Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 5/26/2003
posted on 7/2003 By:
As Extol's last album "Undeceived" floored me with its relentless originality in ability, song craft, and genre-bending/blending style, I had very high hopes for Synergy? and were they realized? well... I'm afraid not. This is certainly not a bad album, fans of Progressive metal & Metalcore take heed: Extol have seriously started along a path that more blends these styles than their former style, some have said this album sounds thrashy... I think they're full of shit personally, there is a beefy guitar tone, but the riff's don't sound particularly thrash, maybe in some rare instances, but like I said before, this whole album comes across more of a "Progcore" than anything else. While I don't mind this new style, I can't help but think this was in no way where they should have gone, "Undeceived" was tremendous in its near-unclassifiable way, parts of death & black, combined with atmosphere unheard of, doom rock/metal, progressive rock, hell even power and traditional metal and jazz could be heard in that album. Well, I can't help but think Extol threw that away on this album. The song structure on this is great, the musicianship is superb, the production could be better, if not completely satisfactory... maybe its just the half-assed "coreish" vocals compared to the haunting and emotionally charged growling of their last album, the loss of the cultivated atmosphere of their last album, or perhaps the fact that the band cut their hair off and now look like a bunch of indie-dork's (what the hell guys?)... even the clean vocals are no where up to par with the ones on "Undeceived". They actually seem to be getting influenced from the "mathy" approach of Meshuggah. The point I guess I'm trying to get across is that this album is good, good like trying to stick it in a certain genre, though honestly it does sound very Metalcore/Progmetal mixed to me. The problem is that if you have to get one Extol album, "Undeceived" will probably satisfy you a shitload more than this, that one was a gem, a surprise out-of-the-blue top 10 winner for many people, this one would be lucky to get in your top 30 I bet. The guitar work notably has a very progressive feel to it, time signature changes all abound, sometimes even bringing to mind 60's/70's psychedelic progrock, and a jazz influence can be heard in some areas, something most technical metal bands use to uh... be technical or whatever... think of Progmetal riffs with a beefy as hell tone (if a tad fuzzy), cool sounding stuff there.
Bottom Line: Good album, but if you are going to get an Extol album, just get Undeceived, unless you just want to hear this to get a grasp of what seriously progressive "hardcore metal" stuff sounds like... (of course, as much as I've been saying that, there is more to it, but I think that description will excite a few people I could name...) I personally wouldn't buy this album, but Extol do get extra points for the humorous and eyebrow-raising album cover depicting our friend The Reaper & a Franciscan (order) Priest (Catholicism) on a see-saw. Another good, genre-bending album for Extol, just not as good as Undeceived. Hopefully they'll get their groove back and rediscover their lost original approach to "melodeath", they are sorely needed. And honestly? I'm getting really god damned sick of modern metal bands using screamy "core" vocals, its annoying god damnit. And grow your damn hair out, you look like trendy, mallcore, poser, fools.
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