Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 2/21/2005
The Blueprint Dives
posted on 2/2005 By:
Beginning as more of a black/death metal band, Extol was once marked for their majestic guitar arrangements, heaviness, and progressive sound. Always considered the one major exception that all metalheads could agree on despite their religious affiliation, they were revered for their creativity and skillful execution behind their instruments. On The Blueprint Dives, they've turned their backs entirely upon their roots to develop a dreamy yet tepid aura that I'm afraid most people will respond to with indifference.
Lets face it, though. Even on 2003's Synergy there was an abundance of profound changes: clean singing, more progressive guitarwork, and parts that weren't as powerful as their old material. But it was still very decent and everyone accepted them and continued giving out pats on the back. However, their new direction and history could draw parallels to a band like Cave In. Both bands were highly regarded for their earlier efforts, whereas over the years they've drifted so far from where they started to the point where their original fans have more than likely abandoned them altogether. No longer fitting as well into their respective niche yet too calloused to appeal to the indie community, this band of Norwegians will be fighting an uphill battle.
I don't know if it's just the lineup change or what, but their new material is noticeably weaker. The singing is outwardly well-rounded and feels like there's a level of substance within it, but the vocal lines just feel so self-indulgent and emasculating. It's unsatisfying and too sugary. Especially when they pave the way for these unpersuasive and absentminded parts that fight to be so grand in their arrangement, but are rather functionless, like on "Another Adams Escape". Overall, it sounds like a poor attempt to emulate the Deftones. They've kept the growled/yelled vocals and they still work well from time to time on "The Things I Found", but without the aid of the agile guitarwork found on previous releases, it doesn't stand as well on its own. To be fair though, a lot of the songs still flow in a gratifying manner, which should be expected as they're talented as writers. I'm just really dissatisfied with how rudimentary this band has become when it's even obvious on songs like "Essence" and "Soul Deprived" that they're still capable of writing what they did before. When they choose to build a part up, it rarely disappoints, but so much of what's found on The Blueprint Dives is astonishingly orthodox.
I can't say that I support the band with their new sound and I'd be surprised to find their fanbase expanding too greatly after The Blueprint Dives. It's okay for what it is, and as long as you're not expecting the Extol of old, you might even like it. I don't blame them for changing - they've had a long career and it's only a matter of time until someone desires to do something different. What I do hold them responsible for is choosing to try to make the jump to a type of music that they seem to be very inexperienced in. Perhaps the future will hold better for these gentlemen, and hopefully their fans will continue to stick with them.
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