Release Date: Feb 8, 2019
Record label: Loma Vista
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Through the medium of abrasive beats and tortured, explosive synth textures the band tackle the world's uneasy conscience, resulting in a remarkably cathartic listen. The new album is HEALTH 's first full-length release since 2015's Death Magic, and whilst the two records have a similarly powerful, visceral sound; lyrically, their latest work is a more sobering affair. Opener "Psychonaut" makes this clear from the offset - the cutting line "I'm only here once, once is enough" resonates across the manic synth patterns that permeate the song.
Four albums into the nihilistic void that HEALTH have carved out, the trio deliver at once their heaviest, catchiest, most decipherable and least predictable album. These long-term fans of impeccable contradictions are tearing up rulebooks quicker than anyone else can write them. The defining aesthetics of 'Vol 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR' are the mix of twinkling synths with guitars shredded to thrash metal levels, all over a soulful vocal delivery of lines of hopelessness and faithlessness in absolute clarity.
The first time I sat down with HEALTH's Slaves of Fear and stuck it on the stereo, it took a good five repeat listens to try and get a handle on just what was actually happening. I knew I liked it, but couldn't really figure out what was what, and it left my brain a bit fried. The second day I sat down with it and stuck it on the stereo, it weirdly felt like an old friend - the whole shebang just clicked, and I somehow knew every inch of darkened, grizzled white noise.
With album four, the LA noise veterans take on the state of the world, attempting to pulverise injustice with sound alone. But a little variation would go a long way In their fourth record, LA's industrial noise purveyors HEALTH have pretty much remade their third. Like, it's a good album, but perhaps we didn't need it twice over. Previously distinctly lo-fi and fixated on atonal, squally soundscapes, the group threw a few hooks at 2015's 'Death Magic', a triumphant project that saw them sifting through the rubble of their nihilism to find something brighter.