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Tulkas – The Beginning of the End Award winner

Tulkas
The Beginning of the End
by Gary Hernandez at 27 September 2020, 6:50 PM

TULKAS is a Thrash Metal band out of Querétaro, Mexico. The band’s name is taken from “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tulkas is essentially the Hercules of the Valar. In interviews the band has commented, “We love ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Tulkas’ character is a strong and powerful being that incites fear to the enemies but also creates joy to his allies.” While wizards and hobbits don’t come to mind when I listen to TULKAS, the warrior element certainly does. I just wanted to get that out there in case anyone was hoping this band would be playing folk ballads about elves and magic and such. Despite the fantasy connection with the name, TULKAS specializes in aggressive metal played at breakneck velocity with lyrics focused on politics and social ills.

Side note: So many mainstreamers think metalheads are illiterate goons, when in fact metalheads tend to be well read, deep thinking, socially literate people. TULKAS is a perfect example. These guys took inspiration from “The Silmarillion.” Have you read “The Silmarillion”? It’s a billion pages of impenetrable, bone-dry narrative. It’s like someone shuffled Homer’s “The Iliad” into the James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and then added the Oxford English Dictionary for good measure.

Anyway, TULKAS was formed ten years ago. They played Waken back in 2016 and have been steadily cranking out quality metal with two full-length albums and three EPs under their belt. Their third EP, “The Beginning Of The End,” was released on August 28, 2020 on Noble Demon records. It comprises five tracks, including one METALLICA cover, and spans about twenty-four minutes. For TULKAS fans, I should mention they had a recent line-up change, with Aruh Cárdenas coming onboard as their new drummer.

We’re three paragraphs into this review, so I guess I should get to the point. This EP is awesome. I have a lot of friends who are under the impression that Metal has died or has slithered off to a dark, inaccessible place. Well, A) it has not died; B) yes, it is in a dark place but that’s where Metal thrives; C) while the distribution of Metal is no longer in the hands of major record labels, it has found the freedom of the Web and is more accessible and affordable than ever. TULKAS is living proof of all the above.

The album kicks off with “Outsider God Creation.” From the killer bass intro to the paradoxically slow fade outré, this song sets the tone for the rest of the EP. Track two, “Devastation By Greed,” is a barrage of rapid-fire riffs with Chávez and Castañeda trading punches on solos. “Extinction,” my personal favorite, showcases the significant talents of every member. The title track has a surprisingly jazzy, prog-ish solo backed with some mind-blowing bass work. And, finally, the cover of “Shortest straw” from “. . . And Justice For All,” made significantly better by the conspicuous presence of a bass guitar, is much more visceral than the original with the aggressive vocal styling of Javier Trapero.

I know there’s a lot great Thrash Metal of every variety out there right now given that we’re in the middle of a resurgence of Thrash. And I know a whole shed load of this music is coming from Latin America. I also know that I’ve handed out plenty of 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s to a lot of these bands, but you gotta give credit where credit is due. TULKAS has cranked out an impressive slab of blistering Thrash here and deserves hails and horns.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. O.G.C. (Outsider God Creation)
  2. Devastation By Greed
  3. Extinction
  4. Beginning Of The End
  5. Shortest Straw (Metallica Cover)
Lineup:
Javier Trapero – Vocals
José Chávez – Guitar
Edgar Castañeda – Guitar
Memo Mendoza – Bass
Aruh Cárdenas – Drums
Record Label: Noble Demon
     


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Edited 31 October 2020
 

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