Categorizing "Prog" isn't always as simple as just saying "Prog Rock" or "Progressive Rock." That is the overarching category, akin to broad genres like "Country," "Jazz," etc. But within the realm of progressive music, there exists a rich tapestry of sub-genres, each with its own unique characteristics and historical context. Below, you'll find how we classify all the artists and bands we play here on Prog Radio.
To keep our programming interesting and engaging for our listeners, we play music from ALL of the below sub-genres. However, we always lean towards the "melodic and accessible" side of things. Our playlist is diverse, yet we play some sub-genres much more frequently than others, and some categories only occasionally. The more stars shown by the sub-genre, the more often we play that sub-genre.
This approach allows us to offer a wide range of progressive music while ensuring that our listeners can enjoy the most accessible and melodically rich selections from the world of prog.
Sub-Genres Sorted by
Most Played (★★★★★)
to the Least Played (★)
★★★★★ Classic Prog
★★★★★ Symphonic Prog
★★★★★ Crossover Prog
★★★★ RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano)
★★★★ Progressive Pop
★★★ Canterbury Scene
★★★ Jazz/Jazz-Rock Fusion
★★★ Heavy Prog
★★ Prog Adjacent
★★ Art Music
★★ Progressive Electronic
★★ Ambient Prog
★★ Psychedelic/Space Rock
★★ Progressive Folk
★★ Progressive Metal
★★ Indo-Prog/Raga Rock/World Prog
★ Eclectic Prog
★ Experimental/Post Metal
★ Post Rock/Math Rock
★ Progressive Country
★ Tech/Extreme Prog Metal
★ RIO (Rock in Opposition)/Avant-Prog
Ambient Prog ★★
Ambient Prog combines the ethereal textures of ambient music with the structural complexity of progressive rock, creating immersive soundscapes that invite deep listening. Bands like Brian Eno (in his more structured compositions) and Robert Fripp (with his ambient soundscape projects) exemplify this genre.
Art Music ★★
Art Music in the progressive context explores avant-garde and experimental approaches, pushing the boundaries of rock with innovative compositions and performance techniques. It often overlaps with classical music territories, with artists like Frank Zappa, King Crimson, and 10cc venturing into this space.
Canterbury Scene ★★★
Originating from Canterbury, England, this sub-genre is known for its witty, whimsical lyrics, and complex jazz-influenced musical arrangements. Caravan, Soft Machine, and Hatfield and the North are notable bands from this scene.
Classic Prog ★★★★★
Classic Prog refers to the pioneering bands of the 1970s that established the progressive rock genre, characterized by elaborate compositions, complex time signatures, and thematic albums. Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson are quintessential examples.
Crossover Prog ★★★★★
Crossover Prog blends the intricate structures and musical proficiency of prog with the accessibility and melodic sensibilities of mainstream rock or pop music. Bands like Supertramp, The Alan Parsons Project, Electric Light Orchestra, and later works of Marillion fit into this category.
Eclectic Prog ★
Eclectic Prog bands draw from a wide range of musical styles, incorporating diverse influences into their progressive rock foundation. King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator are known for their eclectic approach, defying easy categorization.
Experimental/Post Metal ★
This genre combines the heaviness of metal with experimental approaches to song structure, timing, and atmosphere, often resulting in dense, atmospheric compositions. Bands like Tool and Neurosis push the boundaries of metal and prog.
Heavy Prog ★★★
Heavy Prog merges the complexity of prog with the heavier sound of hard rock, maintaining strong melodic lines and technical prowess. Rush and Deep Purple offer examples of bands that straddle the line between hard rock and progressive complexity.
Indo-Prog/Raga Rock/World Prog ★★
Fusing the traditional music styles from India and other non-Western cultures with progressive rock elements, this genre offers a global perspective on prog. Bands like Shakti (with John McLaughlin) embody the fusion of Indian music and progressive rock sensibilities.
Jazz/Jazz-Rock Fusion ★★★
This category encompasses bands that blend the improvisational nature of jazz with the structure and electric instrumentation of rock. Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra are prime examples of the fusion between jazz virtuosity and rock energy.
