  6. ChristopherMammal

    I must remember to let you know when and if I do my favourite pure prog bands. This one is top of my list, Kaipa, from Sweden:

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