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EXTOL

Extol

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Extol" is the self-titled 5th full-length studio album by Norwegian based progressive extreme metal act Extol. The album was released through Indie Recordings in June 2013. Extol were formed as far back as 1993 but has been on a longer hiatus as this is their first album release since "The Blueprint Dives (2005)". They reformed in 2012 as a trio consisting of Ole B'rud (Guitars, Bass, Vocals (backing)), Peter Espevoll (Vocals) and David Husvik (Drums). The former mentioned makes a return to the fold after he left in 2004.

The music on the album is predominantly mid-paced progressive extreme metal with what I would characterize as atmospheric alternative rock/metal sections featuring clean singing. The latter reminds me slightly of Porcupine Tree or something in that vein. The vocals are predominantly raspy sneering type vocals though. Somewhere between black metal styled vocals and aggressive death/thrash type vocals. References to acts like Death, Meshuggah, mid nineties Invocator, Enslaved, Cynic and Believer (both because of the music style but also because of their shared Christian beliefs and lyrical themes) come to mind, but Extol are actually quite a unique sounding act.

One of the things you notice right off the bat when listening to "Extol" is the high level musicianship. These three guys are very well playing. The raspy extreme metal vocals are not as varied as I could have wished, but the cleans are both well sounding and well arranged with harmonies. The sound production is on the heavy side. It's clear, powerful and professional sounding, but it's like no matter what pace the tracks are played in, the sound production makes them sound heavy and mid-paced. So even though there are actually a couple of faster paced sections on the album, my overall impression of the album is that it is very heavy sounding. There's an almost futuristic sounding atmosphere about the album that's hard to describe on paper, but it's obvious that Extol are influenced by a lot of different artists and genres and they make those influences work in their favour. Death, thrash, black and progressive/alternative rock metal elements are all heard throughout the album.

This self-titled comeback album is a high quality release on all parameters. Great sound production, intriguing songwriting and flawless musical performances all around and a 4 star (80%) rating is a matter of course.

Report this review (#1188348)
Posted Sunday, June 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Extol's sound is exceptionally well honed. But what's new? After so many years crafting it, Extol have proven themselves to be innovative noise makers of the highest calibre. And after an 8 year hiatus, I'm glad to say that that has not changed. With 'Extol', the band, now pared down to a three piece comprising Peter Espevoll (vocals), Ole Borud (guitars, bass, 'clean' vocals and mellotron) and David Husvik (drums and vocals), have most certainly produced an album that will stand the test of time. As with all great experimental albums, with each spin of the disc, the listener is introduced to new sonic subtleties. Take, for example, the mesmerizing title track, where bone crushing riffs are found co-existing with strains of cello (courtesy of Martin Rosenhoff), or 'Unveiling the Obscure', complete with tightly delivered three-part vocal harmonies for the chorus. Whilst not compromising in terms of the level of intensity of the music (think 'Burial' and 'Undeceived'), the band's sound is wonderfully intricate, melodic and atmospheric. This is an absolutely stunning set of songs from an exceptionally talented band.
Report this review (#1258367)
Posted Sunday, August 24, 2014 | Review Permalink

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