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Work of Art - 100%

VanassHeluphicclo, September 19th, 2019

This is, without doubt, the best piece of technical/progressive extreme metal I have ever heard. The album features a lot of diversity among the tracks, which is very enjoyable if you ask me (from the blackish "Celestial Completion" to the progressive "Reflections of a Broken Soul"), furthermore this is the album which widened my taste in metal towards black and progressive metal.

I cannot praise enough the great work Ole Børud and Christer Espevoll on the guitars, those two guys are responsible for a variety of riffs ranging from Carcass-worthy melodies to fast and explosive openings (Embraced). Extol showed progressive elements in their music from the early beginnings, a slight hint of the upcoming style can be overheard on their three tracks on the "Northern Lights" compilation. But it was the genius of Ole Børud that led Extol into the progressive waters. Christer is a great guitarist, able to play different tempos and very creative in writing. Burial doesn't lack any aggression and I can confidently say that we can thank Christer for that.

The drumming is almost flawless, although this judgment is based on my personal taste. David Husvik's drumming suits Extol like 7.62×39mm cartridges suit an Ak-47... Pure perfection. I usually prefer fast drummers, which do not mind hitting the pedal so often that I start hearing an unrecognizable white noise, which just overheats my mammalian brain. Yet David managed to fill the gaps perfectly, dictate a decent tempo and cooperate with the guitars in mind-blowing harmony.

Speaking of vocals, Peter Espevoll is surely a great talent and knows his art well. To the question, if he is the greatest I can clearly say no. Nonetheless, he put off an unremarkable performance, switching from growls to his shrieks, mastering them almost as if they were his natural way of communicating. He is undoubtedly an extraordinary vocalist and his incredible shrieks built an atmosphere that I never have seen since this album. Ole did the backing vocals for the album, proving the range of his talent. His melodic singing voice and the capability to sing higher than any power metal vocalist contributed to the diversity and definition of Extol's absurdly enjoyable progressive style.

Eystein Holm's bass had plenty of technicalities, going always along with Ole's and Christer's guitars. I would still say that it lacked some strength in comparison to Tor Magne Glidje. He filled the gaps and did his work as a bassist very professionally, still, I have to mention that Eystein didn't dare to go too deep concerning creativity.

Christian lyrics and ideology follow every single written line on this album. Artistically speaking I have to say that the vocabulary was well-chosen and I generally found myself liking the most of their texts. But I assure you whatever your worldview is supposed to be, that it is worth listening to this album for the sake of metal's beauty.

If I had to recommend a track, it would be nearly impossible since loved every single one of them. But three tracks are excellence in its purest form:

- Burial
- Celestial Completion
- Reflections of a Broken Soul

Extol - Burial - 100%

whitefrozen, April 30th, 2010

I'm not going to beat about the bush on how I feel about this album: this is the single best tech/death/black metal album ever created. Suffocation,Brain Drill, Necrophagist, Pitbulls in the Nursery and the entire tech-death scene can bow down to this absolute masterpiece. Let me state it again: this is, bar none, the greatest album of technical extreme metal ever made. Period.

I've heard a lot of metal in my time, and I've heard lots of technical death/extreme metal. Lots of boring, fast, hyper-technical, mindbogglingly boring metal. Extol is not one of those bands. The level of ferocity and savagery in this album has yet to be rivaled by any band currently active (except maybe Nile, but that's another review); I have never heard such a brutal combination of pure heaviness, technical wizardry without being boring, feeling and, to re-use a previous adjective, brutality. From the insanity that is "Burial", "Embraced," and "Celestial Completion," to the sad and somber "Tears of Bitterness," the folkish-black metal "Renhetens Elv" and the crushing "Work of Art," not a single song is filler or out of place.

The technical ability of the band-members absolutely is second to none here, but the two things I want to praise the most are the drumming and guitars. David Husvik put on a drum performance that, in my opinion, has not been rivaled since this albums release. Insane blasting, crazy double bass, slow, bombastic rhythms and ridiculously time changes are all just another day at the office for David, and he handles all this and more with the utmost ease. Guitars, handled by Ole Borud(who also handled the amazing clean vocals) are just as brilliant as the drums; fast, technical, and heavy, all without being retarded shredding or mindless technicality.

Vocals are flawless. Brutal, deep, shrill, and again, a performance that hasn't been equaled.

As I said before, this is THE extreme technical metal album. Released in 1998 on Solid State/Tooth and Nail records, this album stands as one of the greatest metal albums of all time, rivaled by few if any others. While their follow-up albums would all be very different and receive much criticism, with Burial, Extol cemented their place in metal history as one of the greatest bands to ever exist.

