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Industrial Metal is a sub-genre of metal music that is known for combining industrial dance music and various other forms of electronic music with various forms of heavy metal. While it is known as being founded in the late 80's by artists like Godflesh and Ministry, the band Killing Joke are widely known as being the forerunners, starting as a post-punk act with industrial elements. The band eventually switched to the style they helped create during the 90's, which was the peak of industrial metal's popularity. Many critically acclaimed industrial metal albums were released during this time.

While Industrial Metal bands have made use of a wide range of styles of electronic and heavy metal, there are a few styles that are more notable:

Industrial Thrash Metal was among the first forms of industrial metal, being characterized in bands such as Ministry, KMFDM, and Varga. These bands combine varying forms of electronic and industrial music, with the rapid guitar riffing and frantic drum work of thrash metal.

Industrial Black Metal is a more recent form of industrial metal, the most notable act being Samael, who switched from pure black metal to an industrial-infused sound on their album "Passage". Industrial Black Metal combines raw black metal vocals with elements of both black metal and industrial thrash. Other notable acts include Aborym, The Axis of Perdition, and Dødheimsgard. However, many industrial black metal bands are more black metal than industrial, so many industrial black metal acts are placed under black metal.

Electro-Industrial Metal is among the most popular forms of industrial metal, often combining aggressive guitar riffs with more elements of techno, alternative rock, and glitch than other forms of industrial metal. The band Skinny Puppy is known as being a notable influence on these acts. Notable acts include Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, Celldweller, and Blue Stahli.

Neue Deutsche Härte (New German Hardness) is a music scene in Germany, which is known for combining the crunching riffs of groove metal with heavy dance beats. The most notable band in this scene is Rammstien, who are known for creating some controversial music videos. Other acts in the scene include Oomph! and Megaherz.

Trance Metal, sometimes known as Dance Metal, has a much more melodic style. It often combines uplifting electronic dance/pop melodies with fast guitar riffing and double bass drumming. One of the most popular acts is Amaranthe.

Cyber Metal, taking more influence from EBM (Electronic Body Music) and Aggrotech, is usually used to describe industrial metal acts that are on the more extreme side. Cyber Metal bands typically have more use of atmospherics and harsh vocals. Notable acts include Fear Factory and Sybreed with Static-X also having made use of Cyber-Metal elements.

Some bands, like Nailbomb and Strapping Young Lad, make use of a vast selection of influences with industrial being just one of those. The former is sometimes known as industrial death metal, which is less prominent than Cyber Metal which has death metal as only one of it's influences. Both bands are placed under industrial, as industrial extreme metal gives a good idea of the band's overall sound.

Industrial metal has shown it's influence throughout the genres of metal, so there are some bands that take influence from industrial metal while being mainly a separate genre. Bands like Prong, Voivod, Meathook Seed, and Ultraspank have taken influence from industrial, but have largely stayed closer to their respective genres. Electronicore (Electronic mixed with Metalcore), despite having characteristics of industrial metal, is placed under Metalcore.

- Genre biography written by Unitron.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Unitron (leader)

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industrial metal Music Reviews

SLAB! Descension

Album · 1987 · Industrial Metal
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After releasing a few singles in 1986/1987, British industrial group Slab! took their sound in a much darker, sludgier, and more dissonant direction than their more upbeat singles had shown. Mind you, this was still 1987. Godflesh hadn't formed yet, and Ministry still had no metal elements in their music. I can only imagine how jarring Slab's studio album debut would have sounded to music fans back in 1987.

Slab's Descension is adorned with a simplistic blue album cover, which seems to showcase the urban legends of giant mutated reptiles coming out of the sewers to roam the streets free. This fits, as the album has a massive sound that wreaks about as much havoc that one of these giant beasts would. Descension still showcases all of the influences that their singles featured, industrial, metal, funk, jazz, and even the avant-garde, but cranks up the industrial and the metal.

The album opens right up with the misleadingly titled "Tunnel of Love", which is one of the heaviest and most dissonant tracks. The mechanical, crunching, and crashing dissonance is contrasted perfectly with an infectiously catchy beat that immediately gets the listener grooving. This song, along with "Undriven Snow" and the misanthropic "Flirt" predate Godflesh, yet sound like they could have come straight from a classic Godflesh album.

