Industrial rock: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Industrial rock
Stylistic origins Electro-industrial
Electronic body music
No wave
Noise rock
Punk rock
Cultural origins Late 1970s United Kingdom
Typical instruments Electric guitar, synthesizer, drum machine, drums, sequencer, keyboard, sampler, bass
Mainstream popularity Moderate in mid-1980s; high in industrial metal era
Derivative forms Industrial metal
Regional scenes

Industrial rock is a musical genre that fuses electro-industrial and specific rock subgenres. Industrial rock spawned industrial metal, with which it is often confused. The early fusions of industrial music and rock were practiced by a handful of post-punk groups, including Chrome, Killing Joke, Swans, Foetus, and Big Black.


Musical style

Industrial rock artists generally employ the basic rock instrumentation of electric guitars, drums and bass and pair it with white noise blasts, electronic music gear (synthesizers, sequencers, samplers and drum machines). Guitars are commonly heavily distorted or otherwise affected. Bass guitars and drums may be played live, or be replaced by electronic musical instruments or computers in general. Industrial rock frequently incorporates the sounds of machinery and industry. This sound palette was pioneered by early 1980s artists (SPK, Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Krupps and Test Dept), who relied heavily on metal percussion, generally made with pipes, tubes and other products of industrial waste.


Experimental '60s group, Cromagnon are said to have been one of the bands that helped foresee the birth of industrial rock[1]. Specifically, their song "Caledonia" has been noted for it's "pre-industrial stomp"[2].

Industrial music was created in the mid- to late 1970s, amidst the punk rock revolution and disco fever. Prominent early industrial musicians include Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, NON, SPK, and Z'EV.[3] Within a few years, many other musical performers were incorporating industrial-musical elements into a variety of musical styles.

Some post-punk performers developed styles parallel to industrial music's defining attributes. Pere Ubu's debut, The Modern Dance, was described as "Industrial".[4] So was San Francisco's Chrome, who mixed Jimi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols and tape music experiments,[5] and Killing Joke, considered by Simon Reynolds as "a post-punk version of Heavy metal".[6] According to Chris Connelly, Foetus "is the instigator when it comes to the marriage of machinery to hardcore punk."[7]

Others followed in their wake.[8] The New York City band Swans were inspired by the local no wave scene as well as punk rock, noise music (particularly Whitehouse), as well as the original industrial groups.[9] Steve Albini's Big Black followed a similar path,[10] while also incorporating American hardcore punk.[11] Big Black has also been closely associated with post-hardcore and noise rock. The Swiss trio The Young Gods, who deliberately eschewed electric guitars in favor of a sampler,[12] also took inspiration from both hardcore and industrial,[13] being equally indebted to the Bad Brains and Foetus.

Commercial success

Industrial rock's first commercial success might be attributed to Killing Joke's fifth album, Night Time. It won a silver sales certificate (60,000+ units sold) by the BPI[14] largely on the strength of club favorite "Love Like Blood".[15]

Industrial rock's true commercial breakthrough took place with the rise of industrial metal: Ministry and Nine Inch Nails.[16]

Industrial metal

Industrial metal draws from electro-industrial and heavy metal. It uses repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals.[17] Founding industrial metal groups include Ministry,[18] Godflesh,[19], and KMFDM.[18] Eventually it reached a mass audience, led by the "one-man-band" Nine Inch Nails.[20] Industrial metal's new-found popularity led to some criticism from other artists associated with the industrial scene. Subsequently, it is most well-known in various European permutations.



  • Blush, Steven (2001). American Hardcore: A tribal history. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House.
  • Chantler, Chris (2002). Splitting heirs. Terrorizer, 96: 54-5.
  • Connelly, Chris (2007). Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible + Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock. London: SAF Publishing.
  • Irvin, Jim (2001). The Mojo collection: The greatest albums of all time. Edinburgh: Cannongate.
  • Licht, Alan (2003). Tunnel vision. The Wire, 233: 30-37.
  • Mörat (1992). Ye gods! Kerrang!, 411: 12.
  • Reynolds, Simon (2005). Rip it up and start again: Postpunk 1978-1984. London: Faber and Faber Limited.
  • Sharp, Chris (1999). Atari Teenage Riot: 60 second wipe out. The Wire, 183: 48-49.
  • Stud, B. & Stud, T. (1987, June 20). Heaven up here. Melody Maker: 26-27.
  • Vale, Vivian; Juno, Andrea (1983). RE/Search #6-#7: Industrial culture handbook. San Francisco, CA: RE/SEARCH PUBLICATIONS.

See also


Simple English

Industrial rock is a music genre that puts together industrial music and different rock genres, like punk, hardcore punk, or hard rock.

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