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Pretty Good! - 89%

Biedrik, April 5th, 2010

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.

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