Where to start with Industrial (genre)?


I was listening to Throbbing Gristle the other day and I really like 20 Jazz Funk Greats (the song rather than the album, but I also quite like their 1st album).

Are there any other industrial bands worth checking out? Or are they simply not on Spotify?

What even is ‘industrial’?


Loads worth checking out, and all of the below are on Spotify.

You’ve got yer early industrial circa Throbbing Gristle. Relatively sparse sound and less beat-driven than later movements. Cabaret Voltaire’s Red Mecca stands alongside 20 Jazz Funk Greats as one of the early pinnacles.

For me it gets great when synths and drum machines become more of a mainstay, most importantly with Skinny Puppy, who are among my absolute favourites of all time. Their late 80s/early 90s releases are most acclaimed, but I think Bites is essential listening from back in 1985 - it’s a sprawling 72 minute masterpiece of proto-techno which sounds like Vangelis travelling through the 9 circles of hell. (Plus The Centre Bullet is pretty much the template for everything Warp were banging out in the early 90s - incredible how ahead of their time it sounds).
Pretty much all their pre-reform work is gold, but if I were pushed to pick two essential releases it would be the incongruously angry funk of VIVI Sect VI and the sonic assault of Too Dark Park - if you do nothing else, listen to Spasmolytic from the latter.

Then you’ve got various branches out from ‘skuppy’, one of which is the ‘electronic body music’ of Front 242. I love this style - it’s like the industrial answer to Eurodance with it’s rhythmic traits and the sound-palate is delightfully ‘of its time’. Front By Front is a true classic of the genre. Also worth giving Front Line Assembly’s Caustic Grip a listen which is a slightly angrier take on that vibe. And maybe dip into KMFDM’s earlier work.

In the other direction, you’ve got bands like Ministry who gradually peeled away the synths and brought in heavy guitars. Psalm 69 is their best-known and worth a listen although by that point they’d removed a lot of the rhythmic elements I love about the genre.

Then there are your cross-over successes. Clearly early NiN is heavily indebted to the industrial movement - Trent has acknowledged Skinny Puppy as influences. And later tracks like Reptile or Closer from TDS are still leaning heavily on that industrial feel. Marilyn Manson is another with similar feels at times.


You can get lost in sub genres and labels but the below for me have some industrial qualities to some of their stuff

Das ich
Einstürzende Neubauten
Killing joke
Nurse With Wound
The young god’s


This is a legend of an album.


I second what @AphexTwinkletoes said, I’d also like to add these guys who were doing a similar thing;

Also the various incarnations of JG Thirwell’s Foetus are worth checking out;


Love me some industrial, especially EBM and cheesy darkwave.

Front 242’s OFF is a masterpiece. Cubanate are awesome. Severed Heads, Snog, KMFDM, Sheep on Drugs… all great.


How’s this for awesome, super cheesy darkwave?


I should balance that with this:


I started to love industrial through Einstürzende Neubauten. Alles Wieder Offen is a magnificent album, and pretty easy to listen to.