Alien Sex Fiend - Classic Albums Volume 2 album review

Goth-electro pioneers from the Batcave and beyond reissue their classic albums

Alien Sex Fiend Classic Albums Volume 2 album cover

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Alien Sex Fiend were the southern white-faced death cult version of Pop Will Eat Itself. But don’t be fooled by the goth paraphernalia – there was some serious innovating going on here with regard to synths and sampling, noise and found voices, industrial heaviness and electronic beats, all topped off by the Johnny Rotten-esque sneering snarl of Nik Wade, alias Nik Fiend.

If you liked last year’s four-album collection (from 1983’s Who’s Been Sleeping In My Brain? to 1986’s It – The Album), you’ll want this follow-up box set. It contains their output thereafter: 1987’s Here Cum Germs, 1988’s Another Planet, 1990’s Curse and 1992’s Open Head Surgery. Each has a mini LP replica sleeve and a colour booklet, with each CD including singles, B-sides, rarities and remixes.

The Impossible Mission from Here Cum Germs admirably sets out ASF’s stall, positing them as peers of PWEI and The Shamen, ahead of Jesus Jones and EMF, even of Ministry and NIN. Bun Ho! from Another Planet is crisp, sharp electro-rock, and Radiant City is a dub-spacious heir to Metal Box-era PiL.

By Curse, the likes of Meat Beat Manifesto had caught up with them, but that doesn’t mean their music lacked power: Katch 22 is like military music from another planet, although Now I’m Feeling Zombiefied could be from Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s cutting-room floor. By Open Head Surgery, ASF had been active for a decade and had lost some of their edge, but the fact remains, you should ignore the camp Grand Guignol facade and give these Sex Fiends a chance.

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Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.