Album Review // HEALTH // RAT WARS
After mixing it up with their peers on the collaborative double album DISCO4, HEALTH returns in its most mechanical form on RAT WARS. On this, their fifth proper studio album, HEALTH tools with dance and ethereal motifs to give their industrial sound a more danceable edge — creating a record that is as melodic as it is emotionally crushing.
The album splits into two sides as tracks act as the centerpiece of each. Side A's focal point is "Hateful (of all else)" while the subsequent side is defined by "Ashamed (of being born)." "Hateful" is the album at its most furious, as the backing mixture of synths and drums pummel the audience. On the chorus, the track picks up speed until dropping out to focus on vocalist Jake Duzsik chanting the song title.
"Ashamed" is the complete opposite of its predecessor. While equally angry, the band turns the hatred inward. With more sparse instrumentation, HEALTH formulates the perfect soundtrack for running away from oneself.
Described as a "Downward Spiral" in the album's release notes (in a nod to Nine Inch Nails), HEALTH's RAT WARS is exactly that. Over 41 minutes, HEALTH crafts a record that portrays contemporary life in all its hysterical glory.