The 101 Rules of Progressive Metal(contribute!)

Harp Heaven

Culture Vulture
Jun 14, 2002
Okay, I started this thread over at the Jordan Rudess forum, but did not get many good responses, so I`m trying over here. I want to make something comparable to the 101 rules of Black Metal, which were a set of ironic pokes at the Black Metal scene and its` quirks. Here are the ones I`ve got now.

1. When showcasing a new band to a friend, always put on the most technically difficult song and skip directly to the solo part.

2. When your friend says he doesn`t understand the pivotal importance of playing fast, tell him that he will understand when he "matures".

3. Remember, faster=more progressive. Slow songs cannot be progressive, best example would be Pink Floyd.

4. Refer to progressive metal as intelligent music for intelligent people, and proudly state this in every occasion where a mainstream group or genre is mentioned.

5. It is not prog unless I say it is.

Note that the "I" above does not apply to me, the writer, but instead the speaker (in this case the progressive metal fan). Deep down every progressive fan on Earth believes the following, and if pressed hard enough will likely admit it in some form or another:

"Since my beliefs about musical influences and genre are the only reasonable, fair, and unbiased ones in any given situation, then it is rather obvious that no other person on the planet may refer to a band that I have dubbed to not be prog as prog (and vice-versa)."

This rule is the golden rule, as it is instrumental in propping up the elitist prog-snobs in their quest for global domination. Also, all other rules fall under the umbrella of this rule so to speak (Prog metal must have fast solos, prog metal must have complex time, etc.), because these rules are the means through which prog-snobs decide what is and isn't prog.

6. Always loathe bands you used to like before you got into prog, because you are now musically intelligent and able to realize what objectively good and bad music is.

7. Remember, Dream Theater is the benchmark for all progressive metal. The more it sounds like Images and Words, the more progressive it is.

8. It is your duty as a self-respecting prog metal fan to HATE Falling into Infinity. If the feeling that you actually enjoy FII(even the "proggier" songs like TOT)sneaks up on you during a glimpse of concentration, remind yourself that DT sold out on this record, and were actually being restrained by an outside producer.

9. If you are a keyboard player:-->Get a Kurzweil
If you play guitar :-->Get an Ibanez
The first to rules you mentioned, that's EXACTLY what I always do! always skip to the most technically impressive part! However, I can't seem to get anyone really into it :erk:. They're all listening to R&B, so they don't even understand what a guitar solo is :ill:. For example, yesterday I went to a show with school, it was sort of a musical about a band who wanted to get into the charts but they didn't succeed, no matter what they did. The band was really funky with a great keyboard and guitar player. They also had a dancer. When the guy was dancing, my friends were looking with wide eyes to him, and they're all like "wow, that's impressive". Then, the dancer stopped and the guitar player got to do a solo. My friends suddenly start talking to eachother as if there's nothing cool happening. :erk: What the f*ck's going on here? Anyhow, sorry for going off topic, I just wanted to share this little thing..
3. Remember, faster=more progressive. Slow songs cannot be progressive, best example would be Pink Floyd. >>>>>>>>>>

Wow, it's time to change my Avatar !!??
10. Double bass drumming is a must. If you have a wimpy single pedal, then your not really a prog-metal drummer. A single bass drum is great, but double bass drums are better. If you don't have enough money for two bass drums, sell your girlfriend and get a second bass drum.

11. Huge drum kits are a given for progressive metal. If all you have is a 4-piece with 3 crappy cymbals, then you don't belong on stage. A 5-piece single bass drum kit is the bare minimum and even that's on the edges of bare bones. If you have a tiny kit BUY MORE DRUMS AND CYMBALS!!!!!!!! You won't regret it.

12. Never let anyone tell you that Max Weinberg is better than any prog metal drummer. Enough said.
13. your drumkit will have EVERYTHING in it "just in case you need it for a second in one song". You must have the drums, cymbals, gong, cowbell, cow, xylophone, marimba, empty beer cans and bottles, and garbage can lids.

*note* car horn is optional, but highly recommended
15. If there is not enough room for a guitar and keyboard dual make room.