Krautrock focuses on experimental rock that emerged from Germany in the late 1960s, characterized by minimalist, electronic, and avant-garde influences. Can and Kraftwerk are key figures in this movement.
Neo-Prog revives the artistry of 70s prog rock with a modern twist, emphasizing melody and atmosphere over technical virtuosity. Marillion and IQ are leading bands within this sub-genre, known for their emotive compositions.
Post Rock/Math Rock ★
Post Rock and Math Rock bands emphasize texture and dynamics, often eschewing traditional song structures for intricate instrumentals and odd time signatures. Bands like Sigur Rós (Post Rock) and Battles (Math Rock) showcase the expansive and technical aspects of these genres.
Prog Adjacent ★★
Prog Adjacent refers to artists and bands not primarily classified as progressive rock but incorporate progressive elements or compositions into their music. Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and Tori Amos are examples where prog sensibilities surface in select works.
Progressive Country ★
Blending the storytelling and acoustic elements of country music with progressive rock's complexity, Progressive Country offers a unique take on traditional themes. The Eagles and The Dixie Dregs (in their more country-influenced pieces) demonstrate how these genres can intersect.
Progressive Electronic ★★
Progressive Electronic explores the synthesis of electronic music with progressive rock's ambitious structures and themes. Tangerine Dream, Mike Oldfield, and Jean-Michel Jarre are pioneers in crafting expansive electronic soundscapes with a progressive edge.
Progressive Folk ★★
Merging traditional folk music with the adventurous spirit of prog, Progressive Folk bands incorporate acoustic instruments, complex compositions, and often, lyrical storytelling. Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention are notable for blending folk elements with progressive rock.
Progressive Metal ★★
Progressive Metal combines the aggressive power of metal with the complex structures and musicianship of progressive rock. Dream Theater and Opeth are emblematic of the genre, known for their technical prowess and intricate compositions.
Progressive Pop ★★★★
Progressive Pop takes the catchy hooks and structures of pop music and infuses them with the complexity and experimental nature of progressive rock. Artists like Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush have successfully navigated this blend.
Proto-Prog bands laid the groundwork for the progressive rock movement with their innovative approaches to rock music in the late 1960s. The Moody Blues and Procol Harum are considered pioneers, preceding the full flowering of the prog era.
Psychedelic/Space Rock ★★
Psychedelic and Space Rock focus on creating immersive, otherworldly soundscapes, often incorporating electronic effects and themes of space and science fiction. Early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind are key contributors to this cosmic journey.
RIO (Rock in Opposition)/Avant-Prog ★
Rock in Opposition and Avant-Prog are characterized by their experimental, often atonal and challenging musical landscapes, pushing against commercial and conventional music norms. Henry Cow and Univers Zero represent this defiant and avant-garde approach.
Rock/Fusion merges the energy and simplicity of rock with the complexity and improvisational elements of jazz fusion, creating a vibrant and technically engaging sound. Jeff Beck’s work in the 1970s exemplifies this fusion of genres.
RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) ★★★★
Rock Progressivo Italiano is Italy’s distinctive contribution to the prog genre, known for its dramatic, often operatic style, combining rock, classical, and folk influences. PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) and Banco del Mutuo Soccorso are celebrated examples.
Symphonic Prog ★★★★★
Symphonic Prog is characterized by its orchestral arrangements, sweeping compositions, and integration of classical music elements into rock. Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer are renowned for their symphonic soundscapes that define the genre.
Tech/Extreme Prog Metal ★
Tech/Extreme Prog Metal takes the complexity of progressive metal and infuses it with technical virtuosity and extreme metal elements, pushing the boundaries of heaviness and technicality. Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me are at the forefront of this intense and intricate style.
Zeuhl combines elements of rock, jazz, and avant-garde, characterized by its dramatic, repetitive rhythms and choral elements, often singing in constructed languages. Magma, the genre's progenitor, epitomizes this unique and compelling style.