Antestor is one of Norway's earliest unblack metal groups. In early years they played a raw form of death metal with the stylistic touches of Black Metal and Christian lyrics. Now Antestor plays melodic black metal with philosophical lyrics about faith and death.
They started their career during the start of Norway's "second wave of Black Metal", which led to them receiving much criticism from these bands, Mayhem in particular.Antestor is the only Christian band to have an album released by Cacophonous Records, which also released records by bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Sigh and Blood Storm, and was actually dropped from Cacophonous Records after the label discovered that Antestor held Christian beliefs.
Antestor (Latin for "call to witness" or "testify") formed in 1990 in Norway under the name "Crush Evil". They released two demos early in their career, and in 1994 they recorded their debut album, Martyrium, although not released until 2000.
They dubbed the style of their early work as "sorrow metal" rather than misapply the tag "black metal".The band is vocally Christian and over the course of their career have received serious death threats because of this.
Euronymous, the guitarist of the seminal black metal band Mayhem, once said, "The Militants of Norwegian black metal will force this band to split up." That never happened: Antestor was never forced to split apart and in an almost ironic twist of fate, the reputive Norwegian extreme metal drummer Jan Axel Blomberg (better known as Hellhammer, the drummer for Mayhem) was Antestor's session drummer on their latest two releases The Forsaken and Det Tapte Liv EP.
Their first demo was called The Defeat Of Satan. and contained three songs and an outro. The demo was originally released under their original band name "Crush Evil".Then came Despair, a self-released demo, which was released under the band name Antestor.
The demo starts with an intro and ends with a cover of an old Norwegian hymn, called Jesus, Jesus, Ver Du Hjå Meg ("Jesus, Jesus, Be With Me").Martyrium was their first full-length album, but was not actually released in 1994 due to problems with their record label.
However tape copies circulated in up to fifth generation copies and their audience grew fast. Antestor did not release a full-length album until 1998, when they released The Return of the Black Death on Cacaphonous Records.
The Return of the Black Death was actually dropped from Cacophonous Records after the label discovered that Antestor held Christian beliefs. Because of this, there are not many pressings of the album, and it is now rare.
It is still sold at some internet-based Christian underground music stores.However, The Return of the Black Death was well-received by both Christian and non-Christian black metal fans. Antestor was soon signed by Endtime Productions, a metal record label that also helped start the career of Extol.
In 2000, Endtime released Martyrium.Over the next several years, the band remained somewhat quiet; they did not release any more albums until 2003, when they re-released their two earliest demos on one CD, titling it The Defeat of Satan.
By then, they had replaced several of their members as well. Their original vocalist, Martyr, left the band, as did several others. Fortunately for Antestor, the breakup of another Christian metal band in Norway, Vaakevandring, led to several former Vaakevandring members joining Antestor.
Namely, Ronny Hansen, adopting the new moniker Vrede, became Antestor's new vocalist, and Morten Sigmund Mageroy (known in Antestor as Sygmoon) stepped in as the new keyboardist. Ann-Mari Edvardsen joined the band as a female vocalist.
The drummer, Svein Sander (in Antestor, Armoth), left the band during this time also, and Antestor would not find a new full-time drummer for several more years.In 2004, Antestor released their first set of new songs since The Return of the Black Death, in an EP called Det Tapte Liv ("The Lost Life").
Det Tapte Liv concentrated less on the black metal aspects of Antestor's style and more on instrumental songs. However, it did show that the band was preparing for their 2005 full-length, The Forsaken.
Hellhammer played all drums on both of these releases, with new drummer Tony Kirkemo joining the band later in 2005 as live session drummer. His participation on the recording session caused some controversy among metal press and black metal fans.
In an interview with the Russian metal site Metal Library on January 7, 2007, Blomberg says "To be honest, it was a big 'f— off!' to them all . I will repeat again that I decide what I do and I play not only in black metal groups.
" The band also asked Hellhammer to play live for them, but Blomberg refused. It was not a question about their beliefs, as Hellhammer explains: "In my opinion, black metal today is just music. I will tell you that neither I nor other members of Mayhem never really were against religion or something else.
We are primarily interested in music." Ronny Hansen commented on Blomberg's appearance:“ First of all Jan Axel "Hellhammer" is a total professional. He started up together with the secular scene and worse (laughs) but he doesn't care if it's secular or Christian.
He knew from the start what Antestor stands for. And maybe if we get the chance, we are more than willing to use him again. Cause his drumming is outstanding. I think that he is the very best drummer in the scene and we are just very lucky to have borrowed his brilliance.
Some of the members still play in Vaakevandring, who played a reunion gig 2007 together with Antestor at the Endtime Festival. Rumors that Antestor announced their disbandment at the March 31, 2007 Endtime Festival turned out to be false, they only stated that they're going on a hiatus in order to recruit some new members.
In 2009 Ronny Hansen announced that Antestor were looking for new members. By the middle of 2010 they had a band together who were writing songs and beginning to prepare for gigging once more.
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