I am most definitely a fan of industrial music, regardless of more commercial acts like Nine Inch Nails or less…um… melodic bands like Blackhouse. One act that came out of the Christian music scene was a cool blend of pop singing mixed with aggressive guitars and synthesizers. That Band was called Aleixa.
Started by Kevin Guitierrez under the name Kevin 131 in 1990, Aleixa was originally called Sorrow of Seven. As time past, he started to contemplate a name change. He gave the explanation that there were to many bands with “Seven” in their name. Not much later, Lauren Snapper join Kevin and this evolved the sound of the band and they became Aliexa.
In 1996, they released their first full CD, Honey Lake. The songs were loud, tough and drove forward with unrepentant fire. The combination of Lauren’s vocals, which were clean even when she was screaming, rather than guttural paired strongly with the raw guitars. Providing an additional set of pipes was April Lassiter. It was not just the pop gone industrial sound that stood out for the band. Certainly, there were other great industrial acts coming out of the Christian music scene, such as Circle of Dust and Klank. But when it came to female fronted bands? That made Aleixa unique. What also stood out was the roughness of the lyrics.
The first album featured songs like “I Could Murder” (opening with an excited cheerleader chant of “M-U-R-D-E-R, K-I-L-L!”) which speaks to feeling betrayed by holier than thou members of the Christian body. It’s a dark tune, but easy to identify with if you have had someone pass harsh judgment on you in the attempt to build themselves up. And yet the song also hit upon the singer’s fallibility in the chorus. We may want to believe we are above such hate in our hearts…but often we are not.
A lot of the songs addressed the pain of failed relationships, and the fear of not being loved. It’s strong and dark throughout the album, but the energy of the songs did not seem as dark as they are. I loved this album and feel it still holds up.
For a year or two it seemed like maybe Aleixa was closing up shop. No new album. Then we got a demo which featured a cover of Duran Duran’s The Reflex. It was a truly excellent cover in which the band gave their own spin to the song.
In 1999 we fans got the long awaited follow up to Honey Lake called Disfigured. April had left the band and was replaced by Stephanie Pummill, and it was a seamless transition. The guitars were a little heavier, but the unit was just as tight as the prior CD. There were still songs addressing broken relationships, but the songs also seemed more focused on spiritual matters. This is ironic, considering that Disfigured had some trouble getting placed in some Christian stores due to the album’s artwork(the back cover featured Kevin 131 wrapped tightly in cellophane). The title track was a call for being changed by God, to become something new.
I need to be disfigure
I need to be ripped apart
I need to be something new tonight
The entire album was a powerful follow up, making it all the more disappointing that the band called it quits two years later. One would have hoped for a third album to round it out, but that was not to be. However, at least this Christian band that did not suck gave us two great CDs in Honey Lake and Disfigured.
By the way…Aleixa has a Myspace page set up by a fan where you can hear some of the songs.