For one night only the back room of a pub on Moseley Road in Birmingham could easily have been mistaken for a scrotty techno-club in the bowels of Berlin or Los Angeles as industrial noise rockers HEALTH brought their one-of-a-kind sound back to the UK.
Tonight promoting the release of the second part of their ‘DISCO4’ project, the band have been on a scorching hot streak since 2019’s ‘Vol4.Slaves of Fear’ but how well can this translate to a live environment? Oh it can, it can indeed.
Firstly though, without a word tonight’s support act Maenad Veyl appears on-stage and sets the tone with a pummelling 40 minute set which quite literally never relents. From the moment he walks on stage the project’s mastermind Thomas Feriero stands stoically behind his laptop, seemingly unaware that there is even a crowd as his hypnotic beats command all of the attention, until finally signing off with a polite nod. Despite maybe dragging a little towards the end, there is no doubting the ability and quality of Feriero’s skills, and it helps to set the perfect atmosphere for what is to follow with an impressive light show and a dark, trance-like atmosphere seeping over the room.
As HEALTH finally take to the stage the room starts to completely fill out, and it’s at this point that it becomes clear just what makes them such a special and important band. Looking around you’ll find cybergoths breakdancing down the front, metalheads and punks resolutely headbanging to industrial drum-beats, indie-kids politely vibing at the sides and perhaps the more seasoned music connoisseurs at the back becoming more and more engrossed as the night goes on. In 2022 it feels pointless to say “genre is over”, but for a relatively small band to be attracting this wide a range of audience says a lot about just how they are riding on the cutting edge of their sound, in much the same way as Turnstile within hardcore.
Playing behind a curtain of smoke and often blinding lights, for the next hour HEALTH provide tunes which could soundtrack a party at the end of the world. Each subsequent song is greeted by louder and louder cheers, and you can almost feel the more curious of tonight’s patrons becoming converts in real-time. Despite their industrial punk and noise-rock being seemingly impenetrable, Jake Duzsik’s understated vocals provides a safety rope to latch-on to on tracks like ‘THE MESSAGE’ and ‘FEEL NOTHING’.
Despite first starting out over 15 years ago, tonight HEALTH feel like a band who are riding right on the cutting edge of music in 2022. On record, there isn’t a band who sound like them, and if they continue backing it up with live shows of this quality there won’t be a band who can keep up with them.