Mar 312023

Recommended for fans of: (early) Ulver, Panopticon, Wolves In The Throne Room

Well, I promised you two Synn Reports this month, and I always (well, sometimes) keep my promises.

So here’s a little extended feature about Afsky, the solo-project of one Ole Pedersen Luk, whose music – rich in rugged sonic textures and raw, unfiltered emotion – errs more towards the “atmospheric” side of the Black Metal spectrum, while still possessing a sense of primal power and passionate urgency that runs deep through each and every track.

Equal parts melancholic and majestic, and infused with sombre folk influences that add a brooding, soulful edge to each of the band’s albums – all three of which I’ll be talking about here today, while leaving their two EPs (their self-titled 2015 debut and their 2022 acoustic release, I stilhed) for you to discover on your own time – this is Black Metal that you really feel, right down in the marrow of your bones.

Continue reading »

Mar 192023

Old Forest

I often rely on the recommendations of friends in deciding how to spend my listening time, and then deciding what to recommend to you. I like rooting around myself, like a truffle-sniffing pig, but after pouring a fair amount of time into yesterday’s big roundup I wasn’t left with a lot of sniffing and rooting time, and therefore took my lead from friends for much of what’s coming below. They didn’t let me down, and hopefully I won’t let you down with these choices either.


I had to start today’s collection with a new song by Old Forest because I found it so immediately captivating. I’m not steeped in the band’s extensive discography (seven albums and a bunch of shorter releases going back to 1998), but Neill Jameson is, and he introduced Decibel’s premiere of the song last week with a brief history.

The new track, “Master of Arachnids”, is from a forthcoming album named Sutwyke, which Neill lauded as “easily the band’s best full length since their phantasmagoric re-materialization” in 2008 following a long hiatus: “Taking elements from all eras of their discography (including the clean vocals, though somewhat more subdued) this is also their most jet-black record showing that there is still plenty of (un)life in these bones”.

Well, that was more than enough temptation to dive into “Master of Arachnids”. Continue reading »

Jan 062021


On Monday of this week when I began the rollout of this list I noted that there were only 11 songs in my massive list of candidates that received more than two nominations among the sources from which I compiled it. Two of those, both of which were on my own personal list, are among the three in this Part of the list. The third one (which I’ve put in the middle of this threesome) is also tremendously good, drawn from an album that has received a lot of completely deserved acclaim.


In his review my friend Andy proclaimed Selbst’s Relatos de Angustia one of the best black metal albums of the year (an opinion with which I completely concur). He later added it to his year-end list of Great Albums, and it also took the No. 4 spot on the year-end list by our friend Johan Huldtgren of Obitus. And of course those aren’t the only year-end lists I’ve seen which anointed it in similar fashion (I found it on five of our reader lists, and on many others scatted about the web). Continue reading »

May 182020



(Andy Synn wrote each of the three reviews collected in this post, singing the praises of the new albums by Afsky (Denmark), Odraza (Poland), and Uprising (Germany).)

Black, as we all know, is the best colour.

It’s slimming, effortlessly classy, and goes with pretty much everything. Which I guess is why Black Metal fans are renowned as the sexiest, suavest-looking motherfuckers on the planet…

All joking aside, while conventional wisdom and common consensus seems to be that 2020 has, thus far, been a big year for Death Metal, it’s also been a banner year for Black Metal too, and I’ve already written about several absolutely stunning entries to the canon (for example, here, here, here, and here) that will doubtless end up on many year-end lists.

Well, now I’m about to add three more contenders for the crown to those lists, with the new albums from Afsky (DK), Odraza (PL), and Uprising (DE). Continue reading »

Apr 172020


The second full-length album by the Danish black metal band Afsky is entitled ofte jeg drømmer mig død, which translates to ”often I dream myself dead”. The songs are based on a number of old Danish poems and texts by artists such as H.C. Andersen, Jeppe Aakjær, and Emil Aarestrup, and could be viewed, at least in part, as a tribute to a history of Danish lyricism and poetry.

The cover image for the new album is a painting by H.A.Bredekilde named “Udslidt”, which means “worn out”. We’re told that Afsky selected the painting because it “fits well with several of the selected texts for the record, which are precisely about the little man, who must work until he dies, for the higher classes in society”.

Consistent with the lyrical inspirations and that attention-grabbing cover art, there are also qualities in the music of Afsky that are poetic, even elegant in their own way, and also deeply sad. Yet as you’ll discover in listening to the song from the album we’re premiering today — “Tyende Sang” — there is also tremendous visceral power in the music as well as turbulent emotional intensity and sweeping melodic grandeur. Continue reading »

Mar 052018


Sorg is the debut album of the Danish black metal band Afsky, and it is a penetrating and devastating exploration of varying shades of sorrow. It will be released on CD and digitally by Vendetta Records on March 9, with a vinyl edition scheduled for April 7 — but we have a full stream of the album for you now.

For those who may be new to Afsky, it is the solo project of Ole Luk, who is also a member of the Danish black metal band Solbrud. Fittingly, the name he chose for this project means “disgust” or “detest” in Danish, though as you’ll discover, the emotional resonance of the music embraces other powerful feelings as well. Continue reading »