The Quintessential Progressive Metal Band - Queensryche or Dream Theater?


#1

Which band’s approach to songwriting do you prefer? Which band’s musicianship do you think is better? Which of these two bands, overall, taking everything into account, is the best progressive metal band there’s ever been? If you think some other band, like Fates Warning is better than either, that’s understandable too. I especially love early Fates Warning when they had John Arch on vocals.

I chose these two because in my recollection Queensryche was recognized as the pre-eminent progressive metal band of the 1980s and Dream Theater was recognized as such for the next decade (I realize there is some overlap so these time distinctions are approximate).

Personally I much prefer Queensryche and having listened to much more of them than Dream Theater, as a result I’m not nearly as familiar with Dream Theater’s catalog of work. Taking that into consideration, you may want to take the following statement with a grain of salt: In comparing what it is the two bands try to achieve, it seems to me that Dream Theater is more concerned with displays of virtuosity by each member of the band while Queensryche (I’m referring to the era I’m most familiar with - their self titled debut EP through their Empire album) despite frequent displays of virtuosity by vocalist Geoff Tate, who I consider one of the top three vocalists in the history of heavy metal, is less concerned with virtuosic, highly technical displays of musicianship than Dream Theater is and more concerned with the quality of the songwriting and the overall emotional impact their songs have on the listener.

Like most bands, both Queensryche and Dream Theater have songwriting as a high priority, but to me it seems that Queensryche, while being a progressive metal band of very good musicians, have put songwriting higher on their priority list than Dream Theater who strike me more as a band that wants listeners to say “Oh My God! Did you hear that guitar solo? Did you hear that drum fill? Did you hear what the bass player did there?”

To make it clear, I’m FAR from being against frequent displays of virtuosity. My favorite guitarist is Yngwie Malmsteen. I don’t see a direct link between the talent that allows someone to become a virtuoso level musician and the quality of one’s songwriting. There are plenty of virtuoso level players whose songs I don’t care for, while some of my favorite bands have musicians who are very competent but certainly not virtuosos.

I appreciate displays of virtuosity but I appreciate a good song even more. Sometimes you get lucky enough to find a song you love which does have displays of virtuosity. The era during which a song was released also matters. In their era, Led Zeppelin was one of the most capable, highly skilled rock guitarists in the world. To this day you’d be hard pressed to find a rock guitarist who has the diversity of high level abilities Page had. To have the lead ability to play a solo like the one in “Since I’ve Been Loving You” and then have the rhythm guitar knowledge and songwriting ability to write and perform the rhthym guitar parts in songs like “The Rain Song” and “The Song Remains The Same” is stunning.

Between Queensryche and Dream Theater, which band’s approach do you like better and which of the two bands do you prefer? Again, I realize I’m not objective here; I can’t be because I like Queensryche too much. You may think Dream Theater has better musicianship as well as better songwriting than Queensryche. I’m interested in hearing a variety of different perspectives as to which is the quintessential progressive metal band although I realize that for some, the answer to that will be “neither.”


#2

I’ve generally heard this framed as Dream Theater vs Fates Warning, for whatever it’s worth - 'Ryche did the odd concept album here or there, but so did a lot of other bands of their era (“Wake of Magellan” comes to mind), and if concept albums alone made prog then we’d be talking about The Who here.

I’m on the DT side of the spectrum, in either case, but with some MASSIVE caveats. For the most part, they weren’t the same band after Kevin Moore left. I’m one of the few DT fans who actually liked Falling Into Infinity, evidently, (which IMO was VERY song-focused, probably because they were working with an outside producer for one of the last times), and while Metropolis Pt. 2 is maybe a little over the top in places, it was also a very, very, very serious work of music.

But, “Images and Words” and “Awake” are two staggeringly good albums. Dream Theater at their peak were an amazingly good prog band. They got a little too tech-heavy after that, and I’m intentionally repressing all memories of stuff like The Awakening or whatever the hell that one was called, but I think those two albums were something of a prog high water mark. Amazing, boundary-pushing musicianship, sure… but, also, amazing writing. It’s sort of a layup as an example, but the “Pull Me Under” riff is both Metallica-grade heavy, but also it and the subsequent tune have some pretty cool stuff going on harmonically.

