Alternative Press has teamed up with HEALTH for an exclusive vinyl variant of RAT WARS, limited to 500. Head to the AP Shop to snag yours.
HEALTH’s RAT WARS, which we named one of the best albums of 2023, is another sterling reminder of their might. The LP, packed with industrial brutality, sinister atmospherics, and sweaty club grooves, could compel you to revisit Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral — or reach for black eyeliner. From the apocalyptic heft of “CRACK METAL” to the menacing “SICKO,” which fittingly samples Godflesh’s “Like Rats,” HEALTH pair daring, ambitious worldbuilding with poetic confessionals and dark prophecies. It’s a combination that completely works, as their self-described “neo-industrial” noise reaches a new level across these 12 tracks.
Read more: Every Nine Inch Nails album ranked
Jake Duzsik and John Famiglietti took us through the songs that shaped and emboldened RAT WARS, their finest record yet.
Leonard Cohen – “Waiting for the Miracle”
When I wrote the closer track “DON’T TRY,” I was attempting to commune with ’80s-era Lenny. Voice two octaves lower from years of chain-smoking, sounding too tired to stay awake but too ragged to sleep. In the end, our song turned out to be more of an homage to Durutti Column, but this was the spark. —Jake Duzsik
SWARM – “Take Me to Hell (Club Edit)”
When I heard the absolute dog of these arpeggiated synths, I immediately reached out to SWARM. We had to have him contribute to RAT WARS, and that’s how we got some of the doggiest synths in the biz. He actually ended up replaying a lot of the heavy-metal guitars on the record, too. Talented boy. —John Famiglietti
This Mortal Coil – “Kangaroo”
This song is simple yet heartbreakingly beautiful. The richness of the production is perhaps matched only by Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” As incongruent as it may seem, this is the song I listened to most during the making of RAT WARS, and it became the inspiration behind attempting something without drums. —Jake Duzsik
Moondeity – “Neon Blade”
In addition to EBSM, we’ve been listening to a lot of phonk or more accurately drift phonk. So a lot of phonk hats, rhythms, and production techniques have snuck into RAT WARS. —John Famiglietti
Black Sabbath – “Wheels of Confusion”
This visits so many disparate emotions in one track it’s almost overwhelming. We knew we wanted to attempt something as rich in variation for the opening song on our new record. Not sure that we accomplished it, but you have to start somewhere. —Jake Duzsik
Maenad Veyl – “Bleak”
The record that got me into EBSM, which has been quite an influence on the album. We’ve been looking at EBSM as a parallel movement to our own neo-industrial storyline. —John Famiglietti
Nine Inch Nails – “Last”
The raw nerve energy of the guitar communicates so much aggression that it makes me want to kick a puppy…and I love puppies. —Jake Duzsik
SIERRA and Matteo Tura – “Burn”
Speaking of EBSM, this is an absolute barnstormer from two of my favorite artists in the genre. We tapped SIERRA to help us for “HATEFUL,” and we have something in the works with Matteo Tura as well at the moment. —John Famiglietti
Godflesh – “Like Rats”
This one speaks for itself. So goddamn good we just sampled it. —Jake Duzsik
Hell March – “Frank Klepacki”
The C&C Red Alert song is burrowed deep into my brain like the Illithid Tadpole. It’s always been an influence, and “DEMIGODS” definitely has shades of it in its DNA. —John Famiglietti