Heilung is back with their new album.
Since 2014, the band formed by Danish Kai Uwe Faust (vocals/percussion), German Maria Franz (vocals/percussion) and Norwegian Christopher Juul (vocals/percussion) have been developing their music based on the concept of « amplified history ». In 2022, the band announced the release of Rift, their fourth album, on Season Of Mist.
The trio is regularly joined by other musicians for percussions, vocal parts or the use of folk instruments, on album or live.
What you need to know before beginning a Heilung album is that the band explores the folk sounds of the early Middle Ages in Northern Europe. Exit saturation, and make room for the raw, ambient and massive sounds that make up their captivating universe, both musically and visually (having had the chance to see them on stage twice, I know what I’m talking about).
Nine tracks, almost an hour of sound that slowly sails between martial percussions and guttural voices to much softer vocal notes, that we find as soon as Asya, the first track. I confess I have very little knowledge of medieval/viking music, but we feel that each track is clearly different, even if it relies on these different vocal tones, like on Anoana and its enchanting atmosphere, the very long and heady Tenet, which relies on the famous Sator Square, or the short and strange Urbani, which only offers percussions and threatening voices. Keltentrauer will tell us a story in a language I don’t know at all, orchestrated by a campfire, a cavalcade and battle noises, then the band will come back to its rituals like on the soothing Nesso and its intense softness which lets the vocalist offer us intense parts, or Buslas Bann and its more aggressive tonalities completed by very regular percussions. Nikkal will make us come back to majestic tonalities supported by a choir of several voices, before the darkness envelops us again for Marduk, which obviously refers to the greatest Babylonian god. We will also note some recurring and heady melodies, which accompany us on the second part of the track to guide us until the end of the song.
For me, Heilung‘s music has to be experienced, and I admit that I am not very receptive to this atmosphere on an album. But Rift has something, a little touch that carries our spirit away, and makes us commune with the band. The transition to live is an intense experience, which will undoubtedly be confirmed again.