The greatest song on the album, and one of the greatest industrial tracks is easily "Dolores", which will change the way you think about funky bass playing. The main riff is infectiously catchy industrial funk, but right after the main chorus the bass remains funky and catchy as hell yet becomes so dissonant. It's impossible to not get lost in the locked in groove. Some other highlights on the album is the jazzy "Dr. Bombay", the ominous "Gutter Busting", and "Loose Connection Somewhere".

While unfortunately Slab! remains an obscure band, Descension is perhaps the very first industrial metal album. It provides somewhat of a missing link between the early material of Killing Joke and KMFDM with the primal sound of Godflesh and Ministry. For industrial metal fans, this is essential listening. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

SLAB! Smoke Rings

Single · 1987 · Industrial Metal
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Before Godflesh and Ministry took the metal scene by storm in 1988/1989, there was a little obscure band by the name of Slab! who started all the way back in 1982. Before releasing their debut studio album, the band had a few singles under their belt. These singles were characterized by a unique sound that I doubt anyone would expect to exist as early as 1987.

The two songs on this single are of course the title track, and Abbasloth. The title track is a catchy as hell industrial and jazzy funk metal tune, which has some of the tastiest bass licks that will ever grace your ears. There's such a gigantic sounding beat, that you can't help but stomp your foot or bang your head. The vocal melodies are infectiously catchy, and the saxophone plays off of the funky bass perfectly to bring a jazzy swing to the song.

The second song, the instrumental Abbasloth, is the song that lays on the more avant-garde side. The saxophone has little melody here, instead just sounding like it's being tortured. While avant-garde jazz fans will eat this up, I'm not a fan. What I am a fan of though in this song, is the interesting contrast. The bass remains catchy and funky, though dissonant. Both songs include fantastic screeching and discordant guitar solos which sound straight out of the cult classic 90's Adult Swim show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.

Slab! would make their masterpiece with their debut studio album in the same year, but this is a great single with a interesting contrast of catchiness and the avant-garde. If industrial funk metal with jazz sounds cool, check this out. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!


Album · 2003 · Industrial Metal
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Around the end of 2014, I became a very devoted fan of Devin Townsend. While his solo projects and Devin Townsend Band and Devin Townsend Project were what attracted me to his music at first, I absolutely had to have the five Strapping Young Lad albums as well.

This third album in the catalogue was released several years after the highly popular City album. For many fans of the band, City was Strapping Young Lad. The debut was just a warm up. But during the intervening years between City and this self-titled third album, Devin was exploring other styles of muscial self-expression. Naturally, when a new SYL album was announced, fans were eagerly awaiting the release. Many, however, were disappointed as it was not a City II.

While City featured an unbridled aggression, waving a big middle finger at the music industry because of Devin's frustrations with it at the time, Strapping Young Lad was a little more polished, bearing some of the trademarks of Devin's other work. Nevertheless, Devin knew what fans were expecting and many of the songs are brutal auditory assaults with Gene Holgan's pummeling double bass complementing the explosive guitar and Devin's flesh-shredding screaming. The disappointment factor for me is that many of the tracks seem to have been written and recorded with that sole purpose in mind: to be loud and brutal. Of course Devin is an individual of deep thought and sensitive as well, so I have no doubt that there was great thought put into the lyrics. "Rape Song" was intended to express rage against a rapist but was misunderstood by some as condoning rape. Poor Devin had to clear that one up.

There are moments where I feel the brutality and the actual music (the chords, the drumming, the vocal work) do come together to create memorable songs, or at least songs I want to listen again from time to time. My two favourites are "Devour" and "Force Fed", the former a short screamer with a great gang-chanting chorus and the latter bridging both the older SYL and the future sound yet to come.

Of the five SYL albums, this one ranks number four with me. It's good but doesn't have the youthful rage of City nor the intentional rage of Alien, and also doesn't have the variety or daring humour of The New Black. Three stars for being one of the less creative, less intriguing products of Devin Townsend but still good enough to smash skulls.


Album · 1997 · Industrial Metal
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My introduction to Rammstein originally came when I heard their song 'Engel' on the 'Mortal Kombat: Annihilation' soundtrack sometime around the year 2000. I was 13 years-old, I shamefully loved that film at the time, though I realize now how terrible it is (but the soundtrack sure does kick ass!). With that said, I initially mocked the band. I thought 'Engel', with its German lyrics, sung in a ridiculously deep, baritone voice, was bloody hilarious.

I was wrong.

