Extol - _Undecieved_
(Endtime / SolidState, 2000)
by: Alex Cantwell (8 out of 10)
After repeated listens to _Undecieved_, Extol's second full-length offering, I still cannot pinpoint the exact emotion I have about it. You see, Extol is my favorite band, and therefore they cannot escape being judged more carefully than most music that comes my way. Allow me to comment upon the music first and foremost. On one hand, I am excited that they have achieved such a level of technical brilliance as foreshadowed on their previous EP _Mesmerized_ [CoC #42], and as made evident on _Undecieved_, but the songs on this album are not very -easy- to listen to, because they require concentration from the listener just to follow along with them. The album is full of mad scales and melodies, but most are dark and depressive, as are many of the main riffs, especially the conclusion of the title track and the whole of "Shelter". On the other hand, all of the technical playing takes quite a bit away from the black metal aspect of the band, which managed to shine through brilliantly despite all of the scales and melodies present on their previous full-length _Burial_ [CoC #34], but more importantly makes it sound less Norwegian, and that is just not a good thing. However, power is one thing certainly not lacking, as drummer Pete Sandoval, er, I mean David Husvik hammers away with reckless precision, and the first three tracks are among the most powerful songs the band has written. Extol have never been either black nor death, but have always combined the two with great success. I propose that in years to come, _Undecieved_ will be looked upon as their "death metal album". With twelve tracks in all, including three instrumentals (one of which is actually a guest appearance from Sanctum), a few lengthy, wah-soaked leads, and several beautiful Grieg-esque orchestrated passages to break things up a bit, Extol actually do succeed in translating every ounce of energy that they possess in a live setting onto the plastic, which is a rare accomplishment indeed (in part due to the extremely clear and powerful production, another accomplishment seeing as how it was self-produced by the band). Regarding the vocals, lead vocalist Peter Espevoll has gained much strength, and has also successfully diversified his vocals much more than in the past. He's got the death growl thing down, he's mastered the black metal rasp (although with much more ferociousness and conviction than most), but he is also adding some twists and turns tweaks to his sick craft, as witnessed in "Of Light and Shade" (1:55 to 2:18) and the "vomiting" that occurs on several words in "Inferno", as well as other various occurrences. Guitarist Ole Borud has also stepped up to the mic on several tracks with a singing voice not far removed from the style of Fate's Warning's Ray Alder, which is obviously an impressive feat and adds something totally unique to this band. All in all, _Undecieved_ is a brilliant metal creation that will indeed withstand the test of time (at least in my collection), but Extol's greatest work is still ahead of them.

Contact: Solid State Records, P.O. Box 12698, Seattle, WA 98111, USA

(article published 25/10/2000)

1/10/2001 A Cantwell Extol: Death From the North
7/7/1999 A Cantwell Extol: Anointed For Burial
1/20/2005 J Smit 5 Extol - Blueprint
8/12/1999 A Cantwell 7.5 Extol - Mesmerized
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