CD Review

Alien Sex Fiend - Two Releases

By Marcus Pan

Alien Sex FiendAlien Sex Fiend - here's a group that has been on the crux of the UK goth scene since almost the onset of the genre. Tied in strongly with the original Bat Cave scene, Nik Fiend, Mrs. Fiend and their friends have been turning out classics for years. On the Cleopatra release, Drive My Rocket, we're given a large enough dose of ASF music dating as far back as 1983. Cleo put together a wonderful collection that highlights some of ASF's finest punk-crossover style songs. Tracks like Hurricane Fighter Plane, Now I'm Feeling Zombiefied and the more obscure Sample My Sausage are placed here to satisfy any old skool goth that was unable to attain all of ASF's various singles.

Drive My RocketDrive My Rocket opens with the track Nightmare Zone from Another Planet (1988). I find much of ASF's earlier work as displayed here reminiscent of The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Cramps and similar early 80s gothic. It's got a very blaring punk attitude as expected, and is rife with tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Nightmare Zone is one of my favorites off of this collection and shows the jam-like style of music that ASF have become famous for. The explicit joking lyrical style shows through on the next track, Drive My Rocket (1983); "Drive my rocket right up Uranus." I'll leave the imagery for you to figure out. Also of high note here is the performance-centric recording style of ASF's earlier years. They always have done very little in the mixing department and instead kept to an unpolished, raw and energy-driven sound. Following this is Hurricane Fighter Plane (1987), one of my favorite punk-style songs for years now - a cover song originally by The Red Crayola. Strangely enough, I'm not even sure if I've ever heard the original. I am, however, aware of the version done by The Cramps.

On track four is the rather eccentric track from 1985, Stressed Out. Included on Drive My Rocket is the Brain Drain Mix. Funnily enough, this is how I felt in my lab recently. And also, strangely enough, I was laid off around the time I was writing this review. Drive My Rocket was the last CD I listened to in my lab before leaving Fountain that fateful final day - how strangely appropriate that Stressed Out helped complete my years there. Another of my favorite tracks, and nearly as strange as Stressed Out, is track 7 - Now I'm Feeling Zombiefied (1990). I remember listening to this one at the old Pipeline club in Newark, NJ - one of my old haunts from days gone by. Boy I stomped shit up to this one - broke in a new pair of boots once while it played. I miss those boots. This tune is, by the way, a strange mixture of the eccentricity of Stressed Out and the jam-like sound of Drive My Rocket. The last track I'm going to cover in depth is track 9, Attack!!! (1984). This one is an example of ASF's super-early works - part of their play list from their earliest gigs. Probably the Bat Cave was the first place it ever touched air in front of an audience. Brimming with bawling punk-riff guitars and angry screams, Attack!!! is as good an example of early punk-crossover as anything else with the added bonus of this one being an original of the genre.

Nocturnal EmissionsNow that we've exhausted my discussion of Drive My Rocket, the next Alien Sex Fiend release I'd like to bring into the light is the 1997 13th Moon Records release of Nocturnal Emissions. This one kind of confused me - really did shock me. I was fully aware of Nik & crew's capabilities in the punk/gothic genre, but I wasn't aware that the group was now trying their hand at pure electronic. Nocturnal Emissions is a surrealistic collage of computer bleeps, blips and underwater-sounding synths. As a matter of fact, it was so different from early Alien Sex Fiend stuff that I am quite surprised they didn't devise a new project name like many of today's multi-genre artists do.

The opening track, Evolution, is a beat-centric EBM style piece. Vocals throughout this track, and others on Nocturnal Emissions, are tinged with a metallic edge. The soundscapes that ASF produce here are actually quite complicated. Noise samples are pitted against one another creating a very unusual collection of sounds. This sample-swapping, EBM heavy beat style is par for the course here on Nocturnal Emissions and show that Alien Sex Fiend can carry themselves quite well in this newer musical style.

The genre-crossing, sex-spitting eccentricity of Alien Sex Fiend has delivered to us for a long time. Here's to hoping Nik Fiend, Mrs. Fiend and their cohorts continue to do so for much longer.

Contact Information:
Post: Blue Crumb Truck, P O Box 416, Cardiff CF11 6UU, UK

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