10 up-and-coming progressive metal bands every self-respecting metalhead should know

Photos of progressive metal bands The Callous Daoboys, Unprocessed and Mountain Caller
(Image credit: The Callous Daoboys: The Callous Daoboys via YouTube | Unprocessed: Sönke Dannemann | Mountain Caller: Church Road Records)

It’s always exciting being a progressive metal fan. Since its origins, this is a subgenre explicitly dedicated to pushing itself forward, from the days of Dream Theater and Tool all the way Mastodon, Gojira and now Sleep Token. Progressive metal’s restless evolution also opens up the neverending question of, where can it go next? Fortunately, we think we have the answer. Metal Hammer’s compiled 10 up-and-coming extreme and experimental bands who could well dictate the future of heavy music for the next generation.

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Finding viral success as a “shredder” doesn’t automatically mean you can write excellent songs. However, while many of his peers’ music starts and stops at guitar theatrics, Unprocessed leader Manuel Gardner Fernandes makes urgent and catchy prog in his band. New album …And Everything In Between is crammed with powerhouse hooks.

The Callous Daoboys

Whether it’s through their mathcore-meets-baroque-pop music or incomprehensible merchandise, The Callous Daoboys are one of the most chaotic bands in the scene. Their latest album, Celebrity Therapist, has been compared to everybody from The Dillinger Escape Plan to Panic! At The Disco, and their live show even includes samples of Sweet Caroline. Madness. 

Sugar Horse

Sugar Horse are an unforgettable live experience. The prog/post-metal four-piece could be the loudest band in the world, so not even the densest earplugs you can buy will hinder their sludgy yet melodic attack. New EP Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico distils their noisy excellence into one 18-minute masterpiece.

The Anchoret

If you use Bandcamp, you’ve doubtlessly seen The Anchoret’s debut album rock up in your “Discover” tab lately. It All Began With Loneliness has become something of a cult hit, mixing the urgency of metal with plenty of classic prog cues, like mellotrons and saxophones. Give it a go if you haven’t.

Mountain Caller

Mountain Caller live in the dusty landscape where stoner, prog and post-rock converge. The instrumental trio’s dynamic tunes have already made them mainstays in London’s experimental music underground, where they frequently bludgeon with their climactic riffs. A new album is expected to land in 2024, so expect their excellence to extend even further.


Parius were a technical yet melodic death metal force, until they reinvented themselves as a progressive rock band on their 2022 album, The Signal Heard Throughout Space. No matter which version of the band you delve into first, though, you’ll be greeted by some infectious and forceful music crammed to the brim with riffs.

The Hirsch Effekt

These German maestros have been going since 2009, so some may disqualify them from the “up-and-coming” description. But, over their 14-year existence, they’ve remained criminally overlooked. The three-piece are all virtuosos on their instruments and together write songs that leap from math rock to prog and metalcore without ever skimping on a good, meaty hook.

Giant Walker

We here at Hammer once labelled Giant Walker as “UK prog metal’s next big thing”. We stand by that assessment. The Newcastle-based quartet cast hulking, downtuned riffs against the melodic vocals of lead singer Steff Fish on 2022 debut All In Good Time, and album two will doubtlessly be even more special.


Progressive death metal newcomers Kardashev claim to be responsible for a new style of music, “deathgaze”. Regardless of whether or not you want extreme metal to have yet another subgenre on its hands, the Americans are certainly unique. Latest album Liminal Rites is somehow brutal and ethereal simultaneously. 


Whatever you love in your extreme, progressive metal, Dvne supply it in spades. The Edinburgh five-piece have a seemingly infinite bag of skull-crushing riffs, yet can also be soft and ambient and surprisingly catchy. New album Etemen Ænka was one of the best metal releases of 2021, and we’re counting the days until its follow-up.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.