Album Reviews

Alien Sex Fiend: Fiendology: A 35 Year Trip Through Fiendish History (Cherry Red)

 

One has to hand it to Nik Fiend, the mastermind behind the long-running Alien Sex Fiend. He’s a man who has a singular artistic vision and the ability to reinvent, explore, and experiment. Over the past three decades, he’s made a name for himself in the Goth world, but his talent is such that he’s not guilty of being a one-trick pony. Fiendology, is a three-disc career retrospective that celebrates the band’s thirty-fifth anniversary, and its song selection highlights just how diverse Alien Sex Fiend actually is.

Fiendology highlights the amazingly polymorphic muse of Nik and longtime creative partner Mrs. Fiend, and as the collection isn’t programmed in chronological order, it makes for great fun and compelling listening. Sure, there are the requisite moody Goth moments (“In And Out Of My Mind,” “Isolation”), but they also diverge into New Wave, (“Inferno,” “E.S.T. (Trip To The Moon)”), Industrial (“I’m Doing Time In A Maximum Security Twilight Home,” “Now I’m Feeling Zombified”), Techno (“Evolution (Back From The Dread Pt. 2),” “Tarot (AI Mix 5)”), and Psychobilly (“One Way Ticket,” “Girl At The End of My Gun”). Fiendology is a journey into a dark psyche, and it’s quite nice to hear a band escape the ruts of a rigidly, dogmatic musical genre like Goth. Fiend understood that one can take one’s music quite seriously–and there’s no doubt he doesn’t–without taking yourself too seriously.

If there’s one unifying theme that runs throughout Fiendology, it isn’t darkness, death, desolation, and despair—though certainly that does play a bit of a role—it’s humor. But Alien Sex Fiend isn’t parody, though; instead, it’s a comedy that’s built off of the absurdity of it all—life, death, existence, the supernatural. Goth has always had an inflated sense of self-importance; how hard is it not to laugh at pretentiousness and po-faced personalities who take everything simply too seriously? It’s the fiddling as Rome burns; it’s seeing life as absurd and finding the humor in it, thumbing one’s nose at the darkness and refusing to let it conquer you.

Also, zombies are funny.

Even though Alien Sex Fiend’s not as prolific as they used to be, Fiendology does offer a glimpse into the future; two songs, “Carcass” and “Invisible,” are taken from the band’s first new album in seven years, Possessed. The mixes here are raw, but they’re certainly evidence that Nik and Mrs. Fiend haven’t lost their songwriting touch. Fiendology is a fun, enjoyable, and essential document of one of the most enjoyable bands from its era.

Fiendology: A 35 Year Trip Through Fiendish History is out now on Cherry Red.

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