Of course, I tend to like some of the Fates Warning stuff that FW fans generally don’t like as much - I loved FWX, for example, whereas A Pleasant Shade of Grey (which actually DID feature Kevin Moore) garnered a lot more love) so giant sized grains of salt here…

All that said - I haven’t heard it yet, but I hear the new 'Ryche album is actually really, really good - shockingly good after all the crap they’ve done lately.

EDIT - dons flame proof suit I’ll take In Absentia and Deadwing era Porcupine Tree over either. :smiley:


#3

“Wake Of Magellan” is my least favorite Savatage album but I love a concept album they made in 1991 titled “Streets.” That was when they still had Criss Oliva. Have you heard Streets? It’s awesome!

And yes, if concept albums alone were the criteria here we’d be talking about Pink Floyd too. “The Wall” may be the most successful concept album ever in sales, although I haven’t checked the stats. Anyway, prog isn’t necessarily progressive metal.

To me, progressive isn’t necessaily about concept albums but about bands that have a certain level of musicianship as well as a certain sound. “…And Justice For All” is Metallica’s most complex album so you’d think it would qualify as progressive metal, but it doesn’t have that progressive metal sound. Savatage has that sound to some extent, but usually the bands that I hear being called progressive metal have vocalists like Geoff Tate, John Arch - the original Fates Warning vocalist, Midnight of Crimson Glory fame, etc.

Do you like the John arch era Fates Warning? There is an EP he made “Twist Of Fate” which I highly suggest to you since it has Dream Theater’s drummer - Mike Portnoy.

I think Opeth is a brilliant progressive metal band. I like their mellow sound better than their death metal sound. Their album “Damnation” and DVD "Lamentations are gorgeous! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LMxLIcRWy8

I need to heat the new Ryche album too. I don’t like the stuff they made after Empire, except the next one, Promised Land still had some good songs and was certainly better than what came after that which isn’t even metal. I consider their first full album “the Warning” progressive metal because of songs like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QNjKkLeehw


#4

Nothing after A Change of Seasons from Dream Theater holds any real interest for me. The lyrics got childish and uninteresting and the compositions and arrangements got both excessively complicated AND unsophisticated at the same time. I was at the filming of the NYC DVD at the end of the Metropolis, Part 2… tour and saw them again maybe one or two times more with the next couple of albums. I remember thinking to myself even back then, “this whole reincarnation storyline is just so awful; why would I listen to this cliched nonsense when I have A Pleasant Shade of Grey?”

I do not blame Moore for leaving the band, as much as I wish he hadn’t. Had no family to support, no real love of the music “industry,” and had completely fallen out of love with technical music. “Space Dye Vest” was the kernel of what was to come. If you look at what the band has done since, it’s all been completely and very conventional in terms of production, sound creation, structure, etc.

Moore took a gamble, while the rest of the band went their own way. To me, the stuff he’s done with Fates Warning, OSI, and Chroma Key is far more satisfying. It’s just richer music. In the late '90s, DT was still beholden to the record companies whose power had not been drained by the technology revolution of the 2000s. The internet revolution with regard to content distribution had not really happened. “Alternative” music was still king. Awake was not a real success. There was no “Pull Me Under” on that record. Falling into Infinity was allowed to be recorded as, effectively, a favor to the band with a lot of caveats.

I guess I’m just a lot older and motivated by different things than I was when I was in my 20s. I don’t need Metallica with keyboards. I really just want another Kevin Gilbert to be very honest.


#5

@Drew There is one song above all others of the songs not by either Queensryche or Dream Theater that I hope you and everyone else reading this will give a listen. To me, this song explores territory, emotions not typically covered by any type of metal bands, progressive metal notwithstanding,

This is “Hope Leaves” - just perfect melancholy beauty:


#6

I’m not really a Savatage fan - don’t shoot, but they’re a little more hair metal-y than I really go for. And, for similar reasons, I really can’t stomach Arch’s vocals. That high near-falsetto shriek just sets my teeth on edge. I vastly prefer Alder.

On a different board I run with a few buddies (one of whom is a huge 'Tage fan, would shoot you for speaking ill of Magellan, and would shoot ME for not liking them, and incidentally has a 'Ryche tatoo he’s about to get covered up because of how unspeakably bad most of their last decade has been) we actually had a long conversation on whether or not Puppets could be considered prog. It’s an interesting one, because it’s a groundbreaking thrash album… And yet, so many of the hallmarks of prog - complex time signatures, technical musicianship, conceptual lyracle themes, complicated musical structures - are there.

