Thomas Berglie


When death comes knocking, it is possible that most wouldn't like to be there when that happens. Nevertheless, there is a something mystical about it, perhaps it is not actual but rather a sign or a metaphor to a different meaning. The longstanding Tulus just released a new album that states that calling, titled "Fandens Kall", and there is more to it. Steinmetal had a good talk with Thomas Berglie, also known as Sarke, about the new album experience.  
April 25, 2023
Tulus's Thomas Berglie: "I hope we are not that dark. Some of it is reality
Hello Thomas, it is great for me to have you again for a talk about one of your many exploits, this time around, the Black Metal entity, Tulus, and the latest developments around it. How have you been?

It's been ok. As you may guess I use a lot of my time with music. Create music, booking some gigs. Writing lyrics. Think about artwork. Rehearsal and so on. And thank you for your support of our music.

It was quite new for me that you are one of Tulus, in particular one of its resurrectors. Before we delve into what you guys have been up to, what can you tell about your involvement with the band?

I am the main founder of Tulus. I started Tulus together with Blodstrup in 1991. We did one rehearsal demo in 1991. Released 2 demos and then our debut album in 1996.

In contrast to your Sarke band and also Khold, would you say that Tulus is where you find yourself a little more loosened up, music wise of course?

Yes. Tulus is the band we rehearse the most with. Also, the band we have had the longest period. Not many rules in Tulus. So, it's a lot of jamming to make new songs. And we all take part in the writing process.

Tulus has been out there since the early 90s, back in the days of the greatest names coming out of the Norwegian extreme Metal scene. Other than releasing studio albums, is it a live act as well?

Yes, Tulus is a live band. We have not played so much live. But we do play some gigs every year. We have also booked several gigs for this year and also for 2024.

For 2023, after three years since your previous "Old Old Death", there is a new message spreading from Tulus in the form of "Fandens Kall". What I could understand from the raw translation is that there is something about the damned's call. Can you direct me to a better explanation of the title and what it stands for?

"Fandens Kall" or "Call of Death". The text is about dying or being summoned to die.

Throughout the tracklist there are stories, or should I say short stories or chapters, what can you tell about what the songs of "Fandens Kall" is all about? What does it really express as you find it?

The lyrics are mainly inspired by Nordic nature and history as well as the general darkness in our minds.

Since these stories on "Fandens Kall", as on previous releases by the band, are rooted in a sort of a darkened folklore, where does it meet reality in your perspective? Are there fine lines that you detect that connect the album with our ordinary ways of life?

No, I hope we are not that dark. Some of it is reality, but that cannot be compared with our lives.

What interested me is the connection between the album's title and the artwork. Kjell Åge Meland made for an amazing art, which is quite atmospheric I might add. What can you tell of the vision that led to this artwork and of course that connection I mentioned with the album's title?

We wanted an atmospheric cover. We wanted the harsh nature. The painting goes very good with the Fandens kall lyric. We also wanted the cover to look Norwegian. We think he did a great job. The lyric also deals with the river in the painting. If you turn the painting upside down, you can see Fandens face.

Referred to as a Black Metal album, "Fandens Kall" is not close to the earlier exports of the subgenre of the earlier days. Sure, it has its aggressions, yet it is quite atmospheric, as the artwork. Furthermore, there are even a few Heavy Metal typed grooves to it. How do you find the musical progress going on the record?

I think that Tulus has developed on the last albums. We keep the same Tulus music as always, but we evolve. We bring more into the music with the music we liked and grew up with. A lot of 70's music and groove. To get and atmosphere and feel in the music is also important.  We want a good musicality and still keep the black metal spirit. Thats why we also record live in the studio. With no click track, cut/past or trigging.

One of the things about the songwriting of the record, and I also noticed that on your previous records, why such short songs, even for a Black Metal sort of album?

It has always been that way for Tulus. We feel our songs don't need many different themes. Just straight to the point. If we have a good idea/riff for a song, we just work around that idea.

Talking about the songwriting, would you say anything different was made this time around on "Fandens Kall"?

We wanted a more aggressive album. I think we did that. Other than that, we did the same approach as with Old old death. Working with riffs and ideas at rehearsal. And try to make it better each time.

I think that the last time you employed the piano in your songs is back in 2007's "Biography Obscene". Quite a long time, and yes I did a little checking. What led you to use the piano this time on "Fandens Kall" and how did it serve the purpose, and general feel, of the material?

We like to add different things to our music. It makes the album and the music more interesting. We felt piano would be great to that song/riff. I think it sets a mood to the song. Same with the acoustic guitar.

"Slagmark" was the first song that electrified me on the first listen. It shares an atmospheric form of Heavy Metal, with hints that I found close to your very own Sarke to be honest. What do you make of this song and what is your appreciation of it?

We felt good about the ideas for Slagmark. It worked out well at the rehearsal from the beginning. I can agree that it is heavy metal, atmospheric and groovy. It is a track that also could worked out with SARKE.

The self-titled song, "Fandens Kall", is where you guys stay true to your roots and to your form as a Black Metal band. I like the aggression and the in your face manner. Nonetheless, you also leave enough room to be enchanted by atmospheric magic for the thrill of it. What can you tell about the creation of this song?

Yes, I agree. It is a great Tulus track. Aggressive, old school, atmospheric. So, it is a great opening track for the album. It comes from riff ideas and put it together at rehearsal. We play until it all gets together.

When it comes to an example of an ultra groove, but with a measure of obscurity, there is "Sjelesmerte". It keeps that blackened vibe alright but it is loose in comparison to the other songs. Also, there is a feature of female vocals, which if I am not mistaken is not common for Tulus. What is your take on this song?

Maybe this track stands out a bit. It is a varied song. Some groovy and also dark stuff. We made the riffs and it felt good even if it's a bit different than normal black metal. We have used female vocals several times. Also, on our first albums. So that's nothing new.

Looking forward to what comes next, is there a new Tulus material in the making?

We have some riffs and ideas, but we have not started process of a new album yet. Now the focus is about concerts. I am working on Sarke material at the moment.

Thomas, thank you so much for your time for this conversation, I am glad that I am able to find you involved in more bands. I wish you all the best, cheers

Thank you

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