You all likely know the story by now; Extol are an influential progressive metal band out of Norway that disbanded in 2007 and reformed to much praise in 2012 with the promise of a new studio album. We even interviewed frontman Peter Espevoll while the band were wrapping up work on their new album. Their comeback couldn’t have come at a better time! Extreme prog is more popular than ever, and their influence has grown even more obvious, with The Faceless‘ Authotheism pulling pretty heavily from the Extol playbook.
After the long wait for details and new music, the band have finally delivered. Extol announced this week that their new self-titled album will be out this summer, and have given us their first new song since 2005 with ‘Open the Gates.’ Listen after the jump.
Coming off the high of 2012′s great releases might make 2013 seem like it’ll pale in comparison, but consider all the potentially great albums we’ll be hearing this year. There are going to be surefire classic debuts from bands like Ovid’s Withering and Being, releases from mainstay metal titans like Soilwork, and even reunion albums from Carcass and Extol! Obviously those are just the names that immediately pop into my head and don’t even begin to probe the depths of this year’s fantastic lineup. So then how exactly do we begin to explore the vastness of what’s to come? Well, a little teamwork by all of us here at Heavy Blog of course! We’ve all taken a few bands to look at for 2013 and get you all pumped up about their releases. With that being said, I’ll shut up with this introduction now and get to why you’re really here.
Ghost – Infestissumam (Rise Above Records)
Their 2010 debut Opus Eponymous left me more interested in where the band was going rather than the record itself. Ghost take everything I love about classic heavy metal and horror flicks, and push it right up into the 2000′s. Not to mention they’ve managed to master the extremely fickle art of creating alternate personas for everyone in the band and a theatrical presence (both on and off the stage) without letting all of it get in the way of making excellent music. Spring 2013 brings on their next record Infestissumam, which from what we’ve all heard on it’s first single ‘Secular Haze,’ seems to be taking one step further into much more eerie place. Oh. and Nick Raskulinecz is producing the audible horror. You might know his handiwork from a lot of huge names, most recently being Deftones‘ Koi No Yokan. Join the cult of Ghost on Facebook, but be aware that by clicking the Like button you automatically forfeit your soul.
Ever since its humble beginnings, metal has demonstrated a blatant line between music and religion. Whether a band was singing about the devil, using an inverted cross of bones as a microphone stand, “sacrificing” women on stage, or even burning down the faithful’s houses of worship in the forests of Norway, there’s fair reason metal is looked down upon. At least that’s how it used to be. Fast-forward to present day and you’ll see the view on metal has gone from being the Devil’s spawn to viewed simply as noise. Why? Because bands have become popular that share religious values. From the old school Extol to upcoming crop of Betraying the Martyrs, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, and Impending Doom, the list is filled with many bands that make metal for a living but sing about their religion and that openly identify with their beliefs. More and more pop up every day, and you’ll even see entire tours filled with religious-affiliated bands; even Christian music festivals like Icthus and Cornerstone dedicate much of their lineup to heavier groups with a positive spiritual message. More often than not though, these bands will sometimes share stages with ones that are either openly non-religious or that don’t think religion is positive in any way. So why do we like bands such as these that have values that metal was really designed to go against?
For one, religious metal music is really for a specific, automatic, built-in audience. For someone raised in a conservative, religious household, metal music may not be what the parents find the “ideal” music for their child to listen to. However, if you say “Oh, they’re singing about God and Jesus, and here are their lyrics to prove it”, parents would let their children listen to it and the kids could still feel they get to experience metal like we do because it is religious. Ever read the lyrics to a 7 Horns 7 Eyes song? They go something along the lines of this: “To what end will our foolish ways lead? Shall we be consumed by your Holy wrath and reap our deserved fate? O my God, come down in power engulf this man in cleansing winds of Your unceasing mercy. Let adoration rise within me; liberate Your creation.” Those lyrics were taken from their song ‘Divine Amnesty’ from their debut album Throes Of Absolution, and it’s pretty black and white that these lyrics are about God. It doesn’t sound like on the surface, though, which is why kids love it; their parents let them listen, but it’s still heavy metal.
