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Industrial Metal

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Also known as "Industrial 2: Electric Boogaloo". If you want to know what happened in the first one, click here.

Anyway, assuming you're up-to-date on this... After Skinny Puppy brought industrial music a slight amount of recognition in not-underground-but-not-mainstream-either circles, a man named Al Jourgenson took note. He was a member of the Synth-Pop band Ministry, and he was incredibly bored and contemptuous of the music his band was making. So, at some point, he rediscovered his old passion, the electric guitar, and decided to combine metal with this "industrial music" he'd heard so much about. And so, Ministry drastically changed their style from Synth-Pop to... industrial metal.

Ministry weren't the only ones who kickstarted the industrial metal genre, however. The German band KMFDM were one other early pioneer (albeit less influential than Ministry), as was the British Godflesh (who, while not as successful as Ministry, had a larger impact on the genre than KMFDM did). The genre really kicked off, however, when one man took note of all this and decided to get involved. This man was named Trent Reznor, and, having left his previous band, he decided to form a solo project. This solo project was called "Nine Inch Nails", and had a similar musical style to Ministry except with more angsty lyrics, production wizardry, and, at first, slightly less metal content (but only on Pretty Hate Machine; The '90s brought massive guitar assaults). Nine Inch Nails was the band that brought industrial music into the mainstream with their/his album, The Downward Spiral, in 1994 (the album with that "I-wanna-fuck-you-like-an-animal" song which is known as "Closer" to some people). Ministry also got a lot more recognition with their album, Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs, in 1992.

And so, industrial became massively popular. One band, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, opened for Nine Inch Nails and, thanks to Trent Reznor's mentorship (if that's a word), dropped the "and the Spooky Kids" bit and basically stuck with the name of its frontman. Thanks to that, people confuse the band with the guy. Initially, Marilyn Manson were (we're talking about the band here) very popular amongst goths, but in recent times have become a joke within the goth scene.

Industrial music, particularly Marilyn Manson, got more focus in the mainstream thanks to the controversy caused by the Columbine killings. The news spread rumours that the two teens responsible for the massacre were "convinced" to do it by Marilyn Manson's music. This idea kept spreading even after it transpired that the two teens listened not to Manson but to KMFDM and Rammstein, neither of whom were picked on as much. And, given that KMFDM and Rammstein are German, you can guess what the next allegation that the press threw at these bands happened to be.

In recent times, industrial seems to have fallen out of favour. Nine Inch Nails is/are moving in entirely different directions, Manson recently got implicated for domestic abuse, Ministry broke up for a few years, so on and so forth. Only Rammstein seem to be that popular anymore. Newer bands seem to be moving towards the upgraded version of Electronic Body Music: Aggro EBM / Hellectro, unless they go in a similar direction as Rammstein (though it was actually Oomph! that created Rammstein's style) into the sub-genre of Neue Deutsche Härte ("New German Loudness")note  with bands such as Eisbrecher, Megaherz and ASP leading the way. This genre also seems to be the go-to genre for Gothic Metal and Black Metal acts to change to when they undergo a Genre Shift, like Theatre of Tragedy, The Kovenant and to an extent Cradle of Filth eventually did. Other bands, mostly falling under the metalcore banner - most prominently Bring Me the Horizon, Crossfaith, Code Orange, and Motionless in White - have dabbled with the genre in some form.

Oh, the music, right. Well, industrial metal is a fusion of industrial music and metal. It's characterised by frequent use of samples, synthesizers and keyboards, and repetitive guitar riffs. Vocals are often distorted, and drum machines are sometimes used. There are two main styles of industrial metal: one with a greater emphasis on industrial with slightly less guitars and a more prominent use of keyboards, synths and drum machines — good examples being Nine Inch Nails, Angelspit and KMFDM; and one with a greater emphasis on metal, which is far-and-away the most common type of this genre — with good examples being Fear Factory, Marilyn Manson and Godflesh.

Often used interchangeably with the term "Industrial Rock", which is, for the most part, just less abrasive Industrial Metal.

Industrial metal artists include:

The Industrial Metal genre contains the following tropes:

  • Harsh Vocals: Not universal, but pretty common in the genre, and done a variety of different ways- from Death Metal style growling to straight-up Careful with That Axe to electronically distorted weirdness.
  • Music to Invade Poland to: Another (false) accusation thrown at certain bands due to the band in question either being German or using totalitarian imagery in a subversive way. Or both, in the case of KMFDM.
  • Nu Metal: Some bands, like Dope, Orgy, Static-X and Powerman 5000, combine these two genres to some degree. Not surprising, since many Nu Metal bands were influenced by Industrial Metal to begin with.
  • The New Rock & Roll: A number of bands in the genre got accused by Moral Guardians of being responsible for school shootings, suicides and the like, with Marilyn Manson being the biggest target of them all.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Some bands favor simple riffs and rhythms. Also, solos are rarer than in most other subgenres of Heavy Metal, though not completely unheard of. However, the often dense production makes for an odd variation of this trope, and some bands (Nine Inch Nails, for example) make use of numerous tempo and time changes.
  • Trope Codifier: Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson codified much of the genre's usual sounds, respectively on The Downward Spiral and Antichrist Superstar. Fear Factory could also be considered one to a lesser extent with their mixture of industrial metal with heavier forms of metal in Demanufacture, which was released nearly at the same time along with the aforementioned two albums.
  • Trope Maker: Ministry and Godflesh were the first two bands to have played the genre, respectively on The Land of Rape And Honey and Streetcleaner which were both released between 1988 and 1989.

Examples of industrial metal songs


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Industrial Rock


Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings; January 12, 1965) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, programmer, voice actor, and filmmaker. He is a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, releasing four studio albums with the band. He is the older brother of Spider One, lead vocalist for American Industrial metal band Powerman 5000.<br><br>The song used as an example is "Superbeast."

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