Dan Swano is as much an extreme metal legend as you can get. From his work with the seminal Edge Of Sanity, to his years spent behind the desk making every band he worked with sound better than they ever had before, he is one of the key figures in the history of European extreme metal.

Leprous is one of those bands I should be more familiar with than I am. Their last album, “Bilateral”, won massive acclaim from all around the metal world, but for reasons I'm not sure of, I never got around to listening to it.

Spock's Beard is known for three things; 1) having a silly name, 2) once having Neal Morse in the band, and 3) no longer having Neal Morse in the band. Simply put, their early run of albums helped to create the modern prog scene as it currently exists.

I remember hearing about Riverside when their first album was just coming out. I wasn't yet interested in progressive music, but there was enough buzz about them that they were always in the back of my mind.

Progressive music walks a fine line for most of its existence, trying to balance the gratification musicians garner from playing difficult and involved compositions with the gratification listeners need to be able to elicit from those same songs.

The reputation of Hammers of Misfortune precedes them, even with all the tumult and lineup changes over the years. With only two original members remaining and two new additions on this latest effort, cynical fans might expect that the halcyon days of Hammers of Misfortune are over.

Gather round, fans of Fates Warning! Jim Matheos and former vocalist John Arch have put together a six-cut record of entirely new progressive metal material under the banner of brand new side project Arch/Matheos.