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Antestor’s latest full-length release The Forsaken is an absolutely stunning display off black metal. It has all the qualities that a great album should, dark atmosphere, raw emotion, brutality, beautiful melodies, flawless musicianship, and intelligent thought provoking lyrics. However they are still sadly one of the most underrated black metal bands around. Many people don’t even know of their existence, and many hate them because of their Christian beliefs. I find it really sad and pathetic that people can never seem to look beyond the ideology of great bands and here the music for what it is, amazing black metal.
Antestor has changed their sound once again which is not a bad thing. This change could in part be because of their new members and the influence of their former band Vaakevandring. They are always seeming to evolve but never lose their greatness and overall feel which is dark sorrowful metal. As fans of Antestor know their earlier works The Defeat Of Satan (originally recorded under their first name Crush Evil), and Despair were death/doom metal. They changed their style with their first full-length album Martryium to what they called “sorrow metal” which was black metal, but still had death metal songs and a doom metal feel which has always stuck with them. Martyrium is a legendary album in the Christian metal scene, being that it was one of the first ever Christian black metal albums (along with Horde’s Hellig Usvart). Their next full-length The Return of the Black Death was more of a raw black metal sound, but still melodic with a doom metal feel. It reminded me of older Dimmu Borgir, and Satyricon, but also had a Burzum, and DarkThrone feel to it. And know The Forsaken a melodic atmospheric black metal masterpiece with folk and doom metal incorporated into it as well.
The album begins with Rites of Death which is the only song from the EP Det Tapte Liv (The Lost Life) which is included in the full-length. The mix of this song is also different then that of the EP. The album begins with female clean vocals before it kicks into high gear with the brilliant guitars, stunning black metal vocals, and the furious drumming of none other then Hellhammer (Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus). The Forsaken also offers great synths and some clean folk and doom vocals as well. Every track on this album is done exceptionally well. The synths are incredible using classical sounds and what I would call atmosphere enhancers to their full ability. Though they do not over kill their music with them like many bands of this day and age seem to do. Instead they use keyboards to add beautiful elements to their music. The guitars are very well done both melodic and brutal adding a sense of overall sadness and doom. All this raw emotion is felt throughout the entire album. The solos are very original and technical and just add to the greatness that is Antestor. The drums... Well only one word is needed to tell any true black metal fan how amazing they are and that word is Hellhammer. The vocals are incredible I would go as far as saying Vrede is perhaps the best black metal vocalist of this time. His screams are haunting but also very understandable. The lyrics are thought provoking and compelling whether you are Christian or anti-Christian. Every aspect of this album is just absolutely perfect. Overall this album is a perfect epic assault on your ears. Highlights are Rites of Death, Old Time’s Cruelty, Via Dolorosa, Betrayed, and As I Die. I would strongly recommend this album to any fan of black metal especially to fans of Immortal, Dimmu Borgir, and Old Man’s Child. Whether you are Christian, Satanic, Atheistic, Pagan, or whatever just look beyond the stereotypes and listen to the music for what it is exceptional black metal.