prog

Progressive metal’s most influential guitarist combines immaculate picking technique with aggressive tones to create the most technically demanding licks around.



Chops: Advanced
Theory: Advanced
Lesson Overview:
• Gain a deeper understanding of complex, shifting time signatures.
• Learn fast-paced, alternate-picked riffs.
• Create phrases that use legato, sweeping, tapping, and alternate picking. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

Formed in 1985 at Boston's Berklee College of Music by drummer Mike Portnoy, bassist John Myung, and guitarist John Petrucci, Dream Theater continues to be one of the titans of progressive rock and metal. While the group would consist of this basic trio at the core until Portnoy left in 2008, over the years they've had a handful of keyboard players and several vocalists. (Current keyboardist Jordan Rudess has been in the band since 1999, and singer James LaBrie has been in the fold since the band's second album, released in 1991.)

There's no disputing that Dream Theater is the quintessential prog band for fans of proficient instrumental skills and metal. For over 30 years, Petrucci's trademark style has influenced generations of players through the group's 13 full-length studio albums. The band's sound has evolved a lot over the years, from the softer rock albums like Falling into Infinity, to the classic prog-rock of Images and Words, grand concept albums like Octavarium, and heavy metal shred-fests like Train of Thought. Each one is underpinned by Petrucci's astonishing technique. He's developed into an absolute master of picking, legato phrases, sweeping, tapping, and more.

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Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes—Animals as Leaders’ jaw-dropping dualguitar team—live up to their name and create a new progressive-rock beast by cross-breeding jazz, classical, and metal techniques in a way that simultaneously blows your mind and defies the genre’s stereotypes.

“It’s a few genres combined into one. It’s like progressive metal, progressive jazz … space metal,” says Tosin Abasi, founder of Animals as Leaders, when pressed to pigeonhole his band into a category. And he’s right—in the course of a single AAL song, your ears might be assaulted by math-metal djent-isms with bittersweet Lydian sonorities, tapped open-voice triads, contrapuntal textures, 8-string slapping and popping that sounds like a cross between Victor Wooten and Eddie Van Halen’s “Mean Street,” and lo-fi electronica-influenced tones.

On the surface, this description of AAL’s musical mélange might reek of the sort of music-school pretension you expect from guys who wear Jaco Pastorious T-shirts and throw in every new device they learn in theory class to create a hodgepodge of faux eclecticism. But Animals as Leaders weaves every twist and turn so organically that it never sounds forced and, after a couple of listens, almost doesn’t make sense any other way.

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Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland captures the energy of last year’s Time Machine tour, with Rush performing both classic hits and new tunes from their forthcoming (and 20th to date) studio release titled Clockwork Angels.

Rush
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011 Anthem Entertainment

One would be hard-pressed to name a band as polarizing as Rush. But love them or not, their longevity and continued relevancy in the world of rock music is nothing less than impressive. Formed in 1968, the band has continued to create and expand on its very unique blend of rock ’n’ roll, all the while delivering it to a worldwide, devoted fan base. And Rush’s uncanny ability to recreate their complex studio sound on the stage—with just Lifeson, Lee, and Peart at the helm—is legendary.

Premiering first at select theaters before being made available November 8 on DVD/ Blu-ray, Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland captures the energy of last year’s Time Machine tour, with Rush performing both classic hits and new tunes from their forthcoming (and 20th to date) studio release titled Clockwork Angels. Interestingly, it’s the band’s first live performance filmed in the United States, and the tour marked the first time Moving Pictures was played live in its entirety. Cleveland was given the nod for the movie’s concert site, since it was the first city to support Rush with radio airplay.

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