TULUS and their "Evil 1999" is a record that I think too few people have heard. I guess the lack of response made them change their name into KHOLD. If you want to catch these guys on the top of their game, you would be smart to check out "Evil 1999". I remember being sceptic because of their somewhat weird title, but again prejudice proved to be the loser. There are several memorable songs on this release.
TULUS don't write about the typical Satanic stuff that many bands do, instead they have a girl named Hildr who writes their lyrics. All lyrics are in Norwegian and most of them deal with Norse folklore, quite interesting if you are able to read Norwegian. I've always liked band which sings in Norwegian, though I understand that someone changes to English too reach a wider audience. So if you are like me and like Norwegian lyrics, I think you will enjoy "Evil 1999"
One good thing about TULUS is that they have their own sound, they sound like TULUS and nothing else. The bass is also a high profilic instrument on this release. It's high up in the mix and is as important as the guitar, not very common. The vocal delivery is also very good, not your typical growling or screaming, but extreme vocals with personality. One of my personal favourites on "Evil 1999" is Draugen, a slow song with lots of drive. Slow songs have a tendency to become boring (at least for a Death Metal freak like me), but this one does all the right things.
If you are only into Black Metal with synthesisers, I'm afraid there isn't a lot to be found for you here. TULUS are a band that sticks to the well known instruments guitar, bass and drums. That doesn't mean that this record is without atmosphere or sound boring in any way. TULUS manages to create emotions and feelings without any keyboards, and that is very impressive. Neither is this release for the speed freaks among us, sure there are some fast drumming, but most of the songs stay in either the slow or midtempo area.
"Salme" is the song that sticks out the most on this release, with a chanted chorus and some Spanish!? guitars breaking things up, this is my favourite song. Since I mentioned that I have some favourites on this record, I must say that there aren't any real weak songs on "Evil 1999". My favourites only have that little twist that make them stand out, but every song is worked with and there is no filler intros or samples, just pure music.
I want to close this review by recommending this record for everyone that likes quality music. TULUS have both the identity and skill to stand out from the crowd. In some strange way I think TULUS lost some of the magic when they changed their name into KHOLD. And if you are one of those who say that Norwegian Black Metal only consists of faggots and sellouts, shut the fuck up and listen to this one. (Online December 3, 2004)