Occasionally I'll stumble upon a band that I not only enjoy musically, I find them interesting on a personal level. Antestor are such a band.
Now, I tend to separate religious ideas from musical choices. Christian metal seems to be one of those hot topics of discussion that every metalhead has their own ideas about, and I've got mine as well. That's not what this post is about, though, so I'm not going to get into a theological dissemination right now.
The reason I brought up religion is that it plays a big role in what I find interesting about Antestor. These guys were founded in Norway in 1990, changed their name to Antestor in 1991, started releasing demos, and put out their first full-length album in 1994. There they were, at the height of the Norwegian black metal movement, recording Christian death/doom metal in Norway. Evidently they received death threats from several of the more extreme members of the church burning scene (including musicians). This is perhaps why they didn't release another album for four years. They then disappeared from the recording scene until they returned in 2004 with an EP and an intriguing new member: Jan Axel Blomberg. Blomberg, of course, is better known as Hellhammer, the drummer for Mayhem and a man who has played with seemingly every black metal musician in Europe at one point or another. For him to join a Christian metal band was, to say the least, surprising.
The band itself had also made an interesting stylistic change. Rather than their death/doom sound with scattered clean vocals, their 2005 full-length The Forsaken is a phenomenal melodic black metal record. It's so good, in fact, that I've even heard numerous hardcore anti-Christian black metal fans praise the album. They have not officially split up, but in the seven years since that record came out Antestor have not released so much as a split single or a demo track. That album may be the final stop on their idiosyncratic musical journey. On the one hand, it would be interesting to see more material from this band. On the other hand, ending on this triumphant note may be the perfect conclusion to their story.