The Porcelain Throne: Extol

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It has been a little too long since the last Porcelain Throne, but saving the day is Stockhausen, here to give us a rundown on the fantastic Extol

As a quick reminder, the Porcelain Throne is set up as a space for you, readers of the Toilet ov Hell (even though it has been mostly contributors thus far), to write about of some of your favorite bands. Check out The Official Porcelain Throne Guidelines and get at me with some new entries! 

When I was a wee dead composer, I was first exposed to metal through Christian bands like Zao, Embodyment, and Living Sacrifice. At some point in middle school, I got a Solid State Records sampler that had a bunch of garbage cluttered around a bright, shining jewel of a song called “Ember” by some band called Extol. I remember I was cleaning my room when that song came on, and I stopped everything and just stared at my CD player. That single song seemed like a journey through a thousand different riffs and styles, and it was all so…different. I had never heard anything quite like it, and now, almost 15 years later, I still haven’t heard a band quite like Extol.

Burial (1998)

Many of you are familiar with Extol, but they seem to forever exist in the realm of the criminally underrated. They were formed in 1993 in Bekkestua, Norway, with the intention of bringing a progressive and creative edge to whatever sort of metal they were playing. I say “whatever sort of metal,” because no two Extol albums are the same. Throughout their career, they were known for changing their style drastically between releases, and absolutely mastering anything they tried. On Burial, their sound was marked by a merging of black, death, and elements of heavy metal, then blended with fresh, progressive ideas and a raw, thick production. The guitar work of Ole Børud and Christer Espevoll was immediately recognized as unique, featuring an endless array of technical, creative riffs and unconventional song structures. Similarly, David Husvik’s drumming featured musicality and nuance in addition to furious blast beats. At a time when much of the black and death metal genres focused on being as dark and brutal as possible, Extol seemed unconcerned with trends and simply wrote compelling, fresh music. They were constantly taking the risk of abandoning brutality to craft a forward-thinking product. “Renhetens Elv” is an excellent example of how difficult it can be to place them in a particular subgenre.


Undeceived (2000)

Burial received high praise from critics and fans alike, many calling it a breath of fresh air in the world of metal. They followed it shortly with the Mesmerized EP, featuring B-side material and remixes of select songs from Burial. Extol made multiple US appearances in support of the full-length, and re-entered the studio just a year after its release to record a follow-up album. Undeceived was released to immediate acclaim, and marked a distinct shift to a bolder death metal style. Peter Espevoll’s vocals still covered a wide range, but were primarily growled, and the songwriting took on a generally darker tone while retaining its unique virtuosity. The Undeceived sound became the signature style by which many knew Extol; the record is undeniably rooted in death metal, yet many riffs and sections didn’t fit any sort of mold. “Structure of Souls” has a melodic edge that many true death metallers wouldn’t dream of, but Extol pull it off without a second thought. The highly progressive, off-kilter nature of “Renewal” could be tagged with a dozen different genres, but Extol makes it seem perfectly natural. My favorite track from this album will always be the first Extol song I ever heard, “Ember.” I have no real idea what to say about the intro, it still makes me scratch my head well over a decade later. What follows is a magnificently structured song that turns corner after corner, while repeating key sections for an overall sense of cohesion.


Synergy (2003)

Ole Børud, guitarist and primary songwriter, left the band shortly after the release of Undeceived. Tor Magne Glidje switched from bass to guitar to join Christer Espevoll, and John Robert Mjåland was recruited for bass. This lineup followed the full-length with the Paralysis EP, which showcased a distinct diversity in vocal styles from Peter Espevoll. The EP featured a cover by progressive thrash metal band Believer, an influence the band said would be more pronounced on their forthcoming full-length.

The new album, Synergy, marked the most notable change in their sound thus far. Ole Børud had rejoined the band, and the signature style he shared with Christer was focused into a highly intricate and progressive form of thrash. Likewise, Peter’s vocals completely abandoned any semblance of a death growl for an aggressive, harsh yelling style. It’s time for a little bit of honesty here, guys: this album took awhile to grow on me. The fault was more on my end; I was expecting a sequel to Undeceived, I had never really been into thrash, and the vocal shift was jarring. However, when I was finally able to put my expectations aside a couple years later and listen to the album for what it was, I was absolutely hooked. There is a common tendency to see modern thrash metal as stale, and while this album isn’t purely thrash, it is an excellently fresh take on ideas from the genre. The frenetic energy of “Thrash Synergy” was a serious hook for me.


