My Prog Categorisation

back to blog | back to index

last edited: 26 july, 2023

I am currently trying to rank every Prog Rock album that comes out in 2023 and I plan on doing the same for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 when I have the chance. You may be wondering how I'm going about doing this without going insane, this blog post will explain my process, as well as exactly what my categories mean on my Prog lists.

Disclaimer: You don't have to listen to me

I'm just one dude who is doing this because he wants to. I am not in any way an expert on Progressive Rock or any genre for that matter. My lists are not special, they are a reflection of how I personally feel about each album I listen to

If you're wondering exactly why I'm doing this, it's mostly to see what modern musicians and bands are doing with the genre instead of just re-listening to stuff from the '70s.

What classifies as "Progressive Rock" anyway?

It turns out the answer to this question is actually a lot harder than it seems, music genres in general are quite difficult to define since they evolve over time and Progressive Rock is one of the biggest examples of that. For the purposes of my lists however, I classify music as "Progressive Rock" if the artist/band calls their album "Progressive Rock".

Since I listen to most of the music through Bandcamp, I first look at the tags to see what the artist/band tags their album as. If the artist/band uses any of the following tags:

Then I review the album.

If the album is NOT on Bandcamp, then I will find the artist/band's website and social media pages to see if they refer to themselves a Progressive Rock artist/band or the album as one of the terms mentioned above. If they do not mention it or call their album a different genre altogether I do not review it.

How do I rank albums?

I get all of the albums I listen to from the r/progmetal lists and NewProgReleases blog.

My first approach to this whole thing was to rank albums numerically from best to worst. However this had a massive flaw to it, that being I would need to listen to albums over and over again in order to compare them to one another and determine where they all stood numerically. This is a fine approach if you have maybe 30 albums or less, but I have hundreds of albums I need to listen to! Once I got to around 50 albums it became a very slow process.

My new approach is rather than ranking albums numerically, instead I'm now putting every album into categories, this means I no longer have to re-listen to the same albums over and over again and can just focus on where the album I'm reviewing belongs.

What are the categories?

I currently have 8 categories or 'tiers' that I'm organising albums into...


This is the best category, albums that go into here are a constant joy to listen to, have almost no dull moments and/or have a lot of very exciting music on display.


This category is for decent albums, these albums are quite strong but perhaps have a few moments that don't grab me as much. However they're absolutely worth listening to.

Thumbs Up

This is for above-average albums. Maybe the songs are solid overall but don't stand out to me. Perhaps there's one very good track but then the rest never get close to that peak. In general this tier is just for albums that are good and warrant either a metaphorical or literal thumbs up from me.

Not My Thing

This is just for albums that I can understand are good, but didn't move me particularly because they're not the sort of music I would choose to listen to. I don't consider an album bad if it ends up here, I literally just consider it as Not My Thing.


I don't necessarily mean weird in the literal sense, rather this category is just for albums that left me feeling unsure of what I've heard even after multiple listens. This is neither a good or bad thing.


This is for albums that don't do anything particularly wrong, but also didn't grip me that much. An unremarkable album can still be fine, but it's also not particularly noteworthy either. Generally speaking, unremarkable albums will leave me with little to no feelings whatsoever.


This is the bad category. Albums that I do not like end up here. There can still be certain moments from these albums that are good or interesting, but as a whole I dislike them.


In my mind, any form of art being boring is the most offensive thing it can be. Albums that end up here are ones that I consider to be completely devoid of substance or interest, have nothing noteworthy about them, are complete slogs to get through and in general never pique my interest in any way, shape or form.

All of that being said, if you are someone who is just looking to listen to something new, don't let my categorisations put you off. Just because I consider an album 'Subpar' that doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. I'm not an authority, as mentioned before I'm just one dude doing this for fun.

How long to I plan to do this?

In an ideal world I would do this for the entire decade, but considering I started 3 years late that's probably not going to happen. So really it's until I get bored of doing it.

Notes and Possible Biases

Hope this was helpful in understanding how I rank these albums. I may refine this over time if my process changes or if I notice any other biases I have when ranking albums.

back to blog | back to index