Just in case this is your first time checking it out, A Game Called Echo is a feature where we recommend a record you may enjoy based on how much you like a recognized classic. Simple, right?

Alien Sex Fiend’s Acid Bath (1995), and Blu Anxxiety’s Plaay Dead (2022)

There has never been, and is unlikely there will ever be, a band like Alien Sex Fiend. That uniqueness stems from a fearless pursuit of whatever sounds were of interest to Nik and Mrs. Fiend at any given time, be that punky deathrock, drippy dub, electronic instrumentalism and any and all points in between and beyond. Their beloved sophomore record Acid Bath may not encapsulate the entirety of ASF’s catalogue, but is an example of them at their most primal; the album has garage-punk with a synth-driven engine (“In God We Trust”), mutant psychedelic weirdness (“E.S.T. (Trip to the Moon)”), and rockabilly pisstakes (“Boneshaker Baby”), all delivered with a wink and and a smirk. Its profound weirdness is only matched by its rough and ready sensibility, an energy that is equal parts thrills, chills and toxic waste spills.

Given the Fiends’ uniqueness, you aren’t going to get a 1:1 experience mainlining Acid Bath and NYC act Blu Anxxiety’s Play Deaad back to back. What you will find is that a spiritual kinship between the two bands, with Blu Anxxiety harnessing the same electronic pulse, shrieky deathrock sneer, and cheeky humour that makes up much of ASF’s early catalogue. Indeed, you’ll get cuts like “Cat’s Eye and Corpse” that are about as goth as it’s possible to be, joints like “Black Mass Romance” where freestyle and hip hop make their presence known, and full-on freakouts like the manic “Uninvited to the Funeral Home” that feel like they’re within an inch of flying off the rails at any given moment. It’s that willingness to go there that really makes these records feel so much alike – vocalist Chi Orengo has that livewire charisma that makes every diversion, every stylistic twist feel not just like a choice but an imperative that couldn’t be resisted.

Leather Strip’s Underneath The Laughter (1993), and Modebionics’ Precise Control (2023)

The effect Claus Larsen’s work has had on post-industrial is so massive that it’s difficult to not just lump the initial run of Leaether Strip records into one single monolithic statement. But as we’ve talked about on the podcast, there are real and important distinctions between, say Science For The Satanic Citizen and Solitary Confinement. Coming hot off the heels of the latter and just before Larsen’s first full foray into purely instrumental composition, Underneath The Laughter had some foreshadowing of Serenade For The Dead‘s experimentation, but almost by way of counterbalancing Larsen’s emerging symphonic interests, also includes some of the most rhythmically driven material he’s ever released. The furious percussive density of “Prying Eyes”, “Turn To Stone”, and the immortal “Don’t Tame Your Soul” have all gone on to help define dark electro as a genre which can employ moody atmospherics while still dishing out total rhythmic punishment.

Much in the same way that Sweden and Norway have produced some of the best homages to Vancouver industrial in the past decades, some of the strongest work in the vein of classic Zoth Ommog can also be found on the opposite side of the Atlantic in San Antonio’s Modebionics. While neither seeking to reinvent the wheel nor skimp on composition or production, the first full LP from Robin Vega’s one-man project serves as a bracing reminder of just how engaging and evocative the original dark electro formula can be when it’s done well. Like Underneath The Laughter, tracks like “Destra Destroy” weave icy pads through their dense percussive matrix, and it’s hard not to imagine Larsen getting a kick out of the samples debating the metaphysical nature of evil on “One By War”.