Industrial Metal

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Industrial Metal is a sub-genre of metal music that is known for combining industrial 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 Slab!, 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. Skinny Puppy should also be mentioned as a big influence on the genre.

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. Many of the early industrial metal bands blended thrash metal or sludge metal with their industrial sound. Ministry, KMFDM, Varga, and Die Krupps are some notable acts of the industrial thrash variety, while Godflesh and the early albums of Pitchshifter included sludge elements. Sometimes bands would combine both sludge and thrash elements, such as Treponem Pal. Some of the more mainstream industrial acts, like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, added in an alternative rock element to the style. Some of the more notable specific sub-genres include:

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.

Neue Deutsche Härte (New German Hardness) is a music scene in Germany, which is known for combining the crunching riffs of groove metal or thrash 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.

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, though other industrial metal bands have included elements of cyber metal, such as Static-X.

Some bands, like Nailbomb and Strapping Young Lad, make use of a vast selection of influences along with industrial. 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 bands' overall sound.

Industrial metal has shown its 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. It has also shown its influence with bands more commonly associated with regular industrial music. Front Line Assembly has a few industrial metal albums spread throughout their largely electronic discography, and Aggrotech band Combichrist eventually switched to an industrial metal sound.

- Genre biography written by Unitron.

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Trance Metal):

industrial metal top albums

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MARILYN MANSON Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) Album Cover Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)
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MINISTRY Psalm 69 Album Cover Psalm 69
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We Are Chaos
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MARILYN MANSON
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MINISTRY
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industrial metal Music Reviews

MARILYN MANSON We Are Chaos

Album · 2020 · Industrial Metal
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siLLy puPPy
MARILYN MANSON is of course a 90s rock icon with his slew of albums starting with the shocking portrayal of American values on “Portrait Of An American Family,” the irreverence and industrial metal heft of “Antichrist Superstar” and his most controversial album “Mechanical Animals” which got him accused of ripping off David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona however soon after those releases and an excellent hit single in the form of the Eurythmics cover “Sweet Dreams,” Brian Hugh Warner who as MARILYN MANSON led the band of the same name seemed to run out of steam after blowing his wad on his 90s output. After the “Mechanical Animals” fiasco MANSON returned to his guitar based creepy persona for “Holy Wood” but something just sounded off on that one and insincere. I never pursued MANSON’s releases from then on and basically just ignored them as one review and critique after another simply tore them apart for being insidiously boring musical dross.

Being irrelevant for two decades seems to break many artists and send them away packing but nobody can accuse MANSON of not being persistent. While i have none of the albums since “Holy Wood” to compare this to, for some reason i felt compelled to explore a new release from MANSON and lo and behold a new album just emerged on September 11, 2020, MANSON’s 12th titled WE ARE CHAOS. Obviously things have changed since the lineup featured Twiggy Ramirez, Madonna Wayne Gary, Ginger Fish and Robin Finck who all played their parts well in the most dysfunctional band of the 90s. Many musicians have come and gone but sometime in the not so distant past MANSON hooked up with Shooter Jennings, song of the infamous outlaw country star Waylon Jennings who has taken up the task of producing WE ARE CHAOS.

Album #12 returns to the days to the concept album days of the 90s and even takes on the retro feel of an LP of yore with two distinct sides and a playing time of only 42 minutes and 27 seconds. Having cited Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a main influence, it’s no surprise that the piano plays a prominent role in crafting discernible and instinctively hooky melodies that provide the underpinning of much of the album’s run. Despite the hero worship of 70s pop, i would say that the overall melodic flow is the closest thing to 1996’s “Antichrist Superstar” that i’ve heard at least with many of those familiar returns to MANSON’s soft whispered parts alternating with angsty punk shouts and heavy metal guitar heft in tandem with crafty industrial electronica. While the album misses the mark of providing as impactful experience as his lauded multi-platinum best seller, WE ARE CHAOS is quite the surprise that it is an extremely listenable album that although dusting off old ideas for contemporary use, manages to remain engaging throughout its ten track playing time.

While the metal aspects pale in comparison to the earliest days, the return of the Goth and glam is in full regalia on WE ARE CHAOS. The familiar melodic hooks that remind me of all those classic tracks like “The Beautiful People,” “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” and tracks such as “The Reflecting God” seem more like rejects from “Antichrist Superstar” as they lack the immediacy despite the strong hooks and similar feel however this is a much more mature version of MANSON and 24 years on sounds much better than anyone could’ve ever hoped especially after a slew of extremely uninteresting specimens of musicality. While this album does tend to cast MANSON as someone who is looking back for ideas rather than innovation, in his case where the innovation of the past 20 years has resulted in dismal ennui, i can’t say that it wasn’t a great idea to focus on what made you stand out in the first place rather than something you have no business tackling.

