ANTESTOR - THE RETURN OF THE BLACK DEATH (*CD, 1998, Cacophonous Records) Very Rare! Black Metal
While the mix is not that polished and the production is somewhat raw it contains a lot of interesting elements to study and enjoy:
1. The raw production: giving this dirty sense of gloomy atmosphere, somber environment which is perfectly depicted by the cover artwork.
2. The drums are quite loud in the mix and they sound really mechanical (not a bad thing here) and they give this robotic, cold, cemetery evoking environment.
3. This is a keyboard driven album and they sounds really dark, giving this desolate feeling while looking at the Death itself coming at you.
4. There is a little for everyone around here: praying exhortation songs (A sovereign fortress), songs about your death (ancient prophecy), meditation (Srog) etc.
5. As far as music goes there is epic (Ancient prophecy), Viking influenced songs ala Satyricon (back in Dark Medieval times), and songs that are pure cold black metal with a more somber instead of icy atmosphere.
6. I have to go like on the pics dept. because I just love the black metal imagery.
And YES, this is a Christian band whose lyrics are very interesting as well as the music approach.
This album finds Antestor at the intersections between doom and black metal. Compared to Forsaken and other pure black metal albums, it's slower, and a bit more prone to creative interludes where the speed of the song changes (to me all of that is the doom side), but it still has bursts of furious tremlo picking and double-bass pedaling, and most of the singing is in the black metal voice (the black metal side). What this means is that you're going to get a fairly creative album that avoids the artsy label and doesn't make you think of other songs/genres while you listen to it. In my review of Forsaken, I said that there were some production aspects and parts of the songs I would change. Well, in this, there is very little I'd mess with, as nothing is really in excess here, no keyboards that are out of control or anything like that, which occasionally happened on Forsaken. And the songs, while they have their furious moments (Kongsblod and A Sovereign Fortress come to mind) seem to trade ferocity for a subtle, somber, beauty. The kind that allows you to sit and reflect.
What songs do I like the most? Again, most all of them! But Kongsblod, A Sovereign Fortress, Sorg, Battlefield, and Ancient Prophesy are really amazing songs. I first heard Sorg on Youtube, a live recording, which has a solo at the end (an amazing solo). The album recording doesn't have that solo, and that really disappoints me, since Sorg, as recorded on the album, while it is a very good song, could've been Antestor's best had it had that solo.
To me, this is Antestor's best release, and one of extreme metal's best.
1 Vinterferden 1:21
2 A Sovereign Fortress 4:54
3 Svartedauens Gjenkomst 4:41
4 Sorg 6:13
5 The Bridge Of Death 5:30
6 Gamlelandet 6:14
7 Kilden - Lik En Endelös Elv 6:23
8 Kongsblod 5:49
9 Battlefield 5:58
10 Ancient Prophecy 8:00
11 Ildnatten 2:04