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Extol

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Back in 1994 Extol was formed in Norway by drummer David Husvik and the brothers Christer and Peter Espevoll. Since that time the band developed their sound and this led to worldwide success with their Burial album. They toured the States and got a lot of good feedback on their recording. Last year they released the EP Mesmerized which will be followed by a new full-length very soon. This means: Time for an interview!

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Interview with: Christer Espevoll (guitarist)

Date: March 6th 2000

Where: This is an E-mail interview. Date refers to date first mail

Other Bandmembers: Tor Magne (bass-player), Peter Espevoll (vocalist), Ole BÝrud (guitarist & clean vocals), David Husvik (drummer).

Band's Geographical Home: Oslo, Norway

Discography: Burial (1998), Mesmerized (1999), Undeceived (2000; coming soon)

Available Through: Endtime Productions

Official Website: Extol

Interview by: mpo

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You released the EP Mesmerized some time ago. This six-songs CD contains songs previously unreleased and remixes of three songs from the Burial album. From whom came this idea? From the band or from the label?

Actually it was Samuel at Endtime who came up with the idea. Since Samuel is one of the members of the industrial gurus Mental Destruction, he has a lot of contacts in the industrial scene so there probably wouldn't have been any remixes on Mesmerized hadn't it been for Samuel . The whole band liked the idea of course. We wanted to do something new, to make an out of the ordinary release, and I think we succeeded

I kinda expected this answer as I know Samuel's background. So, I wonder, what did you think of those three remixes the first time you heard them? Especially the Raison D'Ítre remix is quite a leap from the original. So, what came up in your mind the first time hearing them?

I remember listening to them the first time, and I thought they were cool. I liked the Burial remix the best, and that is still my favorite. The second remix (Renhetens Elv)  isn't that good I think. It's too monotonous, but as I understood it, that's the way it's supposed to be in orthodox industry.... That way The Raison D'Ítre remix is extreme. If you didn't know it you couldn't tell it's an Extol song. I feel that's a song you kind of have to be in the right mood to listen to. And you have to play it really loud. That way you'll focus on the few details on top of all the noise, like the "medieval lure" (Ole's voice). I know Samuel says this is an industrial masterpiece, so we just have to believe him : -)

What I really like about Mesmerized is that you put on old song on it: Storms Of Disillusions. This song has an equal share for Ole BÝrud in the singing. I think that brings in good variety. On Burial he appeared only now and then as singer. You have just finished recording the new album. What will be his role on Undeceived, the new one?

On Undeceived we have three songs that Ole sings on. It's the same kind of songs as Storms... with Ole and Peter singing about half each.

Mesmerized features also a new song -recorded in 1999- too. Personally I think this song is closer to black metal -especially vocally-  than ever though it still has the Extol characteristics. Is that new song on Mesmerized giving us an idea of Undeceived?

That 's kind of weird, cause we feel that Enthralled (that's the song you're thinking about right?) is closer to Death metal. Undeceived is definitely more Death metal than Burial. A lot of the riffing is groovier, and the sound is waaaay heavier. We tuned down to B on this album compared to D on Burial. So in my opinion, since Enthralled is closer to death metal, it does kind of give you an idea on what the new album is like.

Uh, I never considered Extol as being a black metal band. I listened to the song again and musically you're right. It's very deathy. What I try to say is that vocally Peter sounds quite hoarse, almost like hissing like people do in black metal. The last verse of the song is black metal incorporated in the track, I think. Let me ask it differently, Extol is not a very pure death metal band as you mess up -on purpose- with other styles. How is that on the new album?

I agree, we are not pure death metal, and that's the point. We feel that playing straight death metal would make it hard to make a full album with interesting songs. We're still messing it up as you put it, incorporating other styles as black and thrash and so on. Peters vocals will always vary in style from deep growls to the typical black metal, and he also uses his voice in different ways on the new album

Now something about the title Undeceived. I talked over the phone with your brother Peter about a year ago and he was talking about the recording of an album entitled 2000. Of course that's a boring title so you changed it to Undeceived. For what reason did you choose that title?

That must have been a joke : -) I can't imagine him being serious about something so unoriginal. The reason we chose Undeceived as the album title is obviously because we think it's a good title. The song Undeceived is also the first song on the European and Japanese releases, and track # 2 on the Solid State version. It's not like it's some kind of lyrical concept or anything, it's just a good title

The album-title Burial was depicted in a way on the cover of that album. This cover was made by Kristian WŚhlin. How is the cover of the new one gonna be?

The artwork on Undeceived is made by Samuel Durling himself. It's a lot harder than the Burial and Mesmerized covers. It doesn't have much colors...basically it's just dark and hard. You'll see : -)

What do you think will the fans absolutely love about the new record?

