Belgian black metal newcomers Antzaat are off the mark with a debut EP, released via Immortal Frost Productions on 25 September 2017 and reviewed here by Paul Castles
Belgium is starting to build a reputation for progressive black metal. Wiegedood have been flying the flag of late, but Antzaat appear willing and able to stake their claim to the Flemish dark throne with the release of this impressive debut EP The Black Hand of the Father.
A five-track offering, courtesy of the inspired team at Immortal Frost Productions, tracks such as ‘Disciples of the Concrete Temple’ and ‘Rite of the New Dawn’ are ice cold slabs of rasping black metal straight from the frozen vaults.
‘Disciples of the Concrete Temple’ is an explosive opener but one with thick layers of blackened riffage, superbly controlled and delivered with a blessing from the dark lords. ‘Rite of the New Dawn’ is another scorching song and when frontman Ronarg howls above a shower of blastbeats ‘Our limbs stretched, our bones mangled’ you almost feel the need to check your own arms and legs are still fully functional.
Antzaat inhabit the kind of bleak and barren terrain where nothing worthwhile lives and breathes. The Belgian quartet positively revel in it of course and the songs are attacked with relish, a surging tempo very much keeping things on the front foot. In fact you can almost detect a smirk from drummer Eenzaat as he detonates another bundle of blastbeats, each seemingly tumbling with more ferocity than the last.
Isaroth adds a deep foundation of frost with his bludgeoning bass strokes, while the rapier riffage provided by Nihil comes with its very own serrated edge. Nihil it is who completes the Antzaat jigsaw, the other three members having already been busy shaping this blasphemous beast of a band for the last couple of years.
By the time we get to the middle track ‘Circle of Leeches’ it feels as though there’s no stopping Antzaat who by now are fully into their stride, a commanding presence that throbs with confidence and competence. They’re not just playing at it. Within the wicked waves that smash through your speakers are cleverly placed peaks, allowing the mood to ebb and flow with a couple of dynamic solo cuts adding an additional layer of fire.
Aggression levels are sustained through the final couple of tracks, Ronarg’s tonsils tested to the max as ‘Hierarchy of the Battered’ builds deliciously to a crushing crescendo. The concluding title track includes a mid-song chug hefty enough to floor a sumo wrestler, and it’s good to see the Belgian warriors prepared to venture down a slightly different musical path. There’s more than one way to skin a rat and their debut album is one to look forward to. For now this EP will have to do. As it is, The Black Hand of the Father is a superb introduction to the world of Antzaat. It has a limited run of 500 copies, don’t hang about!
- Disciples of the Concrete Temple
- Rite of the New Dawn
- Circle of Leeches
- Hierarchy of the Battered
- The Black Hand of the Father