Antestor is a Christian extreme metal band formed in 1990 in Jessheim, Norway. The group is credited for starting the whole northern European Christian extreme metal scene with their 1991 demo The Defeat of Satan.
They released two demos early in their career, and in 1994 they recorded their debut album, Martyrium. They dubbed the style of their early work as "sorrow metal" rather than as black metal, because they mourned the fact that most of Scandinavia's extreme metal subculture was deeply involved in Satanism.
The Defeat Of Satan was their first demo, containing three songs and an outro. The demo was originally released under their first band name "Crush Evil". The band is Christian and has received serious death threats because of this. Euronymous from Mayhem once said "The Militants of Norwegian blackmetal will force this band to split up" which has not happened, and Hellhammer was eventually their session drummer.
Despair was their first self-released demo, and 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."
Martyrium, their first full-length, but was not actually released on a wide scale in 1994 due to problems with their record label. 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 Christian metal record label that also helped start the career of Extol. In 2000, Endtime re-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. 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. Jan Axel Blomberg, better known as Hellhammer, was Antestor's session drummer on those two releases. A new drummer, Tony Kirkemo, joined the band later in 2005.
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