Extol: Synergy-2003.

Extol:Technical Death Metal from Norway.


Northern LightsSplit1996 
Turn or Burn !?!Split1998 
And I Watch / Human Frailties GraveSingle2000 
Come ArmageddonSplit2003 
The Blueprint DivesFull-length2005
Of Light and ShadeVideo2015 


David HusvikDrums (1994-2007, 2012-2015)
See also: AzusaFloodTwisted into Form, ex-Absurd², Aperture, InSection, ex-The Crest, ex-Doctor Midnight & the Mercy Cult, ex-Ganglion, ex-Mantric
Ole BørudGuitars, Vocals, Flute (1996-1999, 2012-2015), Guitars, Vocals (clean) (2003-2004)
See also: Fleshkiller, ex-Schaliach, Ole Børud, ex-Antestor, ex-Børud-Gjengen

Past Members:

Eystein HolmBass (1994-1999)
See also: She Said Destroy
Christer EspevollGuitars (1994-2004)
See also: Azusa, ex-Absurd², ex-Benea Reach
Peter EspevollVocals (lead) (1994-2007, 2012-2015)
Emil NikolaisenGuitars (1995-1996)
See also: Serena-Maneesh, ex-Royal, ex-Selfmindead, ex-Silver, ex-The Loch Ness Mouse
Tor Magne GlidjeBass (1999-2001), Guitars (2004-2007)
See also: ex-Lengsel, Mantric, ex-Ganglion
John Robert MjålandBass (2001-2007)
See also: ex-Lengsel, Mantric, ex-Ganglion
Ole Halvard SveenGuitars, Vocals (2004-2007)
See also: ex-Lengsel, Bolivar, Mantric, Tims Familytree, ex-Ganglion

One thought on “Extol: Synergy-2003.

  1. bayern, April 14th, 2017

    I heard about Extol some time in the mid-00’s as there was quite a bit of hustle’n bustle around them for being trve purveyors of the technical and the progressive. I naturally tracked down their most recent album, “The Blueprint Dives”, and in all honesty I was fucking shocked; I couldn’t believe people were salivating over a band who could come up with this alternative/progressive metallic rock charade. There had to be some mistake here…

    Well, there wasn’t any; the next effort I got a hold of was the debut “Burial” which sounded like an entirely different act. The guys had done a very good job with this interesting blend of technical/progressive death in the vein of early Darkthrone and the Dutch Phlebotomized, and elusive black metal atmospherics along the lines of their compatriots Fester (“Silence”, above all). Then I listened to “Undeceived” which saw the band logically elaborating on the technical death metal idea producing a masterpiece of complex, spastic rifforamas. In other words, the band had by all means deserved the extolments thrown their way based on their previous catalogue.

    The album reviewed here was the last recording I found. This work could be considered the first actual “deceiver” in the band’s discography as it was a change of style from the previous two into a more melodic thrash direction. Fans of those early showings may have been pulled back by this new trajectory, but it shouldn’t take long for one to get warmed up to it as this is one of the undisputable peaks in the annals of progressive/technical thrash, a milestone in the genre which also brought thrash back on Norwegian soil (with a little help from Scariot as well) after the legends Equinox’s “demise” in the mid-90’s.

    Legends says it that the Extol team were very big fans of Believer, the progressive thrash metal masters, also hailing from a similar Christian lyrical background, and had decided that they could at least match the Americans’ magnum opus “Sanity Obscure”. They were warming up on the first two instalments, perfecting their “weapons”, also giving way to their dark/black/death side until the latter was fully satisfied. They felt ready for this challenge at the dawn of the new millennium, and announced their intentions with the 4-track “Paralysis” EP which also contained the Believer cover of “Shadow of Death” from the Americans’ debut “Extraction from Mortality”. They wouldn’t dare touch the “obscure titan” yet, but the execution was already on a fairly intricate level with death metal still “roaming” around “duelling” with the dazzling blitzkrieg thrashisms.

