ALIEN SEX FIEND - DEATH TRIP BIOGRAPHY
Darwin would have been proud of Alien Sex Fiend, a highly successful, uncompromising and progressive musical organism that has resisted almost 30 years' worth of attempts at pigeonholing and issued 13 barrier-breaking studio albums, 4 thrilling live albums and an array of compilations and collections in the process.
Fifth on the list of artists with the most independent chart entries, the legendary Alien Sex Fiend is led by veteran visionaries of space, time and sound, the beautifully bizarre duo of frontman Nik Fiend (that voice, crazed theatrics and inimitable art) and Mrs. Fiend (crunching beats, keys and assorted noises). Aided by an ever-shifting squad of henchmen, the band has continually and consistently forged new, unorthodox musical terrain. In 2010 Alien Sex Fiend persist on this mission, introducing yet another amalgamation of style, beat and discord on their 13th studio album, "Death Trip".
"Death Trip", the latest fiendish masterpiece - recorded in "Hallucinosound," with the warning "To prevent Brain Explosion, listen to this record from a safe distance" - is presented by Alien Sex Fiend's own 13th Moon Records. The first studio album released by the band in six years, it is self-written, self-produced and self-financed - truly and totally independent.
Travelling through a diverse sonic spectrum, each of its ten tracks connects to the next, forming a sci-fi / horror / B-Movie themed journey, the "Death Trip". From the opening track "Erazerdrone", the listener embarks on a voyage into uncharted realms of sound and sanity. After exploring the zombie-encrusted ground of "Land Of The Living Dead," the brain is invaded by the surging "One Way Ticket", a twist on old skool 80s Fiend, before a phase of fun-time terror with "The Hills Have Eyes". "B.B.F.C." and its punk-styled pounding gives way to the industrial force and supernatural acid guitar of "Dance Of The Dead" via "Intensify The Treatment" - a nightmarish scenario. "Voodoo" hypnotises with its cutting-edge rhythms and otherworldly realms are to be discovered on "Beyond A Psychic Evil" before the crescendo of closing track and soon-to-be-classic "Oops! Wrong Planet" triumphantly ends the expedition. The Death Trip is complete.
Like H.R. Giger's facehugger-to-adult Alien metamorphosis in that fabled film, Alien Sex Fiend in the 21st century aren't a different band than say, the 1990s incarnation, or the Fiends of 1984. They are simply a more advanced form of the very same, very special beastie, genetically modified for the times.
For those in need of further mental refreshment, let us backtrack to the genesis of ASF in the deep, dank mists of 1982. Paranormal pulsations began to emanate from the environs of North London - a strange and unholy grafting together of percolating synth rhythms and a ghoulish, theatric aesthetic. Primed by Nik Fiend's phantasmagoric vocals, Mrs Fiend's highly original use of trippy drum machines and inscrutable electronic gear became a trademark - often imitated, never duplicated.
Alien Sex Fiend brought attention to the notorious Batcave club in London and its subsequent scene, though the band soon progressed beyond the genre's boundaries. This formative period was later documented on "The Legendary Batcave Tapes" album. Their classic 1983 debut single, the Youth (Killing Joke)-produced "Ignore The Machine" and its accompanying album, "Who's Been Sleeping In My Brain?", captured the Fiends initial burst of psychotic energy. Riveting lysergic follow up "Acid Bath" moved further into strange and spine tingling song structures, and led into the bleaker, more brooding interludes of 1985's "Maximum Security." With 1986 experimental monsterpiece "It -The Album," Alien Sex Fiend scaled unearthly peaks of creativity and/or insanity, followed by a pair of 1987 gems - "The Impossible Mission Mini LP" and the hallucinogenic "Here Cum Germs" album - and era-defining singles compilation "All Our Yesterdays". In an atomic renaissance of Fiendish style, 1988's "Another Planet" charted a new course of luscious lunacy, merrily continued on 1990's chaotic classic "Curse" and 1992's mysterioso menagerie "Open Head Surgery."