While MARILYN MANSON has never been a favorite band, i do love the first three albums enough to cherish them as some top picks of the 90s but MANSON as a personality just rubs me the wrong way. With the accusations of Satanic pedophilia from celebrities like Isaac Kappy MANSON has been vilified once again and perhaps has brought some renewed interest in his career but judging from WE ARE CHAOS, it is doubtful that MANSON will ever match the heyday of his 90s output despite crafting a pleasant retro album that is perhaps a bit too tame for his wild image as the album’s metal heft is more on the side of “Mechanical Animals” rather than the first two albums. Still though, i’m not disappointed that i at long last have checked out a new MANSON album. The dude still has the vocal chops to pull off his wicked unique style of industrial goth rock but despite strong melodies and songwriting prowess, the album still seems a bit too tame and could use some faster more upbeat tracks to offer some needed contrast. The title track is almost pure Goth pop rock as are several other tracks. This one is decent but far from the needed comeback in the modern era. Once again i think i will ignore Mr MANSON next time around.

GODFLESH A World Lit Only by Fire

Album · 2014 · Industrial Metal
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BitterJalapeno
Deep, dark and exceptionally moody, A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE was the first GODFLESH album released in nearly 13 years after 2001s HYMNS. I get the impression that they were trying to record something of refreshed version of their first studio album STREETCLEANER which I think they did successfully. Call it a STREETCLEANER 2.0 if you will. It has the same relentless rumbling aggression, very low tuning and Broadrick's signature bark but with a fresher feel from the modern production. If you listen with headphones up full blast and close you eyes, you can practically see the fire mentioned in the album title (or maybe it just makes me think of the album cover of STREETCLEANER??)

Having said that, I would still put STREETCLEANER in front of this down to its originality at the time of its release even though the music itself has a less professional feel which is generally the case for most first releases anyway and certainly not always a bad thing.

One thing that lets A WORLD LIT ONLY BY FIRE down in my opinion is that it can feel that it drags on somewhat towards the end and on occasion, i do not make it quite to the end of the album. For this reason, I cannot give more than 3.5/5. Still a great album which I would recommend to anyone who likes their metal dark and bleak.

BitterJ

MINISTRY The Land of Rape and Honey

Album · 1988 · Industrial Metal
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SilentScream213
The album starts off quite energetically, with some simple yet aggressive and heavy riffs and some artificial but effective beats with some nice double bass work giving it some extra power. After the first couple of songs, it shifts more towards Electro-Industrial territory and loses its metallic edge. It also slows down considerably, and relies on sampling to break its simple, repetitive beats. Most of the non-musical noises thrown in add little to the sound and are usually just abrasive for the sake of being abrasive. The instrumental tracks are especially hard to bear, as Al’s manic, crazed vocals are one of the main appeals to the album.

An incredibly unique record when it was first conceived, and highly influential to Industrial Metal and other similar circles of music. Today, it is too simple and limited without offering any staying power to hold up very well.

SLAB! Descension

Album · 1987 · Industrial Metal
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SilentScream213
The first documented Industrial Metal album of all time comes from unknown UK band Slab!. It’s surprisingly eclectic, though that unfortunately means only a couple tracks are actual Industrial Metal, while others are various combinations of Industrial music with Jazz, Funk, and Rock.

Very experimental and noisy, it doesn’t lack innovation, but the ideas present here are very primitive. None of the songs contain any staying power, as the riffs are simple, the choruses are weak, and there’s not enough atmosphere or neat instrumentation to make up for those. They could have been something great if they honed these skills and went further, but unfortunately their story pretty much stopped here. Still hugely significant to Industrial Metal.

BLOODSTAR Bloodstar

Album · 1988 · Industrial Metal
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Unitron
In the Cold Ice of Outer Space

Unlike black metal, Bloodstar evokes cold imagery in a different way. Instead of walking through a forest during a Scandinavian winter, this is an icy interplanetary world from a science fiction novel, perhaps those written by band member Micha Pansi. It's a soundtrack for walking on the surface of Pluto in an alternate universe where we are free to travel through space.

There's thrash riffs, melodic leads, industrial programmed drumming, but it all comes second to the atmosphere, which is made even stronger with the great addition of the organ. One of the finest moments on the album is the fantastic doom metal-esque rendition of Goblin's "L'Alba Dei Morti Viventi"

Perfect listen for a lonely winter night, where the only thing entering your ears are the cold apocalyptic sounds of space from this little-known album.

industrial metal movie reviews

ROB ZOMBIE The Zombie Horror Picture Show

Movie · 2014 · Industrial Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
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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Kingcrimsonprog
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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