The Blueprint Drives (2005)

In 2004, guitarists Ole Børud and Christer Espevoll left the band to pursue other interests. Tor Magne Glidje returned, and newcomer Ole Halvard Sveen filled out guitar responsibilities. Never content to repeat themselves, the new lineup altered their style drastically for  The Blueprint Dives. The new album adopted strong rock influences, relying heavier on sung vocals and less on technical instrumentation. In true Extol fashion, the music remained compelling and fresh despite the distinctly different style. Memorable melodic lines mixed with progressive ideals, accented by moments of Synergy-like heaviness. Once again, listeners were required to set aside all expectations and take Blueprint on its own terms. Some long-time fans were lost along the way, but the album was more proof of Extol’s unique ability master their chosen style while putting their own stamp on it. The Blueprint Dives also earned Extol a nomination for the Norwegian Grammy award, the Spellemannprisen, for best metal album.


Extol (2013)

In 2007, Extol announced the band would be on an indefinite hiatus. The members disbanded into different pursuits, and I, Karlheinz Stockhausen, died later that year. Was it a coincidence that I decided to peace out after one of the best metal bands out there effectively broke up? Probably, but definitely not. I threw in the towel too early though, because in 2012, it was announced that a documentary on the history of Extol was in production, titled Extol: of Light and Shade. There was a teasing hint that it would be accompanied by new material, and it was eventually announced that there would be a new album released in 2013, Extol’s 20th anniversary. The reunited lineup of Peter Espevoll, Ole Børud, and David Husvik released Extol, the self-titled new album,  and it was immediately hailed as a triumphant return. The band stated that it would be somewhat of a return to their heavier roots while combining all aspects of their history, a goal that is clearly met. The band’s legacy is clearly evident in Extol: the big, open, simplicity and melodicism of “Open the Gates” recalls aspects of Blueprint, the jagged, thrashy riffing in “Betrayal” channels Synergy, the spacey soloing in “Ministers” hearkens back to the atmosphere of Burial, and the overall vocal style and heaviness is unmistakably Undeceived. My sky-high expectations for the album’s release (I apparently never learned to abandon expectations with Extol) were completely exceeded, and it remains in constant rotation for me.

The band has stated that they won’t be doing extensive live performances, and they have been fairly silent since the album was released. However, the documentary can now be preordered for the release in April, and there’s a special deluxe bundle for dead composer fanboys like me. So while the future may be uncertain again, we were given another fantastic album and will have a big, immerse look into the history of Extol with the documentary.

The band has never backed away from their Christian faith, and has received backlash from both the metal community (for being “untrve”) and the Christian community (for being headbanging devil worshipers, obviously). Many bands in similar situations have gradually toned down their Christian themed lyrics or played down their profession of faith, but Extol has always been resolute in their expressions of belief. Similarly, they have always been resolute in writing quality music that demands to be taken on its own merits, free from expectations and prejudice. If quality and variety are things about which you would say, “those are good things,” then it’s about time for you to sit down with Extol.

(Photo VIA)

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    Ever since Stocky sent this article over to me I have been on an Extol binge. Thanks again for the great submission!

    • Stockhausen

      *chest bump*

  • I love you, stocky <3

  • Scrimm

    Extol is amazing, one of the most criminally underrated bands on the planet. I you don’t like them there’s something really wrong with you.

    • To me, The Blueprint Dives is the black sheep of their discography. But still have good songs. They are a great band, but they really commit and believe in their art.

      • Stockhausen

        It was a tough album for me to get into, but it was a grower and I love it now. At the very least, this tune is a killer heavier rock song. That chorus gets me every time.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FHqYa_XW7g

        • this. <3

        • Mother Shabubu III

          That chorus could come from A Perfect Circle song, maybe Deftones too.

          • Stockhausen

            I had never thought of that, but I can definitely hear it.

    • new to Extol, but so far…

      • Dagon

        Never heard Extol before. Probably won’t be able to correct that soon.

        • MoshOff

          Busy waters, huh?

        • Scrimm

          Don’t forget them, it’s worth it.

      • Guacamole Jim

        Old to Extol, but so far…

      • God ov All

        Saving this

      • Stockhausen

        Hahahahaha.

      • Scrimm

        Hahaha come on it’s happened before(tries to remember, can’t)

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    What’s up with all the prog and clean vocals on the Porcelain Throne? Really digging the self-titled and the first album though.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      All the? As one of the resident locker-dwellers, I find there is too often a lack of some proggy goodness. I enjoy the balance the site offers.

      • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

        I did notice that basically no one ever speaks of prog around here, I was just saying that on this specific series everything that has ever been talked about is prog.

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Ah my apologies, I misread and thought you were talking about the whole site, and not just the column. I swear I have published every submission I have received, and am all for someone submitting non-prog material. Just hasn’t happened too often!

        • Guacamole Jim

          I basically only ever talk about prog. Prog and Charli XCX. THERE IS NOTHING ELSE

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

            Let’s not forget about Taylor Swift!

