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Biography Obscene

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Album Review

When singer/guitarist Sverre Stokland, aka Gard or Blodstrup, and drummer Sarke formed Khold in 2000, Tulus (the Norwegian black metal band they had been performing with) was put on hold indefinitely. Khold acquired an enthusiastic cult following and became better known than Tulus, and most of the people who were familiar with Tulus' '90s recordings assumed that he was gone for good. But in 2006, something interesting happened: Gard and Sarke announced that Khold was going on hiatus, and they resurrected Tulus. Recorded in 2006, Biography Obscene is their first album since their resurrection, and their first studio recording in eight years. Somewhat surprisingly, Biography Obscene is in English rather than Norwegian, which was the language of choice for Khold and the language that Tulus favored on their 1998 recording Evil 1999. Khold's members were often quoted as saying that even though they spoke English fluently (which is the norm in Scandinavia these days), they preferred writing in Norwegian because their songs often dealt with Norwegian myths, themes, and folklore. But from a commercial standpoint, recording in English makes sense because English is the dominant language of both black metal and death metal — and the fact that Gard sings in English on Biography Obscene certainly doesn't prevent Tulus from incorporating elements of Scandinavian folk. This 34-minute CD isn't outright folk-metal in the way that the Finnish band Finntroll plays folk-metal, and it isn't lush or intricate enough to be considered symphonic black metal. Nonetheless, Biography Obscene does contain violin interludes that draw on Nordic folk; on top of that, Tulus includes some piano, horns, and occasional female vocals to go with the brutal guitar and crushing blastbeats. The end result is a generally respectable outing that, for all its intensity and aggression, is not without musicality.

Biography Obscene, Tulus
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