“Progressive” is one of the most abused, overused, and inaccurately applied words in rock.

It generally describes when an artist steps outside the beaten path, tries something new or combines disparate musical styles.

To wit, there are endless varieties of metal bands today, often having little in common with each other’s sounds, that have to share the “progressive” terminology, giving us progressive metal, progressive death metal, progressive black metal, progressive symphonic metal, progressive metalcore, and so on.

So when, exactly, did the “progressive” description enter the heavy metal lexicon?

Beats us! But we have a few ideas, reaching way back to the dawn of heavy metal, that conspired, over time, to bring the original sounds and ethos of progressive rock into metal’s realm, producing fascinating hybrids that paved the long road toward adventurous bands like Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Opeth, Enslaved, Tool, and so on.

So grab your pickaxe and shovel as we dig deep for the roots of progressive metal.

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