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TULUS Fandens Kall


Album Review: TULUS Fandens Kall

10 Reviewer

Tulus' seventh studio album Fandens Kall is a masterpiece of the genre. Tulus delivers perfect black metal distilled to its very essence with a distinctive voice that sets them apart from their peers.

Fandens Kall's content may be twisted, but the music hits you like a blow straight to the core dealt by a true heavyweight. Raw, primitive, and glorious, Fandens Kall is both charmingly brutal and exceptionally beautiful. A surprisingly mature band from the very outset, music is unexpectedly groovy for black metal. It features amazing, prominent bass and is generally slower than that of most of their contemporaries, only making it all the more wicked.

Fandens Kall could make you feel like you've travelled back in a time machine to the '90s. However, you can hear older influences that add depth and texture to their work. Tulus' members enjoy bands like Motörhead, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. Meanwhile, Fandens Kall also captures an immortal aspect of the fearless Nordic spirit through its penetrating explorations of death and darkness. The result is as refreshing as a gust of northern wind.

Tulus may be veterans, but they still bring the "sølvblå flammer. Sverre "Blodstrup" Stockland's fiery vocals crush you with their formidable strength. Likewise, drummer Thomas "Sarke" Bergli's pounding drums are incredible full of character and muscle. The album's hellish riffs are sure to keep you coming back for more.

Fandens Kall's adrenaline-boosting opener, which also happens to be the title track, hooks you immediately with its epic feel, authority, and aggression. The very different acoustic gem that is "Barfrost" serves as the perfect complement to this as the album's close. "Barfrost" is an acoustic gem with rugged yet soft, ice-breathing vocals. As during this song, when they appear, the acoustic guitar tracks create magic.

"Sjelesmerte," which follows the especially menacing "Samuelsbrenna," converts the burden of existential pain into something that is still heavy but plays like bittersweet ear candy. Black metal is not known to cause dancing, but Fandens Kall will trigger a range of physical responses. The pacing of the individual songs is just perfect. The shifts of tempo keep you attached like a marionette. Not one of the record's ten song lags behind the others in terms of quality.

Tulus strips black metal down to its essential elements and avoids anything that might seem unnecessary. At one point in the documentary about the making of the album, Tulus — 3 Decades of Uncompromising Black Metal, Sarke tells Blostrup as the latter is playing guitar: "That sliding is too fancy. No psycho would sit and slide." This kind of unbroken commitment to maintaining a thoroughly black metal attitude is something that I really appreciate. You won't find Tulus' musicians making creative decisions out of ego or in order to show off. Tulus demonstrates hawk-like clarity of vision from the record's start to its close.

Contrary to what you might expect given some of what has just been said, Fandens Kall boasts an overwhelming sense of atmosphere. Because the music is so pure, Tulus is able to reap a maximum effect from minimal yet perfectly placed accents. Again, the acoustic guitars are one aspect of this. On Fandens Kall, we also have the gorgeous and haunting voice of Lena Fløitmoen, who has collaborated with Sarke in the past. Sarke's Anders Hunstad, who appeared on Tulus' Biography Obscene, provided guest keyboards. In addition, Lars-Erik Westby, who recorded and mixed the album, contributed some piano.

Of course, much atmosphere arises from the highly poetic Norwegian lyrics, which are masterpieces in themselves. Hilde "Hildr" Nymoen has always composed the lyrics for both Tulus and Khold. Although she doesn't receive enough credit, Hildr is arguably the greatest lyricist in black metal. If you take the time to look at what she's composed for Fandens Kall, you will be blown away. Her texts in combination with the music will present your imagination with striking images. That is why it's so important that Fandens Kall's cover art was executed with great care. It was painted by Kjell Åge Meland with the album in mind.

Fandens Kall's production reminds us how black metal releases should be done. The music was recorded live in the studio without a click track. This is important because it led to an exceptionally organic and charismatic result. We feel the energy and unbreakable chemistry of the team.

To sum things up, Fandens Kall is a triumph from the music to the production to the lyrics to the cover art. Don't waste your time on copycats. Listen to the legends. No band is more worthy of your veneration than Tulus. You should also check out the aforementioned documentary by Andreas Reinhardt about the making of Fandens Kall, Tulus — 3 Decades of Uncompromising Black Metal, below.

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