Emerging in the late sixties via the inclusion of classical, jazz and occasionally folk elements into pop/rock music, progressive artists sought to push the boundaries of what ‘rock’ means. From Atomic Rooster to Frank Zappa, from Space Rock to Krautrock, this genre is for explorers, for those with curious ears, for travellers who enjoy departures from three chords and a regular backbeat.
Extended compositions and virtuoso performances are two of the hallmarks of prog. Lyrics expanded too, sometimes leading to epic compositions lasting an entire album-side. Meanwhile, the development of versatile, reliable synthesisers was a core part of the progressive sound. In progressive music, technology and virtuosity ruled side-by-side.
Prog had its maximum pomp and splendour in the 70s, but there’s way more to engage with than Genesis, Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer. Try Vangelis (Greece), Can (Germany) or Camel (UK) from the era of flares and flaring solos, or explore how progressive music never really stopped progressing via outfits such as Transatlantic, Dream Theatre, or Porcupine Tree.
By the way, for simplicity all the progressive sub-genres with metal leanings are in the METAL category.