Possessed, the new work from the English band Alien Sex Fiend, proves once again that visionary and experimental music, when it brings inside the spark of innovation, becomes a timeless work of art and, consequently, it’s always actual and contemporary. It’s now more than 35 years than Nik Fiend and Mrs. Fiend started playing their dark and industrial gothic rock, but still the music of their last album is fresh and communicative as few other things we have heard this year. And it’s not by chance, then, that eight years have passed since their previous publication. We’re evidently in the presence of that special and precious category of artists who enter the recording studio only when they have first-class material in their hands.
For those who aren’t familiar with the music of Alien Sex Fiend, we’re talking about a band that has published so far something like 13 studio LPs, 6 live records, and that have been included in more than fifteen compilations. Surely their fame reached its peak back in the 80s, but their influence is still present in modern music through many followers or bands that have inherited their unique approach to music. Just a few months ago we expressed our high appreciation for the avant-garde style of Zeal & Ardor‘s new record, which features an intriguing mixture of blues, gospel and black metal. This style of music, and the atmospheres that are generated from it, are totally reminiscent of the kind of experimentations that Alien Sex Fiend and other similar visionary groups started to do more than thirty years ago.
It’s now more than 25 years than Alien Sex Fiend has definitely taken the shape of a duo, with Nik Wade (Nik Fiend) and Christine Wade (Mrs. Fiend) who keep exploring the most uncomfortable areas of gothic rock, looking for the most haunting fragments of music and putting them together to create their particular style of “deathrock”. Possessed features the basic elements of their music and shows a special attention to obsessive rhythms and hypnotic repetitions. The simplicity but at the same time the power of the rhythmic component is probably the aspect that impressed me the most in their new LP. In many parts of the album you feel like being in a dark and isolated hall of a disco pub, with pulses and beats arriving muffled by layers of walls and disturbing sounds, distorted guitars and pieces of phrases that fill the space around you. Something like a discomforting nightmare that however has something absolutely fascinating, and you can’t choose if to wake up or live it to the end and see what happens.
In short: that’s an impressive and brilliant collection of music that proves once more how true class never ages. Not suitable for all tastes, but absolutely unique and intriguing.
Possessed can be streamed from Spotify.
Standout tracks: Ghost in the Machine, Shit’s Coming Down, and Gotta Get Back.