Review Summary: Faith can be a heavy burden to bare.
Christian Black Metal paragons Antestor have had a storied history in the CBM sphere. Despite only releasing four albums at this point in time, the band have amassed a large following and major acclaim from CBM critics. Martyrium
is an interesting album because, despite it being recorded way back in 1994, it was the second album Antestor would release. Even now, Martyrium
remains one of the quintessential CBM albums of all time. From its pulsating drums, to its Progressive Doom structures, to its choirs and devotion to God; Martyrium
became a cult classic during its bootleg years and a commercial success when it was released in 2000.
One of the standout tracks of the album is Depressed
, a beautifully somber track with Progressive Guitar riffs and a simple piano chord; with this comes a chorus from the band members, which eventually builds into the screeching from Martyr (Kjetil Molnes), who provides a brilliant atmosphere of holy decay. The guitars are one of the most prominent pieces here, with Vemod's (Lars Stokstad) simple string pieces in Martyrium
building a simple yet impactful emotive response within the three minute song. Other cool pieces are Vemod's use of Keyboards and Synthesizers, creating a certain Medieval vibe in the track Thoughts
Antestor's Christianity feature prominently in certain pieces. With Depressed
being a shining example as Martyr screams for Jesus' help in overcoming his innermost darkness. Martyrium
's Christianity is not entirely dark, but more or less gray. It retains stylistically dark influences, like its heavy riffing and screeching, but also leaves moments for somber tones like keyboards, pianos, and sung vocals. In that way, Martyrium
is about the piercing fires of light fighting against an encroaching darkness that seems unstoppable.
was simply a start for this CBM band, but it has since been regarded as one of the most important CBM releases of all time and for good reason. It was a beautiful piece of Black and Doom Metal that evoked emotions of fear, love, loneliness, faith, hate, and redemption. From its breathtaking instrumentation, to its emotion and ingenuity, Martyrium
remains the album that most CBM records are measured against, and one of the greatest CBM records of all time.