Reviews : Albums : Extol, "Synergy"

Extol, "Synergy"

Synergy was one of my most anticipated releases of 2003. Unfortunately, as much as I like Undeceived, I simply fail to understand the band's new release. I am not sure whether the move from Solid State to Century Media could have had a negative impact on the band ? the absence of long hair and the new appearance immediately set off warning signs, however, the only adjective I find fitting to describe Synergy is "unfocused."

While the new material is still metal, gone are the better elements of Extol's music. For example, the band no longer utilizes a violin, the absence of which takes away the atmosphere from the new compositions. Also, gone are most of the harsh elements heard on Undeceived. First of all, the band has considerably slowed down and started to incorporate more technicality and progressive elements. Secondly, those of us who enjoyed Peter Espevoll's black metal shrieks will be let down by the obnoxious hardcore shouting heard on majority of the songs on Synergy.

Still, I can see how Synergy could appeal to someone who is hearing the band for the first time. While each individual instrument is played to precision, the music does nothing for me this time around. With the exception of an amazing chorus on Grace for Succession (1:22), there is no more passion, sorrow, and pain heard in Extol's songs, and only a weird amalgam of death metal with out of place time signatures and progressive influences. Unfortunately the change is so great that Synergy sounds like an album by a different band. Not a bad release by any means, but this is no longer the Extol I've come to expect. Too bad.

Standout Tracks

   Grace for Succession
   Aperture

Mike.S