Best European Progressive Rock Bands - My Top 250

By richardcostantino richardcostantino
updated about 1 month ago

It's unfortunate that the language barrier has prevented many great European bands from getting recognition in the English-speaking world. For me, the language barrier is unimportant, as long as the music is good, and the singers sing in tune. It does help a little that I speak Italian, which makes it far easier to appreciate the talents of Italian singer/songwriters.

Some European bands have tried to crack the US/UK market by singing in English, with mixed results. Usually the thick accent, and embarassingly awkward lyrics makes you wish they stuck to their own language (Eloy for example).

I have a particular obsession for German 'Krautrock', and Italian Progressive Rock, the Germans and Italians generally approach progressive rock from totally different perspectives. Krautrock tends to be minimalist, dispassionate, and metronomic (but very cool), whereas the Italian approach tends to be highly influenced by the Renaissance classical composers, focussing on strong melodies, and tight harmonies.

I'm not a fan of Jazz/Rock fusion, or Avant Garde, so you won't find many of those types of bands in my list. A few of the artists I have listed here did make music that fit those categories - like Area, Perigeo, Embryo, Achim Reichel, Can, and even early Tangerine Dream - but it's their more accessible rock-oriented albums that I enjoy.

Here are my top 250 Euro artists in the Progressive Rock genre

  1. Achim Reichel - A. R. IV

    70's Krautrock band. (AKA - AR & Machines)

  2. Aeroblus - Aeroblus

    4 For Sale from $389.69

    Argentinian blues/rock band featuring guitarist Pappo

  3. Agitation Free - معليش = Malesch

    German 'Krautrock' band.

  4. Alphataurus - Alphataurus

    Italian progressive rock

  5. Alquin - The Mountain Queen

    Dutch progressive rock band

  6. Alrune Rod - Hej Du

    Danish progressive rock band

  7. Amon Düül II - Yeti

    Krautrock band. This LP, Tanz Der Lemmings, Wolf City, and Made In Germany are essential

  8. Ange (4) - Au-Delà Du Délire

    One of the great French progressive rock bands.

  9. Anyone's Daughter - Adonis

    German hard rock band

  10. Aphrodite's Child - 666

    Greek psychedelic/progressive rock band that featured the awesome talents of Vangelis and Demis Roussos. This double album is their most progressive work - a concept album dealing with the biblical Armageddon, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

  11. Area (6) - Arbeit Macht Frei (Il Lavoro Rende Liberi)

    Italian progressive rock band featuring the amazing vocalist Demetrio Stratos (R.I.P.)

  12. Armaggedon - Armaggedon

    37 For Sale from $20.44

    Krautrock band

  13. Arti+Mestieri* - Giro Di Valzer Per Domani

    Italian progressive/jazz rock band

  14. Ash Ra Tempel - Join Inn

    Ambient/Krautrock band featuring guitarist Manuel Gottsching

  15. Asterix (6) - Asterix

    German hard rock band, featuring John Lawton (pre Lucifer's Friend, Uriah Heep)

  16. Atoll - L'Araignée-Mal

    French progressive rock band

  17. Ayreon - The Source

    Genius Dutch progressive metal artist Arjen Lucassen has recorded prolifically under his own name, as well as Ayreon, and side projects like Star One, Guilt Machine, Gentle Storm. All of his recordings are worth listening to.

  18. Baby Grandmothers - Baby Grandmothers

    Swedish progressive rock band

  19. Bacamarte - Depois Do Fim

    Brazilian progressive rock band

  20. Il Bacio Della Medusa - Il Bacio Della Medusa

    Italian progressive rock band

  21. Il Balletto Di Bronzo - Ys

    Italian progressive rock band

  22. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Come In Un'Ultima Cena

    Italian progressive rock band, featuring the operatic vocals of Francesco Di Giacomo (R.I.P.).

  23. Franco Battiato - Fetus

    15 For Sale from $34.09

    Italian progressive rock artist, who not only dabbled with Stockhausen style avant-garde electronic music, but is also one of Italy's premier pop composers.