June 27, 2019 Heilung – Futha (Album Review)
Exploration beyond the boundaries of what is currently known has brought mankind to where it is today. Civilizations that were once isolated had walls torn down by people like the Vikings. While many empires are long since dead their impact on the world remains and mesmerize future generations to seek out certain aspects of the old ways. A group that awakens the ambience of the Norse is Experimental Folk Danish band Heilung. With their debut album, 2015’s Ofnir, the trio of Kai Uwe Faust, Christopher Juul, and Maria Franz brought something unique and breathtaking to the table. Now, after three years of intensive creativity, their follow-up, Futha, is set to be unleashed upon the world on Friday, June 28th through Season of Mist.
The counterpart, the balance point, and more the feminine side of Ofnir, Futha’s lyrics originate from old Icelandic poetry, in which the holy women chant magic spells and offer their blessings. Nine songs in total, it all begins with the lengthy “Galgaldr” where grating, raspy voices speak together with snarls and growls like playful wolf pups. There is a quiet ambiance of an everyday life complete with livestock and horns to awaken the day.
This is followed by “Norupo,” which is particularly splendid in the thunderous singing and howls it displays. Then, “Othan” could perhaps easily be mistaken for Arabic in origin at some parts where the latter portion of the track is hypnotizing with repetitive incoherent warbling that manages an impressive dance with the percussion. In addition to the bold instrumentation, Furtha has tracks with vocals almost entirely comprised of harsh whispers, like “Elivagar”, or lucid, breathtaking vocals in “Traust” that rings similar to a ceremonial duet. Furthermore, “Vapanatak” is quite similar to the beginning of “Galgadar” in the way it uses the audio from human interaction to set the environment. Which leads to the final track and longest song of the album “Hamrer Hippyer.” Beginning with a certain darkness, it soon descends into a pummeling tribal beat before an ensemble of voices that cast a spell, sending the song swirling down into its conclusion.
While Futha is an exploration of the feminine, it does so in a way that gleans on the primal. There is a certain fortitude to each individual aspect and how they come together to weave a tapestry. The female vocals flow with an effortlessness that take hold over each song. Some of the sounds and frequencies that appear mimic synth, but despite it, are entirely unique in their conception. Futha leaves no stone unturned in its quest to experiment and bring its own true experience to the table. That said, it is easy to fall into a trance and with eyes closed to be transported to the past world that Heilung brings back to life. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Futha 4 out of 5 stars.