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Industrial is a genre of art and music that developed around the world from elements of experimental and avant-garde music as well as concept and action art from the mid-1970s . The term originally comes from the English music label Industrial Records , which was collectively founded and run by members of the band Throbbing Gristle , who held a central position in early industrial. In addition to the English scene, industrial also has its roots in the United States.


An essential component of industrial was and is the provocation along the outermost edges of the bearable and the accompanying experiment with audiovisual borderline experiences. In order to irritate and comment on shocking impressions from the lived world, extreme depictions of violence, sexuality, illness, war and death are underlaid with threatening and aggressive sound collages. The band Throbbing Gristle, for example, in their piece Slug Bait - ICA interwoven the murder of Sharon Tate and the atrocities of Rhodesian guerrillas in front of a calm electronic background, Psychic TV in Supermale speeches by John Paul II and Anton Szandor LaVey . At a concert, the Slovenian group Laibach projected the film The Future Continues and a porno film on top of each other, so that, among other things, the Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, who had died three years earlier, and a phallus could be seen on the screen at the same time.

The drastic reports of disturbing events in industrial pieces can cause the listener to focus on the development of emancipatory processes that is difficult to avoid. Laibach, for example, see their concerts as the deconstruction of political rallies, respond in interviews with manifestos and display an exaggerated desire for authority:

“Laibach's method is extremely simple, effective and horribly open to misinterpretation. First of all, they absorb the mannerisms of the enemy, adopting all the seductive trappings and symbols of state power, and then they exaggerate everything to the edge of parody.
Next they turn their focus to highly charged issues - the West's fear of immigrants from Eastern Europe, the power games of the EU, the analogies between Western democracy and totalitarianism. "

“Laibach's method is extremely simple, efficient and terribly prone to misinterpretation. First they absorb the habits of their opponents, adapt all the seductive temptations and symbols of state power and then they exaggerate everything down to parody .
Next they turn their attention to the controversial issues - the West's fear of immigrants from the East, the power games within the EU , the analogies between democracy and totalitarianism . "

- Richard Wolfson

However, there are also bands and artists who affirmatively take up totalitarian symbolism and position themselves accordingly: Michael Moynihan from Blood Axis, for example, has spoken out several times as a supporter of fascism , Boyd Rice did the same and was enthusiastic about people like Adolf Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg and entered in the program Race and Reason of Tom Metzger ( white Aryan Resistance ), in which he called Industrial as "white music", and the project Brethren represents clearly racist positions.

Industrial influences include mail art , performance and action artists , Dada , Neo-Dada and Fluxus, as well as writers such as William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin . But also areas outside of art such as psychology, advertising and history were and are important inspirations for industrial culture (including of central importance as recurring motifs the time of National Socialism , terrorism , colonialism with the sometimes subsequent wars of independence as well as motifs from psychiatry and Medicine). Satanic and magical / occult topics are also not infrequently taken up, some musicians such as Z'EV , the Church of Satan member Boyd Rice or the band Psychic TV are known for their interest in these topics and also have associations such as Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth or the Abraxas Foundation founded; Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth has at times been portrayed in the English press as a satanic association involved in ritual murders , and names like LAShTAL and Current 93 make references to Thelema . Musical influences are of relatively minor importance. Mention may be made here is the music of Futurism , free jazz and free improv , musique concrète and some Krautrock -Bands ( cluster , Tangerine Dream , New! , Power plant ). Experimental artists such as Frank Zappa ( Nasal Retentive Calliope Music , 1968), Captain Beefheart , the noise pioneers Velvet Underground ( European Son , 1969) or Kevin Ayers ( Song From The Bottom Of A Well , 1971) provided songs that the industrial Partly anticipating aesthetics. Even Lou Reed's controversial album Metal Machine Music (1975), which essentially consists of cacophonous sounds, is considered the forerunner of Industrial.


Development phase

The first industrial projects were formed around 1974, among them Cabaret Voltaire from Sheffield and Boyd Rice under the pseudonym NON from Denver. During this time numerous recordings were made, which, however, were only later made available to a wider audience. As with many industrial formations, Rice guitars did not serve as a typical rock instrument, but as an unconventional sound generator. Rice, for example, created some of his recordings with the help of a "rotor guitar", an electric guitar with a screwed-on fan, which made the strings vibrate by means of a drive screw and achieved textures with a high level of noise as the desired effect. These recordings were released in 1977 under the title The Black Album .

The Dadaist- inspired artist project Cabaret Voltaire made its first appearances in 1975 and confronted the audience with successive TV screenshots in high frequency, which showed images of political riots, military destruction or fascist symbols.

