By Octopi Mills

Here we have a live album done in a ritualistic sense which makes claim to "evoke the Viking age". In the modern age one must wonder how close certain books or music even come and how many dread locked, tattooed, Mohawk sporting folks with piercings actually are taking inspiration from such cheaply counterfeit television shows as “Vikings’ or ‘Game of Thrones”.Are they in touch with any sort of survival skills and authentic practices outside of the bedroom or does it even matter in a musical sense? 

It seems they (Heilung) make their own clothes and have crafted a rather interesting and primitive image and that they make use of shamanistic styled sounds; bones, swords, and other rattling things, and I cannot say myself if they would be introduced to a bog or not by their ancient kinsmen, for this is another matter out of my hands. I find a certain style of vocals early on to remind me of some dirty, greasy old man with a nasty l threatening sounding style and I wonder. I am not sure if they have used synth and that is a fault of my own, and some will certainly wonder if it matters at all. I also hear wild coyote-like vocals  that somehow take away certain things that would be trying to convince me that this is how "Vikings" sounded or behaved. There are howls mimicking wolves that sound brave and heartfelt but also come across as convincing as a high school football captain howling up the skirt of the moon after a few commercial ales in solvent over a belly full of chili-dog, and the sound of the nasty little man trying to sing dirty is something I cannot shake. Is he channeling the spirit of some outlaw Jarl who was slain after trampling his muddy boots over a fur rug or is this his natural singing voice? Of course this is throat singing, and I will be cited as a fool to those with more know how in these delicate matters of heart. 

Some of the chants and the ways they are wrought together are impressive and at times it is as if one is nearly listening to industrial music, especially when I listened to some of their other live songs or rituals. It seems they have taken lyrics from spears, amulets and stones that held the word, however, and this lends an authenticity to the affair. ".. This music and ideology is something that is far greater to enjoy in our society than the modern pop and hip hop nonsense that prevails…the old need to mess about with human bones and cover one's self in the skins of bears and weasels and run about in the wet of the wild wood hollering hawk calls and bellowing out like animals. Hell, the mountain man festivals are encamping all around us here and it's what was lost...This can be employed to great ends, I feel.

"Krigsgaldr" has the interesting language of the sword but somehow nearly turns into the hoary verse of a gang rapper for a moment. Whereas Wardruna was something like this at first, Heilung seems to go deeper into it somehow, though how deep is up for much speculation. This must be good clean fun and not unlike the "furries" or whatever they are truly called in our lost society. It is a society that cries out for return yet cannot fully find it or even be allowed to in the modern world that has given us name and number and which  bends and folds our history to serve a common ideal.. I just could never get past the Tibetan throat singing and if I had I might have been more interested in this at certain times  For those who want something more authentic and feel this is not quite there, there must be other avenues. If you find them I cannot be reached at Twitter or social media, but rather I will be hanging around in the hedge of social ruin and the metaphoric campfires of these said byways lost....Or at the old chain of the Stag Beetle Inn and Taverns of un-rural lore.