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Album Review: Health Care Self Titled LP

For Fans of: Guns and Roses, AC/DC, Evanescence, Bon Jovi, Metallica

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By Ted Richards

No band likes to be complimented contingently. For example “you’re really good…for a local band,” or “you guys are great…for your age.” The latter compliment stings more than most. No one wants to be good only compared to a relatively untalented group of high school classmates. An unadorned compliment is what any serious musician wishes to hear. The young rockers of whom this review is the subject have earned it: Health Care is a good band. 

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While I was listening to their self-titled debut full length, I did a little searching online to learn more about the group. I was surprised to find on their Instagram that the members looked younger than I expected them to. Their presence (and success) at a high school battle of the bands confirmed their age, but it did not account for the talent on display in the album. These 9 tracks offer an almost relentless onslaught of pure power-metal energy. Each song features chugging guitars, thumping bass, busy drums, soaring vocals, and the occasional organ solo. For anyone nostalgic for a time when popular rock and metal was fun, accessible, and riffy, Health Care has what you yearn for. 

From left to right: Alley Greer, Jared Walters, Judd Whiffen, and Kaden Cook.
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The main thing this album leaves me wanting more of is dynamic variety. Despite occasional reprieves (like the effected clean guitars on the verses for “Obsessed” or the acoustic intro to “Inconsiderate”), the vast majority of the songs feature heavily distorted, full bore guitar – riffing, chugging, and squealing. It’s a powerful sound, but can prove a bit heavy handed at times. With the potential gentleness in Alley Greer’s pleasing voice, perhaps some lighter overdrive and occasional cleans are warranted.

Additionally, some of the songs feel a little unusual in their arrangement. The surprise this sometimes offers is fun, but can be jarring. For example, the swung section with organ solo on “Fortune and Desire” comes off a bit strange. However, the organ section in “Face Me” worked very well. It ends with a section building one instrument at a time off spooky organ chords. I only wish the section ended with explosive energy rather than a somewhat premature fade. Maybe next time, take the drums double time! Then add a guitar solo!! Then a high note scream for the ending!!!

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Despite these tone and arrangement choices, this album is so much fun! The whole thing is like a triumphant trot to victory on the back of a valiant warhorse. Judd Whiffen is a very talented guitarist. His acrobatic flurry of two hand tapping on the opening track “Isn’t it Beautiful” (around the 4:00 mark) is sufficient evidence of his metal chops. The opening riff to “Face Me” is pleasantly reminiscent of “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” It should also be noted that most hard rock or metal bands do not have somewhat delicate-sounding female frontwomen, but Health Care does. And they pull it off. The strange pairing of heavy riffs and firm-but-sweet vocals, far from contradicting one another, paradoxically melds into something quite appealing. 

Health Care’s eponymous debut glimpses a promising future for a talented group of musicians. Keep your eye on these guys. Follow their Instagram for future shows and releases, and be sure to check out their website. You can listen to the best song on the album, “Face Me,” below!

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2 replies on “Album Review: Health Care Self Titled LP”

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