ANTESTOR - Kongsblod (CD)
ANTESTOR: Kongsblod is being released on April 20th. Pre-order now to be the first one to get it!
- 2018 Nordic Mission
- Jewel Case CD
- New, factory sealed
Norway’s metal scene in the early 90’s: During a time when other fellow countrymen and extreme metal fans were occupied with burning down churches and other criminal activities, even including murders, a small group of people with a totally different view of life’s destiny and purpose stood up. Even inspired by the musial aspect of their «brothers», the so-called black metal movement, these guys were ahead of their time. Hated by the scene and misunderstood by the church, ANTESTOR rehearsed in the underground surrounded by traditional Norwegian landscape to create a unique and atmospheric sound. Call it black metal if you like. Or «sorrow metal» which is perhaps a better description to the musical as well as the lyrical feeling on «Kongsblod». Recorded in 1997, and distributed as a promo to metal labels around the world which led to some contact with a certain black metal label, that ended up changing lots of vital elements from the original package as it was intended by the group themselves.
But here it is 20 years after; This masterpiece of soulful folk black metal re-released with extensive liner notes, original cover picture, logo, and uncensored lyrics.
From Metal Archives:
In 1997 Antestor went into Studio 5 in Oslo to create a new demo in the minimalist black metal style. Having previously explored heavier death/doom endevours, the band intended only to record some promotional material to display their potential. But after countless hours of production, Antestor had 57 minutes of material that what would go on to constitute one of the best (and highest selling) works of unblack metal lore. Though most well known via a heavily repackaged and edited 1998 album Return of the Black Death, Antestor’s breakthrough work is at its best in its original form - Kongsblod. And thanks to the record label Nordic Mission, a 2018 reissue grants us all of the artwork, censored lyrics, and overall presentation intended for its original release.
Opening with howling winds and a motif that will later return in the title track, the band kicks into classic Norwegian black metal on the band’s frigid interpretation of Psalm 71 “A Sovereign Fortress.” Throughout the album paper thin guitars create an arctic breeze via tremolo interval “blizzard riffs” in the higher registrars of the standard tuned guitar. This high treble static is elegantly balanced with minimalist keyboards (choirs, strings, and some piano) and a very present and audible bass. The bass and guitars work together efficiently within the confines of what was considered to be black metal riffing in 1997 and collectively manage to create a great deal of catchy and memorable moments. The vocals are well placed, wisely conservative (devoid babbling or rambling), and come across as dreadfully tormented. There isn’t much variety in tone, but there are some chants and some even singing (albiet buried deep in the mix).
Overall the music captures a feeling of times most ancient and most trying. The melodies are incredibly bleak and somber, and the dominant mid tempo blast beats weave seamlessly into the slower parts. Other moments are more aggressive and warlike, though things never get as fast as they probably should. The almost tribal ambient parts, coupled with cultic chants, do wonders in enhancing the mystery, fear, and danger that permeates the entire album.
It was truly a folly for Cacophonous Records to conceal the Christian theme of this work in their repackaged representation under the Return of the Black Death banner (the label notoriously censored the words “Lord” and “Jesus” in the lyrics sheet). The mournful atmosphere well captivates the persecution and torment reflected by the many martyrs who carried the faith in its earliest years. Still many people also connected with the album without knowing its true lyrical nature – a testament to the power of the sound. Given the band’s admitted rejection by both the black metal scene (for being Christians) and the Norwegian Christian community (understandably given Norwegian black metal’s history), Antestor has managed to masterfully captured a state of hopelessness that is both authentic and unique.
When appreciated in its true form can one finally acknowledge Kongsblod’s true place as one of the best extreme metal demos ever recorded. Now that it has seen finally seen a worldwide professional release with the correct title, correct lyrics, correct title track, and correct artwork (courtesy of Nordic Mission), this great work of Antestor can shine through in all its glory. The Nordic Mission release's linear notes documenting the band’s dealings with well known Norweigian musicians is a tremendous bonus and only does more to bolster this masterpiece. A must have for secular fans, but Christians looking for a lyrically satisfying alternative to Norway’s finest will find nothing more suitable.
2. A Sovereign Fortress
3. Svartedauens gjenkomst
5. The Bridge of Death
7. Kilden Lik En Endeløs Elv
10. Ancient Prophecy