In 1977 Throbbing Gristle , emerging from the extreme performance group COUM Transmissions , released the musically groundbreaking album The Second Annual Report . At the same time, they realized an exhibition entitled Prostitution at the prestigious London Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) . Objects such as used tampons and images from porn magazines were shown and appearances by a stripper, Throbbing Gristle herself and the punk band Chelsea (under the pseudonym "LSD") took place. The exhibition provoked a national scandal that even the British Parliament was concerned with, popularizing the band and making London the center of the movement. More bands and groups formed out of the audience, and artists from other countries sometimes moved there. This quickly created an international network of music labels , artists, media and venues, which was also promoted through interaction with the punk that was emerging at the same time . Important secondary centers were Germany and Belgium. Both countries quickly developed their own varieties of industrial, partly under the strong influence of local styles.

Other essential projects in the area of ​​Industrial Records were SPK and Monte Cazazza .

The SPK group was founded in Australia and then moved to London, England. The members remained anonymous, could not be displayed and used pseudonyms such as EMS AKS, Ne / H / il, Oblivion, Tone Generator and Pinker instead of their real names. Her first publications reflected medical topics such as illness, malformed infants, and Siamese twins. Flamethrowers were also used on stage and provocative image and film material was presented to the audience: One of their live performances culminated in the consumption of parts of a raw sheep's brain by head and founder Graeme Revell ( can be seen in the official band video Despair, among others). On their first albums, Information Overload Unit (1981) and Leichenschrei (1982), the band played fruitist music without any melody with metallic and electrical noises. On her album Zamia Lehmanni - Songs of Byzantine Flowers (1986), on the other hand, calm, heavy and dreary ethnic music.

Cazazza, in turn, came from the San Francisco scene, which, in addition to him and Rice, also produced Z'EV , Jupitter Larsen ( The Haters ), Mark Pauline ( Survival Research Laboratories ), the psychedelic band Factrix and the major publications RE / Search and Unsound .

In the early to mid-1980s, the innovative impulse through which Industrial had initially distinguished itself increasingly fell into disuse and the originally complex web of media theory, art and provocation degenerated into a stereotype . Most of the industrial bands either broke up or went completely new ways.

Developments in the Post-Industrial Era

Come-Org catalog from 1982

The directions Power Electronics, Dark Ambient, Ritual, Martial Industrial and Death Industrial, which emerged from the early 1980s onwards, represent a further development from the industrial sector. This era, which begins with the dissolution of the main industrial act Throbbing Gristle , is known as post-industrial . This designation is controversial, however, as it was not widely used outside of the industrial movement and the epoch it describes seems difficult to grasp chronologically.

Influential artists of this time were Lustmord , Esplendor Geométrico , Einstürzende Neubauten , Coil , Psychic TV , Test Dept. , Zoviet France , Laibach , P16.D4 , Factrix, Zos Kia, Foetus , Nocturnal Emissions , Hunting Lodge, Z'EV, Blackhouse and some artists from the Come-Org label environment (including Whitehouse and Nurse with Wound ).

To this day there is a very active underground that is networked with one another worldwide. Like other subcultures, this one traditionally uses fanzines as a medium of communication, but nowadays mainly the internet. Pure industrial fanzines, such as the French symposium or to some extent the German scarlet fever , are rare. In the 1980s, industrial was partly covered in punk magazines, later also in wave magazines such as Aeterna , Cruciamentum , Glasnost Wave magazine or later the Black magazine from Germany.

Power Electronics

also known as heavy electronics , is a post-industrial genre that was founded by the Come Org circle around Whitehouse and is characterized by powerful, monotonous background noise and heavily distorted screaming vocals. Samples are occasionally used (e.g. from political speeches) or the compositions are rhythmically underlaid with percussion elements or noise frequencies.

Both textually and visually, Power Electronics is closest to classic industrial. Topics such as murder, (sexual) violence, paraphilia, madness, racism or war (sometimes with socially critical intentions) are taken up and attempts are made to shock the audience and listeners.

William Bennett's major power electronics project Whitehouse made its debut in 1980 with the LP Birthdeath Experience ; the style name came up with her album Psychopathia Sexualis (1982). The compilation Für Ilse Koch , published in the same year, shaped not only music but also the usual subject areas of the genre.

Dark ambient

Originally also called Ambient Industrial , it is a post-industrial genre whose beginnings go back to the late 1970s. The name itself established itself around 1994 and was used in the context of the Cold Meat Industry label for the album The Goddess who Could Make the Ugly World Beautiful by Morthound and the work Enthraled by the Wind of Lonelienes ( sic ) by Raison d ' être, which was being advertised by the Discordia record company at the time. The term ambient industrial , however, has been used since the second half of the 1980s.

The first dark ambient elements can already be found on the Throbbing Gristle album The Second Annual Report from 1977, on which compositions (partly recorded live) with repetitive arrangements, speech samples and threatening soundscapes were created. Similar elements made themselves felt in the early 1980s in artists such as Lustmord ( Lustmørd , 1981), SPK ( Leichenschrei , 1982) or Zoviet * France ( Mohnomishe , 1983). The 1984 album Eostre by Zoviet * France or the 1986 album Paradise Disowned by Lustmord can be regarded as releases produced almost entirely in the dark ambient style .