1997's 'Sehnsucht', Rammstein's second album, is a huge improvement upon it predecessor. The compositions are much more polished and the overall performances are more confident than before. Here is a band who have their sound, they know who they are and what they're doing, and they fully embrace every aspect of their music. The guitar riffs are much weightier than before, and the keyboards play a much more integral role. Vocalist Till Lindemann's deep, raspy vocals, despite sometimes seeming fairly repetitive, fit the music perfectly.

There's plenty of elements here that gives the album a more "industrial" feel, and with its improved production, darker lyrics and continuing Rammstein's trend of shocking and sexual imagery, 'Sehnsucht' gives the band the "bigness" their music needed.

With hits such as 'Tier', 'Engel', 'Bestrafe Mich', 'Eifersucht' and one of the groups most famous songs, 'Du Hast', 'Sehnsucht' isn't just a landmark album in industrial metal, but in heavy metal in general.


Album · 1995 · Industrial Metal
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Released in 1995, 'Herzeleid' is Rammstein's debut album, which mixes industrial metal with various electronic and dance influences, a heavy emphasis on shock value, sexual imagery and lyrical themes. The German vocals are an interesting touch, which makes it all the more surprising that they'd go on to have the success that they would.

Full of tasty guitar riffs, infectious keyboard melodies and groovy dance beats, 'Herzeleid' is a cohesive effort full of catchy songs that firmly establishes who this band are and where they're going, spearheading the Neue Deutsche Härte ("New German Hardness") movement that was sweeping across the nation.

Unfortunately, some of the tracks are a little repetitive and mundane. While tracks like 'Du Riechst So Gut', 'Heirate Mich', 'Laichzeit' and 'Wollt Ihr das Bett in Flammen Sehen' belong on any Rammstein compilation, others, such as 'Asche zu Asche', 'Seemann' and 'Rammstein' are all fairly passable.

I've struggled to write this review, with no witty one-liners or closing statements, this is just simply a good album. It's not the groups best release, but it's definitely worth picking up.

industrial metal movie reviews

ROB ZOMBIE The Zombie Horror Picture Show

Movie · 2014 · Industrial Metal
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The Zombie Horror Picture Show is a live release by the Industrial Metal band Rob Zombie. It was filmed in Texas and released in 2014 on DVD and Blu Ray, his first full concert video release. The Blu Ray version is in 1080p with DTS HD Master 5.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and PCM stereo options.

Live CDs are great, but Rob Zombie has always been about spectacle, about visual, about putting on a show. It just makes more sense to release it in a visual medium. Here’s a list of things you can find on this concert film: Multiple costume changes (including prosthetic Nosferatu ears and a light-up mouth-guard) …when the band are already decoratively dressed and wearing make up to begin with; Multiple screens (showing a mixture of crowd footage, scenes from the music videos and dedicated footage such as horror imagery, strip tease, psychedelic visualizers and karaoke sing along prompts), light-up guitars, a see-through drum kit (which also has pentagrams projected onto it at one stage), balloons, confetti, fireworks and pyro and steam cannons, lights and lasers, customized mic-stands, fake snow falling, hired dancers in big puppet costumes, a giant prop that says ‘Zombie’ on it, a giant radio prop, a giant skeletal podium prop and even a giant steampunk-robot-chariot that drives around the stage and can move its head around. That’s more than most bands do in a whole career these days.

Its a very visual concert, with a lot to take in. The editing and camera work is all very high-budget stuff, lots of different angles available, movement, concentrating on the right parts of the song. There’s the occasional grainy film filters, or psychedelic looking screen mirrored down the middle or what have you, and during the intro, outro and a small selection of the more quiet parts it’ll cut to footage from the road. Its a very good looking film, well put together, not too stylized but not to plain. Very in keeping with Zombie’s tastes and artwork (Which makes sense seeing as Zombie himself directed it). Perhaps, there’s a few too many titty-shots. … a much higher proportion than normal really. If that’s off-putting to you then this aint the concert for you I fear, as there’s no getting around it here.

The band, featuring drummer Ginger Fish and guitarist John 5 (Hey, remember how cool Marilyn Manson was live when those two were in the band!?) as well as bassist Piggy D are all on top form, no free rides! Rob himself performs well and enthusiastically, really getting into it, dancing, interacting with the audience, going into the crowd etc. His vocals, which have been criticized on previous live releases are very strong here, and not a weak link at all. From everyone involved its a good performance, and the crowd seem into it.

