Various artists – “The Health Program”

Various artists

The Health Program
(Boy Arm Records)

The concept behind The Health Program is an interesting one. A drum track is recorded by a well-known death metal drummer and said drum track is given to a variety of artists in different genres and styles to do with as they see fit in the creation of music inspired by and/or soundtrack to the progress of modern medicine.

In theory, a concept compilation with a thematic link and variety is a compelling idea, bound together with the same drums, but this album doesn’t meet up to that potential.

First and foremost amongst the flaws are the rules set down regarding the song’s creation. Artists are limited as to how much intro and outro time are allowed, cramping the creativity. Moreso, the weight dragging this CD screaming into the abyss is the drum track. One might imagine that a death metal drummer is not horribly inventive and by forcing use of this constant double-bass drum crap, the listener is strained over the course of multiple tracks. Even worse, the drum track’s sound is hollow and muddy, usually in opposition to how well-done many of the tracks are. Sealing the deal, effecting or altering the drum track is also prohibited, dragging even the most brilliant tracks back into the shit stew with this metal monstrosity.

The bio claims: “By setting these boundaries, alone with the use of a universal theme (The Medicinal Advances of Man), we allowed for various interpretations while ensuring a cohesive final piece.” Cohesive though it may be, the CD still lacks the movement and ability the artists could have shown if they had been more free to tamper with the structure, not to mention how smotheringly dull it is to hear the exact same drum track again and again.

Kudos to Function 7 for being the only band that seemed to be going anywhere with their track before they had to add in those lame-ass drums. Others were not awful, but not enjoyable by any standard, and you have to appreciate their attempt to craft something from this monotonous shit.

All in all, the idea is intriguing, but the results aren’t worth listening to unless you’re a huge fan of death metal drummers. For next time (and I hope there is a next time), allow more freedom and choose a more interesting drum track to begin with. Cohesiveness isn’t nearly as important as being interesting to the listener.


from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #19