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Industrial metal

Music Sound

Industrial metal

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Industrial metal
Stylistic origins: Industrial music, heavy metal music
Cultural origins: Late 1980s, United States, United Kingdom, Canada
Typical instruments: Electric guitar - Synthesizer - Drum machine - Drums - Sequencer - Keyboard - Sampler)
Mainstream popularity: Moderate
Fusion genres
Industrial rock
Other topics
List of subgenres

Industrial metal is a musical genre which draws elements from industrial music and heavy metal music. Industrial metal music is usually centered around metal guitar riffs and industrial synthesizer/sequencer lines, as well as heavily-distorted vocals. This term is used quite loosely, describing everything from industrial bands sampling metal riffs to heavy metal groups augmented with sequencers. Industrial metal encompasses industrial subgenres such as aggro-industrial and coldwave (see list of industrial music subgenres) and often overlaps some elements of nu-metal and post-punk.

It is difficult to distinguish many industrial metal artists and industrial rock because both genres leave much room for ingenuity and creativity. By convention, all industrial metal artists may be more vaugely described as industrial rock as well, but not all industrial rock artists are properly described as industrial metal. This is ironic considering industrial metal emerged before industrial rock.



Early innovators

Though guitars had been used by industrial groups like Throbbing Gristle and Skinny Puppy since the early days of the genre, it wasn't until the late-1980s that industrial and metal began to fuse into a common genre. Al Jourgensen was at the forefront of the fusion on Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey (1988). Previously a guitarless band, Ministry's inclusion of metal guitars on "Stigmata", "The Missing", and "Deity" proved to be a watershed event. Subsequent albums, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (commonly referred to as simply "Psalm 69"), would establish Ministry as a premier industrial metal act. At the same time, KMFDM was bringing metal influences to its guitars in singles like 1989's Virus and 1990s Godlike (the latter copying a riff from Slayer's "Angel of Death"). Approaching from the opposite end of the spectrum, former Napalm Death guitarist Justin Broadrick founded the industrial metal band Godflesh in 1988. Influenced by metal, industrial, no wave, and post-punk, Godflesh featured live metal guitar, bass and vocals on top of mechanical drum machine beats. Canadian band Malhavoc had been cutting demos as early as 1985 featuring drum machines, keyboards, metal guitars and distorted vocals. In 1991 they put out their first official release, entitled "The Release".

Later developments

Industrial metal blossomed in the early 1990s, particularly in North America where it outstripped pure industrial in popularity. The original strain of industrial metal became known as aggro-industrial, while a new form featuring punk- and hardcore-influenced guitars and more pronounced synthesizer accompaniment became known as coldwave. Prominent coldwave bands included Chemlab, 16 Volt, and Acumen (later Acumen Nation). In Europe, some groups such as Young Gods and Swamp Terrorists would create industrial metal without live guitars, relying wholly on samplers. Many established industrial groups adopted industrial-metal techniques around this period, either temporarily or permanently, including Skinny Puppy (on the Jourgensen-produced Rabies), Front Line Assembly, and Die Krupps. More recently, groups like Rammstein and Oomph! have taken inspiration from electronic music as well as industrial and hard rock to create what Rammstein describe as "Tanz-Metall" or "dance metal".

The influence of industrial metal has permeated throughout the heavy metal genre, with a number of bands accenting their live instrumentation with industrial programming and sampling. Fear Factory is one of the most notable, incorporating electronic elements from a very early stage and often being produced by Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly. Devin Townsend's death metal band, Strapping Young Lad, also features pronounced industrial-metal aspects. Many contemporary metal/nu-metal groups, drawing influences from industrial, hip hop, and electronica, have incorporated samplers and sequencers. As a result, acts like Rob Zombie, Static-X, dope, and Mushroomhead are often, though inconsistently, included in industrial metal.


Acumen Nation
American Head Charge
Betty X
Blut Aus Nord
Circle of Dust
Cult of Luna
Die Krupps
Dust to Dust
Fear Factory
Hanzel und Gretyl
Head of David
Inner Surge
The Kovenant
Machinae Supremacy
Misery Loves Company
Peace, Love & Pitbulls
Red Harvest
Rob Zombie
Slick Idiot
Sister Machine Gun
Strapping Young Lad
Swamp Terrorists
The Young Gods
Treponem Pal
Turmion Kätilöt
Zeni Geva

Record labels

Invisible Records
Wax Trax! Records
Metropolis Records

Heavy metal
Black metal - Death metal - Doom metal - Folk metal - Glam metal - Gothic metal - Grindcore - Industrial metal - Neo-classical metal - Power metal - Progressive metal - Symphonic metal - Thrash metal
Other topics
Fashion - History
Aggrotech - Coldwave - Dark electro - Electronic body music - Futurepop - Industrial metal - Industrial rock - Industrial techno - Noise - Power noise
Other electronic music genres
Ambient | Breakbeat | Drum and bass | Electronica | Electronic art music | Hard dance | Hardcore | House | Techno | Trance | Industrial | Synthpop

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