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Taken For What it is... and Nothing More - 71%

Ergonal, April 13th, 2015

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".