Review by Vladimir on April 7, 2023.
Norwegian Black Metal! Just when you thought you’re practically done for a while, you quickly realize that you can’t get enough of it really, and why should you. Here I am back with more “norsk black metal”, this time focusing on one of the most underappreciated Norwegian black metal bands which has been around since the 90’s, and that band is none other than Tulus. Tulus isn’t exactly one of the most talked about bands in the Norwegian black metal scene and it’s quite an unfair treatment in my opinion, since their style is comprised of very simplistic, catchy and “back to basics” approach to black metal without adding too much fancy stuff here and there, except of course for female vocals, acoustic sections, trumpets, pianos, keyboards added to their songs, but still not too fancy if you ask me, which mostly keeps everything on a modest level. If you ever wondered why anybody should care a slight bit about this band despite being so underrated, I would like to note that Horna (Finland) listed Tulus as one of the main reasons they formed the band, so I wouldn’t so easily underestimate them. Tulus released their seventh full-length album Fandens Kall on February 17th, 2023, via Soulseller Records. Soulseller Records from Amsterdam is a label which has a solid roster of great bands you might have heard of such as Ancient, Khold, Sarke, Tramalizer and more.
The title track 'Fandens Kall' kickstarts this album and from the very moment we’re greeted with fast tremolo picking black metal with a slower section, where Blodstrup’s very iconic nasty and harsh singing vocals join along as well. The second track 'Lek' has a very memorable chorus which slows the song’s tempo but the instruments and the vocals suddenly stop for a brief second before continuing to play, and then repeats the same formula later. Tracks 'Slagmark', 'Isråk' and 'Sjelesmerte' provide us some catchy rock ‘n roll riffing and mid-tempo drumming with nasty grooves that are immensely pleasing for fanatics of this style incorporated in any metal subgenre. 'Sjelesmerte' also adds beautiful female vocals by Lena Fløitmoen to double-bass drumming sections which nicely shift everything to a different mood, without stray far away in my opinion. 'Samuelsbrenna' and 'Barfrost' throw in some nice acoustic sections as well, but it’s important to note that these acoustic sections are simple and do not forcefully aim for a fancy approach with slides and other gizmos (because no psychopath would sit and slide as Sarke said). Tulus always kept everything to a minimum and successfully maintained that for so many years, which is a rare case of a band staying true to their sound. All songs on this album are comprised of their signature tremolo and rock ‘n’ roll style riffs, walking bass lines, catchy drum grooves and nasty singing vocals by Blodstrup. Tracks on Fandens Kall have a quite short length, roughly around 3-4 minutes and sometimes less than that, which is typical for Tulus ever since the early days. The overall length doesn’t kill the mood and will certainly not prevent you from enjoying the songs as they are, because they manage to wrap everything together into a nice musical piece where you’re able to absorb the songs without bothering to pay too much attention to every detail you’re hearing. The sound production is also quite solid and everything sounds organic, from the drums all the way to the guitars and vocals, which is not surprising for a band such as Tulus that always insisted on keeping that live feeling in their music.
Fandens Kall is a pretty solid and enjoyable album, and also another nice addition to Tulus discography, which was to be expected from them. The mischievous trio manages to keep the wheels rolling and so far, nothing is stopping them from being more alive and rebellious than ever before. If you’re a black metal fan, but you’re not familiar with Tulus, I suggest you listen to their earlier stuff first and then check out their latest album Fandens Kall, it definitely won’t disappoint you if you managed to fall in love with their overall sound.
Rating: 8.4 out of 10386