without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Though the album succeeding this EP may have been astounding, not quite as much could be said of Antestor's precursor piece. The fact of the matter is that "Det Tapte Liv" feels somewhat empty. The elements for a fantastic release are undoubtedly present, but there's just not enough of those elements to do this release justice.
Musically speaking, the actual unblack metal songs are phenomenal. Antestor uses classic riff stylizing, with their non-melodic, eerie phrasing that straddles the line between rhythm and solo guitars, and when combined and layered with the other guitars, creates this overarching menacing tone. Each of the guitars seems to be playing its own line, feeding into the moods of every other instrument involved. The drums are unmatched, collapsing over one another in a ridiculously complex manner which evidently leaves the drummer unfazed. The exact same is to be said of how the instruments handle the predicaments of lower intensities, such as in "Rites of Death" when the bell tower begins to toll, and the clean guitars pick it up with a simple drum pattern at its side, and it only leaves the listener to wonder what the heck is going on. But in that song, as well as in "Med Hevede Sverd" with its piano interludes, it all incredibly fits perfectly! And directly following those obscure and spooky intermissions throughout both songs are awesome guitar solos that one wouldn't think would fit in an unblack metal release. Antestor plays it safe on both sides of the coin in "Rites of Death" by keeping it unblack without trying too hard to make it non-melodic, but also not veering too far onto the opposite side by changing genres on the listener. In "Med Hevede Sverd", they go full out soloing with a sort of death'n'roll feel to them, but it doesn't last for long before they convince you once more that their true metal passion lies in the unblack.
The vocalization in both songs fits the mood, almost scarily so: it's that good. The layered highs and lows along with the guitars and drums brings each song's intensity to a whole new level. A small issue I learned to get over is the thrash/core vocals (as best as I can describe them) right before the guitar solo in "Rites of Death". At first I was disappointed to hear them in this context, but honestly, they sort of set the stage for the last third of the song.
As for the three other songs, little can be said to their advantage. "Grief" is absolutely unnecessary, a giant wad of filler that keeps you in anticipation of whatever you hope may come during the song, but nothing ever happens except gag-worthy lyrics. "Last Season" is not nearly as bad, as the piano pattern is actually somewhat interesting, reminiscent of a funeral march at beginning and end and a sorrowful soliloquy in between. "Det Tapte Liv", the actual song, is what "Grief" should have been if the song were even needed for anything other than needing a fifth track to convince themselves that it's really an EP. The song gives an unresolved ending to the EP, which is completely understandable and in a sense desirable.
Other than the songs that fill the genre description of this band, little more can be attributed to "Det Tapte Liv".
Antestor is a black metal band that has received some flak for having Christian lyrics. However, I believe in focusing more on the music than lyrics of image, so for the rest of this review I will try to avoid directly mentioning anything about their faith. It just detracts from the main subject, the music.
So although Antestor seems to be labeled as an (un)black metal band, this EP only has 2 black metal songs. The other 5 are largely piano based with some orchestral instrumentation thrown in for good measure. I'll be reviewing these two different types of song separately.
The Black Metal:
One thing that immediately becomes clear as you listen to the first song, Rites of Death, is that Antestor sounds a hell of a lot like Immortal, especially the album Battles in the North. However, it is unique enough that I wouldn't accuse Antestor of ripping of Immortal's style, or being unimaginative.
Anyways, the songs themselves are pretty excellent. The vocals are fantastic, the guitarwork is well played (pay attention to the solos), and the drumming is fantastic. That is no surprise, as Hellhammer is the one drumming here. The songs have good structure and fantastic varied riffs. There's also an occasional clean part, or maybe a short piano section. These work very well into the music, and don't feel out of place, which would have been an easy mistake. There's even some clean vocals, and they too work in well with the black metal. Overall, this is some very good black metal, showing plenty of variety and imagination.
An interesting thing about the black metal on here, is that it actually has a pretty slick production. This of course is not a typical thing in black metal. Most works in the genre sound very raw, and for a good reason. It's just what works with the style. Antestor on the other hand, sound pretty clear, and it actually works well with their style. It's one of the few times that a good clean production really enhances black metal.
The Piano Songs:
These songs don't emphasize so much on the dark and majestic feeling that the black metal songs had. Instead, you get a great feeling of sadness and sorrow. The music is simply haunting. That's the only way to describe it. Unfortunately, there is one thing that kinda ruins the whole atmosphere of it. The vocalist decides to talk during these songs about sadness, and even prays in Norwegian. Honestly, his voice just does not m match the atmosphere. He seems to be expressing a slightly different mood than what the songs are trying to express, which just breaks the beauty of these songs. I wish they had maybe has some actual good clean vocals, or maybe even figured out how to work screams into this.
However, despite any issues with the spoken parts, the piano tracks are still very good. The vocalist usually stays quiet anyways, giving you time to absorb the beautiful orchestration of the whole thing. It's certainly contrasts against the black metal on this album, and it kicks ass!
Now then, having said what I think about these two separate parts of the EP, what do I think of the whole thing overall? I think it's pretty awesome. The piano songs and black metal songs flow together well. My only issue is that I wish there had been more black metal on this album. Only 2 out of 5 songs are actual black metal. Still, the whole thing is one dark and extreme beauty. I highly recommend it.
