Kai Uwe Faust really put in the legwork to get his growls to stand out on Heilung’s new record, Futha, dropping June 28 through Season of Mist. The album was made to be the more feminine counterpoint to Ofnir, with lyrics based off of old Icelandic poetry that was chanted by women casting spells.

Futha also sees the band take more of a texture-based approach. The chants are still pretty engaging and otherworldly, but they’re less melodic than a lot of material seen before. “Norupo” does call back some of that familiar energy but ends again with Faust growling and aggressively rolling his Rs, which carries into the following track, “Othan” before the melodic chanting begins. 

“Svanrand” is another standout track, as well as the closing track “Hamrer Hippyer”, especially after the first minute or so. “Elddansurin” sounds a lot like the ooga-chackas from the beginning of “Hooked on a Feeling,” and I think that a lot of the initial goofiness that comes off of the songs on the album would be helped by understanding what is being spoken, which is unfortunately beyond my expertise.

Futha took a while to grow on me. There are a lot of elements that at first glance feel a bit goofy, but after a few listens and having a chance to take in all the texture and ambience it’s really grown on me. Heilung’s brand of neofolk has always been a bit nonstandard, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see their style drift further from conventional sound.  Heilung is also fairly new as a band, with Futha being their second studio record, so Futha may be the record that marks the hallmark of a signature Heilung sound. What I do appreciate is that Maria Franz’s voice has been given a lot more spotlighting on this album, and her ethereal voice really lends to the success of the ambience on this record. Recommended.

Purchase this album here.


Ben Serna-Grey is a musician and writer from the Pacific Northwest. His fiction and poetry have appeared in Apex Magazine, Bending Genres, Broadswords and Blasters, Two Cities Review, and others. He has sheet music published through Subito Music Publishing and also puts out experimental electronic/noise music as Mother Anxiety. He is also a contributor for Toilet Ov Hell and occasionally reviews short fiction on SFF Reviews.

1 Comment

  1. I know that it is all about personal taste when it comes to music, but I do not think that this is a good review.

    First of all, I do not think that an album like Futha can be reviewed with so little words. This review looks like something that had to be finished in a hurry and was written together in a few minutes. This album has to be reviewed as a whole, you can barely pick only a view songs and comment on them. Also, I do not understand that not a single link to one of the YouTube videos of a song from Futha has been linked, as this is something that is done for most reviews nowadays.

    But what really made me post this comment, is you using words like “goofy”. I am not a native speaker, so I checked all of the translations for this word, because I hoped that my initial translation was wrong. But none is fitting for a professional review, sorry.

    Either you understand or rather feel what this kind of amplified history (that is what the band calls their music, not neofolk by the way) is about or you do not get it. Either way, you can not call it goofy, as this is an insult to the musicians in my opinion. To further blame this on the fact that you can not understand the words is… really not something that should be a point of criticism for a review… First of all, there are ways of finding out about the texts if you really want to. Second, I doubt that more than a few people actually understand the lyrics without reading about them and the meaning of the songs. Still they feel them. This is what it is about. You do not need to understand the words, something will still connect with a part of you deep within.

    I do not think that this review meets the album when you consider the amount of dedication that goes into Heilung’s creations. The person reviewing this kind of special music, should either put effort in as well or have a connection/be open to this kind of art.

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