Last year, revered former 'Metal Maniacs' magazine editor Jeff Wagner released 'Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal,' an exhaustive history on the sound and its various subgenres. Featuring artists like Rush, Opeth, Celtic Frost, and Dream Theater, Wagner does a wonderful job walking the reader through prog-metal's four decade plus history. In last year's Noisecreep Gift Guide, we described the book as "an expertly researched love letter to the largely misunderstood and often maligned progressive metal scene." Since Wagner is the preeminent scholar of the genre, we asked him to give us his list of the 10 best progressive metal albums of 2011. Luckily for us, he said yes.
Key songs: 'React,' 'It's Alive,' 'Only Child'
Key songs: 'Musical Chairs,' 'Golden Parachutes,' 'Coppertank Island'
Key songs: 'Another Tribe,' 'The Tent,' 'The Thought of Losing You'
Key songs: 'The Devil's Orchard,' 'Haxprocess,' 'Folklore'
Key songs: 'Midnight Serenade,' 'Stained Glass Sky,' 'Incense and Myrrh'
Key songs: 'The Grain,' 'Staring (The 31st Floor),' 'The Day the City Died'
Key songs: 'Forced Entry,' 'Mediocrity Wins,' 'Acquired Taste'
Key songs: 'Ljós Í Stormi,' 'Þín Orð,' 'DJákninn'
Key songs (easy, as this is built of three segues and three proper songs): 'Carbon-Based Anatomy,' 'Box Up My Bones,' 'Elves Beam Out'
Key songs: 'Deform to Form a Star,' 'Remainder the Black Dog,' 'Raider II'