Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Music Review - Antestor -The Return of the Black Death

Antestor's The Return of the Black Death is often hailed as the definitive black metal album by the Christian metal realm; while I don't agree with this completely I do certainly think it's one of the better albums that has ever come out of the Christian metal world and probably one of the better albums in this genre.

TROTBD is heavily influenced, at least in my mind, by Satyricons Masterpiece Dark Medieval Times. Raw but not really lo-fi, medieval but not folk and a gloomy and even depressing atmosphere at times. A lot of the music sounds similar between the two as well, from the drumming to the vocals and while the two do share similarities, TROTBD is definitely it's own album. The atmosphere is slightly less medieval and more oppressing here; I'd even say at times it becomes suffocating. While there's nothing really mind-blowing in terms of musical playing here this is a very well put together album from an atmospheric standpoint. The drums stick to pretty simple fast/slow patterns, keyboards provide an excellent backdrop for the guitars to wander and the vocals really tie it all together. The vocals, by Martyr, feature less of the extreme low guttural bellows from previous albums and much more black metal-esque screams and shrieks.

To elaborate on a point above, this isn't a technical masterpiece at all, nor does it have inhumanly fast drumming or guitar work. This is pure atmospheric black metal with some folkish/medieval touches. From the catchy "Sovereign Fortress" to the depressing dirge "Sorg" to the more uplifting "Kongsblod" and the chord-driven "Ancient Prophecy" this album oozes with a atmosphere that brings to mind the plague after which the album is named. If you want good, dark mood music, look no further.

While not the pinnacle of Christian black metal this is certainly one of the strongest albums from that realm as well as being one of the better pieces of atmospheric black metal out there. Dark but not overwhelming, oppressing but not crushing and bleak but with a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, The Return of the Black Death is an album I recommend to every fan of extreme metal.


  1. Definitely a review of sharing something I might not have heard on my own. Opening one's eyes to newness is always a good thing.

    An honor to stumble over here today.

  2. I certainly agree; finding new things is always a good experience. I hope you check out this album, if you do, let me know what you think:)

  3. I discovered this album a few months ago and have really enjoyed it. You say that Antestor is not the pinnacle of Christian black metal so I assume you know some other bands. Can you recommend some? I really like the dark /medieval sound of this album.

  4. Well right off the bat let me say that I do believe Antestor is the BEST Christian black metal, just not on this album. Their best album is The Forsaken which I also reviewed.

    As for recommendations:
    Slechtvalk, classic medieval/black metal.

    Crimson Moonlight, ultra fast, ultra brutal black/death metal

    Vardoger, terrific folkish/mediaval black metal


    Winterkou, good raw black metal