Thursday, February 7, 2019

HEALTH : "Slaves of Fear"

This band grabbed my ear with their last album "Death Magic" This album is the first without guitarist Jupiter Keys and their is a noted change in their over all sound. It starts of in a harsher more experimental direction and waits til "Feel Nothing " to get focused on the kind of songs that originally won me over. It's equal parts pop and industrial. The vocals are smooth and androgynous. The songs are short and when they are not getting artfully weird to the point. Some the faster beats don't carry the throb of their last album and allow the vocals to wander. "Black Static" finds them hooking me back in. When they give the vocal melodies some though they always hook me right back in . The lyrics are bleak social snap shots , though perhaps with a little broader world view than the previous album. "Loss Deluxe" pumps out another of their trademark grooves. The beats and the vocals can easily find their sweet spot when they are not fucking around with what works for them by getting too adventurous for their own good.

What works for them doesn't have to be a set formula as they are able to have some dynamic shifts on a song like " NC-17" which might be as good as the previous songs that worked off of a more solid beat, but it's not just aimless experimental noise. Sometimes the production gets a little weird and too lo-fi, which casts a more opaque coat over the songs. But for time this happens they seem to bounce back with a song like "the Message" that instantly clicks with me. They almost get kind of Skinny Puppy on that one though not as dark. I am not asking for much from these guys just groove and melody, which they give me on "Rat Wars".  "Strange Days" has a similar vibe, which I am cool with as it's darker and more aggressive. "Wrong Bag" is another dark one, though song wise it's not as focused and feels more like an interlude.

The title track was also the lead single of this album and My first indication that things were going to be different this time around. The guitar reminds me more of Pink Floyd's "One of These Days". It's a good song though a change of pace with more of a tension to it. Delay heavy and more atmospheric before the beat kicks in. The album closes with "Decimation". This proves they can break away from the tried and true sounds and still write a good song. It's not as intense and more melodic, but still works in a more of a Radiohead manner. I'll round this one down to a 9 and see how it sits on me as some of the production choices could have been better , but when it comes to industrial music for the turquoise hipster crowd they are still the best.

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