Antestor (1990-2007, 2010-): a Unblack Metal band from Jessheim, Norway.
n 1990, the band that would become Antestor originally formed under the name Crush Evil by Lars Stokstad (a.k.a. Vemod; guitars and sung vocals) , Kjetil Molnes (other vocals), Øyvind Hope (bass) and Erling Jørgensen (a.k.a. Pilgrim; guitars) in Jessheim, Norway. Paul W. joined them as a drummer later on. Although Norwegian, their name is Latin and translates to English as "to call to witness" as in saying "the one who testifies" as in a court of law, for example. Credited for starting the northern European Christian black metal scene, Antestor is the only Christian band to have an album released by 'Cacophonous Records', a label who boasted such acts as Dimmu Borgir, Sigh, and Cradle of Filth. That release was their first full length official album, The Return of the Black Death in 1998. That album proved influential for the Christian black metal movement, and sold over 10,000 copies.
"Christian black metal", now there is a term filled with contradictions, often referred to as "unblack metal", "Christian black metal" is black metal boasting lyrics that praise the Christian God and the Christian Bible as opposed to the usual occult or blatant satanic lyrics often featured in standard black metal. In fact, during the late 1990s the band called their musical style "sorrow metal" rather than "black metal" because the black metal movement was publicly considered affiliated with Satanism in Norway. The very existence of this band, and the whole "unblack" movement, has since caused much debate and scorn in the black metal ranks.
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It was in 1993 that Vegard Undal joined as bassist, while Svein Sander became drummer; shortly after, they assumed the moniker Antestor.
Martyrium (1994) was supposed to be their first album release but the band members failed to finalize a contract with the label, nonetheless the tapes got released anyway as illegal bootlegs. In the end, this release would enable the band to grab a following to the point that after a promotional CD Kongsblod (1998), British label 'Cacophonous Records' stepped forward for the official first release, The Return of the Black Death (1998). Sure, it album was released, but being a secular label they demanded the band censor words like "Lord" and "Jesus", as well as changed the cover artwork of the album; secular, maybe, but the label was more than happy to release albums by the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth - they seemed more interested in the black metal sound rather than considering the content; this did not sit well with the band. Nonetheless, the album was well received by critics and black metal fans alike.
In 2000, Antestor signed to 'Endtime Productions'. The original vocalist Kjetil Molnes left. However, the breakup of fellow Norwegian christian metal band, Vaakevandring, led to several of those members joining Antestor, namely: Ronny Hansen (vocals) who adopted the new moniker Vrede, and Morten Sigmund Mageroy (a.k.a. Sygmoon) joined as keyboardist. Ann-Mari Edvardsen (ex-The Third and the Mortal), joined as female vocalist. This also marked the beginning of the act's use of 'corpse paint' masks as a part of their live shows and overall image. Martyrium (2000) would then be officially released.
The Defeat of Satan (2003), a compilation of their first two demos (The Defest of Satan (1991) and Despare (1993)), was then released. Soon after, drummer Svein Sander (a.k.a. Armoth) left; it would prove to be some time before they replaced him in 2005 for the release of the The Forsaken album in the form of Jan Axel Blomberg (a.k.a. Hellhammer) with Tony Kirkemo as the live session drummer.
Next, the EP Det tapte liv ("The Lost Life") arrived. This new release centered less on black metal and more on instrumental songs.
After three years of hiatus, they would return in 2010 under the refined membership of: bassist Thor Georg Buer (ex-Grave Declaration), guitarist Robert Bordevik (ex-Grievance, ex-Vardøger), drummer Jo Henning Børven (ex-Grave Declaration, ex-Morgenroede) and keyboardist Nickolas Main Henriksen (ex-Aspera, ex-Desdemon). Omen (2012) followed.
During the Belo Horizonte leg of the follow-up support tour for Omen, the band faced a protest organized by black metal/Anti-Christianity radicals who rejected the idea of a Christian black metal band performing in their city. Since the radicals had already been announcing their intentions via Internet, the local police knew of the planned protest and assigned one policeman in charge of 30 security guards to safeguard the security of the show. It got rowdy and at one point, the officer fired his gun into the air to control the rioters. A video posted on YouTube shows a group of radicals screaming "Fuck You Antestor!" outside the venue as the local police escorted the band members past them.
On April 12, 2015, guitarist Robert Bordevik announced his departure from the band.
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Thor Georg Buer and Lars Stokstad at Elements of Rock 2011.
Photo by: Lahminewski Lab
CC BY 4.0
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