    The moment “Grace for Succession” begins with these absolutely stunning acrobatic guitars extricated directly from Deathrow’s “Deception Ignored” and Coroner’s “Mental Vortex”, the listener knows the band have reached “Sanity Obscure”, and later he/she will find out that they have also surpassed it, at least on a musical level. In the vocal department the audience will experience a constant shift between harsh deathy, screechy blacky, and soulful clean tirades which omnipresent alternation at least favours the mellower progressive insertions ala Opeth. Less spastic, more mechanical thrash awaits the fan on “Paradigm” which even introduces a fourth “ace” in the singing cavalcade, a beautiful female croon. “Psychopath” is indeed a “psychopathic” shredder with its jumpy volatile rhythms and the surreal quiet breaks; more amazing technicality is served later among short impressive lead sections and more nods to Opeth. “Blood Red Cover” is a relatively pensive progressiver with dreamy lead-driven strokes ala later-period Fates Warning, and probably the first and only at this stage forerunner to the metamorphoses witnessed on “The Blueprint Dives”.

    “26 Miles from Marathon” arranges blistering overlapping riffs on top of each other the pile becoming faster and faster with time until it “collides” with a puzzling “salad” akin to Atheist’s “Unquestionable Presence” in the middle; it eventually recovers from the “collision” to carry on with the technical shredfest in the second half amidst more spacey throw-ins. “Confession of Inadequacy” is a vigorous progressive thrasher with a constantly shifting rhythm-section the sudden balladic stopovers a slightly debatable asset although once they’re done the guys continue the elaborate melee on full-throttle “scraping the surface” of “Scraping the Surface”, a dramatic stomper which is propelled forward by nearly death metal-ish swagger and several more stylish decisions some of them bordering on Arcturus-like pathos. The diversity encountered is put back into the thrashy moulds with the excellent “Thrash Synergy” which title already suggests at the musical palette which is a stupendous technical array of fast soaring guitars this cut a worthy candidate for “Sanity Obscure” with some of the finest alternations between speedy technical and slower, psychedelic digressions on the scene. “Aperture” is just 3-min of lyrical melancholic acoustics, but “Emancipation” would be a rude awakening with its aggressive hectic riffage the sudden balladic switches again a somewhat acquired taste their questionable presence compensated by more virtuous guitar acrobatics later. “Nihilism 2002” death/thrashes with all the technical audacity it can summon binding this recording with the previous ones thanks to its more aggressive nature the latter dissipated by the exiting portion of warmer progressive psychedelia.

    It can be argued whether this opus was the setting on which the succeeding album was constructed, like some fans out there think; it was by all means a mellower transition, but except on a very few isolated moments there were no indications whatsoever of any potential rock-oriented feats. The band never sounded the same on either of their first four albums, and it they were looking to achieve that intentionally, then a move towards a purer progressive metal sound shouldn’t have been such a surprise; but wouldn’t it have been better if they had chosen the progressive power/speed metal arena for this purpose instead, something along the lines of Control Denied? Or Cauldron Born? Or Spirit Web?

    I say enough with the speculations, especially after the self-titled opus is now a part of our tangible reality. If this part of the fandom who were wondering what could have happened if the band had preserved their more dynamic thrashy histrionics by at the same time expanding their more laid-back progressive tapestries, the latter album provided the answer with the utmost details. It can safely be labelled as progressive thrash, not so much overt technicality anymore, by also carrying this elusive psychedelic aura which makes it sound like a more brutal version of Rush at times. It could have been released before “the Blueprints”, but then it would have left the latter hanging awkwardly in the guys’ discography as a not very dignified swansong… Anyway, there’s definitely more room to be covered based on this attractive mixture although with a visionary, non-conventional outfit like Extol one can never be sure how they may decide to deceive the audience, and what musical rule they may choose to bend the next time around.


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