Few artists were better prepared to confront the confusion of life in 2019. With their new album VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR – produced by longtime collaborator Lars Stalfors (Lil Peep, St. Vincent, Bob Moses) and OUT NOW via Loma Vista Recordings / Caroline Australia – HEALTH have not only made the heaviest, most genre-obliterating album of their career, they’ve documented just how frightening it feels to be alive right now.
In addition to the album release, newest single “STRANGE DAYS (1999)” has received the video treatment via a true crime mystery webisode, an inside look at one of the year’s most bizarre music headlines (WATCH HERE / BELOW). The video’s companion interactive ‘choose your own adventure’ investigation game via the ‘Messenger’ app allows fans to become detectives and sleuth for the truth (PLAY HERE).
The LA-based band – consisting Jacob Duzsik, John Famiglietti, and Benjamin Miller – has always pushed the edges of aggression. From its twitchy 2007 debut, through its groundbreaking 2012 score for Rockstar Games’ Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V’s original ‘High Pressure Dave’, to 2015’s acclaimed LP DEATH MAGIC, the L.A. band snuck beauty and rigour into blinding noise. They draped moody violence over trap beats and warehouse raves alike.
VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR uses every tool in contemporary production to make a terrifying, exhilarating LP. Few artists were better prepared to confront the confusion of life in 2019. From the sample-triggered thrash metal of “THE MESSAGE” and “GOD BOTHERER,” to the bone-scraping sub-bass of “FEEL NOTHING” and “BLACK STATIC,” this is HEALTH at its most lacerating yet. With Lars Stalfors, they’ve upended their sound palette for our post-everything era: “NC-17” feels like Arabic bass music dragged through hell; “RAT WARS” groans with derelict, slow-rolling L.A. funk.
But beneath all of that, VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR also has some of the most vulnerable and evocative songwriting of HEALTH’s career. In the lyrics, singer Jake Duzsik confronts death, isolation and hopelessness with an uncommon candor and intimacy. Album closer ‘DECIMATION’ is the most radical move in the band’s catalog to date: a gorgeous guitar ballad, a plea for purpose and meaning in a time that makes both feel impossible.
Over the last year, the band hinted at a new range and ambitiousness. Shows with black-metallers Deafheaven and R&B-savvy rockers The Neighbourhood led to single collaborations with indie heroes Purity Ring and Soccer Mommy (‘MASS GRAVE‘), French techno brutalist Perturbator (‘BODY/PRISON‘), and L.A. industrial fiends Youth Code (‘INNOCENCE‘), with plenty more to come.