Hailing from Denmark, Afsky has been making quite a name for themselves in their homeland as well as the black metal scene. 2018’s debut album Sorg was well received and that momentum only continued onwards into 2020’s excellent follow-up Ofte jeg drømmer mig død. Now, years removed from their last offering, Afsky has changed course to pursue a much more intimate endeavor.
2022’s I stilhed may be a step away from the expected black metal sound, but the presented atmosphere certainly feels familiar and on par with their previous releases. Drawing from their traditional Nordic folk roots showcases that not only can these Danes deliver exceptional black metal, but their acoustic composition skills are absolutely sensational. While acoustic passages are not foreign to Afsky’s sound as they have made brief, yet impactful, appearances on both Sorg and Ofte jeg drømmer mig død, it is a very welcomed decision for them to release an EP that strictly focuses on this side of their songwriting.
I stilhed brings back memories of Ulver’s landmark record Kveldssanger. The mood is somber, almost desolate, yet there are moments of hope and passages of uplifting chord progressions and beautiful melodies. It was very easy for me to get lost in this record without realizing it was on repeat. The songwriting on display is very mature and well crafted. I truly enjoy the idea of taking the acoustic passages from previous records, giving them their own spotlight and then adding in new pieces to compliment them. I definitely hope that some day Afsky consider pursuing an album of strictly newer acoustic pieces.
Even though this EP is only a collection of previously written pieces with only a few new inclusions and it’s running time is considerably short at 19 minutes long, it is truly a beautiful release and the impact of that is not lost. Afsky show that even though their main focus is on creating powerful black metal, they can also create powerful and soothing compositions away from a hidden wall of distortion.