Monday, March 22, 2010

Exploring Metal: Industrial Metal

I enjoyed writing my last "Exploring Metal" piece on the tech death genre, so much that I decided to do another segment on industrial metal.

While my other article was more of a critique on the style, this post is more an exploration of industrial metal and a look at some of the bands within that area.

I think far too often, we metalheads bash other music without giving it a fair chance. If it seems trendy or cool (which industrial metal has been on and off) sometimes the diehard crowd tends to stay away. But enough of that. Now it's onto the robotic riffs of industrial metal!

Unfamiliar with the genre?

Chugging machinelike riffs are a common element in all sorts of metal, so why not seal the deal with unison drums and loops and samples? That is basically industrial metal in a nutshell. Most obviously dudes like Rob Zombie popularized the genre (as seen in the White Zombie video below for "More Human Than Human".

Zombie's music demonstrates the pulsating groove that is typical in the scene. It is funky music that is almost danceable (which is why Zombie is a common strip club favorite I guess?) and is a good example of a commercial industrial sound.

However, there is one band that arguably did more for industrial metal than any other and that is the almighty Ministry.

While the overtly political rantings of Al Jourgensen can be a bit much at times, he writes cool music that is the definition of industrial metal. And the band is still making relevant music to this day.

Pulsating rhythms and loops galore make Ministry an industrial metal fans dream.

In the same vein of Ministry there is the metal/rock outfit Helmet, who while not always being classified as industrial metal, definitely show some influence of the style is more traditional format.

This music is not only catchy, but that main riff and drum beat just pound into your head. For some the repetitiveness can be a turnoff, but for others, it adds to the style. Sure you might not always be in the mood for this stuff, but you can't say it has no merit.

Next up is Fear Factory who moved the genre forward, by combining more of the sounds of extreme metal with industrial sounds.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this band is that they actually did sound like one big machine at times, as seen in the the recent track "Metallic Division" below (Mechanize kicks all kinds of ass by the way).

Max Cavalera fans should take notice of the frontman's dabbling in industrial metal with the excellent Nailbomb. The band proved that while the song is heavily industrial on the album (Point Blank), this sound can be pulled off well in the live setting, which even adds to the groove of it all.

And while I could keep looking for solid examples of industrial metal, why not close things out with some Prong? One of the greatest groove/industrial bands of all time!

No matter what you think about industrial music, it mixes well with the metal and there is plenty of greatness to be found if you just sit back and open your mind.


Aquanet for the masses said...

I have to politely disagree with your inclusion of Prong and Helmet. While both acts are awesome in their own way, both started out as, if not post-hardcore, then more "precision metal" for lack of a better word. I say they both have more in common with bands like Messhugah than anything industrial. Helmet played wihtout loops, just themselves (i'm referring to "Meantime" era Helmet). And Prong first added electronic elements through remixes and then started adding things in around the time Paul Raven joined.

Some other bands to check out:KMFDM, Sister Machine Gun, Throbbing Gristle, Skinny Puppy, Revolting Cocks, Pigface.

Randy said...

Ah yeah, KMFDM and Skinny Puppy are classics. Revolting Cocks are solid too.

I'll have to check out Sister Machine Gun, Pigface and Throbbing Gristle as I'm not as familiar with those groups.

And yeah, I kind of said on the post Helmet is kind of a stretch, but that song definitely has an industrial vibe, even if they play all the instruments.

And you are definitely right about Prong.

Good to see you around the blog by the way, I remember you posting on the DI Web site every now and again last summer.