I love Opeth - Damnation may be the best album Pink Floyd never released, but their heavier stuff rules too, “Blackwater Park”'s title track has two of the best metal riffs I’ve ever heard.

As far as Fates Warning prog side-projects go, I’d say the first OSI album, as well as “Emergent,” the second album of Sean Malone’s Gordian Knot project, are more to my taste. Emergent in particular is such an amazing record…

Man, “Dead Air for Radios” is an incredible album, and probably the best late-night driving record I can think of. “Colorblind” is just haunting, especially since it’s SO different from everything you’d expect of someone from Dream Theater, at least absent the (also amazing) “Space-Dye Vest.”

This isn’t metal and is only “prog” in very loose senses of the term - if you wanted to be rude you could call it synth-pop, but that leaves a LOT out - but it’s fucking gorgeous.


#7

I’ve been recommended to listen to Queensryche time and time again so I definitely will now after this thread.

I have listened to a lot of Dream Theater, as I’m sure you can guess from my profile picture. I love John Petrucci as a guitarist and his efforts in moving the ball forward w/r/t technical development of the instrument, but he - and every other member of Dream Theater - should have broken up after Kevin Moore left.

They got so bad I get secondhand embarrassment listening to a lot of their recent metal and have to turn it off. They can’t write riffs and the technical passages are played out. Images and Words and Awake I treat like McDonald’s and other fast food - I know it’s not good for me to consume it, and there are far superior options, but sometimes it hits the spot of teenage nostalgia.


#8

It’s nice to meet other people who like Opeth. I think they’re just great! Re: “the best album Pink Floyd never released”: Wow, that is an interesting description. “Damnation” gives me a similar emotion as Pink Floyd does - getting high without drugs. I say that because it takes me to a different place, sort of a floating feeling. And I don’t even drink alcohol so I’m just imagining the effect of drugs when i say that. There’s also a melancholy feeling to both their music. Despite being a 90s band, I hear much more 70s music in Opeth than 80s or 90s - in their “Damnation” style music I mean. Do you agree? I’ve heard they were inspired by some obscure European 70s bands and if so, I’d love to hear who those bands are.

Of their very heavy stuff, I can say that I like it but in small doses. I like it for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and then I need a break. What I love about it are the mellow vocals in the interludes. Those interludes are to me what make Opeth’s heavy stuff really stand out although the riffing is exceptional as well. If you like Blackwater Park I strongly suggest their previous album: “My Arms, Your Hearse” which is every bit the quality of album Blackwater Park is.

Yes, that’s why I mentioned “…And Justice For All” which I think is more progressive than Puppets although both have all those attributes you listed above. For some reason despite them fitting the qualifications of being literally a progressive metal band, I think it’s their vocalist that disqualifies them from typically being called “progressive metal.” The prog metal vocalists usually have voices that I guess I’d say are more “conventionally beautiful.” They also usually have high vocal ranges, although Opeth’s vocalist doesn’t have that high range that Tate, Arch, or Ray Alder had. Still, in my opinion the guy in Opeth has a beautiful voice and Hetfield, well, he sings nicely in “Fade To Black” for example, but I don’t think his voice is as nice as Opeth’s vocalist’s.

Speaking of beautiful voices, and I realize this is off topic, but speaking of 70’s style rock, yesterday I was listening to Heart’s “Little Queen” and “Dreamboat Annie” album and the two Wilson sisters are every bit as beautiful looking as they sound! If you’ve only heard the much more generic, bland 80s Heart, you owe to to yourself to check out the 2 albums I listed. They were so Zeppelin influenced that they recorded a cover of “The Battle Of Evermore”! How many rock bands could do that?


#9

Yeah, Opeth is pretty open about their 70s folk and prog influences, but I can’t say I’ve ever bothered to hunt them down. Fun Fact - “Damnation” was produced by Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson, who also contributed keyboards. Akersfelt, who does indeed have the voice of an angel when he’s not growling, has been doing more clean vocals these days - checking out some of their newer material, Heritage and onwards, might be worth your time.

For me, for the heavier stuff, the highlights are Blackwater Park (which even then features a clean acoustic tune, Harvest, which is gorgeous), and Ghost Reveries, which is a bit more Tool-esq in some of its riffing, which as a fan of the band (Danny Carey is a goddamned genius) is totally cool by me.

