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I believe that Antestor is, sadly, one of the most underrated black metal bands of our time. Even though their music is compelling, dark, emotional, and brutal, they are overlooked simply because of their Christian faith. If people would look beyond the ideology and truly listen to the flawless composition of The Forsaken, they would understand that all that truly matters is the music.
The album starts off with solo Celtic female vocals for a duration of nearly thirty seconds, on the track Rites of Death. After the intro, Hellhammer’s signature drum sound adds to the beauty of all the tracks on the album, including the first. The vocals are also done very cleanly, and add to the overall “blackened” feel of the music.
The next few tracks are all done amazingly well, with the usage of classical synth sounds to add a symphonic element that moves the album steadily along. Unlike many modern symphonic black metal acts, Antestor never overdoes the keyboards parts or the choral elements which play along so beautifully with the music.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this album is the guitar work. As a guitarist, I can identify the patterns that are used by both Vemod and Bjorn. With minor chords played up high and barred, the looming feeling of sadness and doom, along with a sense of suspense and brutality, is felt the entire time.
The lyrical content is very compelling, even though it is Christian. The catchiness of many of the lyrics in songs such as “Old Times Cruelty” and “The Crown I Carry” resembles the patterns and vocal techniques used by such popular acts as Immortal and Dimmu Borgir. This is one of many reasons that I enjoy listening to this album often. The pacing of the songs is done very well, using a mix of both symphonic instrumental songs and fast-paced black metal songs.
Even if you are a Satanist or an Atheist, I would not suggest denying this band a fair listen simply because of their beliefs. In my opinion, they are one of the greatest Norwegian black metal bands of today, and their albums will always remain a legacy that upholds their talent.