Heilung Credit: Ruben Terlouw

The band Heilung (German for “healing”) are sometimes described as experimental folk; they themselves call their sound “amplified history.” Either way, they are thundering Viking hippie nerds. Band founder Kai Uwe Faust is a German tattoo artist who specializes in Old Norse imagery, and who has cultivated a throat-singing vocal style similar to that of traditional Mongolian or Tuvan performers. In Heilung, he joins forces with Danish producer Christian Juul and Norwegian vocalist Maria Franz. Onstage the group wear elaborate Iron Age-influenced costumes (including, inevitably, horns), sing lyrics derived from the inscriptions on swords and other historical artifacts, and play instruments such as ritual bells, bones, a horse-skin drum painted with human blood, and a clay rattle made with human ashes. Their 2019 album Futha places a greater emphasis on Franz’s singing than earlier efforts, but other elements of their sound are still in place: chanting vocals, heavy percussion, and rumbling drones are interrupted by ominously whispered passages of poetry in Old Norse and other atavistic tongues. The sound combines the bombast of power metal and the witchery of black metal—it’s an exhilarating call to run with the wolves, quaff mead, and ride ships to new worlds.   v