Extol, the Norwegian progressive metal band, released their, self titled, fifth album last month via Indie Recordings. The first thing that springs to mind when you mention Norwegian metal is – black metal – which Extol aren’t! They came into being in 1993, right when black metal was becoming popular in Norway, but being firmly Christian in their beliefs they eschewed that scene and set off on their own path which led to touring and the release of their first album, Burial, in 1998.
So now it’s 2013 and Extol’s path has continued to seem them add variety and creativity to their musical style. Extol is an album that does not set up camp in one particular genre such as death or thrash, though there are certainly elements of those in the mix. In taking a continuingly progressive approach the band opted to produce Extol entirely by the band themselves without the aide of a guiding producer as on previous albums.
Extol deliver 10 refined, well crafted and technically aggressive metal songs that, while they may not be immediate, will benefit from repeated listens and are miles ahead of what other metal bands are churning out these days. Some of the highlights on Extol are, the non traditional metal approach and structures of “Wastelands”; the inventive and varied guitar work of “Ministers”; and the prog-metal of album closer “Unveiling the Obscure”.
Extol the album is a grower not a shower; and Extol the band have built upon their sound while differentiating themselves from other metal bands of this ilk with a slightly warmer tone and increasingly progressive, think 70’s prog, elements to songs, which reminds me slightly of the approach Opeth, use to good effect. Of course Extol have been at this for a long time now, close to 20 years, and their hiatus seems to have done them some good as Extol sounds vibrant, energetic and creative. 7.1/10.