The setlist is great; out of all of ‘Zombie’s live albums this has the most wide-ranging setlist, covering five solo albums and two White Zombie albums. Across its 80 minute length you’ll find all the hits you’d expect like ‘Dragula,’ ‘Living Dead Girl,’ ‘Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy),’ ‘Sick Bubblegum’ etc. There’s material from the then-new album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (including a really storming rendition of ‘Dead City Radio…’). There’s also a brief drum solo and a slightly longer guitar solo where John 5 really gets to shred. There’s the popular Grand Funk cover of ‘We’re An American Band.’ The Educated Horses album is the least drawn-from album but then there was already a live album from that touring cycle so its good not to just repeat the same setlist twice. Everyone’s tastes are different and I’d personally have loved to add in ‘Scum Of The Earth’ and ‘Werewolf Women of the SS’ but otherwise it is a pretty amazing selection.

Sound wise, its is decent. The White Zombie covers sound nice and thick, and the more organic material from his solo catalogue fairs really well. Some of the more industrial sections maybe sound different live than on record but not in any way that spoils them. My only minor gripe is that my favourite ‘Zombie song, the very catchy ‘Ding Dang Dong De Do Gong De Laga Raga’ isn’t just as crunchy and massive live. Its good, but not just as satisfying. I think its just because there’s only one guitar track live and in the studio they can beef it up with more. Minor nitpick at most though.

There isn’t much in the way of extras at all, just a gallery, not even a booklet with linear notes or anything, but to be honest I bought it for the concert in the first place so that’s ok I guess.

Overall, in terms of set,sound, performance, spectacle, visuals and editing this is a very good concert film and I highly recommend it. If you are a fan already it is pretty perfect and as an introduction to the band it serves as a pretty high quality ‘greatest hits’ package with a nice career spanning collection of songs to give you a flavour for different eras.

MARILYN MANSON Guns, God And Government Live In L.A.

Movie · 2009 · Industrial Metal
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Marilyn Manson may divide opinion, he may be taken too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others and it just makes sense that if you don't already like Marilyn Manson then this Blu Ray isn't something you should buy. I'm not going to get into a debate with anyone about whether or not Marilyn Manson albums have been declining in quality over the years but I will say that if you think they have, then the track listing of this concert is perfectly suited to you, with all the material dating before the divisive 'The Golden Age of Grotesque' album.

You may already know this; but for those who don't, this Blu Ray is not a simple transfer of the previously released DVD 'Guns God And Government,' which featured footage from all around the world on different nights. The Blu Ray is taken entirely from one concert in LA during the same tour but also features the same bonus features as the original DVD (chiefly a documentary/montage entitled 'The Death Parade')

The concert is just over and hour and a half in length and features sixteen tracks, including the unreleased 'Astonishing Panorama of the End Times,'as well as seven tracks from the then new Holywood album in addition to a selection of live favorites from older albums. The band features John 5, Twiggy Ramirez, M.W. Gacy and Ginger Fish, in what many fans have come to consider the classic line up.

The video quality is pretty incredible and its surprising just what a huge improvement this is over the previously released DVD, especially when the house lights are up. When the lights are up, this 2002 concert looks better than many live Blu Rays filmed as recently as last year and the team behind this Blu Ray have clearly done an excellent job. In addition to the sterling video quality, the sound is utterly fantastic and as with the video it honestly rivals the majority of modern concerts on Blu Ray.

The performance is excellent, right from the start you know you are in for a theatrical and over the top experience as Manson arrives on stage in a chariot pulled by bikini girls to a stage featuring huge backdrops of crucified fetuses, crucifixes made of various rifles and revolvers, a tonne of dry ice and even naked dancers. The set also contains the infamous slit walk and 'growing,' as well as several costume changes for Manson and one or two minor costume enhancements for the rest of the group.

If you didn't already know, while the band do perform live Marilyn himself sings over a prerecorded live vocal track when he is doing anything theatrical such as the stilt walk or standing behind the pulpit and from repeat viewings I have begun to think that while he sang live over the track on the night, these vocals were erased from the mix and replaced with the live track entirely although I am not 100% certain.

The Blu Ray specs are as follows: 1080i HD Widescreen (1.78:1) LCPM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS HD Master Audio.

In summary this is an absolutely excellent product in and of itself, doubly so if you prefer this period in Manson's history, and an extra star is warranted if you aren't put off by the vocal track not matching up to Manson's mouth movements.

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