Mammal’s Top 25 In-Betweener Albums, #25-#21
Posted by ChristopherMammal
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
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.