Formed in 1993, Norwegian Christian Progressive Death Metal band Extol rose through the ranks of the metal world, touring with the likes of Mastodon and Opeth and releasing a celebrated four-album discography before disbanding in 2007 without much word on the matter. The band’s influence can now be seen in many modern extreme prog bands, namely The Faceless.
This year though, rumors of a reunion were sparked with the tease of a new documentary focusing on the band titled Extol Film. As it turns out, the rumors were true; three of the core Extol members have reunited to work on a new studio album due out in 2013. In our excitement, we reached out to Extol frontman Peter Espevoll to get his word on the reunion, the documentary he’s co-producing, and the new album.
For those who may not be familiar, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Peter Espevoll, husband and father. I’m the vocalist in Extol, I work with an aid organization and currently also co-producing the documentary about Extol.
As a band, you’ve all been very open about your Christian beliefs. I was reading an interview from 2004 where Christer stated the music isn’t really “Christian” or “non-Christian.” People can be pretty closed-minded about that kind of thing, though. Has your faith ever made you or your music a target of discrimination or animosity within the genre?
Over the years we’ve had some experiences with those kind of things, yes. People that wouldn’t even want to give our albums a listen, or press that wouldn’t write about us, threats from people in the black metal scene and even some Christians have opposed us and what we do.. But this is not the majority. In general we’ve had great response to our music and many have also appreciated lyrics that talk about different themes than most metal bands have.
“Extol – a documentary”, is a semibiographical documentary and portrait of the Norwegian christian death metal band Extol. They started their journey back in 1993 and established themself as a highly acclaimed death metal act. In 2007, after 6 studio-releases, Norwegian Grammy award nomination, world wide touring with bands such as Mastodon and Opeth, and recognition with both press and colleagues, the band went off the radar without any further explanation.
It’ll be really interesting to hear from the band about why they dropped off the face of the Earth and why it took until 2011 for them to reconvene and talk about it. As if that’s not enough to get excited about:
More than 5 years later, Extol gets back to it’s original form, producing new material – to a global audience with high expectations. But life looks truly different for the original line-up. The vocalist Peter Espevoll is married and lives in a small town called Svelvik with his wife and two sons. Ole Børud is also married, has several solo projects and is a popular musician for hire. David Husvik is living in the capitol of Norway and is a sought after drummer for several other bands, devoting most of his time on his true passions in life; music and drums. The challenges are lining up for the group that is determined to make “the best death metal album in ages!”
Hey! Remember when I called this six weeks ago? Of course I wrote this post to get everyone to donate to the upcoming Extol Film project and to get excited about the new Extol album, but there’s definitely a small part of me that had to point out that my wild speculation was 95% true (I put too many people in the band. Sue me). Anyway, ”The best death metal album in ages” certainly sounds like Extol are putting on their individual ambition caps and headed off to their jobs at Kickass Inc. It’ll be interesting to hear their interpretation of what death metal is, since the band is prone to changing their sound from album to album. Whatever they decide on, I’m sure it’ll be astounding. Now comes the real question; when are they coming to America and who the hell are they going to tour with? Go like Extol on Facebook, follow ‘em on Twitter, check out the Film’s site, and donate donate donate!
People theorize Jim Morrison is still alive, while others strive to prove Paul McCartney died. Some people stay closer to believability and posit ideas about tours or upcoming albums. There’s always some wild speculation going around to some degree, and I’m presently guilty of it.
I think progressive metal legends Extol are coming back.
Extol have posted three trailers for “Extol Film” since the beginning of May. Each trailer is more revealing than the last, with the third (above) ending showing something peculiar. It briefly shows who appear to be Peter Espevoll (vocals), Ole Børud (guitar) and David Husvik (drums) in the studio preparing to track. The footage aroused the interest of a few YouTube commentors, but nothing more.
The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Extol – Undeceived
Around the same time I was getting into Zao, another band from Solid State Records (at that time) that caught my attention was Norwegian progressive/melodic death metal band Extol. It happened to be their debut full-length album, Burial that I started listening to, and I found myself digging it immensely, but it wasn’t until two years later when they released their second album, Undeceived, that Extol completely blew me away.