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.
Extol’s earlier work was released through Solid State Records, and in my opinion, was their best material before being signed to Century Media, and Undeceived is proof of that. This being their last album on Solid State Records, Extol have taken it up a notch and released one of the best melodic/technical death metal releases to date. Although being a Christian metal band, they received positive feedback from both Christian and secular publications as well fans of heavy music. And it’s no surprise as these guys were amazing musicians who combined many genres of metal making their sound very unique yet pleasing to the ear.
Undecieved just barrages the listener right from the start by unleashing ballistic guitar riffs and pummeling drums and bass. But the standout of this album is the blending of harsh (Peter Espevoll) and clean (Ole Borud) vocals, in which the clean vocals heighten the emotion with its powerful delivery and when contrasting alongside Peter’s ominous screaming, it puts the listener on a journey with plenty of twisting paths. The overall tone of the album is mournful, but the use of clean vocals and string sections offer moments of serenity that are relaxing and calm, a breather of sorts before quickly thrusting you back into dark and ominous territory.
Besides the vocals, another upside to this album is the fact that all instruments are recognized and everything is easy to hear. From bass guitar to harsh vocals, nothing is missed or set behind anything else. The songwriting is beautiful and heavy all at once, reminiscent of something like Opeth or Antestor. And don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to hear Extol preaching, as the lyrical concepts are both intelligent and spiritual, delving on ideas of struggle, sadness and defeat.
Undeceived is perfect for fans of melo-death who also enjoy progressive and orchestral nuances thrown into the mix. Overall, it’s my favorite Extol album and the one I would recommend to anyone who has yet to hear of them, which is why I’m writing about them now, in hopes that someone decides to give the album a chance. Hey, who knows, you might find yourself enjoying it as much as I do.
Extol – “Undeceived”