16. Everyone in prog MUST have long hair, otherwise you are not metal

17. A song under 5 minutes is a no no
- Don't move at concerts. Just sit back and absorb the music...
- Never ever under any circumstances say "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence ruled."
- Proggies don't take out the garbage. They dispose of the refuse of icons past.
- The best songs are those that are over 15 minutes, have multiple named sections, and have solos by everyone in the band except the drummer.
- Don't be John Arch. Insist that any pre-Alder Fates is 100% not prog.
- Make sure that more than half of the members in your band are involved in outside projects a la Dream Theater.
- When in concert, always include improvised jam sessions and/or never play the exact same setlist. This will ensure your fans something new to look forward to at every gig. Or you could never play live (see Shadow Gallery) or only at multi-artist festivals.
- When getting ready to a show, always forget that nobody at prog concerts pays attention to the audience, including the band.
- When asked by a non-proggie what prog really is, say something like, “prog is the evolution of musical expression and experimentalism in rock”, in any case, make sure that the person is left to come up with his own definition of prog.
- Reform with old members and release an album intended to make up for years of bad reception from fans (see Yes) or claim your next album will be a return to past glory (see Queensryche). If it flops, be sure to blame a producer or record company.
- Record everything in different studios with multiple producers, exotic instrumentation, expensive equipment, etc.
- Make sure your album cover contains either a computer-drawn image, a lavish painting, or is illustrated by Travis Smith.
- Publicly state that your band is non-religious, then make many religious and/or spiritual allusions in the lyrics.
- Insist that music should always progress, although as long as you write an album in the prog vein, you don’t necessarily have to.
- Never write a song under four minutes unless it is an instrumental or is part of a larger concept.
- All lyrics must have some mythological references and/or include words rarely used in casual conversation. This is not optional.
- Playing in 4/4 and writing about sex, drugs, and parties is not prog, unless it is meant to create irony or have some deeper hidden meaning.
- If possible, design the title of your album that it refers to some imaginary place that nonetheless serves as a metaphor for this world (Metropolis pt. II, The Towers Of Avarice, The Global Village, Remedy Lane, etc.) But also be aware that one-word titles can be equally effective (Awake, Signals, etc.)
- Own every (insert 70s cult prog act here) release. Every proggie has at least one lesser known band he is absolutely obsessed with.
- In order to make your recording more progressive, be sure to include a lyricist that will have a prodigious grasp of the English language and incredible poetic ability.
- You mean you have been reading this when you could have been practicing along to 2112 or composing a sidelong epic? Shame!
45. When your aprentice asks "If its so good, then why isn't it popular" ALWAYS answer "Because its over the mainstreem peoples heads"

46. If your apprentice says "That singer has no balls or is a girl" ALWAYS reply "At least they can sing in-pitch/tune" or put on Inferno or King of Terrors.

47. If you put on a song where there is no double-kick fury and they ask "But you said the drummer can play mind-bogling fast with his feet but I didn't hear it", out on Evolution or Planet X's Dog Boots.
48. For the people who are unformiliar with matal or classical music. Pick a song to show them with the most mindless, fastest, wankery, sensless, self-indulgent phrigian dominant shred dual to really impress them.

49.If anyone says that Spocks Beard is prog, Kill them with a slow, painful death.
Thanks to all of you! Some were good, some weren`t, but what matters is that you contributed. We`ll see what I can make of this when we`re up to 100. I like no.45 and 48(mr shred-ididle)and no.21(Demonspell)the best. Pharoah, I think you missed the point with your attempt. These rules are supposed to be ironic pokes, highlighting the negative side of prog fans, so don`t write "serious rules", if you know what I mean. Demonspell, where did you get those? Many of them seem like they were taken from the 101 Rules of Black Metal.

I`ll contribute one of my own:

50. Your openmindedness is your greatest virtue. Considering you listen to the best and most advanced music in the world, you are also the intergalactic holiness of unbiased neutrality when it comes to music. You listen to absolutely everything, but there are a few exceptions to this, namely pop, rap, death metal, punk, jazz, black metal, power metal, classical, blues, gospel and other lower forms of music.