I think they'll love everything : -) hahaha.  I don't know. Everybody have their taste you know, so it's impossible to say. Some like Ole's vocals, some don't, some are into black, some are into death....But I do think that in general people will like this album because it has a really heavy sound. It's just really phat, yet at the same time hard, but not like black metal "extremely thin and treble-based" hard. Also like I mentioned earlier it's groovier than Burial, so I think it's a little easier to get into.

And what will be the most surprising thing for the fans to hear?

I don't think there are any surprises at all. Those who liked Burial will like this, and those who think Burial was too black metal will probably find it easier to get into Undeceived.

I'd like to discuss something else now. Last year   longtime bass-player Eystein Holm left the band and he's replaced by Tor Magne. Eystein wasn't even part of the US Tour. What is the reason for his departure?

Eystein left the band because he didn't have the same vision as the rest of Extol. Also there were significant musical differences. We've settled the whole thing, and there's nothing bad or unsaid between us. He actually lives in the same house as David and Peter.

What do you mean with musical differences? And what is he doing in music now?

He wasn't part of the band musically (the last few years) because he never made any music, and he disagreed with some of the music we made, but still wanted to be in the band. The main reason that he left though was because he didn't share the same vision as the rest of us. Eystein plays in a not too serious cover-band, and they just recorded an album actually. It's not metal though....some kind of rock I think.

This might be a strange question but when I look at the pictures on Mesmerized, it strikes me that Eystein is depicted a bit at a distance. After the release of that EP he left the band officially. Is that a coincidence?  

Yes, that was a coincidence. But I can understand why you ask. I thought of it the same way when I first saw the pictures, but the thing is, that was the best picture of Eystein from the Mesmerized photo session, so we used it

With Extol you did some touring in the US in 1998 and 1999, and you had other opportunities like playing a show in Oslo with Old Man's Child in September. The band's often named as "The Mighty Extol". It's obvious that you have been successful. How do you feel about that and what do you see as most important both musically as personally? 

We obviously feel good about being successful. And we thank God for it, cause we know that we would not have been where we are today without God. Musically we think originality and quality is important. We're not done with a song until we are 100% satisfied with it. We don't rush in to studio just to get an album out, and if we took all the riffs that have been thrown away during songwriting and put them together, we could have made at least another full length, but it would have been a class b-product.

Personally, there is only one thing; focusing on God. The fact that we are Christians and want to honor God in everything we do is what makes the foundation of what Extol is; us being ourselves, doing what we like, playing the music we like and honoring God with it. A lot of Christians think they have to be called into a specific ministry. Some people are called like that, but if we're not, there's no point in being lazy self-centered, lukewarm Christians. Being a Christian means being it 24/7!!! Your first call from God is to spend time with him. That's what he originally created us for, and he loves spending time with us. So what I'm trying to say here is that we don't look at Extol as a separate ministry. My life is my ministry, when I'm in school, at work, on the bus, in church, touring USA with Extol, everywhere I go.

With all the success it seems there's hardly more to achieve. What, to your opinion, would be the best thing for Extol yet to happen?

We really want to have a greater movement of the Holy Ghost at our shows. We want to be used by God like no other Christian metal band have been used before. We just want to be a blessing to people, and to help people who are in need. By the way, we know that at least 10 people received Jesus as a result of last years US tour. That's great, all glory and praise to God!!!

I have only a Holland-related question left. You were supposed to play in Holland at the Treasures Of Legends Festival in 1997 as well as an other metalfestival in November last year. Both Festivals were cancelled. A lot of people feel kinda bad about this. How do you feel about this?

We feel bad about it too.....starting to wonder if there are any serious Christians wanting to put on metal shows in Holland. We'd love to play there, but we need to know that the people we work with are serious and can keep their promises.

I spoke with one of the guys who was behind that metalfest in November just a few hours after he announced that this festival was cancelled and he felt really bad about it too. He was working on it seriously and put his own money in it as he believed it to be according to God's will to reach out just like you're doing in a band. He did it as a concert-promotor, very seriously. But due to financial hardships he had to cancel the festival. You say you wonder if there are any serious Christians who want to put on metal shows. I know it's extremely difficult to put up metal shows successfully. What makes you feel to say so?

I know that it is hard to put on a metal show, and therefore a promotor has to be very realistic on which bands, how many bands, how much can they afford to loose and so on. There's always a risk because it's a very narrow scene. I'm sure there are serious Christians putting up metal shows in Holland, and I'm sure the guy you talked with was serious.

What then would you like to say to all Extol fans in Holland and the fans in other places in the world where the band never played so far?

Focus on God. It's all about him. It's not about music, money, career or anything, life's all about serving God. Thanks for all the support we get. We'd love to come and play in Holland or any other country that we haven't been to. God Bless!!

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