Extol Synergy

Synergy is Extol's third album and their first for Century Media (the band previously called Solid State home). And wow, look out, as this Norwegian quintet are out to shatter boundaries and blow some minds (or at least furrow some brows, maybe just annoy some people). Progressive metal it is, but the band has no contemporaries to speak of; just think of a nice mix of tricky time signatures, clean soul-searching vocals and oddly catchy riffs for starters. Then add in some screaming vocals, a lot of difficult melodies and layer it all in a crystalline production. What is the end result? No one has any idea, but it sounds fresh, brainy, sincere and captivating all at once, without being overtly wanky and alienating. Almost like later-era Death with more prog leanings. Metal needs more bands like Extol, even if most people can probably only listen to stuff like this once a month max. (Century Media)