Who are these creatures of the damned? In a land of sex drugs and rock and roll Human Aftertaste fit in like a brick in the wall of a sick and twisted fetish paradise. One can find out what I mean by attending a Human Aftertaste show or simply heading to their website complete with gore overtones and fetishy flash. One has to think: does the CD live up to the hype they generate?. I must say yes they certainly do!
The self-titled release is not your standard gothic industrial affair, but one in that subculture may find a pallet for these wild fuckers. In a lot of previous reviews many people made claims to Human Aftertaste having similarities to Marilyn Manson (possibly), Rob Zombie (highly doubt it), Christian Death (I think not). The imagery doesn't reflect what the music is all about.
The CD consists of twelve audio tracks, video and some interactive portions. The sound that comes to mind can be a multitude of genres mixed into one wall of sound. The vocal ramblings remind me of some early TSOL punk flavorings with the psychotic meanderings of some Talking Heads antics. The music is more on Shock Rock tip with some industrial electronic elements creeping in at times adding a nice accent here. There is mention of Thrill Kill Kult in previous reviews and I can actually see some similarities, but find more of an Alien Sex Fiend approach where some people may confuse it with the likes of TKK. The closest comparison could be that of Undercover Slut style smutrock. Now that I've shed light on my take on the sound lets dive into the disc and see what we can surmise about the music as that is indeed the intent of this review.
Tick Tock Man opens up this journey into the twisted world of Human Aftertaste. Industrial overtones start things off and one can see the vocal comparisons in paragraphs above. The electronics roll on, but the guitars come in and add the metalesque side of sound here. This is a track that will grow on you easily. The vocals really grab you. It's one of those things where you might say what the hell and a few listens later you get grabbed by those hooks and immediately find yourself hitting repeat. Catchy hooks, driving guitar work and pounding drumwork make this a crowd pleasure. Taboo You comes in with some female samples and is reminiscent of Alien Sex Fiend stylings with a much more intense metal side that also shows some elements of Pigface theatrics.
In THAT We Trust slams its way in through the speakers, hard and heavy guitar work and a fast paced metal sound. Chorus elements make one feel as if they want to beat the shit out of the person next to them. I love music that will just make you want to jump out of your seat and beat the snot out of someone. I'm quite sure when this one comes on during a live show the weaklings better move their asses as a pit is sure to erupt in a matter of seconds. Welcome reminds me of something that Alice Cooper wrote and was redone by this band, but the fact remains its one of their own. From slow and easy to spontaneous human combustion in a matter of seconds. The intense changes are what give this track plenty of juice.
Room 418 kind of puts a damper on the production of the disc as its sound is somewhat sunken in compared to the tracks proceeding it. Not quite as clear as the rest of what I've heard but maybe raw intensity is what they were going for on this one. Not a lot happening here which is a surprise considering the power of the tracks prior to this one. One can say old school gothic punk would best describe the sound here, but seriously I had to check my bass cabinet as I thought something went wrong with the sound.
Scream Within A Scream comes complete with screaming vocals and driving guitar, but again the sound sounds as if the CD is a combination of home recording meets studio time. The overall production could be surmised as a couple of sessions crammed onto a disc they wanted to get out quickly and the realization of overall production flaws show. Now that's not to say the song sucks, but to someone like myself who wants all sound levels to be equal to enjoy a disc as a whole has been shattered by the lack of time spent making sure all sound levels in all tracks matched and complimented the next tracks.
Eat It Alive exudes a more Industrial sound. More electronics work their way in on this one. Images of Night Of The Living Dead come to mind. This is Industrial influenced horrorcore at it's best. Be a great track to add to ones Halloween playlist. New Blood displays a more metal sound of days gone by then veers over. This track would be much more enjoyable if it was recorded in stereo. If its one thing I hate is when people make great music and do crappy sound mastering. Was the mixmaster tone deaf?
I'll say this about the disc: it has some really kick ass material and a couple of weak tracks, but is a decent outing for this band. This has all been done before, but there are tracks one would definitely enjoy. I'm glad to have a copy and can actually see myself listening to this again and not adding it to the CDs that have hit the trash can. On the negative side the final mix is disheartening. The problem with this CD is the home studio neglect and if this was done at a studio I'd ask for my money back. Nothing worse then a good bunch of material being flawed by the old plague of home studios. Every couple of tracks you find yourself wondering if someone has played with your volume then you get a couple of tracks sounding as if it was recorded in mono or one side of the mixer blew out during the middle of the recording process. I'd say this is a band to go see live, then support future recording efforts by purchasing a CD and telling them to use the money for some better sound mastering.
Post: Octopoid Productions, P.O. Box 611, East Moline, IL, 61244, USA