Review Summary: Thou shalt not refrain from overlaying technical thrash riffs with jazzy drumming and fretless bass noodling.
Clocking off at just under 13 minutes, this 3-track exercise in tech/jazz thrash leaves an imprint that will last you a couple of full-length albums. An EP that is as stunning as it is short necessitates a review that is perhaps equally short, but no less mandatory.
The tried and tested track scheme: 1) lay out clear contours for structure with recurring themes, build in 3-4 tempo changes and the occasional clean break or interlude; 2) within those confines, go all-out berserk from beginning to end, delivering a performance that is relentless and focused at the same time. Components: tight technical guitar riffing; screamed hardcore-ish vocals that convey controlled hysteria; an audible bass that co-produces the riffs and grooves, overlaying them with additional harmonies, licks and leads; an absolutely masterful jazz-metal rhythm section; and the chemistry to make the interplay of this quartet sound as airtight, natural and straightforward as it can possibly be. The result is an explosive, yet very cohesive run of three standout tracks: Point Of Insanity
, In Hypnosis
, and Wisdom
Extol familiars should find it fascinating to discover how the output of this short-lived side project by cousins Christer Espevoll and David Husvik (joined here by Magnus Westgaard on bass and Ivar Nikolaisen on vocals) must have been instrumental in developing Extol's specific brand of progressive thrash, while effectively bridging the period between Undeceived
(2000) and Synergy
(2003). Thus, Wisdom
retains the B standard tuning of Undeceived
, and its 2000 appearance on the In The Shadow Of Death
compilation immediately preceded Extol's cover of Believer's Shadow Of Death
on the Paralysis
EP (2001). Point Of Insanity
was pre-released in 2003 and contains unmistakable references to the riffs and chord progressions on Synergy
Absurd²'s eponymous effort in itself could have easily formed the blueprint for a further series of exciting releases. But the boys left it at this - and the blueprint took a dive.