          • Guacamole Jim

            Oh shit, T-Swizzle! But I usually let Joe do the fanboying there. He puts me to shame on that count.

          • We all know that 2015 is a fight between Lady Gaga team, Katy Perry team, Charli XCX team. And now…

            Natalia Lafourcade Team:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkGgc1x-0Mg

            Buy some pins: only 50 Bolívares <3.

          • JWG

            I, for one, am on Team Canada (Lights & Carly Rae Jepsen).
            I’d totally attend more than one stop on that particular tour.

          • Added CRJ!

          • Dr. Dubz

            I’m totes team Carly Rae.

          • The Beargod

            @JWG:disqus
            Team Swift5eva

            But Carly melts my heart, if her new album has no big fillers… I may have to change

          • COME TO MEXICAN NATALIA TEAM. WE HAVE BURRITOS AND HOT FARTS:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBym435839M

          • The Beargod

            …No…

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            I’m on Team Suicide Over Any of Those Shits.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            Her new song is surprisingly good.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            And don’t forget Team Vicente Fernandez!

          • ¡AY Caramba!

        • YourLogicIsFlushed

          Also, Cirith Ungol and Reverend Bizarre were some of the first articles, but you are correct, it has been pretty proggy since.

        • Stockhausen

          You better believe I’ll be all over that BTBAM when it releases.

    • It’s the nerdiest series.

    • J.R.

      Whats up with all the Crustaceans? Shrimp, Lobster, Masterlord…

      • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

        Our lord and saviour Dagon recently recommended this blog, unfortunately us crustaceans are pretty much the only thing that can live on land long enough to read it.

        • Now I like you more, shrimp in a pizza box <3

        • J.R.

          I for one welcome our Chitinous companions. May your surface excursions be free from predatory distractions.

      • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

        TOH’s transformation into Long John Silver’s is now complete.

    • Stockhausen

      Their more melodic stuff took a little time for me to get into, but the self-titled and first couple albums CRVSH.

    • J.R.

      Yo I feel really bad and I think I should tell you.
      I went to Casa Blanca tonight and ate a shit ton of shrimp and it was delicious to the point of transcending mortal comprehension.
      Please do not be mad.

    • Lacertilian

      Toundra ain’t got dose vox Shrimpy.

  • God ov All

    I <3 extol. Some of my favorite little worshippers

    • Guacamole Jim

      You command some excellent music, God. You also command some of the worst. Tell me: are Family Force 5 going to hell? (plz say yes)

  • this is just what i needed to navigate the uncharted waters that is EXTOL. thanks bub <3

    and while all the writers on this site do a fantastic and hilarious job, i have to give points to Stocky for his unique, contradictory brand of humor:
    "Was it a coincidence that I decided to peace out after one of the best metal bands out there effectively broke up? Probably, but definitely not."

    • Stockhausen

      Haha. Thanks sweetums. Enjoy Extol!

  • Dr. Dubz

    Great work. I dig this band and Living Sacrifice.

    • i’ve only heard Ghost Thief; but it slays!

      • Dr. Dubz

        Some of LS’s old stuff sounds very Slayersque. You should check out the compilation album In Memoriam.

        • Scrimm

          Not big on comps but that one does give a pretty good overview of their pre-reunion material.

          • Dr. Dubz

            Same, and I agree. It’s weird hearing them go from a Thrash to what they are now.

          • Stockhausen

            I got REALLY into Reborn and The Hammering Process when I was younger, and I remember my eyes going wide with WTF when I heard their early material for the first time.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah it was quite and evolution.

      • Scrimm

        Ghost Thief is bad ass. The Infinite Order and Concieved in Fire are great too. Can’t hang too much with their first 3, the vocalist is awful, Hamstringing some great music.

  • Man, I was thinking the other day, what’s that Christian prog band that everyone really likes but I’ve barely listened to?

    • Stockhausen

      Demon Hunter. It was definitely Demon Hunter.

      • Guacamole Jim
        • JWG

          I was literally *just* watching this program via the YouTubes.

          It’s like the (New) Liars Club, but without random objects. Or Jimmy Walker – so nobody around to describe everything as a “Black Thing”.

      • J.R.

        Always been a fan of theirs. Got “Storm the Gates of Hell” before some vacation in high school so they make me think of the beach, but I’ve always enjoyed their visual style, and Ryan Clarke is pretty good at musiking and arting. “True Defiance” flushed pretty hard though.

  • Tyree
  • Dr. Dubz

    Another Christian band I like is The Chariot. Their final album was a nice slab of mathy hardcore.

    • Guacamole Jim

      I like the really heavy Christian stuff like DC Talk

      • Dr. Dubz

        Oh my gosh. I never went harder than Newsboys.

