Album Review: Tulus – Old Old Death 7.8 (Black Metal)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Tulus
  • Old Old Death
  • Black Metal
  • Norway
  • March 6, 2020
  • 7.8/10

This is the first Tulus LP in eight years and they are coming back fully loaded. In that down time they formed the band Khold so they weren’t completely without practice. Now they’ve returned to their original project with this new album Old Old Death and I gotta say, it starts off with a lot more pep in their step than I was expecting, many of these riffs would be just as fitting on a blackened speed metal record. Modern black metal albums have a tendency to take too long starting up but not Tulus, they’re bringing the noise up front. The first impression from the artwork on the cover nails it. It’s a fantastic blending of castles, cosmos, forests, bats and a skull. You always expect one of these things on a black metal cover but all of them? They’ve cornered the market. 

This album is very much telling a story with every aspect of it’s sound, I just wish I understood the language it is being performed in. I don’t have access to the lyrics but it’s an interesting note that the band has a “fourth member”: Vocalist/Guitarist Blodstrup’s wife, Hildr, who writes all lyrics for both Tulus and Khold. There’s a very chorusy method to the instruments and vocals, they work in harmony to produce a compelling plot like beats and build up towards glorious peaks. It’s hard to qualify this album to a specific kind of black metal, in my opinion it successfully brings something newish to the table without totally upsetting the status quo. It’s a solid album that will feel familiar yet resonate as outlandish. It has its own voice, rather than echoing that same handful of influences.

The bass plays a prominent role and can always be heard rolling beneath the riffs and drums with little moments made just for it to shine. The bass player is actually a new addition to the lineup and has evidently had a huge impact on the overall sound of the album. With a trio, each member has to have a strong presence and know what they are doing. Such is the case here, the track list is just banger after banger, each with their own distinct vibe that ultimately leads to more coherent headbanging and moon howling. It’s a great middle ground between crowd pleasing riffs and a wistfulness that embodies the dark spirits. 

Tulus: Bandcamp / Facebook

In Memoriam is my favorite track and it’s the finale. Which is the case for me a lot huh? I guess I just really enjoy a good ending. They brought every bit of energy exuded throughout the album for this track as if it weren’t depleted even a bit. Black metal in particular is a genre where I’m kinda sick of the album by the end of it due to many bands rolling with overdone gimmicks or time wasting ambience – so when a band can wrap it all up neatly, I really appreciate it.


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