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Antzaat > The Black Hand of the Father > Reviews > Edmund Sackbauer
Antzaat - The Black Hand of the Father

Antzaat - The Black Hand of the Father - 90%

Edmund Sackbauer, July 25th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Immortal Frost Productions (Limited edition)

Working my way through a part of the Immortal Frost back catalogue I came to the conclusion that Belgium has some really talented bands to offer. One of the greatest finds not only of this label’s roster but when it comes to classic black metal in general has to be Antzaat, kind of a side project (?) led by Ronarg from Ars Veneficium (another bright example of the Belgian scene by the way). Their full length debut “For You Men Who Gaze into the Sun” has blown me away. Seldomly you come across a first long-player which is not only polished on the surface, but is able to keep the excitement high over 45 minutes running time. Based on that I had to check out their first EP “The Black Hand of the Father” as well. Half as long as the album it consists of five tracks, all between four and five minutes long. And spoiler alarm: Each of the five tracks is great.

Ronarg and his crew have perfected the craft of blending razor sharp, powerful guitar hooks and thunderous drumming with acerbic and nagging vocals that add a hellish quality to the music. Opener “Disciples of the Concrete Temple” impresses with a wonderful guitar melody and a nice mid-tempo groove which develops into some relentless blasting action along the way. On these first four minutes Antzaat have already established a great sound, which is in equal parts vicious and grandiose, laying some fairly strong foundations on which they further build the rest of the EP. As a result of being quite short there is no filler material and no long-winded introduction, just pure melodic blackened madness from start to finish.

While always staying within the boundaries of the genre’s traditional school of the second wave Antzaat know how to craft an engrossing slab of individualistic black metal that ties together the bands more savage and chaotic side with an enthralling and grandiose potpourri of melodic elements and a deep and brooding atmosphere. They always make sure that there is a composure within the songs which allows epic moments and calmer parts to entangle with the ravenous black hearted hostility and erosive intensity. The music is largely presented at breakneck speeds, but also very atmospheric in places and enhanced by some groovy mid-tempo passages, aided by a healthy dark melodicism and subtler highlights. Taking the most aggressive parts of the razor sharp delivery of the best of the mid-90’s black metal elite, Antzaat combine elements of some of the genre’s greats while being able to create their own trademark style.

Bands mainly being inspired by the traditional trademarks of the second wave have a special place in my heart and Antzaat have produced a piece of music that works wonders with these basic influences. Black metal these days often seems to often consist of the ultra-raw and minimal variety, post-influenced stuff for the elite or over the top symphonic approaches for a broader audience, or of exploring pastures new and only use black metal as their starting point. Bands that combine aggression with atmosphere in a classic and non-symphonic way while making use of the modern recording technics appear to be quite few and far between, which is another reason that Antzaat are such a fine listen. No compromises, no gimmicks, no nonsense - this stuff gets an absolute recommendation from my side.