        • Guacamole Jim

          Yeah, well I have earrings so you know I’m totally into that really hard-edged stuff.

          On the real though, didn’t Toby Mac do a song with Newsboys? I seem to remember something about that…

          • Dr. Dubz

            Well over a decade ago, I ended up at a Toby Mac concert. He was awful.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I believe that. I believe that wholeheartedly. He’s never struck me as someone who’s *good* at what he does.

          • Stockhausen

            I’m so sorry.

          • J.R.

            We did the whole “Winter Wonderslam” concert thing once, with Family Force Five, TobyMac, and I want to say Hawk Nelson. FFF flushed so hard, TM was good, and HN were pretty good, but this was a while ago.

            My two first concerts ever where Lonestar, and then Audio Adrenaline/Casting Crowns. So trve

          • Toby Mac was in DC Talk, right? That dude must fucking print money.

          • Dr. Dubz

            He was. Along with someone named Tate, I think.

          • Everyone in the world needs to watch this video. Over and over. It is my shining light in this dark world.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6YnCKsYXEM

          • Guacamole Jim

            HOLY

            FUCKING

            HELL

          • Some day the Smithsonian will curate an entire wing just for this video.

          • Guacamole Jim

            I literally have not stopped gaping since it started. My soul is in >9000 cringe mode.

          • Your soul isn’t cringing, your soul being saved.

          • Guacamole Jim

            OH that’s what that overwhelming feeling of secondhand embarrassment is. I’m being convicted of my sins.

          • YO, BLACK MOMS GIVE THE BEST HUGS

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            By the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          • Dr. Dubz

            Wow, so many memories.

          • What
            what am I
            what

          • Gurpcito, is this another weird north american thing?

          • Dr. Dubz

            This is a thing for people raised in US evangelical culture.

          • now I think i’m getting it. Quite!

          • also:

            2:10…

            Jajajajaja!!

          • Maik Beninton

            I studied on a Adventist school from 1st to 6th grade and on 5th and 6th grade they gave us speeches about… things… it was either something religious or (guess what) how things like piercing and tattoos are bad.

          • Max

            Serious question: I’ve seen a lot of very inked-up/pierced evangelist Christians on TV nowadays. How do they go from thinking something is evil enough to give schoolkids lectures about it, to thinking something is presumably okay to the point where atheists like myself look way more normcore than some of them do? Does anybody circulate a memo or something? How DO they do such an abrupt about-face on something they thought was “evil” in a matter or ten years or so?

            It’s the weirdest thing.

          • Maik Beninton

            I don’t know. I haven’t seen it here and I never visit the school again but I don’t think much has changed.
            I can only think of it as something to attract kids

          • In the late 90s/early 2000s there was a big XTREME movement amount youth fellowships in American Christianity. Tattoos and piercings became pretty common place.

          • Max

            So I’ve gathered. Around that time I watched a documentary about the chastity movement (or whatever it’s called – y’know, the one where teen couples vow to stay virgins ’til marriage), and it took a detour into the perils of secular music.

            They showed a bunch of kids bringing their secular CDs to the fellowship, piling them up and ritually smashing them all with hammers, egged on by the pastor. What struck me is that all of the kids doing this were dressed pretty much like Marilyn Manson fans. If you put all those kids in the crowd at a Slipknot concert you’d have a hard time figuring out who were they really were.

            But that’s why I just find it all the stranger that the evangelical churches would have disapproved of people dressing like this in the first place, as recently as the early ’90s. The Catholic church takes decades – sometimes centuries – to change its mind about anything. The evangelicals can have really strong positions on lifestyle-choice-related issues which they change in a matter of years without even batting an eyelid. I know religious thinking evolves, but have you SEEN the way some Christians dress now? It makes the mohawked punk rockers of the ’80s look literally conservative by comparison.

          • more beer

            Here is the simplest reason for this. They are fucking coo coo!!

          • The… 90’s were a different time, Link…

          • Gurpcito, this was our 90’s:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcWYb5Nqb_U

          • Beats reggaeton!

          • That’s a predecessor of reggaeton. It was called merengue house. It was insane popular and in my poser days was my jam. I have this old pirate casettes with mixes of Sandy y Papo, Los Ilegales and Proyecto Uno. #ToiletConfession

          • this is a video to which i would respond, “having seen this, i may die now.”

          • Stockhausen

            I don’t think I can do this.

          • Dr. Dubz

            You can’t run from your past.

          • Guacamole Jim

            After watching that video, I’m so aware of that fact. This is totally the stuff I’d be into in the 90’s.

          • If you grew up in a super religious household in the 90s, there was like a 95% chance there was at least one DC Talk album the house.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Dad was a pastor of a Pentecostal church. Newsboys, DC Talk, Jars of Clay, POD, Project 86, Kutless… I could go on for far too long.

