May 15, 2012

Song Review: HEALTH's "Tears"

Ever since being asked to join Nine Inch Nails in 2008 as the opening act on the influential industrial act's multimedia-heavy Lights In the Sky tour, the parallels heard in the evolving sound coming from heavenly noise rockers HEALTH and that of NIN frontman Trent Reznor have intensified with each new release. As Reznor breeds his style of brooding tech-savvy paranoia into some of the past few year's best film scores, his kindred spirits in HEALTH can be said to be doing the same by offering a new take on background music for the upcoming third-person shooter Max Payne 3, with "Tears" being its official single. It's a rare thing for a proper single by a noise rock outfit to arrive out of a video game, but when you consider most of HEALTH's music bleeds into itself atmospherically with vocals kept at a distance, it makes the Los Angeles Smell scene staples perfect candidates for creating a soundtrack (especially one as artistically blood-veiled as Max Payne.) "Tears" churns itself out on a similar wavelength as HEALTH's most recent material heard on Get Color and the 2010 single "USA Boys" in that there are solar flares of lush, cascading ambiance amid scraping electronica batted down by a deep-plunging drum line that sets the pace to keep your focus from start to finish. I'm not a huge gamer, but I'm guessing this is something you'll need as your storied video game vigilante unleashes state of the art violence via cinematically-enhanced bullet time effects into your fictional foes' skulls.

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