“Before there was Khold there was Tulus”.
Tulus was put on hold when its members formed Khold and then resurrected again when Khold was subsequently put on hold, now the legendary Norwegian Black Metal trio of Blodstrup on vocals and guitar, Sarke on drums, Crowbel on Bass, return with their sixth studio release, “Old Old Death” and to get to the point, I think it’s a magnificent listen.
Sound wise, not surprisingly, it’s a hybrid blend of Khold and Sarke, the cold dark groove and acidly gravelly vocal delivery of Khold with the occasional punchier dark Thrash edge of Sarke, as two of the line-up, Sarke and Crowbel, are also in Sarke.
Lyrically continuing in Norwegian, finding inspiration as always in dark folklore, I am assuming the ‘secret fourth member’, Hildr, wife of Blodstrup, yeah, it’s all getting a bit convolutedly confusing now I know, has written these lyrics as she has done for all the previous Khold and Tulus albums.
“Old Old Death” delivers ten very varied tracks, I tried to pick favourites but gave up, each is excellent in its own right, opener “Hel” stands out as being the most different from the rest of the album with its D-beat and thrashy groove which kicks in after a very ominous opener, much more reflective of Sarke whereas the rest lean more towards a Khold feel, the whole release has a wonderfully addictive and accessible dark groove, with the bass playing a prominent role throughout.
The important factor is how the release engages you and holds your attention, the tracks all linked with that defined style but varied enough to keep your focus whether it’s the dark and groovy “I havet hos Rån,” with “Grunn grav” and “Ild til mørkning” or the intense, up tempo and dark pieces like “Flukt” and “Villkjeft,” or “Folkefall” which sits between them all; darkly beautiful and reflectively groovy with powerful bass lines, and crushingly intense closer, “I hinmannens hånd” which starts with an acoustic opener before picking up on that groove with an addictive repeat riff, or the sinister and dark poignantly phrased “In memoriam.” a powerful closer that urges you to go listen all over again.
“Old Old Death” is out now on Soulseller Records in CD, ltd. vinyl and digital formats and is an album that definitely merits your attention, particularly if you are a fan of Khold in particular and Sarke.
Rating – 5/5