Porcupine Tree is worth a listen too - I think this is amazing:

That’s the animation from their live show they’d project up on a scvreen while playing, and that’s actually the audio from a live performance, off their “Arriving Somewhere…” DVD.


#10

I listened to Porcupine Tree and although it’s not my taste, they’re good musicians. I’m curious: Is Porcupine Tree considered by their fans to be progressive metal"? I can see how they might be in the sense that Tool are called “progressive metal” but they’re a very different kind of progressive metal than Queensryche, Fates Warning, etc…


#11

They blur the line between progressive rock and progressive metal - neither In Absentia nor Deadwing are all THAT heavy, but then Fear of a Blank Planet, recorded after a tour with Meshuggah, is. Their earlier stuff, particularly the stuff before Stupid Dream, is very overtly proggy in more of a classic 70s way, they just started to mix in a rock and pop songwriting sensibility over time. “Trains” is a spectacular song first and foremost, even if you’re not into prog:

But, it’s not a matter of their fans “considering” them prog or not - they ARE a prog band, openly and unabashedly so, they just don’t sound all that much like Queensryche. :rofl:


#12

Do you hear a little bit of the Tool sound in Porcupine Tree? I’m listening to Trains now and I listened to the first song you linked. So far Trains sounds like a more adventurous composition than the other song you linked. I thought I heard some Tool influence but I don’t listen to Tool so it’s hard for me to say for sure. I think they’re more like the Tool type of being progressive metal than the Fates Warning, Savatage or Opeth styles.

You say you didn’t care for Jon Oliva’s voice so I’m wondering if you;re familiar with the song and album “Edge Of Thorns” as that’s the one album by them that has Zachary on vox but still has Criss Oliva on lead guitar. Were you a Criss Oliva fan? I liked him a lot and fortunately got to see him twice - both times in a nightclub so I was close to the stage.

If you like Zachary’s vocals better than those of Jon Oliva than there’s one other album besides Edge Of Thorns I recommend. It’s the first album they made after Criss Oliva was killed by a drunk driver. So, on lead guitar is has Alex Skolnick who is an amazing player. I don’t know how familiar with him you are so here’s one that’s especially progressive because it has a series of vocal lines that I think is called a “round” or possibly a “canon”? I used to know the term but can’t remember it right now for some reason. Anyway this is quite an impressive song and probably my favorite of the Savatage songs not featuring Criss Oliva: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TboNW5AiHA8

EDIT: This is very orchestral and you can clearly hear them getting closer and closer to what they eventually became - The Trans Siberian Orchestra except this is still heavy metal and I don’t think TSO is.


#13

Eh, it’s more than I don’t really love ANY Savatage, stylistically, and less because of any one of their vocalists. I’m just not that into that style of music.

In that particular composition, the only really Tool-esq element I’m hearing is the dominant bassline and the use of an odd-time signature (the bass riff at the beginning is in 9, and I want to say the high melody that comes in for the bridge is something like 13/8 but I haven’t counted it out lately to verify that).

If you don’t really know Tool, though, go spin the title track off Lateralus immediately. If you’re into prog… Very complex time signatures and rhythmic interplay between the different instruments, extremely conceptual in nature (the song is loosely based on a Fibonacci sequence, where every number is the sum of the two before it - the verses form a Fibonacci sequence of syllables ascending to 5 before descending down through the pattern, and of course spirals feature heavily in the lyrics), phenomenal musicianship (though unlike most prog it’s the drumming that steals the show, in Tool the guitar really truly functions as a percussion instrument than it does in most rock). I think the highhat fills on the bridge are such an awesome musical element - I actually managed to count out the shifting pattern Carey was playing there once, and I’ve never managed to work it out since, but he seems to be doing a something-against-something-else pattern, probably something against four, and gradually building complexity. He studied indian tabla playing for a number of years, and it really shows in how he phrases, it’s very unlike any other rock drummer I can think of.

Speaking of world music influences in prog, any other Orphaned Land fans here?


These guys are just out there, musically - an Israeli band with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian members borrowing heavily on various Arabic folk music themes. Sort of an eastern Opeth dealing with religious folklore themes, but in a not-preaching, folklore/history sort of way. I’m about as secular as they come, and I think this rules.

