ReviewsAfsky - Om hundrede år (Vendetta Records)

Afsky – Om hundrede år (Vendetta Records)

Single member projects have become a norm, and is an awe-inspiring feat to accomplish. Black metal is a genre that breeds a sizable number of such musical endeavors. One particular project that has had a large impact personally is Denmark’s Afsky. Being attracted to melancholic and emotive music, Ole Pedersen Luk’s weighty atmospheric depressive black metal has always struck a chord, from the original self titled EP up to now. With that considered, his third full-length Om hundrede år (Danish for In a hundred years) was highly anticipated.

Most impressive about Afsky is an innate ability to make the listener feel the music, and we’re not just talking about lightning fast tremolo picking and rumbling drum fills (of which there’s plenty). That euphoric sensation when a combination of notes touches your inner being and becomes more than just another album to consume. We’re sure that feeling isn’t foreign to our dear readers, as it certainly isn’t for this scribe. Afsky accomplish that feat with intricate and meaningful songwriting, with a modicum of similarity to acts such as Wolves in the Throne Room and fellow Danes Sunken, but with an unmistakably unique identity.

Sorrowful acoustic guitars fittingly introduce “Stormfulde hav,” before a wave of sharp, mid-paced tremolo picked guitars emphasize the established mood. The weight of the bass gives the track a sense of place, while further acoustic guitars are layered beautifully with massive floods of distorted leads. Running smoothly like a river in the deep forest, the song ebbs and flows without missing a moment. Ending like it began, an artful acoustic medley serves as a transition to the pained shriek that begins “Frosne vind.” This is somewhat more direct with a quickened pace in many sections, while not sacrificing the forlorn atmosphere.

“Tak for alt” boasts a lead/rhythm guitar combination that mixes together to form a singular crushing aura, along with the most despair-laden vocal performance of Om hundrede år. The bridge located at the midpoint serves as a well-placed transition, leading into a soaring finish to top off the most dazzling song on the recording. Momentum is continued on “Det der var” with loads of swift alternate picking, along with multitudes of varying guitar tonality smoothly capturing each mournful turn. Medieval harpsichord sounds introduce “Tid,” fleshing out to be a straightforward old school black metal piece, but not without foreboding gloominess. Sixth and final track “Fred være med støvet” serves as a downcast yet slightly brighter tune, accentuated with ambient pieces and smooth transitional sections that connect everything that came before.

Without a doubt Afsky’s most daring and fulfilling journey, Om hundrede år is a melancholic cloud of heartfelt agony which will stick deep within the listener’s psyche. Ole Pedersen Luk continues to capture his unique brand of depressive black metal with a meticulous songwriting panache, coupled with natural ability to portray emotion that few have mastered to this level. Light a candle and take this one in, as this is music meant to be savored.

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