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HEALTH Death Magic Loma Vista


“When the whole landscape of music changes, it changes the way you think about music, even just subconsciously.” This is John Famiglietti. HEALTH’s bassist. HEALTH’s art director of their latest music video which sees a man vomit in slow-motion. HEALTH’s lamentable mouthpiece for Death Magic, the band’s first album in six years.

He continues, “Music is different now, there’s no denying it.” Yes, Michael Jackson died six years ago. Lamb of God’s Wrath also debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200, making it the highest charting extreme metal album of the past 15 years. A few other things happened in the interim. So, facetiousness aside, Famiglietti is correct. Yet it’s a barefaced observation. A ventilation of prosaic truisms. It implies that the framework of your art is deeply shackled to the zeitgeist.

Death Magic is an apathetic botch of wandering panflashes. It’s instantly redundant: a rather unhealthy HEALTH. Intro, Victim, is like a Michael Bay trailer. Flesh World (UK) is techno’s destructive little sister, plastered in a layer of wash-off Crayola. Jake Duzsik’s vocals actually sound like U2 circa Achtung Baby. There is literally no real noise. It’s all manipulated sound. Dark Enough isn’t dark enough. New Coke has been bastardised by the music that sandwiches it. And it goes on just so.

HEALTH’s releases were always fraught with contention. But they were still attractive. They pertained a great aesthetic and were boisterous enough to fascinate. Death Magic isn’t fascinating.