          • Dr. Dubz

            Early in college, I was giving one of my childhood friends a ride somewhere. I was jamming Master of Puppets, and he asked if he could change it. He put in a Kutless CD.

          • Guacamole Jim
          • AH! I completely forgot about this – DC Talk going grunge and RIPPING NIRVANA THE FUCK OFF.
            https://soundcloud.com/jahwarriah/nirvana-vs-dc-talk-smells-like

          • Guacamole Jim

            I never made that connection… but WOW.

          • Guacamole Jim

            “They thought he was CRAZED by the locusts he ate”

            All my childhood, rushing back to me.

          • Mother Shabubu III
          • no Skillet?

          • Guacamole Jim

            Oh yeah. Old school Skillet too, when they were weird and electronic.

          • Stockhausen

            Project 86 had some killer tunes. Those other bands……………………………………..
            ……….
            ……….
            ………
            …..lolnope

          • Guacamole Jim

            I listen to Drawing Black Lines every so often. POD’s Satellite was super formative to me, so I’ll always love it. Everything else……… yep, lolnope.

          • Dr. Dubz

            I actually have fond memories of Satellite as well.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Youth of the Nation still gives me the serious feels. That song is very well written (but I may be biased).

          • Dr. Dubz

            I just looked up some lousy Christian rap for them nostalgia feels.

          • J.R.

            just replying to all your comments tonight.
            Satellite and Alive, man. Those were my jams. Whatever video they showed on GMC at like 2 in the morning.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Dude. I know it’s childhood affinity, but that entire album gets me. Whenever I hear him sing “I FEEL SO ALIVE” I’m transported back to like grade 6, summertime, thinking I was so cool. Those are good memories.

          • J.R.

            Hell yeah man. We are two of soul.
            Hey how did lady time interaction go? Any more to report?

          • Guacamole Jim

            BRO. And I think it went well. Things are progressing slowly with said lady, mostly because she’s super classy and I’m a dirty metalhead with a penchant for Charli XCX, but I’m feeling more confident about things than I was before. She may just be into it.

          • Scrimm

            Was all early Mortification for me. Also Horde.

          • Stockhausen

            Dude, yes. I regretfully didn’t get into Horde until later, but Mortification was my jam. And Horde is now my jam.

          • Scrimm

            It was so damn hard to find that album back then. I stumbled across a used copy and promptly shat my pants.

          • Stockhausen

            Indeed. It’s so nasty, I love it.

          • Scrimm

            I ordered the live dvd a couple years ago, also good.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love
          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            My grandfather used to listen to Oak Ridge Boys, much to my chagrin.

          • J.R.

            I always really liked “Work” and “Flood” by Jars of Clay. Probably because I was the most poser emo ninth grader that ever lived.
            Makin’ me cringe, man. The memories.

          • Dr. Dubz

            Along with about 5 WOW Worship albums.

          • YourLogicIsFlushed

            I was just a huge fan of watching guys give each other high-fives at unnecessary times.

          • more beer

            I don`t even know what DC Talk is I feel lucky.

          • Stockhausen

            I can proudly say that I never got into DC Talk.

          • Scrimm

            As can I.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            Same here. I knew someone in high school and listened to shit like that and Carmen. Extreme ultra mega lolbutt in 3, 2, 1……………

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_UO8wlZymM

          • Maik Beninton

            I have to say this:
            GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

      • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love
      • J.R.

        I was getting my haircut a few hours ago and told the lady to give me the “John Cooper” faux-hawk. Some people knock it with every breath but Skillet was no doubt “gateway” material for me. I bet I have some TobyMac stuff sitting around here somewhere…

        • Guacamole Jim

          I do still, on occasion, bump Alien Youth. I miss the days when they weren’t just straight up radio rock, but actually produced some interesting sounding stuff.

    • I like that one, the other experimental stuff on there works well too.

      • Dr. Dubz

        Yah, they had some neat little flourishes that really surprised me the first time. Great live show as well. When I saw them, they had a cardboard cutout of their bassist on stage because he couldn’t be there.

        • The videos I’ve seen of their live show look like a good time.

          • Dr. Dubz

            That’s the only show I remember stage-diving at.

    • Dagon

      Jess Rechsteiner raved about shooting them (with a camera, not a rifle) on the interview we featured.

      • Dr. Dubz

        Yah, I remember that. Excellent stage presence.

    • Stockhausen

      The Chariot >>>>>

    • HessianHunter

      The Chariot >>>>>>>>

    • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

      Theocracy is also REALLY good.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Extol is excellent, as is this writeup on Extol! In fact, everything is awesome about this entire post! In fact, everything is awesome! In fact! In!

