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HEALTH are the musical equivalent of throwing a brick through a window, they are a high definition explosion of distorted roars, driving guitars and tribal drum beats all working cohesively to create a tidal wave of beautifully crafted and expertly performed music.
They played at Gorilla in Manchester on the 27th October, you could be fooled into thinking that the band would come off as soft in comparison to the hard metal background and cold lights of the infamous venue, you would be wrong.
Musically, they are best described as noise rock with an electro twist, they have three studio albums, two remix albums and wrote the soundtrack for the latest Max Payne game. Their sound has progressed over time, originally it revolved around shrill guitars and furious drumming, it slowly progressed to include harsh synth sounds and stressed bass lines all tied together with chilling vocals. The result is an utterly thrilling, truly unique musical experience.
The support came from Worriedaboutsatan; an industrial progressive house duo who combined pounding drum beats, looped samples and delay drenched guitars to create an atmospheric and darker alternative to dance music (imagine a grittier Simian Mobile Disco). Packed full of infectious rhythms and cleverly layered sounds the intense, restless soundscapes that came from the pair were the perfect opener. One of the most intriguing parts of their set was how the guitarist used a violin style bow to play his guitar, it allowed him to play incredibly intense chords that cut through the venue. Overall I was really impressed by the duo and hope to see them again.
The walk on music for HEALTH created a soothing atmosphere that was immediately blown apart. They took to the stage exploding in a flurry of distortion and pounding drums. What followed was an hour of unrelenting jagged hits and danceable songs all brought together by the overwhelming atmosphere the band creates.
The beauty of HEALTHS’ discography is that with each album the band changed its direction slightly, no two albums are the same. When translated into a live set it created a wild juxtaposition between multiple musical styles resulting in an unpredictable blend of harsh guitar tones, melancholic drum beats and raw synth sounds. The band transitioned from syncopated gritty synth tones to dreamy swelling guitar patterns unbelievably well, they harnessed their changeability and created something irresistibly special.
They have been a band for a decade now and it shows in their performance, although on the outside it may sound chaotic it is obvious that each moment was meticulously planned and is instigated perfectly. Never before have I seen a more hectic yet solid live performance consisting of such varied soundscapes used in conjunction with so many effects to achieve so much. Even when the room was being torn apart by strobe lights and high octane songs the bands performance remained tight.
The end result is an angelic Armageddon of beautifully crafted sound that brings the albums to life before your eyes, HEALTH are not a live band, they are an unmissable, unfathomable experience.