Not so for Ronarg, guitarist and vocalist for Antzaat. Not only is he a talented musician (we already knew that from his work with fellow Belgian black metallers Ars Veneficium) but his skills with painting and drawing are very apparent as well, which resulted in some very striking cover art and an equally great logo. I find it very tasteful, both in its execution and the atmosphere it conjures up. Combined with the cool bandphotography and always decent layout of IFP’s house lay-outer Moornebheym, Antzaat already scores high points for putting some solid effort into presenting this EP. There are scores of bands who don’t even do that for a full album... And I haven’t even started listening..
The same kind of solid, decent craftsmanship can be found in the music as well. If you’ve read my reviews for some of the earlier IFP releases you know that I can ramble on about my appreciation and admiration of what IFP has already achieved and this Antzaat debut EP does ab-so-lute-ly nothing to change that view. It just further cements it. Antzaat (old Dutch for ‘hateful’ or ‘hostile’) jumps right out of the gate with ‘Disciples of the Concrete Temple’, delivering well-produced, catchy melodic black metal. Think Swedish school, think later half of the 1990’s. You know, Setherial, Dark Funeral, Marduk, the likes.. Brilliant melodic leads, a high blasting tempo throughout with some occasional mournful mid-temp parts, like the end of ‘The Black hand of the Father’ and the occasional ‘better start training those neck muscles because there’ll be some serious banging at that live show’ part. ‘Hierarchy of the Battered’ also shows that Antzaat is not afraid to ‘rock out’ resulting in a catchy-as-hell track. The lyrics are delivered with vitriol, energy and power, the production is clear, mastering and mix are top-notch. I’m struggling to find anything wrong with this album. Also, the EP format is perfect for this kind of black metal. Stretching this style to a full album of, say, 60 minutes you’d maybe expect some more diversity or intermissions to break up the album and prevent it from becoming tedious. But Antzaat breezes by in 22 minutes without ever becoming repetitive or boring.
All of this combined leads to yet the same conclusion I make with pretty much every IFP release. Antzaat delivers a solid, well-crafted beast of an EP. Fans of melodic (Swedish) black metal have another gem to add to their collection. And Belgium has another quality addition to the ever growing black metal scene.