“PYSCHONAUT” is loud, aggressive, but mostly enthralling as the sharp vocal performance from Jake Duzsik and the instrumental production from John Famiglietti and BJ Miller overpower one another. It is indefinitely engrossing to hear the atmosphere swell and become this sculpted house of cards that eventually tumbles from the noise elements at the end of the record.
VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR is built like a soundtrack to dystopia, tracks like “BLACK STATIC” march down the alleyways and streets like 100,000 urban assault soldiers ready to smoke out the enemy. With these warped synths that peel away like paint on rusted fences, HEALTH is both the protector and the desecrator. Duzsik describes, “Life’s gonna break us down, time’s running out… is the world ending? Life’s gonna break us down, I say softly to myself, ‘Fuck your Armageddon.”
It comes softly as there are no growls or shouts on the record; the music instead makes up for that missing element and with the beauty of Duzsik’s vocals, there is this silver lining to the daunting scope. What surrounds the realm of VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR boils down to this paranoia and overarching theme of insider’s misery. The conflict within oneself as the production continues on like this unstoppable monster, eating away the listener track by track.
Once “NC-17” moves into the frame, the instrumentation here is built to be a trance-esque dance through the neon lights of cityscapes and underbellies of alloy framework. The headstrong 808 snap beat is intoxicating and is perfect for sinking, then as the eighth note disguised as tempo-keeping is loud clicks of cheap metal together. The machines clash but keep VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR as this pillar for entangled sound.
But that is nothing when compared to the volatile atmosphere that “RAT WARS” introduces through sharp knife-like synths that rise in the chorus and verses. Describing, “I’ve been calling back to those before us, but they didn’t hear. I’ve been losing friends and enemies, it’s even now.” The instrumentation begins to resemble a car being compacted as the verse returns to finish describing, “I looked underneath the dirt and bodies, and there’s nothing there… Did you find a higher purpose? It never worked for me, I’m just waiting around.”
Every track on VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR has something worth diving into and to praise for. Whether it is the vocal delivery, the atmospheric manipulation, or the emotional draw that HEALTH can bring to the table. In this strange time of a mix between future and desolation, HEALTH is the soundtrack to the final days on Earth.
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