Alien Sex Fiend

Possessed

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Possessed is Alien Sex Fiend's first full-length since 2010's Death Trip, and only their third studio album of the 21st century. While they aren't as prolific as they were during the '80s and '90s, their creative spirit hasn't diminished, and their ghoulish sense of humor remains fully intact. ASF don't always quite get the recognition they deserve, at least beyond the goth and industrial scenes. Perhaps their appearance and playfulness might cause them to be pegged as a novelty act by many, but spend some time delving into their back catalog and it's readily apparent that they've always been a truly forward-thinking, one-of-a-kind group. They were certainly ahead of the curve when it came to combining electronic dance beats with heavy guitars, yet their predilection for experimentation over mechanical precision set them far apart from most club-friendly industrial/EBM acts. They were also early adopters of techno, house, and trance, and have dabbled in drum'n'bass and dancehall rhythms during their later efforts. Possessed is in line with pretty much any other album they've ever released. Nik Fiend still looks and sounds like a Tim Burton character come to life, and his lyrics are still comically grotesque and juvenile, but never harmful or gratuitously morbid. And more often than not, they don't really write properly structured songs; the tracks are repetitive and groove-based, with howled lyrics usually revolving around the title (for example, "Shit's Coming Down" doesn't say a whole lot beyond "Shit's coming down on me"). Nearly all of the tracks include monstrous beats, eerie synths, and acid-soaked guitars, with strange samples and unpredictable touches such as harmonica making appearances. As with most ASF albums, there are a few lengthy space-out jams; the coolly hypnotic "It's in My Blood" stretches past 11 minutes. There are a few mellower moments, such as the meditative instrumental "Neutron" and the somnambulant "Gotta Get Back." Two of the album's tracks previously appeared on 2017's triple-disc Fiendology, which is absolutely essential listening for anyone remotely interested in this band. The rest will seem instantly familiar, and that is not a problem at all.

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