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      Extol!

    • #Extol

    • Stockhausen

      Also! That as well! Too!

  • The Beargod

    I haven’t listened to Extol a lot, which seems to be shame because I love prog, Extol is proggy, everyone loves Extol. Actually I think I’ve only listened to one song off of The Blueprint Drives before. so far I have to say, this write up>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Extol.

    • YourLogicIsFlushed

      With my very limited exposure (like 2 days) I would say you will like all the other albums better, even if Blueprint is the most proggy.

      • The Beargod

        I shall try a little harder.

        • Stockhausen

          Start with the self-titled or Undeceived.

          • The Beargod

            Will do.

    • Scrimm

      Blueprint is by far their worst album imo. Doesn’t really resemble the rest of their stuff to me.

  • Mother Shabubu III

    Extol also spawned Mantric, a band that sounded like an extension of the Blueprint Dives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQIDNinUrI4

  • I’ve always heard the name Extol but never got around to them. I like how they’ve incorporated so many different styles and executed each one flawlessly.

    • i bet they’re super humble in real life. “you guys wanna make a thrash album?” “sure” *knocks it out of the park

      • Stockhausen

        I met them when they came to the states a looong time ago. They were super nice dudes, and Ole Børud was very patient as I asked him how to pronounce his name, then fell flat on my face trying to repeat it back to him.

        • The Beargod

          I shall never understand the difficulties *Muricaneros have pronouncing proper European names…

          • Dr. Dubz

            We like our simple Biblical names here.

          • The Beargod

            Most Finnish modern names are derived from the Bible
            #NofunlandFax

          • Dr. Dubz

            Actually, with the way Christianity pervaded the Viking kingdom(s), that doesn’t surprise me.

          • The Beargod

            Finland didn’t have Vikings. England was ruled by them.
            #MoarNofunlandFax

          • Dr. Dubz

            I knew the Vikings conquered England at one point. Did not know FInland had no Vikings, though. Thanks, Beargod.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            Finland: we ain’t got shit.

          • Stockhausen

            It’s real darn pretty there.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            That’s cool and fun until the mosquitoes and racist come out of their holes.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            You have racist mosquitoes?!

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            A lot of ’em. Always complaining about islamization.

          • The Beargod

            We ain’t even got snow in the winters or sun in the summers.
            We DO have something though: Alcohol.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            Finland: we ain’t got shit for those that don’t drink.

          • The Beargod

            But… Finland.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

          • The Beargod

            Oh lool! (T)ransu. How is it, having a fist up your ass 24/7?

          • Sir Tapir the Based

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            Meanwhile in Finland………..

            http://i.imgur.com/Kr80Yl9.gif

          • more beer

            Don`t let George Lynch see this he is a huge John Deere Guy.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            Isn’t alcohol expensive as hell over there?

          • The Beargod

            Booze tourism to Estonia>>>>>>>>
            You go in the morning, you buy a month’s supply, return in the evening, enjoy your cheap alcohol.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            And your cheap STD.

          • The Beargod

            That’s what the free healthcare is for.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            “Free”
            Doctor Evil, get the fuck out of here!

          • The Beargod

            What now Number 2? Are you gonna cry?

          • just two sweetiepants toilet animals…

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love
          • Sir Tapir the Based

            Whew! For a second there I thought you had broken the rule numero 1 of talking to a Finnish person.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            Which is whacking them with a tree branch first?

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            I don’t remember if you were the guy that broke the rule once. Rule numero 1 is never to mention The Dudesons. At first I thought that gif was The Dudesons.

          • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

            No clue what that is.

          • JWG

            I know this stuff, mostly from tracing my ancestry. Mostly from books that probably got details wrong, but such is the nature of scholarship: the answers often change (and sometimes the questions do too).

            There’s written a distinction between the Danish “Vikings” that ruled England and mostly sailed Westward (to Vinland, e.g.) and are therefore probably mixed up somewhere in my maternal heritage, versus the Swedish “Vikings” that mostly went Eastward (to Miklagaard… And beyond!) and figure heavily in my paternal heritage.

          • The Beargod

            I don’t know if the distinction is more than nationality, especially when the borders were geographically quite different on those times. But I have read/studied too that the Rus, who were Viking traders going to trade in the Kiov were mostly Swedish (and contributed to the name Russia). The first Viking king of England was of then Denmark, I believe of current Norway.

            Or this is what I recall without a single fact check. To be taken with a grain of salt.

          • Stockhausen

            After traveling to Norway and spending a lot of time figuring out the different characters (Ø, Å, Æ, etc.), I’m way less embarrassing.

        • Scrimm

          I missed them out here. They were supposed to play with Living Sacrifice but LS split a couple days before the show.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    Extol are an excellent band and Undeceived in particular is a fantastic album.