#14

I don’t consider Awake and Images and Words anything like fast food. They are that really, really great, Michelin-starred restaurant that took a huge dump after the founding chef left and the owner got nicked for pinching the waitresses’ assses.


#15

LMAO

20characterlimit


#16

Seems I’m coming late to the discussion, I just wanted to quickly say that I love both bands, I’d say the riffs are equally beautiful but DT has a small edge for me because I tend to enjoy the guitar solos in DT a little more. True, JP is big on virtuosity, but also his ability to compose beautiful melodies in phenomenal.
The solos in Queensryche are of course very good but in places they give me more the feeling of a “Jam session” as opposed to a “careful composition”.

I found the above quite hard to put down in words, I have no idea if I’m making sense :smiley:


#17

I’m generally a fan of progressive metal, I like the sounds, the compositions, the concept albums, the level of musicianship, etc.

My favourite bands are Dream Theater, Nevermore, Angra, Toska, Plini and Gojira. All of them have progressive elements, some of them more, some less.

That being said, I think that “Images and Words” is the greatest progressive metal album ever written. It’s a masterpiece and I think it will pass the test of time. It’s already considered a classic.


#18

You’re making sense :slight_smile:

It seems to me that you prefer solos that sound like “careful compositions” as you put it, to improvised solos. Some people do. Neither approach is necessarily right or wrong; it matters what you personally enjoy hearing more.

It’s my understanding that the guitar solo in rock music and jazz too for that matter, began as a showcase for the guitarist to showcase his improvisational abilities. That is the original purpose of the guitar solo in rock although if some of you music historians have a different understanding of how guitar solos in rock began, I’m sure we’d all be interested in learning about it.

I prefer the improvised approach to solos. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Yngwie Malmsteen is my favorite guitarist. He has improvised every solo he’s ever recorded. Even live, he improvises upon the original recorded solo, retaining the most memorable melodies and improvising the rest. Ritchie Blackmore was known for improvising his solos live as well and in Rainbow Live In Munich he takes some songs by Rainbow that were originally 4 or 5 minute songs and through improvisation between him and the rest of the band, they extend these songs to two or three times the original length of the song. I enjoy that - getting to hear something live that you didn’t get to hear on the album. The record company would want songs that have potential for radio play, so it’s in a live setting that Blackmore and the rest of Rainbow got to really cut loose and show what they could do with 15 minute renditions of songs.

To me that’s the most exciting aspect of the solo - hearing what the musician is capable of coming up with on the spot. The rest of the songs generally are very structured, so those solos are about the only place you do you hear that type of spontaneity. You could go see players like Malmsteen or Blackmore on three different shows of the same tour and never hear the same concert twice. There is an excitement to not knowing what the setlist will be and not knowing exactly how every song and solo will sound.

Bands who do that often get die hard fans who will follow them on tour and go to as many concerts on each tour as possible because they know they’re going to get something new each night. Bands that have the same setlist every night and play each song as closely to how the played it in the studio don’t usually inspire the kind of enthusiasm resulting in fans following them around from town to town on their tours.

That’s the approach to music I like best. On any given night you can hear something magical which may never be duplicated. They may take a solo or an entire song to places you never would have imagined.

There’a certain energy and emotion to improvisation, a spontaneous type of feeling that I find very appealing whether that improvisation happens in the studio in a guitar solo, or on stage. That mindset of daring to take risks rather than sticking to one carefully planned out way of doing things that I believe gets right to the heart and the spirit of rock music.


#19

I didn’t ask if Porcupine Tree’s fans considered them prog. I asked: “Is Porcupine Tree considered by their fans to be progressive metal”? I can see how they might be in the sense that Tool are called “progressive metal” but they’re a very different kind of progressive metal than Queensryche, Fates Warning, etc…"

I believe there’s distinction between “progressive metal” and “prog”, enough of one that the two can’t accurately be used interchangeably. Early Genesis and Yes were prog but I doubt anyone would consider them progressive metal.

I have a question regarding this particular statement: “It’s not a matter of their fans ‘considering’ them prog or not - they ARE a prog band, openly and unabashedly so…”

By that do you mean that if a band states they are or are not a specific style of music, then that’s the defining factor for classifying them as to what genre or sub-genre to which they belong and if the fans consider that band part of some other genre or sub-genre that’s irrelevant?

