Sunday, November 1, 2020

Full Length Review: Antzaat "For You Men Who Gaze into the Sun" (Immortal Frost Productions) by Dave Wolff

Band: Antzaat
Location: Heist-op-den-Berg, Antwerp
Country: Belgium
Genre: Black metal
Format: Digital album, jewel case CD (limited to 1000 copies), black vinyl (limited tom 122 copies), transparent royal blue vinyl (limited 10 111 copies)
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Release date: October 30, 2020
It’s the day after Halloween, it’s getting longer between sunset and sunrise, and the chill between autumn to winter is intensifying. A fitting time to listen to Antzaat’s new release. This is the band’s first full length and the follow up to their 2017 EP “The Black Hand of the Father.” “For You Men Who Gaze into the Sun” is grating black metal that dispenses winter windstorms that numb your flesh while they expedite an indefinite hibernation. There isn’t much divergence from the material of their EP, and sounds like members of Ancient and Marduk formed a side project and recorded in the coldest, darkest night of 1995. Black metal releases always seemed to have that extra appeal when recorded under those conditions or recorded under a full moon. It might be the full moon in the sky this Halloween, but the eagerness and conviction feels the same way. “For You Men…” is almost like a ritual devoted to all things 90s black metal. Complete with a (satanic) church-like organ introduction that feels sacred to the band, its’ one of 2020’s blackest masses, far removed from anything resonating of peace and tranquility. I find myself wondering how an album this caustic and extreme could come from Belgium, a country described as one of the world’s most peaceful. But keeping in mind the occult overtones of this album, and the paganistic/folkish sensibility of the songs, I can associate them with Belgian pre-Christian/pagan traditions, folklore and mythology (of which I knew little before seeking out material on it) and it gives me a little more perspective on the subject. In keeping with black metal’s spirit, “For You Men…” is proficient, archaic and proleptical, not to mention frenetic, acrimonious and scornful toward the suppression of any nation’s cultural history. Without losing its ritualistic edge, the songs cleave and crosscut you like decay-hardened fingernails raking your face and drawing copious amounts of blood. They may be more straightforward in their influence compared to the subgenres the EP draws from, but they remain as steady and unforced in their delivery. There is even some ambiance similar to Darkness Enshroud and Black Funeral to complement the semi-classical guitars. A black metal album that was cult before black metal was “kvlt,” “For You Men…” is essential listening for all its historical significance. Supplies are limited as they say so if you’re interested order a copy today. –Dave Wolff

Ronarg: Vocals, lead guitars
Nihil: Rhythm guitars
Isaroth: Bass
Eenzaat: Drums

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Between the Beginning and the End
3. For You Men Who Gaze into the Sun
4. Crown of Concrete
5. Through the Eyes of a Rotten Mind
6. Radiant Fire
7. Veil of Darkness
8. Man Made Flesh Made God Machine
9. And This Day Shall Come Again

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