    I was really skeptical about the comeback but it turned to to be really good.

    Great writeup. Now if only they would to the states and play live.

    • Stockhausen

      The comeback was most excellent, it’s a toss up between that and Undeceived for me.

      • Scrimm

        Same.

  • MoshOff

    Great writeup, Stock. I just started getting into Extol a couple of months ago after negating to give them a chance just because they were Christian, and I’m extremeley mad at myself for doing so.

    • Stockhausen

      Glad you like! That can be an unfortunate factor, as many Christian bands are seriously lolbuttz.

  • Sir Tapir the Based

    A christian band?
    *puts on infidel pants*
    But in all seriousness, this music be ok.

    • wonder if your strange bedfellow Dankbeard likes them…

      • Sir Tapir the Based

        He better fucking not. If he does, he’s a huge poser. They might revoke his r/atheism membership.

    • Lacertilian

      Infidel trailer pants?

      • Sir Tapir the Based

        I still don’t understand the trailer pants joke that goes around here.

        • Lacertilian

          It’s Tapir-proof

  • Guppusmaximus

    “and now, almost 15 years later, I still haven’t heard a band quite like Extol.”

    Believer was named in the tags for this article. They were quite like Extol. Actually, they were Extol’s biggest influence. If you haven’t listened to ‘Sanity Obscure’, you’re missing out…

    Anyhoo, great write-up. I can say without any hesitation that Extol’s comeback was phenomenal and I’m a non-believer.

    • CT-12

      Believer fucking rule. There have been numerous times I’ve put my MP3 on shuffle and been like “I don’t remember this Believer song” and it ended up being Extol.

    • Stockhausen

      Believer rules indeed, especially Sanity Obscure. I haven’t listened much to the other two older albums of theirs, I need to get on that. That influence is definitely there (without sounding ripped off), but I think Extol takes a little more variety in their approach that I really like.

    • Óðhinn

      Christian nonsense.

      • Guppusmaximus

        Maybe the lyrics (again, I’m a non-believer *no pun*) but the music & production was great

        • Óðhinn

          The Christianity supersedes the music for me. If the goal is to spread Christianity, I won’t listen.

  • Aioli of Planck Void

    Well written article but…

    A THOUSAND TIMES NO! Lolz of the highest order to shitty Christians and all their bulljive. God I hate Christians.

    • Scrimm

      Your loss. Great band.

      • Aioli of Planck Void

        I disagree. It’s about integrity. They are pushing a Christian philosophy. No amount of good riffing can change the fact that they represent something I oppose. The “it’s just music” mindset (not saying that’s you necessarily) misses the critical fact that nothing is just music, or art, or whatever. Nothing exists in a philosophical void. There is always a message and an agenda. This is what ultimately shapes our world.

        • Scrimm

          Fair enough. Just meant missing out on some very talented music. I agree with the sentiment on “it’s just music” and although I listen to plenty of stuff that I don’t really jive with lyric wise there are limits I have as well.

          • Aioli of Planck Void

            I hear ya. I think there is a difference between musicians who happen to be Christian vs musicians who make Christian music (or push Christian themes. I dislike both, but I especially loathe the ones preaching proudly.

          • Lacertilian

            Semi-related: I saw a comment once on a lyrics page for this song http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/animosity/animal.html#3 saying how they’re Christian and that they disagree with the meaning of the lyrics but still love the band anyway.
            They basically admitted supporting the Catholic cover-up of child-abuse/pedophilia because it would be harmful to their religion if legal action was taken.
            Even though it was a stupid internet comment, I’m still angry all these years later.

          • Sir Tapir the Based

            The problem with penance is that the priest is not allowed to tell about the penance to outsiders. Some priests may not want to hide these things, but they have to.

          • Lacertilian

            Alternate solution = leave priesthood and submit evidence to an actual court. I’m sure their omnipotent, universe creating deity will forgive them.

        • Stockhausen

          As a Christian, I understand the sentiment. I shy away from music with extreme blasphemous/satanic themes, even when it’s obviously a gimmick. I disagree on the integrity statement, because I think musical qualities make up the majority of a group’s integrity, but we’ll probably have to agree to disagree on that.

          • Aioli of Planck Void

            I agree that musical qualities tend to be the main factor, however when the band pushes an explicitly Christian message then things change. They are very seriously and purposefully advocating a specific point of view that defines who they are. For a Christian like yourself, this is not problem. My reference to integrity has more to do with the many non-religious or anti-religious people that listen to Christian music saying there is no contradiction there. That is where I think issues of integrity come into play. Anyway, for what it’s worth, my objections to Christians and Christianity do not cloud my ability to approach people with and open mind and respect, even if I make bombastic statements at times (as is my sometimes extreme personality). I’ve spent a lot of time studying and engaging Christianity (and many other religions for that matter) and I bet we’d have interesting discussions. I don’t want to burn Christians at the stake literally haha. I always find your comments and contributions to be witty and insightful so forgive me if I ever cause offense. I don’t know you but I nonetheless think you’re a pretty rad dude.

