Pop review: California screaming
Saturday 06 December 1997
The latest US band quaking the metal scene is a right royal mixture of heavyweight influences. In California's Human Waste Project (above) you can hear the white heat of Rage Against the Machine, the howling disaffection of Korn, plus a dose of Marilyn Manson surrealism for good measure.
Somehow the band - drummer Scott Ellis, guitarist Mike Tempesta, vocalist Aimee Echo and bassist Jeff Schartoff - have fused hardcore and industrial rock with winning melodic intensity. The music is given an extra edge by the emotional exorcisms that make up Aimee's vocals and lyrics. It is a dark but well-conceived sound, which was enticing enough to bring the fans out in force for their November London support date with Tura Satana, which sold out well in advance.
On the phone from the US, Aimee, whose voice is a mere croak as a result of staying up all night after a show in New York, has good memories of the London visit. "It was amazing," she swoons. "I felt it really suited the weather - it was pretty cold and grey. I guess I am a beach girl, but I have never been a willing one. I didn't expect there to be so many fans already." "I like aggressive music," adds Jeff. "I want our music to be like a really complex movie, like Blade Runner, with weird storylines. I love the stories Aimee writes, and the tone in her voice."
Aimee, Jeff, and Scott grew up together in California, and, along with Mike, each brings a different attitude to the band. The resident fashion guru is sticksman Scott who, as Jeff tactfully puts it, "likes to date a lot". Jeff himself is the walking hardcore scene encyclopedia, rather mellow now after a difficult mid-teen period which included a six-month spell in a psychiatric hospital. Mike, originally from the Bronx, brings the might of east-coast hardcore to HWP, which Jeff hopes will continue to push the tension and severity in the music. And as for Aimee, her freaked-out rage overflows on the new single "Powerstrip" to great effect. Like many of her lyrics, it focuses on a bygone bad relationship, and she admits that songs leave her feeling a little exposed. "I didn't really think about it when I wrote them, but sometimes now I think, `What have I done?'," she laughs. Too late now - the sonic assault of HWP will prove impossible to ignore in coming months.
Camden Falcon Barfly Club, NW1 (0171-482 4884),10 Dec; Astoria, Charing Cross Rd, W1 (0171-403 0403) 15 Dec
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