Throughout this eerie ouvre, Alien Sex Fiend built a fanatical following for their enthrallingly garish gigs, enticing the likes of Iggy Pop and David Bowie into fervent Fiend fandom, and opening for Alice Cooper on his Nightmare Returns jaunt. Live, the ASF experience is a must-be-seen event. A creature-feature cabaret with Munsterian magician Nik as ringleader, armed with his array of lethal props, and surrounded by utterly gonzo self-designed stage sets. Their tyrannical tours have been documented on four merciless live albums to date: "Liquid Head In Tokyo" (1985), epic double set "Too Much Acid?" (1989), "The Altered States Of America" (1993), and the wildest, "Flashbacks! (Live 1995-98)" (2001).
Not limited to aural adventures, Alien Sex Fiend have left no form of media untouched. Nik Fiend has shown his sardonic Dali-esque paintings and artwork - featured on each and every ASF album - to great acclaim at art exhibitions around the globe (see Gallery). Videowise, Alien Sex Fiend were championed by MTV's callow creeps Beavis and Butthead, who regularly assaulted viewers with "Now I'm Feeling Zombiefied", while the Hellraiser special effects crew provided the visceral FX for "Magic". A steady stream of video (and now DVD) collections ("A Purple Glistener", "Edit", "Overdose", "Re-Animated", "Making Of Inferno") have been released. Finally, Nik and Mrs Fiend found the time to produce their own magazine, the ultra-wacky, ultra-witty Fiendzine aka "Alien World News" which have become highly prized collectors' items. In more recent years, with the advent of the internet, those particular energies have also been directed into the band's own ever-developing website, with the additional benefits of colour graphics and increased fan interaction.
1994 found Alien Sex Fiend venturing where no group had gone before composing and recording an entire CD-ROM computer game soundtrack for hot sci-fi game "Inferno - The Odyssey Continues", an historic first. Whilst serving a functional gaming purpose, the "Inferno" score also stood on its own as an album - an irresistible mix of man and machine, fiend and fun. Anagram Records compilation "The Singles 1983-1995" neatly encapsulated the band's first dozen years' worth of musical mayhem by including every sordidly superb single to date.
The birth of Alien Sex Fiend's own 13th Moon Records in 1996 marked the dawning of their next insane reign. Unshackled from any and all artificial boundaries, 13th Moon enabled the gruesome twosome to more efficiently pursue their surreal and humorously deviant vision with total and complete independence.
Surprise remained an ASF hallmark, and groundbreaking single "Evolution" along with1997's studio album "Nocturnal Emissions" (the re-issue "Nocturnal Emissions (Special Edition)" appeared in 2000), was no exception. Their most futuristic effort, yet quintessentially Fiendish, it was obvious that the Fiends space race was far from over. Following audacious DJing stints as "Fiend At The Controls", ASF extensively re-examined some of the cobwebbed ghosts lurking within their archives, resulting in the 1999 2-CD monsterwork "Fiend At The Controls Volume 1 & 2" for Anagram Records.
Forging forward from where Anagram Records' retrospective 2001 "The Best Of Alien Sex Fiend" singles collection concluded, 2004's "Information Overload" reflected the new millennium's Age of Chaos, it was an angrier, more fangtastic Fiend. The music was harder, more stripped-down, the synthetic elements more relentless and devastating with great slabs of gristly guitar added the cerebral centrifuge.
The 2006 release of the "Para-Abnormal" sampler celebrated the terrorific ten year anniversary of the 13th Moon Records label. ASF - true to their ever-unconventional form - substituted a number of tracks with formerly unreleased treasures from their creepy crypt, creating a tempting taster of what the band hadachieved over that past decade. Whilst the ensuing Anagram Records "R.I.P. - A 12" Collection" double CD (2008) of long deleted delights from seventeen singles (1983 to 1995) further demonstrated the breathtaking scope of this band's output.
Which brings us back to the present. Still mutating faster than the normal brain can comprehend with their mega-musical tentacles reaching into uncharted lands of sight, sound, and sanity, Nik and Mrs Fiend remain a nefarious nucleus able to attract the finest in contributing satellites for their ravishing reverberations. "Death Trip" is only the latest launch pad for this band's ongoing exploration of new sonic terrain. With the whispered potential of an album of alternative mixes tentatively titled "Death Trip 2" we are sure to find this fungal fantasia of a group once again refusing to stand stock still. Where exactly they will take you, the listener, only the Fiendish ones know.
Evolve or die is firmly entrenched as mantra of choice in this strange murderous millennium. With minds expanded and samplers blazing, Alien Sex Fiend show no signs of extinction.
With thanks to Greg Fasolino