The Industrial Realm: Where To Start


Let me start by saying that I am 17 and that, outside of school, I’ve never really written anything. Certainly not an article for a super kool kvlt metal blog, so cut me some slack if you think this article blows.

I’m not an Industrial music expert, just an enthusiast. Like metal, there’s too much material out there to know everything [Speak for yourself. -MSD], but I know enough to give you an introduction to industrial music.

Is Motionless in White no longer scary enough for you? Look no further than the oldest industrial classic dating allllll the way back to 1979 — 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle. This album is so unbelievably dark and unsettling that it’s almost unreal. In fact, the picture used for the album’s cover was taken at Beachy Head in England; one of the world’s most notorious suicide spots. If you enjoy dark ambient creepiness (or totally trolly album art) then this is the album for you! Make sure you’re all alone in a dark room the first time you spin it. Like most great albums, listen to it in one sitting if you want to get the most out of it.


Now for one of my personal favorites: Skinny Puppy. I have Trent Reznor to thank for making great accessible music that would eventually lead me to other great but less accessible music. First off, Nivek Ogre’s voice is a little difficult to adjust to for most people. Give it a chance. Second, audio sampling is one of Skinny Puppy’s favorite thing to do, and they’re fucking perfect at it. Just listen to this:

Beautiful! If you don’t agree then there must be something wrong with you. It’s crazy how creative and talented these guys are, and every single album sounds different.

A tear comes to my eye! I could post Skinny Puppy songs all day, but I’ll just do two more. The best way to get into this band is to start with the singles, then go on to the weirder stuff once you’re tired of those but still hungry for more PuppyHere’s the closest they ever came to metal. And here’s what they sound like in 2013.


On to Ministry. I have some mixed feelings about them because Al Jourgensen is both a mastermind and a lunatic. I’m sure most metalheads, like Al himself, prefer their newer, more thrash-heavy work on the George Bush bashing trilogy, but I prefer old the Ministry.

Al may hate this album, but I will always prefer it to the repetitive thrash band Ministry eventually became. Here’s one from The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. Is it metal? Ehh, kinda? Either way, it’s awesome. So awesome, in fact, that even the great Limp Bizkit deemed it worthy to cover:

Most people consider Psalm 69 to be their magnum opus, and it’s where Al made the jump to full metal. Some say that Rammstein stole this riff for “Du Hast,” but I’m not sure I hear it. Do you?


The last band I’m going to touch on is the best of the best. Not just one of the best in industrial music, on of the best bands IN THE HISTORY OV RECORDED MUSIC. I’m talking, of course, about Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor is my hero. 1999’s The Fragile is the greatest double album of all time. Listen to the first track:

Industrial music is generally concerned with sounding like there are no humans involved, as if the synthesizers and drum machines just work it out on their own. Trent changed that. Nine Inch Nails changed industrial music, for better or for worse depending on who you are. Here’s a classic example.

I’ve listened to that song at least 500 times since the 7th grade and it hasn’t gotten old. NIN is catchy and accessible, but they have great fucking music to back it up. With a respectable amount of hits and several top 10 albums, they brought industrial music to the mainstream’s attention. Hell, even Johnny Cash covered them. This song, which is probably their most famous, is 20 years old and still gets major airplay.

Without them I — and probably many others — would never have ventured far into industrial music. I’ll will leave you with what might be NIN’s heaviest song, from their 1992 EP Broken:


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