Extol - Synergy
Century Media
Technical and Progressive Melodic Death
11 songs (42:36)
Release year: 2003
Century Media
Reviewed by Crims

Extol is a band that is constantly evolving their sound but are still keeping their style and ideas similar. So once again with the release of Synergy Extol have continued to evolve, as to be expected, and it’s mostly successful as the CD is full of musical prowess.

This time around Extol’s sound is a rather unique mixture of progressive sensibilities, technical rhythms and time changes, with a certain degree of Melodic Death and even Thrash. Synergy is a release that emotes many different feelings through the arrangements that include aggressive melodies, calming sections with clean vocals, and technical rhythms that have the potential to spin your head in circles. It’s a unique listen that really can’t be put on for back ground music or passed over after just one run through; to fully grasp the whole concept it’s a CD that must be listened to many times.

Extol never quite get to the speed they reached on Burial but there are definitely some Thrash influenced drum runs with technical Thrash riffs that sound vaguely familiar; perhaps being similar to something Anacrusis or Watchtower might have done. This is all kind of mixed with Melodic Death leads, which is something the band used to use a lot, and the aforementioned clean, calming sections. Vocalist Peter Espevoll has a really great clean voice that sounds like a mix between Mikael Akerfeldt and James Labrie. This provides for an excellent contrast to the typical, aggressive harsh vocals, since his clean style is so calming and sub-dued.

The main highlight on this CD is the musicianship. Everyone turns out an amazing performance and the rhythm section deserves honorable mention. There are a lot of off beat drum patterns that are complimented by equally atypical bass work that help add that technical flair to the proceedings. In a way these rhythms are both good and bad for Extol. On one hand they’re obviously going to appeal to technical Metal fans because it’s something different than standard double bass and snare, but on the other hand it hurts the catchiness of the music. This is not stuff that you’re going have stuck in head, and with the exception of perhaps Grace For Succession, no song really sticks out from the rest as being especially good. There is nothing here that makes you want to come back and keep listening to it. It’s one of those situations where you know the musicianship is amazing, the song writing is highly skilled and mature, and the band is pushing the boundaries of what they can do, however, it’s not memorable to the extent that I have a certain riff or vocal line in my head. As an example, Storms Of Disllusions, which is a track off of Extol’s EP Mesmerized is almost technical, slightly progressive but from the day I first listened to it (3 years ago) it’s a song I’ve always remembered because it’s catchy... it makes you want to come back for more. But to be fair, Extol probably weren’t looking to make a CD that was instantly catchy, but for me as a personal taste, a CD that has many songs that “play” in my head during class, at work, or while I’m driving is one that I am almost surely going to give a high score to.

Now, with all that being said this is still a CD that I highly recommend to technical Metal fans simply because the musicianship is so good and I know there will be those of you out there who will just eat this stuff up because it is really well done for what it is. Credit must be given to the band for evolving so seamlessly and pushing boundaries of what they can do with Metal music.

Killing Songs :
Grace For Succession, Paradigms, Thrash Synergy, Emancipation
Crims quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Extol that we have reviewed:
Extol - Extol reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Extol - The Blueprint Dives reviewed by Cody and quoted 50 / 100
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