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I recently fell in love with a band called Thank You Scientist. They are an alternative prog rock band who use big-band instruments (brass, woodwinds, etc.) to back up their music.

I've been searching for prog metal bands with similar instrumentation but to no avail. The closest I've managed to find is Icarus the Owl, who use similar chord progressions, vocal riffs, and guitar playing style. They don't quite qualify for the "metal" part though.

Are there any metal groups with a prog sound and jazz instruments?

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  • I'm not familiar with this genre and apologize if this isn't what you are looking for, but a google search took to me to website that lists what they call their top "jazz metal" bands/artists: last.fm/tag/jazz+metal/artists Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 22:23
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    @DarthLocke I'll have to look through the list, thank you. I have discounted a couple of those already because they use jazz influenced harmony in their guitar writing, when I am looking for metal combined with big band instruments.
    – Aric
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 7:37
  • You might have better luck looking up symphonic metal. You may need to filter out the violins, though.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 23:42
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    The Diablo Swing Orchestra combine jazz, swing, classical, and prog rock with metal. They're a bit avant-garde, but use jazz instrumentation nevertheless.
    – Aric
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 9:44
  • Related: musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/649/…
    – Bebs
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 7:38

4 Answers 4

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Give Gentle Giant a listen. They use brass, and they're about as Proggy as Prog and Prog.

Early Chicago is considered Prog, and they had a full horn section.

Weather Report might work for you as well.

Even Frank Zappa could be an interesting listen, as he has a very vast catalogue and his playing is unreal. And he uses a Xylophone. :-)

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    Love weather report! I remember trying to learn the bassline for Havona a few years ago. Didn't go well...
    – Aric
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 15:01
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    "Didn't go well" would be an understatement for me. LOL! Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 15:09
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If you are happy going back in time you might like Jethro Tull. They had their prog rock period in the 1970's. Then they went more mainstream. So albums like Aqualung [1971] or Thick as a Brick [1972] would be good; I listened to Thank You Scientist and I heard a Jethro Tull vibe; a possible influence even. The best Jethro Tull track to tell if you like them would probably be Heavy Horses. Actually I have listened to Jethro Tull's later 80's more mainstream music such as Budapest. I think that they are closer to what you want then. Heavy Horses [77] (older Jethro Tull] or Budapest [87] would be the tracks to see if they floated your boat.

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    +1 Jethro Tull was my immediate thought as well. Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 17:51
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It depends on how prog you want your prog rock, but some groups that come to mind that have at least some music in this wheelhouse are:

  • Oingo Boingo - I have a feeling this group may have been a direct influence on your band.
  • XTC - This track was deliberately produced to sound like Latin jazz, but its core is pure prog, if you listen past the intro.
  • Tears For Fears - They started out with synths, but they had started adding creative instrumentation by their third album.
  • Chicago - Their later work shaded over into easy listening, but they were still pretty hard rocking in their early days.
  • Dave Matthews Band - Often dismissed as noodlely jam-band frat-rock, DMB has some gems buried among their deep tracks.

I know you specified "prog metal" in your question, but honestly, I'm not hearing a lot of metal in your referenced groups.

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  • "I'm not hearing a lot of metal in your referenced groups" that's why I'm looking for metal groups!
    – Aric
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 7:52
  • Oh, I totally misread your question then. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 13:15
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Look for "Coppelius", from Germany, quite unknown band and fits with your description! Wikipedia info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppelius You can also check Panzerballett, also from Germany: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerballett

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    This answer is a bit thin. Can you add links to some of their music or some more information about them?
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 2:52
  • added wikipedia link
    – czunino
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 0:05

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