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JFH Music Review

Extol, 'Labyrinth Of Ill / Exigency - Single'

Labyrinth Of Ill / Exigency - Single

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Metal / Death Metal
Album length: 2 tracks: 9 minutes, 9 seconds
Street Date: October 12, 2023


If you're talking about the greats of Christian metal, one name that is crucial to the conversation is the Norwegian progressive death metal act Extol. The band's members have been active with various other projects lately (Azusa, Hrada, Fleshkiller), but it's been an entire decade since Extol's last album. After their Furnace Fest '23 plans fell through, fans were left wondering about the future of the band. But thankfully, it didn't take long to hear the wonderful news: the band is back properly, and new music is on the way.

Our first taste of what's to come is a double single from their forthcoming, as-of-yet untitled sixth studio album. The first song, "Labyrinth of Ill," slowly builds into pummeling riffs, which lead the way for Peter Espevoll to come in with his signature growling vocals. The song is also home to Extol's classic, haunting clean vocals, as well as technical guitar riffs and solos. It's a hopeful song, too, addressing the eternal hope we have, even in the midst of darkness ("Fervor lost, my heart bereft / in the blustering of doubt and despair / I've lost my grasp on what was just / yet a glimmer of deliverance is here … though my path may waver, and I may stray / love and community will lead the way / in the embrace of compassion, I shall find peace / hope and unity shall never cease"). "Exigency" takes a different approach to songwriting, utilizing more of a death metal style of lyricism, maximizing their vocabulary with each and every line, with its talk of "viral zoonotic and vector-borne diseases." It's less encouraging than the track before it ("Altering the distribution and abundance of species / increasement of pest and invasive breeds / severe droughts and toxic waters") and more apocalyptic (or maybe even about the plagues in Egypt from the book of Exodus). However, it's a hard-hitting track that pairs nicely with "Labyrinth," picking up right where they left off with their 2013 self-titled album.

These singles are only a small glimpse of the impending full-length, but it's enough to show the world that 1) Extol hasn't lost a step, and 2) whatever they've got cooking is sure to be a gourmet meal. Whether you're a fan of the band or just a fan of the genre and have never even heard of Extol, you're going to want to get these songs into your life. Probably ought to jump on the album pre-sales when they go live, too.

- Review date: 10/8/23, written by Scott Fryberger of

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. Record Label: Solid State Records
. Album length: 2 tracks: 9 minutes, 9 seconds
. Street Date: October 12, 2023
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: (CD)
. Buy It: (Vinyl)
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. Labyrinth Of Ill (4:38)
  2. Exigency (4:31)



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