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Antestor - The Return of the Black Death

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If you are looking for good, quality black metal, look no further.  Antestor's "The Return of the Black Death" is exactly what the Christian black metal scene needed. Antestor has created an album of music which they term "sorrow metal".  This fits well, as the songs are very sorrowful and dark.  Signed to Cacophonuous Records, Antestor is the first Christian black metal band besides Horde to be on a secular label. The band's atmospheric, shrill black metal sound is right up my alley.  Antestor's great use of keys and folk influences really add a lot to this release.  The guitar playing here will often get fast, but the speed of the songs themselves usually range from mid-paced to a slow doomy pace.  The guitars are also very mesmerizing at times.  Kinda puts you in a trance.  The atmospheric vocals are very well done.  A mix of a few clean spoken vocals add some variety.  It's also nice to hear a real drummer here and not a drum machine.  Of the 11 songs, only 4 are in English.  The rest are in their Norwegian tongue.  Not all of the songs have lyrics listed, whether English or Norwegian so that adds to the problem. However, the songs with English lyrics are very well written, so I assume that the rest are in the same vein.  The production isn't perfect, but is still quite good.  Better than albums by Sanctifica and Lengsel.  The artwork really stands out here.  This is probably my favorite album cover of all time. Very dark and haunting, which fits the somber music perfectly.  Best songs would be the very slow "Sorg", "The Bridge of Death", and "Battlefield".  They even have a really cool intro and outro.  You hear wind whistling with all kinds of other spooky noise and a man talking very softly in a low Norwegian voice.  Very cool!  I can't recommend this album enough for those of you into black metal.  This stuff is really good.  Yes, it was released in 1997, but don't let that stop you.  It's also better IMHO than their "Martyrium" release.  Get it now.  (Review by Matt) 

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