Album review: Health – Vol 4 :: Slaves of Fear

Health - Vol 4 :: Slaves of Fear album cover

With their fourth studio album Vol 4 :: Slaves of Fear, LA industro noise rock trio Health have produced a dark, brutal and bruising piece of work that just about avoids becoming completely head crushing thanks to a lightness of touch on the vocals and atmospherics.

Right from the off, bar the distant sound of banjos wafting in on the wind, you are bludgeoned with immense crashing drum beats that rather take your breath away. Initially in Psychonaut this takes the form of more traditional ‘bashing the hell out of some skins’ drumming before later morphing into some seriously heavy dub from a drum machine.

There are some heavy guitar riffs in here too, but what saves this track – and the album in general – from being too overpowering is the soothing and listless vocals from Jake Duzsik. Drifting somewhere between emo and pop, his fragile high-pitched tone provides vital relief from the portents of doom that surround.

This format continues on Feel Nothing, which has some heavily processed Ministry-like guitar work balanced out by Duzsik’s vocals. There are elements of EDM at play here too in what is a much more beat driven number.

God Botherer slows down the pace slightly, but not for long as what was a more sedate track suddenly doubles up the tempo and brings the noise – to maximum effect.

Black Static provides a slower heavy stomp, reminiscent in some ways of the recent Bring Me The Horizon album amo, while Loss Deluxe plunges its dance beat into some murkiness, allowing the vocal track to temporarily come to the fore.

There are some straight out Industrial head bangers in here, such as The Message and Strange Days (1999), but we also get some heavy RnB influenced beats in tracks like NC-17 and Rat Wars.

Single and title track Slaves of Fear, is probably the best effort of the album. It’s the first time you get a recognisable bass guitar line chugging along as well as some classic soft-loud moments, with the track building to a momentous crescendo.

Final track Decimation sees a much calmer, ballad-like ending to the album, and by that point you may well need a bit of relief.

This album won’t be for everyone, but if you are a fan of Nine Inch Nails or Ministry, then it’s well worth a crack.

Release date: 08 February 2019

Rating: 7/10

Standout track: Slaves of Fear

For fans of:

  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Ministry
  • Bring Me The Horizon

Listen on Spotify

The best albums of January 2019

January’s normally quite a slow month in terms of new releases, but there were some great albums making their debut. Here’s my view on the best of the month – and a playlist to boot!

1: The Twilight Sad – It Won/t Be Like This All The Time

Rating: 8.5/10 – Read full review

Listen on Spotify

2: Julia Kent – Temporal

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

3: Lorelle Meets The Obselete – De Facto

Rating: 8/10 – Read full review

Listen on Spotify

4: Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

5: Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

6: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Rating: 7/10 – Read full review

Listen on Spotify

7: Buke & Gase – Scholars

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

8: Balthazar – Fever

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

9: Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

10: Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

New releases Friday 25 Jan – Reviewed and rated

Here’s my view on what were the best albums released last Friday 25th January. I’ve reviewed the top three if you want to discover more about the albums before listening. Links below. There’s also a Spotify sample playlist so you can get a feel for the artists.

Julia Kent – Temporal

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Rating: 8/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Rating: 7.5/10Read full review

Listen on Spotify

Balthazar – Fever

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Rating: 7/10

Listen on Spotify

The Beat feat. Ranking Rodger – Public Confidential

Rating: 6.5/10

Listen on Spotify

Gum Takes Tooth – Arrow

Rating: 6.5/10

Listen on Spotify

Toy – Happy In The Hollow

Rating: 6/10

Listen on Spotify

Mike Krol – Power Chords

Rating: 6/10

Listen on Spotify

Swervedriver – Future Ruins

Rating: 5.5/10

Listen on Spotify

The Dandy Warhols – Why You So Crazy

Rating: 5.5/10

Listen on Spotify

Nicola Cruz – Siku

Rating: 5/10

Listen on Spotify

New Music Friday 25 Jan – What to listen to

Things are really stepping up this Friday with a glut of new releases to plough through. There’s a new EP from Nils Frahm to look forward to, some loud guitars from the likes of Bring Me The Horizon and Mike Krol, and the return on classic ska ban The Beat. Even the new Dandy Warhols album sounds promising.

It’s going to be a busy week…

Nils Frahm – Encores 2 (EP)

Swervedriver – Future Ruins

Julia Kent – Temporal

The Beat feat. Ranking Rodger – Public Confidential

Bring Me The Horizon – Amo

Mike Krol – Power Chords

Balthazar – Fever

The Dandy Warhols – Why You So Crazy

Nicola Cruz – Siku

Rat Boy – Internationally Unknown

Toy – Happy In The Hollow

Gum Takes Tooth – Arrow

Sneaks – Highway Hypnosis