Over the course of their career, HEALTH found different ways to express existential dread with their alternately harsh and haunting mix of dense guitars and synths, and Jake Duzsik's soft vocals. They emerged from Los Angeles' experimental rock scene in the late 2000s with a pummeling yet intricate style exemplified by their 2007 self-titled debut. As the years passed, they refined this sound, letting their synth pop influences surface on 2015's Death Magic and adding elements of trap and industrial to 2019's Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear.
Guitarist/vocalist Jake Duzsik, bassist John Famiglietti, drummer B.J. Miller, and guitarist/keyboardist Jupiter Keyes formed HEALTH in 2005. The band played its first show six months after forming and soon became a part of Los Angeles' D.I.Y. noise scene, playing with like-minded local bands like Ex Models, No Age, and Mika Miko. Soon after, they began recording at the city's underground venue/recording studio the Smell, using its cavernous brick acoustics and vintage microphones to capture their aggressive, concise songs. HEALTH's 2007 remix of Crystal Castles' "Crimewave" earned the band recognition outside of the L.A. scene. Their self-titled debut album — which featured tribal drums, squealing guitars, asymmetrical basslines, and a homemade guitar pedal/microphone called a Zoothorn — arrived on Lovepump Records later that year. In turn, Crystal Castles contributed remixes to 2009's //DISCO, which featured reworkings of HEALTH tracks.
Following a tour with Nine Inch Nails, HEALTH released 2009's Get Color, a more accessible set of songs that retained their debut's crunch. Another remix album, ::Disco2, arrived the following year and included contributions from CFCF and Pictureplane as well as Crystal Castles. HEALTH composed the score for 2012's Max Payne 3, which earned nominations for Best Score in a Game and Best Song in a Game (for the track "Tears") at that year's Spike Video Game Awards. They continued their foray into video game music in 2013 with "High Pressure Dave," a song inspired by the Units' "High Pressure Days" that appeared in Grand Theft Auto V. HEALTH also provided the music for GTA Online's Arena War.
The band returned in 2015 with their third full-length, Death Magic, which highlighted their music's synth pop and industrial leanings. A few months after the album's August release, Keyes left HEALTH. In 2017, the group moved to Loma Vista for that February's DISCO3, which featured reworkings by Preoccupations, Purity Ring, and Vessel; another EP of remixes, DISCO3+, appeared that June. HEALTH also released several new tracks that year, including a cover of New Order's "Blue Monday" for the soundtrack to Atomic Blonde and "Hard to Be a God," a collaboration with experimental hardcore producer Nolife. The following year, HEALTH issued a string of singles with like-minded artists: They worked with Parisian synthwave artist Perturbator on "BODY/PRISON," teamed with Youth Code on "INNOCENCE," and joined forces with Soccer Mommy and Purity Ring on "MASS GRAVE." None of these tracks appeared on Vol. 4 :: Slaves of Fear, a bleak, politically minded album that Loma Vista released in February 2019. ~ Heather Phares & Jason Lymangrover