Originally posted on (http://biedrikheaviness.blogspot.com/)
Most EPs seem like small insignificant afterthought of the band; this EP however couldn’t be further away from that. Even though it is only five songs it marks significant changes in Antestor’s lineup, sound, and label. The first song called ‘Rites of Death’ is very fast and energetic. One thing that is notice able about this song is that the guitar has more to offer than just a couple of riffs, there is actually a solo which really shows that this guitarist has skill. It really pisses me off how in most black metal bands the entire song is just based on a couple of riffs. Here one can see that the band is taking more into account than just the guitar to shape the whole song. The next song ‘Grief’ is a sad sounding song with just keyboard and vocals. This is, in my opinion, the worst song on the EP, I think it would have been better if it was an instrumental, I guess I just find this song strange. Most of the time I really don’t like keyboard tracks but the third song ‘Last Season’ is an exception. This shows that the keyboardist has skill and knows how much keyboards should be used in black metal because in the two BM songs on this EP it is hardly noticeable that there are keyboards used. The fourth song ‘Med Hevede Sverd’
is another black metal song with some good riffs and like ‘Rites of Death’ has some excellent guitar playing, however his song is more riff-based. The keyboard has more of a keyboard part in it but it is not overdone. The last song which is the title track for this album sounds like a mix between ‘Last Season’ and ‘Grief’ its not that bad.
On an overview, this EP is very well written and very underrated. This shows what Antestor was about to do in their 2005 full-length ‘The Forsaken’. More black metal bands should be like Antestor and concentrate more on songwriting and playing their instruments well than hating Christians/Jews/Muslims or what have you. Antestor is a great band and their full-length is well worth buying.
Best songs: Rites of Death, Last Season, Med Hevede Sverd
Antestor play Christian “black metal” (or “unblack” metal”), which is reason enough for most of their probably-intended audience to summarily reject them, possibly while falling out of their chairs laughing. The notion of a group of Christians embracing a musical aesthetic whose entire evolution has been motivated by a hatred for Christianity seems… peculiar… at best. But if I’m going to bother to review this EP at all, I might as well take the music at face value. If the concept of a Christian black metal band is too self-contradictory to hold water, the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak.
So what does the music actually sound like?
Pretty much like a “secular” band. That’s what I was anticipating, but the full reality of it didn’t sink in until I actually listened to the music. The first track, which is the best of the bunch, is mostly straight-up Norwegian black metal, sounding a little like Immortal circa Battles in the North to me. The production is very good – very clean but suitable for this form of music – and the band is technically adept. Session drumming is provided by no less than Hellhammer (hilariously enough), so obviously there’s no problem there. There’s some brief clean singing and some clean guitars, but overall, there’s really no way to overemphasize just how much like ordinary black metal this song sounds. It’s not fantastic or original by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly very… competent. It’s utterly adequate. It's totally acceptable. It will, without a doubt, meet your absolute minimum expectations. I guess if the band's worst crime is aping a form of music they have no real grasp of, they're in the same boat as countless other "real" black metal bands, but nevertheless, this song is far from noteworthy.
The second track takes a severe turn for the worse. I think the best way to give the reader the gist of it would be to simply reproduce the lyrics in their entirety here:
Sometimes I cry in grief
Not for the dead that once surrounded me
Or for the sadness that comes to me
When I am lonely
But I cry
For those who have chosen a life without Christ
There are twelve months
Three hundred and sixty-five days a year
But it takes just one second to answer Him
And recieve eternal peace
Did you actually read all of that garbage or did you just quit out of boredom and disgust and skip ahead to this part of the review? If you can’t even stand to read those lyrics, imagine how horrible it would be to hear them read in a Norwegian accent in the most “melancholy” goth voice the singer can manage over a cheesy backdrop of synths and pianos right off of a new age relaxation tape. I’m convinced that making good music focused around a spoken word part is virtually untenable by definition, given how pretentious it inevitably sounds; doubly so for metal bands, given the fact that most metalheads have verbal skills roughly on par with a gorilla that’s been taught sign language; triply so when the lyrics rather unsubtly urge the listener to accept Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The incredible thing is that this song is actually even worse than I’m capable of describing in print. The band couldn’t possibly have done any worse if they’d deliberately set out to record something as aggravating as possible. Maybe Antestor were trying to give the unbeliever a taste of what Hell would be like, but if anything they went too far. Listening to this song will make an atheist of you: what kind of a God would allow this sort of abomination to exist?
Track three is in a similar vein, but at least there are no lyrics this time around. Skipping ahead, the fifth and final track is again all synth and pianos, this time with spoken word in Norwegian, which at least spares those of us who don’t speak the language the misery of listening to the vocalist mope about his omnipotent imaginary friend. If you haven’t been keeping track, this means that three out of the five tracks on this EP are neither metal nor the slightest bit good by the most creative stretch of the imagination.
Antestor did take the time to write one other metal song for this recording... well, sort of. The fourth song starts off mostly along the lines of the first, and then goes off the deep end into some unwelcome prog self-indulgence which has no apparent point in context. And in case you were worried there wouldn’t be enough maudlin synthesized piano parts on this album, there’s another one at the end of this song. Thank God!
I guess I would recommend this EP to two groups of people: 1) those who thought that the overwrought keyboard instrumentals on Dimmu Borgir’s Stormblåst were utterly brilliant and 2) those poor folks who are attracted to black metal’s extremity but wish the bands would write God-inspired lyrics and communicate (inculcate?) a more uplifting, Christ-based message. Now that I think about it, there’s probably a lot of overlap between those two groups. Well, you kids have fun, and God bless. If you’re not worried about the lyrics of the bands you listen to offending the all-powerful Creator of the universe whose existence must be accepted purely on faith, then you will probably not be interested in hearing this, as the quality varies between completely mediocre at best to embarrassingly stupid at worst.
But you probably could have figured that out for yourself, am I right?