An indie FPS might not be the first place you'd think to drop your band's latest single, but it's pretty much the perfect venue for noise rock group HEALTH. The long-running project's latest track, HATEFUL, saw release in the Cyber Grind mode of New Blood FPS Ultrakill and then shortly afterwards on streaming platforms.
HEALTH has been around since 2005 and has an extensive, quality back catalogue, as well as a solid connection to gaming. The band provided the knockout soundtrack to Rockstar's underrated Max Payne 3 (they were going for a different vibe!), and 11 years on Tears remains The Best Song You Can Lift Weights To. A remastered version of that OST is still in the works, but the band has also contributed to GTA V and Cyberpunk 2077's in-game radio stations, as well as the soundtrack for the latter game's Edgerunners spinoff on Netflix. In addition, HEALTH cultivates a bit of a gamer-shitposter vibe on its Discord for fans and social media. I love whatever the hell is going on in this Instagram post.
After a Radahn Festival-themed concert on Twitch last year (that came with one of my favorite shirts), the band's come back to videogames yet again with HATEFUL and Ultrakill. It's a novel way of releasing new music, certainly more exciting than just pushing it out on Spotify et al anyway, and a pretty inspired venue by my reckoning. I've generally found the Venn diagram of "people who can dig New Blood games" and "people who can dig HEALTH" really is a circle. All parties involved have demonstrated an intimate understanding of their respective audiences.
I'm a games journalist and not a music one, but I'd call HATEFUL another banger, in no small part because it ticks my all-important "music you can lift weights to" box. Ultrakill, meanwhile, is absolutely one of the best FPSs you can play right now, with uniquely high-flying Doom Eternal meets Devil May Cry action and some of the most surprising FPS levels in recent years—my favorite is 5-3, Ship of Fools, a sinking yacht that you have to explore once right-side-up, then backtrack through upside-down.
In addition to including HATEFUL in the game's latest update, developer Hakita also added 20 community-made maps for the Cyber Grind mode, friends-only leaderboards for the campaign, and a new, cowboy-themed variation of the revolver. While we await completion of its third and final act, you can check out Ultrakill in early access right now on Steam.