Merging the heaviest elements of metal music with the harsh, power-driven and abrasive atmospheres of experimental noise and electronic music, the following bands have been able to pave the way for a myriad artist in the 21st century that chooses to move metal away from the recognisable and human towards the alien and mechanical. Today here on Overdrive Magazine, we give you three albums that influenced the growth of Industrial Metal since the late 1980’s.
Godflesh – Streetcleaner (November 13th, 1989)
Godflesh’ debut album, ‘Streetcleaner’ is often cited as an origin point to the bone-shattering, mechanistic cacophony associated with the sonic qualities of Industrial Metal. Combining the slow-paced, doom-influenced guitar riffage of bands such as Black Sabbath and Candlemass with the use of drum machine layering, various post-production sound effects and pummelling bass lines, ‘Streetcleaner’ is an album that set the benchmark for how Industrial Metal should sound moving into the 1990’s. Tracks such as Christbait Rising demonstrate a side to Godflesh that is simultaneously brutal and atmospheric thanks to the abrasive vocal shouts of frontman and guitarist Justin Broadrick along with the wall-crushing bass tone of C.G Green. Repetitive, monotonous and ominous marching rhythms performed on a drum machine provide the rhythmic foundations necessary to support the mosh-worthy riffage of both members on this seminal work of Industrial insanity. Overall, ‘Streetcleaner’ is an album worth checking out for fans of all things heavy and metal.
Stand-out tracks: Christbait Rising, Devastator, Streetcleaner
Rammstein – Sehnsucht (August 25th, 1997)
Perhaps the most commercially successful and critically-acclaimed mention on this list, Rammstein’s second studio album, ‘Sehnsucht’ is a classic record to the ears of many diehard Industrial Metal fans. Combining the thrash-friendly riffage of Richard Kruspe, the techno-influenced synth melodies of Christian Lorenz, and the machismo yet melodic vocalisations of frontman Till Lindemann, Rammstein constructs a sound on ‘Sehnsucht’ that is equal parts palatable and entertainingly grotesque. Tracks such as Engel and Du Hast perfect the art of creating heavy yet memorable riffs and synthesizer melodies that remain stuck in the listener’s heads years after hearing them for the very first time. Both tracks provide the listener with powerful and militaristic drum patterns, mosh-worth riffage and memorable choruses in a fashion that is yet to be paralleled in regards to their memorability and heaviness. Throughout the album, Till Lindemann’s vocalisations spoken predominantly in German, providing a threatening and masculine tonality to a musical backdrop that is already fiercely animated and demanding of the listener’s attention. Despite the release of an extensive catalogue following the turn of the millennium, ‘Sehnsucht’ is still to this day considered by many to be Rammstein’s magnum opus and one of the most influential Industrial Metal albums of all time.
Stand-out tracks: Du Hast, Engel, Buck Dich
Fear Factory – Obsolete (July 28th, 1998)
Legendary Industrial Metal icons, Fear Factory have been pumping out some of the most hard-hitting, technical and cutting-edge industrial metal albums since the bands inception in the late 80’s. However, it is with the bands fourth full-length effort, “Obsolete” that took Fear Factory from underground thrash metal darlings to masters in the realms of the mechanical and metallic. Combining the drop-tuned groove-oriented riffage of later-day Pantera and Meshuggah with the ominous, menacing and industrial soundscapes of early industrial noise groups such as Wiseblood and Throbbing Gristle, Fear Factory craft an atmosphere on “Obsolete” that is not only brutal in its delivery but futuristic and dystopian all the same. The lyrics of the album are based upon conceptual plot that follows the rebellion of a sentient AI known as ‘Edgecrusher’ against a world in totalitarian disarray run by machines whom have overtaken humanity. Tracks such as “Edgecrusher” demonstrate a side of Fear Factory that is mid-paced, drop-tuned and groove-laden. The turntable sampling used on this track create an ambiance that is akin to the work of early Rage Against The Machine. On the other hand, tracks such as “Securitron (Police State 2000)” demonstrate a side to Fear Factory’s sound that is more both more technical and melodic, as heard through the air-tight tremolo riffage of Dino Cazares, rapid double bass drum patterns of Mike Heller and eerie yet harsh vocalizations of Burton Bell. Overall, “Obsolete” is a cornerstone album in defining the sound of Industrial Metal.
Stand-out tracks: Edgecrusher, Securitron (Police State 2000), Shock, Descent.