Review Summary: The defeat of Satan? Ha, no, but good attempt anyway.
Oh how far the field of black metal has evolved since Venom’s sophomore extraordinaire Black Metal
. It’s safe to say that the evolution expressed by this sheer, and shrieking concept would knock so many people who appreciate it off their feet. Of course, it didn’t have to end with the satanic pioneers, who staked pig heads at their concerts, or made blood sacrifices in every album. Instead, some people who decided this was too much began to give their side of the story. These few select people overcame the harshest desires to rebel against satanic desire for the most part, failed miserably. Horde’s debut album was an atrocity in just about every way imaginable. This alleged “divine” call to believers has put forth some of the most atrocious metal acts history has to offer. But wait, perhaps not all is lost for these inventive “saviors”. To say that one particular band today known as Antestor didn’t do well in creating a constructive debut appearance would be pure folly. As years progressed for the band, they would release The Return of Black Death
, which would arguably be considered the epitome of the bands development, and had it not been for coming of Mortification’s thrash masterpiece, Scrolls of the Megilloth
, Antestor could take the place as top dog in this convoluted field known as “unblack metal” in my eyes.
As cheesy as Antestor might seem coming through with this kind of sound, but with Norwegian lyrics translating to their love for Jesus, and how he’s helped them, the band still provides a sound worth observing up close. A few select tracks in this album such as [b]Sorg[/i], provide an atmosphere (by yours truly, keyboardist Lars Stokstad) not terribly unlike that of Sunn O))). Guitars creep through this album much like a sidewinder through the desert, maybe even as fast too. The bass is rather inaudible in many parts of this album, and the atmospheric tracks are no exception. But in some areas, it holds true to the skill Vegard Undal otherwise possesses.
The intro to this album starts off one of the biggest indulgences to this album: the extremely low, creeping voice. This voice pops up in many of the mellow areas of this album, and really doesn’t stay long. Sometimes, this in-and-out theory composed by the band in this album gets a little too choppy, and really subtracts from what would otherwise be considered true highlights of this album. Aside from the band’s best intentions to create a relatively free-flowing album, many parts of this album go from black metal roots, to pagan metal, to something you’d hear from a viking metal band. This is isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it makes the album just a bit too static for safe measures. The track The Bridge of Death
is no exception to this. Between the very beginning of this track, with the fast drum loop, to the halfway mark of the 5 and a half minute track, the band makes so many unnecessary changes to the mood of this track. In fact, just shy of the four minute mark, you can even hear piano playing clearly. This track certainly is nothing to be ashamed of, but it does map out most of the album’s weak spots in their entirety.
By far the band’s most revolutionary aspect to this album is its atmosphere. If all else is gone from perspective, leave the atmosphere of this album to tame you. The track Kongsblood
is probably the most revealing track of this album. Not only does it show the typical (but extraordinary) formula for this album, but it is probably the steadiest track on the entire album. I daresay it is the single best track on this album. The guitar on this track is as if Lars Stokstad was doing his best to make an acceptable solo to last the entire track. Although that’s not what he does, it’s worth ever second hearing. Not to mention, this one of those anomaly’s on the album where you can actually hear the bass.
Much like the regular field of black metal comes this unblack metal band’s vocalist, who sings the same demonic voice as bands such as Celtic Frost, Venom, or Bathory (early days). Except, unlike the more horrid side of unblack metal (as mentioned earlier), Kjetil Molnes actually proves worthy at the post of the microphone. While he retains that raspy method of black metal vocalizing, his lyrics (though in Norwegian) are audible, and he doesn’t make you glad to hear the album end, or have the song go to a normal 2 minutes of pure instrumentals. This is one of the greatest aspects of this album, considering the vocalizing is more often than not what drives people away from this amazing genre. If you’re not a listener commonly associated with these types of melodies, it could take you a minute or two to truly get into this (much like it did me when I first heard it), but once you’re in it, it’ll be hard to let go. This much, is a promise that Antestor can fulfill with their sophomore album, The Return of Black Death
Antestor as far as I’m concerned, are one of the most solid unblack metal bands ever. Don’t take me for a Christian, but stuff like this that rolls around really gets me going. I don’t often find black metal albums with this kind of atmosphere. When it comes to unblack metal? Pfft, I’m sorry, but this is essential to the collection. Antestor have crafted what I consider to be their best album by far, and it’s so apparent why after reviewing several times this atmosphere. this of course isn’t anything to fall asleep too, it’s still very much so metal, but the keyboards, and actual melodies from the vocalist provide one of the most intense, yet relaxing metal albums of its time.