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Tulus - Biography Obscene (7/10) - Norway - 2007

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Indie Recordings
Playing time: 34:55
Band homepage: Tulus

Tracklist:

  1. Prelude
  2. Natal Day
  3. Stories Untold
  4. Victim
  5. Chamber's Disgust
  6. Allow No Light
  7. Morbid Curiosity
  8. Demise
  9. Biography Obscene
  10. Torches Quenched
Tulus - Biography Obscene

It’s always nice to find a Black Metal band more interested in creating meaty riffs than being grimmer than all the other corpsepaint-wearing Scandinavians. Thankfully, TULUS seems to concern itself with the most basic of missions: to create good Black Metal. For the most part, they succeed. Songs like “Chamber’s Disgust” and “Allow No Light,” use the standard weapons of the Black Metal arsenal (blast beats, lyrics about evil stuff, etc.) and combine them with distinct guitar playing and high-quality production. 

 

One basic element of the sound of “Biography Obscene” that sets it apart from much of the Black Metal herd is that the bass guitar can actually be heard in the music. Shocking, I know. Hell, one doesn’t even have to strain one’s ears to hear the stringy thump of Gottskalk’s playing. This provides a welcome low end to a familiar formula, making the music more engaging than it otherwise would be.    

There is the occasional appearance of female vocals or string orchestrations, but on the whole, the band for some reason waits until “Demise” and the title track that follows, the third and second to last songs on the album, to inject some unexpected instrumentation into their sound. While this is usually welcome in any album, the sudden influx of brass instruments (or a keyboard masquerading as a brass section) near the end of the record is somewhat jarring. The truth is, though TULUS is adept at the music it produces, bands have been churning out the same variety of Black Metal, with varying degrees of success, for over a decade now. It would have been nice if this almost SIGH-like arrangement were explored throughout the whole album. Combine this with the pronounced bass guitar and the band would have had quite the standout record on their hands.

(Online October 16, 2007)

John Arminio



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