MEAN DEVIATION: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal, by Jeff Wagner
“Fans of prog metal would be wise to learn more about Mean Deviation“—Guitar World
Fighting a tide of tradition and conservatism, progressive metal has proven to be one of the most viable, malleable forms in all of modern music; here its preeminent scholar tells the tale.
• ISBN 978-09796163-3-4
• High-quality 400pp trade paperback
• Original cover artwork by Michel “Away” Langevin
• Illus. w/over 100 images + 16pp full-color insert
• Dimensions: 6.75″ x 9.5″ x 1″ (170mm x 240mm x 25mm); 2 lbs. (.75 kg)
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“A focused, well-organized narrative from the combined musical output of over 40 years and scores of bands from across the globe…excess comes with the territory.”—Library Journal
“Jeff goes deep into this much maligned music form and presents it with fervor”—Vice
“An extremely fluent read…sits high on the list of canonical metal texts”—PopMatters
Revered former Metal Maniacs editor Jeff Wagner analyzes the heady side of metal in this exhaustive history of a relentlessly ambitious musical subculture. Beginning with 1970s progressive rock acts Rush and King Crimson, Mean Deviation unfurls a colorful tapestry of sounds and styles, from the “Big Three” of 1980s prog metal—Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater—to extreme pioneers Voivod, Watchtower, and Celtic Frost. The flirtation between heavy metal and progressive rock grows with bold creative leaps, spawning countless valiant launches toward infinity. Today, the spark of inspiration thrives in obscure outposts such as Scandinavia, Florida, and Japan, bursting into full flame with the successes of prog metal overlords Opeth, Meshuggah, Tool, Between the Buried and Me, and their progressive peers.
According to Wagner: “Mean Deviation highlights many impossibly scattered bands and movements that widened the scope of the heavy metal genre. To some, progressive metal starts with Dream Theater and ends with an interminable stream of bands that sound like Dream Theater. By my interpretation, the term ‘progressive metal’ allows for consideration of cosmic post-black metal band In the Woods, avant-garde metal surrealists Thought Industry, and those obscure purveyors of corrupted Swedish death metal, Carbonized-along with more obvious entries such as Fates Warning, Opeth, and, of course, Dream Theater. “One thing prog metal certainly is, is metal. Hard and bold and brash, but refined, adulterated, and mutated; it is heavy metal taken somewhere illuminating and sometimes bizarre.”