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Perturbator w/ HEALTH @ Electric Brixton, London 17/11/2022

It’s a different kind of worlds collide tour tonight, with the experimental noise rock of HEALTH meeting the gothy synthwave of James Kent, aka Perturbator. There’s a hint of the extravagant lightshow the latter brought to ArcTanGent earlier in the year to whet appetites as the crowd steadily filters in during support act London Hatred. The north London DJ snd producer provides thumping bass lines with bleeps and bloops aplenty as they warm the crowd up. 

HEALTH bring a wild-eyed intensity to the night, opening with IDENTITY from latest collaborative album DISCO4 :: PART II, heightened by the live instruments alongside the noise and electronics. Following it is the screeching, scraping GOD BOTHERER whose ethereal vocals are at odds with its industrial textures. Their lighting is dramatic, flashing and constantly roving lights silhouette the trio as synth melodies blare from the speakers underpinned by the band’s mesmerising performance. The crowd are rapt, hanging off every note and drumbeat, given the trio say little to nothing between songs. Despite the challenge of bringing a collaborative work to the stage without the collaborators, HEALTH more than manage it and deliver nothing short of excellence, along with a nod at what’s to come in the form of EXCESS that they created with Perturbator. 

Speaking of, Perturbator himself is nothing short of riotous. A bright white pentagram illuminates the stage as he walks on flanked by their live drummer before launching into the gothic dance party that is their set. The post punk, new wave leanings of Lustful Sacraments fire up the crowd something fierce, the sweaty press of bodies jumping and gyrating to the rhythms. As the set progresses and they soundtrack the nightclub at the end of the world, the lighting too becomes more complex and eye-catching with all manner of colours, configurations and strobing effects, all centering around the dance party and the pentagram behind it.  

Perturbator is proof that heavy electronic music is intensely metal; as were treated to anthemic cuts like Future Club and Death of the Soul there’s plenty of horns thrown in the crowd along with shapes, as well as by Kent himself who’s regularly seen windmilling his hair and moshing. Hearing the pulsing synth, thunderous bass and even the double bass drums that occasionally punctuate songs, it’s impossible not to see why the metal community has embraced them. That with the pentagrams, extravagant lighting that’s as much a spectacle as the music makes this a night that proves metal doesn’t just own a pair of dancing shoes; it knows how to use them and have a phenomenally good time. It’s apocalyptic, anthemic and full of groove you can’t help but move to; if this what the end of the world was soundtracked by, sign us up. 

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