Heilung
LIFA


5.0
classic

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (213 Reviews)
April 3rd, 2018 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A raw, natural, otherworldly, ceremonial and ritualistic experience.

Sound is tactile; whereas visual imagery is experienced at the surface, a sonic experience can manifest both outside and inside the body. Heilung’s use of sound is to catalyse an imaginary inner environment which is experienced as sacred and ritualistic, conjuring tangible sensations unto their audience and projecting vivid imagery from an ancestral era whose practices and culture remain a mystery. Self-proclaimed as “Amplified History”, Heilung’s shamanistic rituals are the closest recreation of what the ancestors of this era touched and the best possibility to experience what they experienced in their rituals.

Heilung relies on sonic spatialisation to convey natural surroundings. Attached to their clothes are metallic bells, parts of bones and loosely beaded objects that create a free, natural, constantly moving, sound field as the musicians move rhythmically during the rituals. Alongside the instruments and voices, these multiple sounds are interpreted as one complex and expertly textured noise. Chimes are rung to purify the location where the rites are performed, goat horns herald a change in tone or environment- like the coming storm or dawn of a new day- while samples of birds singing, crows cawing, embers crackling and the vocalists mimicking a pack of wolves howling builds a bridge between inner sensations and features of natural landscape.

Drums are crucial in rituals. Most of the tracks on “LIFA” commence with a simple drum beat igniting the desired tempo and pitch before any other sounds are introduced. The percussion across “LIFA” also mimics heartbeats and therefore dictates what moods are conveyed. Fast paced pounding creates a rousing atmosphere during ”Alfadhirhaiti” whereas simple, soft taps in “Carpathian Forest” send the listener into a mollified state of mind, allowing the evil incantations or purifying cries to cast their desired spell. Physically, the percussion is as authentic as the sonic projection as the phenomenal “Krigsgaldr” commences, and ends with, the gentle tapping of real human bones like the tumbling of small stones that starts an avalanche.

Contrasting states of minds are said to be necessary for possession and spiritual music, reflecting how a medium acts passively under possession while their spirit drifts between territories and interacts with other spirits in the spirit world. The most obvious example of this is Heilung’s vocal performances. Christopher Juul and Kai Uwe Faust’s singing is often twisted electronically where their cries, groans and hums sound like thunder passing overhead while their incantations sound evil, spiteful and concentrated. Maria Franz, however, transcends purifying, cleansing sounds worth of Heilung’s English translation. Growing from gentle breezy hums to cathartic cries and sounding as if she is reaching for something unreachable, her voice pierces through the rough percussion and droning yawns and casts blinding light onto the haunting atmosphere during “In Maidjan” and “Othan” particularly.

Explosive doesn’t quite summarise Heilung’s success. Three years ago, the band released their debut album “Ofnir” and relied on a natural word-of-mouth way of promoting their music. It wasn’t until their legendary live performance at Castlefest in the Netherlands in 2017 that the world knew who Heilung were and what they can achieve. Presently, the aforementioned “Krigsgaldr” has over 4.5 million views while the full professionally shot live show “LIFA”, which is now being reissued as a live album by Seasons of Mist, has well in excess of 1 million views on Youtube. Such statistics are immaterial in the world that Heilung resides in, however, it’s a testament to how their music- music that is free of scientific, religious, political and other materialistic ideology, sung in a language you’ve probably never heard of and performed in shamanic outfits- can leave a lasting impression on absolutely anyone.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DadKungFu
April 3rd 2018


666 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review for a hella cool album. Love what this band does, I occasionally get the impression that their gimmick is insincere or corny though.

Elynna
April 3rd 2018


375 Comments


You got my interest, can't wait to give this a listen. Stellar review as well.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology

Elynna
April 3rd 2018


375 Comments


[Double post]

Marehelm
April 3rd 2018


848 Comments


Sweet review, sounds interesting

DungeonBoy
April 3rd 2018


6238 Comments


streaming on Bandcamp: https://heilung.bandcamp.com/album/lifa

Good review! Not sure I've ever seen a reviewer bring up the number of YouTube views as a testament to quality. The fact that this is live makes it infinitely better. While I do enjoy similar Nordic ritualistic artists such as Forndom, Osi and the Jupiter, Wardruna, etc. I've only ever had a chance to experience them as studio albums where layers and effects can be added for emphasis when needed, but this band's ability to forge something so powerful in one live take is certainly remarkable.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
April 3rd 2018


9349 Comments


Sounds very intriguing I will say, review got me engaged. What was this legendary performance though, I'm curious.

Digging: Disentomb - The Decaying Light

Davil667
April 4th 2018


3797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just watched / listened to this show on youtube. At first I was a bit confused and irritated, I just didn't get it, but after some time it became apparent to me what this is all about. Pretty mesmerizing stuff, goes deep down to the roots of mankind.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2018


9656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is pretty decent

bnelso55
April 4th 2018


1337 Comments


I need to give this a proper listen. What I've heard of it was pretty cool.

PickleVai17
May 1st 2018


281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds damn good!

Davil667
May 1st 2018


3797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

An impressive and powerful performance. The fact that they use old Nordic runes between the songs to announce the next title additionally underlines their authenticity and sincere approach.

Egarran
May 30th 2018


11541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fell in love with her in about 10 seconds: https://youtu.be/QRg_8NNPTD8

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Patterns in Mythology

branflakes911
August 7th 2018


173 Comments


Great review, though the last sentence is confusing. Everything up to that was excellent, I'm very curious about this album.

Pho3nix
October 11th 2018


660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very powerful! though the audience back noise is somewhat irritating.



I wish I can see them live at some point

Egarran
October 11th 2018


11541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're playing in Copenhagen tomorrow and there are still tickets!

Pho3nix
October 11th 2018


660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah man, am pretty close (West Coast of Sweden) - hopefully I can catch 'em again

Egarran
October 11th 2018


11541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aw man it was even a slight possibility.



I really hope they make a good video out of it.

Minushuman24
November 1st 2018


2286 Comments


woah, this live album has more ratings than their actual album?
Is the music unique to this album, and is it necessary to watch the video to enjoy the music.

Egarran
November 2nd 2018


11541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It is necessary to make a personal opinion.



But yes.

JasonCarne
November 9th 2018


1055 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, this thing is a serious experience, loved it.



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