Above: Some of the bands and musicians that were featured in articles and reviews in Progression magazine.
Progression is the longest-running publication devoted exclusively to progressive music. We began publishing in 1992, chronicling the overlapping worlds of progressive rock and myriad related genres/subgenres. Each issue contains in-depth features by the field’s top writers, outstanding original photography and approximately 150 reviews of the season’s key album releases and reissues, books, DVDs and live events. .
The world of progressive music is vast. And we cover it all, from the early pioneers to today's cutting-edge musicians. Our coverage scope includes:
The qualities that make Progression uniquely special
Originality is key to any creative endeavor. In the field of music journalism, Progression is an original voice of authority—the world’s first print publication devoted exclusively to progressive music in all its varied forms. That is why discriminating aficionados consider Progression the most reliable read anywhere. Period.
Of course, ephemeral hobbyist websites and lesser magazines have continued to come and go since Progression defined the scene more than 23 years ago. Among them are pretenders giving frothy reportage to a venerable art form by pushing glitz, gossip and advertorials masquerading as journalism. By contrast, Progression’s steadfast dedication to journalistic integrity remains Job One: professional reporting/writing intelligently crafted to inform, enlighten and entertain. Here, veracity is paramount, thoroughness is assumed, self-serving sensationalism is left to others.
If the personal lavatory habits of your favorite star keyboardist and what band took which drugs in 1971 matter to you, read the pretenders. But if you wish to know, for example, how Chris Squire’s death altered Yes’s compositional process or what new avant-garde subgenre has caught fire with America’s college crowd—friend, you’ve come to the right place!
Progression isn’t just about “prog rock,” although we cover it extensively. That includes in-depth articles, reviews and interviews involving the ‘70s golden-era masters, ‘80s neo-progressive revivalists, ‘90s third-wave pacesetters and leading contemporary acts around the globe. Progression also embraces the boundary pushers and trailblazers who defy categorization. We cover progressive music, rock and otherwise, including important stylistic hybrids our supposed competitors don’t understand and won’t touch.
Progression is owned and managed in the U.S. by Publisher/Editor John Collinge, an award-winning former investigative newspaper reporter and features writer. He launched the publication in June 1992 as a bi-monthly 14-page newsletter while employed at a regional daily in eastern Massachusetts. Two editions were published in the digest magazine format before Progression premiered as a full-size, newsstand-worthy magazine in 1995.
At that point, Collinge left newspaper work behind and plunged headfirst into self-employment as “full-service publisher,” managing editorial content (editing all while doing much of the writing), along with circulation, advertising and promotion. In the years that followed Progression’s fiercely independent voice became a vital source of exposure for independent musicians struggling to be heard outside the mainstream.
With input from its mostly volunteer group of savvy staff writers, Progression honed a unique editorial philosophy that—like the music it caters to—is perpetually progressing. Expect to see plenty of unfamiliar names within our pages because, well, that’s the point! Collinge understood early on that progressive music’s roots in the pioneering works of ‘70s icons Yes, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Kansas, etc. were a guidepost to exciting new discoveries, not the endgame.
So, what qualifies as “progressive” in Progression’s realm of coverage? Simply put, we know it when we hear it—an ultimate rule of thumb not as trite as it seems given our nearly quarter-century of frontline experience. Beyond that, the standard progressive litmus test for any worthy artist usually confirms at least two of the following: genre cross-referencing (jazz-rock, folk-metal, etc.), expanded/multi-layered arrangements, virtuosic musicianship, unconventional instrumentation, complex meter shifts, conceptual themes, social/political/spiritual commentary, theatricality, avant-garde experimentalism, sci-fi/fantasy motifs (including visual enhancements), unusual song structures, nuanced atmospherics, and perhaps above all: outside-the-box thinking.
Progression puts it all at your fingertips via in-depth articles, interviews, commentary, news and reviews filling every issue. The magazine’s track record is unprecedented, comprising a richly comprehensive account of progressive music history from 1992-on. Thousands of album reviews alone spanning more than two decades represent a definitive consumer guide to high-quality music that has endured the test of time.
Alongside pithy assessments of the latest releases by well-known progressive artists are reviews of works by independent, grassroots-level up-and-comers you won’t want to miss. Keep in mind that Progression takes reviewing very seriously. We bring elusive objectivity to an inherently subjective process, in which expertly informed perspectives supersede the writer’s personal tastes or biases. Most of our reviewers themselves are musicians who intuitively understand music making at all levels.
As Progression is published in the U.S. you can expect thorough attention to the American progressive music scene including major domestic festivals, other live events and profiles of homegrown artists. But our reach extends far beyond national bounds into farflung hotbeds of activity—Britain, Europe, South America, Japan, Australia, etc. With loyal subscribers in 29 countries, Progression boasts proven international appeal.
So, welcome to Progression Magazine, the world’s foremost expositor of creatively adventurous music where cerebral appeal augments visceral gratification, the mainstream is marginalized, and excellence rules.