That’s how it came across - that what genre the fans consider a band to be is either irrelevant or maybe somewhat relevant but of minor importance and I have to disagree with that. Lemmy said for years that Motorhead wasn’t a metal band, that they were just a rock 'n roll band and he’s entitled to his opinion. But in making the case that Motorhead wasn’t a metal band, you certainly couldn’t prove it by the fans, by the section in which record stores put their albums, or by the bands whom they played with in live shows. When I saw them, Motorhead was 2nd billing out of three bands total. Overkill opened the show, then Motorhead played, and finally Slayer closed the show. Those other two bands proudly proclaimed themselves to be metal and if you asked the members of those two bands, I’m pretty they’d tell you that they considered Motorhead a metal band - one who influenced each of them considerably.

Just earlier you and I were discussing how Metallica fits the definition of a progressive metal bands very well, or they used to at least. Maybe they still do. You mentioned Master Of Puppets and I mentioned …And Justice For All" as examples of albums that fit the description of what a progressive metal band is. They contained more than enough elements of the various elements of which a progressive metal band must include some of in order to actually be progressive metal.

Metallica had more than enough of those elements to fit the description of “progressive metal.” The one they lacked was a singer with a very wide vocal range. Hetfield can’t hit the notes that Geoff Tate, John Arch, Ray Alder, Midnight, Jon Oliva and Jamie LaBrie can. Hetfield’s upper range doesn’t come close to being able to hit the notes those vocalists can hit. But Maynard from Tool can’t hit those notes either and they’re considered progressive metal by their fans. I don’t know if Tool themselves describe themselves as a progressive metal band or not.

So, it’s Metallica’s fans not considering them progressive metal that has led to them not being classified that way. Metallica themselves don’t call themselves progressive metal but that’s not up to the band. If it were up to the band to classify the genre in which they belong, everyone would go along with Lemmy’s description of Motorhead as a rock 'n roll band and specifically not a metal band.

The same statement you made about Porcupine Tree could be applied to mid to late eighties Mteallica - “It’s not a matter of their fans ‘considering’ them prog or not - they ARE a prog band, openly and unabashedly so, they just don’t sound all that much like Queensryche.” After all, Metallica has plenty of the elements that make a band a progressive metal band.

If that’s all that matters in how a band is classified, Metallica is, or at least was a progressive metal band. The only problem with that whole line of thinking is very few if any people consider them to be progressive metal. Their fans call them either thrash metal or just metal. There was a time when a lot of their fans called them “speed metal” and that’s an appropriate description of their earlier recordings. That term was pretty much interchangeable with “thrash metal” however, and eventually the term " speed metal" fell out of popular usage in the modern lexicon. Who was responsible for that? The fans. The media can use a name to describe a sound 24/7 but if the fans ultimately reject it, that term falls by the wayside.

This all leads me to the conclusion that the arbiter of whether a band is a progressive metal band or not (or any other term describing their genre or sub-genre), isn’t the band themselves, it isn’t the media, and it isn’t even the music itself and how many objectively defined elements it possesses. On the contrary, it absolutely is a matter of the fans considering them progressive metal or not. The fans are the arbiter of whether a band is progressive metal or not.


#20

Eh, I think definitions get pretty arbitrary pretty fast - I’m not even sure personally if it makes sense to differentiate between prog and progressive metal, as the later are just bands combining prog influences and metal influences and I’d say a prog rock and prog metal band have more in common than a metal and prog metal one. But, Porcupine Tree’s prog bona fides are pretty strong, quite a bit more so than Queensryche, I’d say, which makes this conversation a little ironic and bemusing to me. It’s not what their fans think they are, it’s that prog fans talk about Porcupine Tree (and Dream Theater, and Fates Warning) a whole heck of a lot more than I see them talk about Queensryche.

I think you’ve got it backwards, which is kind of what I’m getting at above. Fans of prog consider Porcupine Tree a prog band. Wilson happens to agree with them, but that’s less important than the fact they’re widely considered a prominent example of their genre. Their fans may like them for other reasons too, but - noting that genre classification can get pretty arbitrary and involves a lot of hair splitting - people who are into progressive rock and progressive metal consider Porcupine a prog band. I’m gathering you personally aren’t really a fan from your posts, and you may like your prog more in the thrash and 80s hair metal influenced side of the genre (I’ve been spinning some Threshold at work lately which is probably more your speed), but it’s not like whether or not PT is a prog band is at all debatable.