It's hard to believe that Hedningarna have been around, in different incarnations, for 14 years. But their five albums in that period have yielded a seam of great richness, as this compilation shows. The material from Trä and Kaksi was groundbreaking in its time, mixing Swedish folk, dark rock, and dance beats in a manner none had attempted before. Hippjokk and Karelia Visa took them in other directions (the former notable for being an instrumental disc). Fans will have all the records, of course, but there's something for them on 1989-2003, in the form of two storming new tracks, "Suet Ulvo" and "Vettoi," as well as a Sasha remix of "Kruspolska" that shows trance and folk dance can blend perfectly well. All bode very well for the future of the group. In many ways, this retrospective highlights just how innovative this band is, whether it's the lightly funky "Gorrlaus," or the headbanging live track "Fulvalsen." But there's more to them than vision. They're all superb musicians, a fact that's sometimes hidden under everything else. To call them one of Sweden's best bands doesn't do them real justice. They're one of the few in the world thinking completely outside the box, and linking past, present, and future in a way that makes real sense.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson