Evil 1999 (Hammerheart)
by Paul Lee
I love getting black metal that’s sung in Norwegian. The lyrics could be completely inane, but I wouldn’t know it and I’m not about to buy a Norwegian dictionary, so I can focus on the music at hand. Tulus are obviously proud of their Nordic heritage and play raw, classic black metal with plenty of traditional metal influences. Their sound ranges from Mayhem to Satyricon to Darkthrone and even some Helmet, for Christ’s sakes! Also mixed into their stew are classic thrash and death metal flavors.
In their other incarnation, Tulus are the hired axes for fellow Norwegian Galder and his killer band, Old Man’s Child. Certainly Galder’s influence is felt on Evil 1999, but what makes Tulus so kick-ass is that they meld their influences by adding some novel twists. The bass player takes a very prominent part in the sound with a Helmet-like thud in the crunch of “Draug,” which also breaks down into a mellow, almost bluesy section. I love the guitar, drums, and keys in black metal, but thank God a bass player is getting to show his meddle in the metal. The song “Sjel” starts off with an almost jazzy riff, and pace that again smacks of Helmet. I’ve never heard a black metal track like it.
Dissecting the elements of Tulus’ excellence is hard, but it must be their unique approach and pure passion for black metal that elevates them to a higher plane. Evil 1999 is, by far, one of the most deadly releases to come out of Norway this year, and one of my favorites. According to the bio, Tulus has released another CD on Hot Records (owned by one of the guys in Dimmu Borgir). You must have this disc if you truly hunger for black or any sort of European dark metal.
(PO Box 277, 6300 AG, Valkenburg, Holland)