Good Shtuff! - 96%

sirlancelot149, May 20th, 2007

You look at the "Thanks" section of any album insert of any modern Christian metal band, and you'd always expect Extol to be one of the band's listed. Why? Take a look at their earliest releases: Burial and Undecieved for example. They combined heavy, innovative atmospheric black metal sounds with positive, inspiring, and sometimes obscure, lyrics. To this day, it remains my brother's "most favorite band ever."

I was a little "eh" at first when I first heard this album (I was still somewhat immature in my tastes), but I later grew to admire it as truly a "Work of Art." (now one of my favorite songs.) It has almost everything that I like in an album: lots of melody, good lead guitar, intelligent basslines, and creative usage of miscellaneous instruments (flute and violin are used in a few songs).

Creativity: 96

Definitely high rating on this level. This band, at the time of this album, experimented with new sounds and went places with their music that no other Christian band (or atmospheric black metal band, for that matter) went before. Emotion is shown in many creative ways: darkness, joy, depression, mysteriousness, etc. are all shown in ways I never thought possible.

Melody: 95

This album takes the black metal cake with melody. Lots of it is shown in it's intro "Celestial Completion," not to mention the little flute addition to the song. "Reflections of a Broken Soul" is simply amazing, with the addition of clean vocals, and "Tears of Bitterness," one of the longer pieces of the album, freaking rocks, with a good violin and lead guitar combination near the end.

Technicality: 90

The amount of technicality is perfect for the sound they were probably going for, but in some cases the lead seems almost too simple. This is an impressive first piece, though, as the lead guitar always seems to be doing something different. "Embraced" shows their really heavy side, and "Renhetens Elv" is a really cool instrumental that kind of foreshadows the thrash metal scene that they would go for in the future. David Husvik's drumwork is really awesome in this album, and he's one of the best drummers I've ever heard in the Christian metal realm.

Lyrics and Vocals: 99

I just love it. Peter Espevoll's voice is just perfect for this kind of music, and he has that unique sound that neatly distinguishes Extol from other metal bands of the same genre. The lyrics are really awesome--the ones I understand, at least. Three of the songs in the album are written and vocalized in Norwegian, and I have yet to find a translation, so I'm just going to rate them on the blind notion that they're awesome. All the other songs are! Some songs focus on acknowledging God (Superior), the Devil (Justified), depression (Embraced, Reflections of a Broken Soul), and simply being amazed at the works of God (Work of Art). Demonstrates boldness of faith and not being afraid of being obvious of their lyrical themes. Not too obscure, I really like it.

Band Photos and Album Art: 88

Cool front cover, although I really don't understand the whole crown of thorns and lizards motif. There's only one band photo, but I think it looks cool. It's enough.

Overall: 96

Not the best on sound quality, but that aside, it's a "Work of Art." An unforgettable piece that you'll come back to all the time.

Great atmospheric bm! (even if the + isn't -l-) - 100%

HoichitheEarless, May 10th, 2006

It's easy to pigeonhole 'christian music' as a whole in general because if you have to start from the premise that your band has a 'message' or is 'for the Lord' then its pretty much de-facto that the music isn't worth anything as its only being used as a vehicle to deliver whatever.

The great thing about early Extol (not so much now) is that it was a band that was first and foremost about the music, specifically atmospheric black metal and coming from people just so happened also believed in a creator, which while opposite the 'conventional' black metal standards, nevertheless is understandable since Scandinavian countries espoused christianity for ages. As bands like Leviathan/Xasthur (from California) or even Pyha (a 13yr old boy from South Korea) have demonstrated, black metal cannot be confined to merely location, likewise beliefs shouldn't be held any differently; I use the same analogy when discussing Burzum with people.

Of course, none of this would matter if Extol simply sucked at creating black metal, the fact is just opposite: they do it very, very well. Extol here manages to evoke the almost folk-ish sensibilities that bands like Opeth or Agalloch do when they sound their most black (My Hearse... / Pale Folklore) , but they also channel a healthy amount of really fine tremelo picking/screeching that Ulver did so well around their Bergtatt album, while coating it with the kind of clean production Satyricon has gone with as of late all the while keeping it very grim..

Vocally they don't really sound like too many bands, but come close to Ulver again, but with the tradeoff that they have two vocalists and will switch constantly throughout the album; this aspect is also extremely well done and isn't gimmicky at all as its very consistant since they don't necesarilly have a full-range of screams to go around with ala Twilight...

Overall though Burial is absolutley the best Extol album there is as it definetly is kvlt especially since the clean vocals used on every subsequent album is not present & since they are first and foremost making great atmospheric bm. Its just a shame that Extol decided to abandon this path and move on to symphonic bm, and then abandon bm altogether since this album easily stands head and toe next to any like-minded atmospheric grimness I can name.