          • Stockhausen

            No offense taken. The internet tends to be the wrong place for those sorts of discussions, but we can still virtually bro hug.

  • Conservatives unite!

    • Óðhinn

      Dyslexics untie!

  • Chicken Tender Gulag O Love

    Damn, haven’t heard these guys in ages!

  • Aioli of Planck Void

    I suppose in the year 2015 my sentiment can be annoying or I guess intolerant but fuck it’s disappointing to see the level of acceptance/indifference to Christian music here.

    • CT-12

      Welcome to the toilet, disappointing everyone since….like last summer or something. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAg2t4f9oGo

      • Aioli of Planck Void

        Oh I know, I’ve been present and disappointed from the beginning.
        (Jk this place is cool)

        Nice video choice haha. May we all follow suit and renounce Christianity for Satan!

    • I think you’d be surprised how many writers are religious or at least raised religious. I’m kinda surprised myself sometimes. My whole deal is try to practice acceptance of other views provided they ain’t hurting nobody.

      • Aioli of Planck Void

        I think we sometimes get a little too obsessed with the “acceptance as long as not hurting anybody” mentality. Religious, political, economic, etc philosophies affect the makeup of our social fabric even when seemingly “not hurting anyone”. The example off the top of my head, and there are many examples if we really got down to it, is Mormons. The Mormon church, or members of the Mormon church acting on its behalf, funded prop8 in California a few years back which outlawed same-sex marriage. It passed, and even though it was later ruled unconstitutional, its passage was due nearly entirely to the efforts of the Mormon church stirring up internalized prejudices amongst the Christian population. Individuals were ultimately able to hide behind this bullshit “freedom of religion” mentality. And even when in disagreement with what was going on they would distance themselves from what their own organizations and communities were doing, claiming they themselves weren’t hurting anybody and frankly neither were the people of their faith. Many more who weren’t invested in the fight had a sort of subconscious trigger in their head with their stance and vote being informed by their religious affiliation. Ironically, the Mormons were especially successful stirring up support for their discriminatory agenda amongst people of color. Mormons on the whole are incredibly white and in my opinion racist and yet here they were spending money to drum up support in communities whose problems were often times exacerbated by the conservative policies Mormons overwhelmingly support.

        There are many more examples but I don’t want to write a total essay here haha. As you can probably tell I am passionate about this sort of thing. Politics pervades every aspect of our society and I think nowadays we tend to view our beliefs as merely individual lifestyle choices. We think as long as were not hurting anyone directly and we do our part to share petitions online or whatever we are doing our part. The reality is things happen institutionally and organizationally and if we reduce and individualize our belief systems i think we miss how tangibly these things affect and influence our world. Point is, I think that our obsession with acceptance is a trap that often times leads to its opposite: namely more prejudice and discrimination with impunity.

        • I think you’re discounting a person’s ability to follow a faith without blindly accepting everything the church tells them. There is individuality, even in religion. I’m (no longer) a religious man, but I still try to apply the ideals espoused by Jesus.

          • Aioli of Planck Void

            Yes, there is individuality, or at least perceived individuality, but there is a reason that beliefs and stances on issues tend to be more homogenous than not in religious communities. Besides, my point is more about even when someone acts individually, this is somewhat illusion. We are always supporting something either directly or indirectly through our inaction. And merely applying the ideals espoused by Jesus as many today strive for is more new-age spirituality than religious affiliation. I also have problems with this, but for different reasons.

          • That seems like an oversimplification of the very diverse and complex experiences and emotions people have in their lives to decide their beliefs. I don’t think there’s anything I can tell you that will make you less dismissive of religion but I hope you can understand that, for at least the few folks on this weirdo metal blog, there is a lot of thought that goes into their beliefs and actions and it shouldn’t be dismissed outright.

          • Aioli of Planck Void

            Well I wouldn’t say I am dismissive. There is a lot of critical engagement that goes into my opposition to religion. I admit, starting off with inflammatory statements isn’t exactly extending an olive branch, but then again we are in a metal blog named after an infernal toilet.

          • Scrimm

            WELL SAID.

          • Aioli of Planck Void

            When looking at my example for Prop 8, Christians and Catholics voted overwhelmingly for its passage and at a much higher rate than the general population. This includes unaffiliated “protestants”. It doesn’t take blind acceptance for things to nonetheless follow sociological patterns.