The black metal world is awash in negativity, which might be the most obvious sentence I’ve ever written, here or anywhere. It’s a cold, callous place, and there are segments that are even more poisonous politically that aren’t even worth getting into right now. Basically, it’s not a place where one should go for solace, as it simply doesn’t exist.
That said, Ole Luk isn’t a typical black metal musician, and his Afsky project isn’t one that does things based on any rules, written or unwritten. For Afsky’s third record “Om hundrede år” (translated means in 100 years), he decided to eschew negativity and cynicism and instead tried to celebrate life and the more positive aspects of existence. That’s a bold move in this day and age when so much of our lives feel heavy and oppressive, but hearing these six tracks and 43 minutes does make you think differently. It explodes with an exuberance not often heard in black metal, and if you walk from “Om hundrede år” still obscured in darkness, you might want to consider the path you’re on.
“Stormfulde hav” is the 7:51-long opener, and the lush acoustics that greet you soon are bombarded by heavy melodies and a wealth of riffs, cascading and swimming, the harsh cries carving into your mind. The playing gushes hard, spilling emotion and energy generously, the guitars rising into a gazey fire, shrieks raining down before everything ends in calm. “Frosne vind” sparks with storming riffs and vocals that make your brain go into overdrive, overwhelming all of your senses. Drums crunch as wild wails spill over, doubling the force, infectious playing making everything seem that much more exciting. Raucous fire begins to rush, howls pierce the sky, and a clobbering tempo becomes more prominent, fading off into the distance. “Tak for alt” opens in clean guitars flowing before anguished wails strike, and the pace bleeds back and forth from forceful to calm and back again. The riffs engorge as massive hazy power swells, crushing boundaries and gushing openly, flooding hearts and minds with energy.
“Det der var” delivers stinging guitars and pummeling force, howls striking with precision, later turning to sharpened shrieks. The piercing vocals remain and work with guitars that continue to bloom anew, gut-wrenching quaking that tears you apart, and finally spacious coldness that freezes your cells. “Tid” dawns with a chambery feel before the riffs kick in, and it’s not long before everything erupts. Shrieks storm around bends as a gloomier pace arrives, and the guitars explode with splintering strength, hammering and disappearing over the horizon. Closer “Fred være med støvet” quivers as it enters, and then riffs unload, the vocals crushing with equal force. A brief calm comes in and sets your mind at ease, but it’s temporary as lightning is boiling in the sky. The guitars explode as the vocals gush, the toll is emotionally draining, and things finally relent, washing away and leaving a beaten path behind.
You likely can count on one hand the amount of black metal records that feel positive and don’t dwell in the worst possible elements of society, but most bands aren’t Afsky. “Om hundrede år” is another powerful statement from Luk and this project, and there’s nary of moment on this record that doesn’t lift you up and help you feel something good for a change. This is music we could use a little but more of, and in such a dark and foreboding terrain as black metal, Afsky stand out as a force showing a different way to do things.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/afskymusic/
To buy the album, go here: https://vendettarecords.bigcartel.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://vendetta-records.com/