Folk Rock, Rock

Heilung – Furtha (Review)

Artist: Heilung
Album: Furtha
Genre: Nordic Ritual Folk
Country: Germany, Norway, Denmark
Release date: 28th of June 2019
Released via Season of Mist
Cover artwork © Season of Mist

My first contact with Heilung in May a year ago wasn’t a normal one. I found them not on recommendation of a friend or other music blog, I found them on the online platform 9GAG. I was curious about it, because I have known Folk Rock, Folk Metal and genres like that. Here in Germany, we have some bands like the okayish Faun or bad casting bands like Gregorians who are trying to recreate something mystical, mysterious and spiritual too. But Heilung is another cup of tea.

Heilung gathered a lot of positive mentions in the last time . The three members formed their band in 2014 and they are consistently climbing up the ladder, but not to such an extent that they got the attention from the mainstream. However, there was, for example, a mention on loudersound 2017 as one of the 10 best gigs of the year. A band that playing music with instruments that, as we know, got used by the Celtics, Iron Age, or Vikings about traditional poems and texts in German, English, Latin, Gothic and diverse dialects that get mentioned in a row with Ghost, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath – in my opinion, that’s a thing. In 2019, Heilung released their second studio Album Furtha, I was curious what this would be like.

The first aspect you can see is the length of the songs – most of them are longer than 8 minutes. Secondly, it doesn’t start quite “usual” when compared to other albums, it opens up with sprechgesang of two band members who show you what you can expect from the following hour. I must admit, mostly I don’t know which language Heilung used in their music, but I think for most of the listeners it’s not that important because they don’t know either. Nevertheless, there is something in this beginning that feels different compared to other bands and albums, it drags you deeper and deeper into something – you can feel something with that music. That’s the reason why I don’t review this album in a classical way, song by song. I think that this will not give them the consideration of their work and ideas with their album.

This album feels like a 1h13min spiritual ritual, you travel deeper inside, you anticipate, and you float along with the music. It’s disturbing in a positive way, it gets you feel transcended, positive, some feel of high and low, that something pushes and pulls you. The drums and vocals are the main sound of the album and have the noisiest impact. These sounds are accompanied with rattles, bells and other sounds like the burning of wood and the sound of arrows as a playful way to round out the sounds. And as well as Furtha is capable ofdragging you deeper into its sounds and atmosphere, it also pushes you out of it. The Last Song “Hamrer Hyppier” is a 14-minute-long example of how the last song can be an impact to the listeners. It’s the climax of the sounds on the album but leads you out of this ritual in a gentle way, it shows you the door on your way so that you can still feel this album. Apart from that, though, I want to recommend two other songs of this album. The first one is the second song “Norupo” which has these transcending drums and vocals I mentioned above. Some people might hear a connection to the song “Fever Ray – If I Had A Head” – while listening I imagined to see the intro and some scenes of the TV series Vikings during this song. The other song is “Traust”, which is in my opinion the loveliest song on this album. It’s very minimalistic, it drags you again deeper into its structure, the vocals have ruminant and soothe tensions for the listener and Heilung show us the best way of their musical potential.

I could criticize that the songs often have a similar structure, I could criticize that sometimes the combination of the vocals are more stressful than spiritual and at some points the song are too long. But these points didn’t bother my listening experience to such an extent that I could give them a lower rating like other bands. The best way to hear this album is with a good headphone, on your own in a quiet place. There, Furtha can develop their full potential and strengths. Nevertheless, it is also possible to listen to it anywhere else, of course. Yet it isn’t something that you can hear along the way, it needs your attention. It will be a trip that can only be caused by a few other bands or albums.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

8 / 10

As usual, we added the favorite track(s) to our Transcended Review Playlist.

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