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QC Band Conjures a New Style of Voodoo PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Tuesday, 07 September 2004 18:00
The word “mature” isn’t something one should expect to associate with the local band Human Aftertaste. This spook-show industrial-tinged rock band prides itself on being outrageous, proudly claiming to have been banned from clubs and glad to warn you that a performance will likely include being sprayed with substances pleasant and not-so-pleasant.

That ethos was well in evidence on the group’s first CD, 2002’s Eat Our Meat. And it’s there on the cover of the band’s new record, White Man’s Voodoo – a visual mishmash with a naked woman, golf balls, inscribed crosses, and grotesque canned goods.

But when you pop the CD in, it’s surprisingly good; this pseudonymous band has outgrown its shock-rock silliness and produced an album of striking versatility. The music has been toned down a touch, to the point that it easily crosses genres and becomes something idiosyncratic. And it’s full of surprises, such as the female vocals that pop up in the aptly named “Porngroove.”

The CD starts with the static and pops of an LP record, and the music takes well over a minute to explode into an unconventional hard-rock thrash and bilious vocal workout reminiscent of Mike Patton’s post-Faith No More work, particularly Mr. Bungle – careening and difficult, but compelling with its own twisted logic.

Make no mistake: White Man’s Voodoo shows that Human Aftertaste is not for all tastes. Just take a look at the disc’s multimedia section – which includes photos, lyrics, and a video and displays the band’s transgressive attitude.

But the group – led by vocalist Count Jabula and guitarist Protus – has stripped away its derivative industrial tendencies and staked out its own musical territory. The textures are fresh, multi-layered and nuanced, with an attention to melody and atmospherics that offsets the metallic base and the harsh, theatrical vocals. The 12 songs segue gracefully, and their structures are complex and often unexpected, with sections of delicate instrumentation that might be said to approach … sensitivity. (Gasp!)

“Dead Friends” is anchored by a droning, moaning guitar and a simple piano line and works earnestly as a lament. “The Squirm” is a slow, creepy dirge that evokes the dread of best horror-movie scores and then builds to its chorus before falling to the ground with a light piano line. This is ballsy rock – confident but not afraid of failure.

White Man’s Voodoo might not have a cover that you’d be proud to show to friends, but there’s absolutely nothing embarrassing about the music. Within the Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie category of raunchy, costumed hard rock, it’s smarter and more inventive than you might expect.

For more information on Human Aftertaste or to buy a copy of White Man’s Voodoo, visit (http://www.humanaftertaste.com).
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