A correlation between Dark Ambient and the actual Ambient genre is not entirely certain, as both genres emerged at about the same time. Later artists, however, claim to have been influenced by both genres - industrial and ambient. Some important representatives from the dark ambient environment are:


Often called Ritual Industrial , is a post-industrial genre that developed around 1983.

This style is characterized by the use of percussive elements, such as drums, bells or metal barrels, which are used as samples or played live. There are often different rhythm forms to be found, such as B. a simple, repetitive drum beat or a percussively nested basic structure (so-called tribal beats ). The combination of syncopal rhythms and calm dark ambient or noise surfaces results in a “ceremonial” sound image that is occasionally accompanied by singing and evocative words. Typical is also the compositional embedding of samples of sacred, for example Gregorian or Tibetan chants, which are mostly available as authentic recordings. The authors of the book Looking for Europe describe the music as “a mostly calm industrial variant, which is particularly characterized by repetitive compositions, recourse to ethnomusical ritual sounds and work with magical concepts”.

The works Dekompositiones (1983) by SPK , LAShTAL (1983) and Nature Unveiled (1984) by Current 93 as well as The Secret Eye of LAYLAH (1984) by Zero Kama are considered key works of early ritual music , which according to the band's own statement with the help of human Bone was played in. The group 23 Skidoo , which came from the Psychic TV and Cabaret Voltaire environment, also dealt with ritual music in their work The Culling is Coming (1983) and can be regarded as one of the pioneers of the style with titles like Gregouka . An early example of this designation can be found among others. a. on the 12 "single How to Destroy Angels by Coil (1984), which was recorded mainly with metallic instruments such as swords and gongs , where the description is found as ritual music for the accumulation of male sexual energy . Another band from the USA was Hunting Lodge , which worked simultaneously with comparable elements (e.g. on the album Exhumed and the single Night from Night , both in 1983) and two years later achieved an underground hit with Tribal Warning Shot .

Pure ritual music projects are rare. Many artists are also active in other areas, such as in the dark ambient, death industrial or neofolk environment. Some significant ritual projects are:

  • 23 Skidoo
  • Ain Soph
  • All Souls
  • Autopsia
  • COTA
  • Chod
  • Cranioclast
  • Current 93
  • Exotoendo
  • Halo Manash
  • Hunting Lodge
  • The Hybryds
  • In Slaughter Natives
  • Internal merger
  • Maybe mentally
  • Metgumbnerbone
  • Nakasone
  • Nigredo
  • Raison d'être
  • Raksha Mancham
  • Rosengracht
  • S core
  • Sigillum S.
  • Sixth Comm
  • Sleep Chamber
  • SPK
  • Svasti-ayanam
  • TAC
  • Tasaday
  • Temps perdu?
  • Third Global Vagina Torture
  • Voice of Eye
  • Zahgurim
  • Zero Kama
  • Zwickau

Occasionally, artists such as Alio Die, Arbre Noir, László Hortobágyi , O Yuki Conjugate, TUU and Vasilisk are assigned to the genre. However, these move outside of the post-industrial context and are stylistically located in the tribal ambient and world music environment.

Martial Industrial

Also called Military Pop , is a post-industrial genre that draws on both classic and dark ambient elements and combines them with marching rhythms.

The genre has its roots in groups like Laibach ( Ti, Ki Izzivas , Neue Akropolis ), In the Nursery ( Breach Birth , Arm Me Audacity ) and Jordi Valls / Vagina Dentata Organ ( Triumph of the Flesh ), but also SPK, who already have experimented with military drums , film music and orchestral samples in the mid-1980s and anticipated the later martial-industrial movement. In the 1990s, projects across Europe such as The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud , Dernière Volonté ( Le feu sacré , Les blessures de l'ombre ) or Regard Extrême began to continue this concept. Ultimately, the genre "but in its entirety perished because of its content and musical limitations".

Due to the war theme in the music and the cover design of some albums, some of which were modeled on the style of Leni Riefenstahl , representatives of the martial industrial are often criticized ideologically as right-wing, which - apart from individual bands and musicians such as Von Thronstahl who openly profess right-wing ideas and Michael Moynihan  - seen in the rigid aesthetics of military clothing and less in the texts, actions, or intentions of the artists. Some important representatives of the Martial Industrial are:

Death Industrial

Death Industrial , also known as Doom Industrial , is a post-industrial genre that emerged in the late 1980s and moves in the gray area between power electronics, dark ambient and ritual.

Here are frequently samples of machine noises, bells and sacred songs and sound effects like distortion , echo , reverb or delay used to produce a deep, monumental sound. Most of the time, the respective compositions are accompanied by dull background noises that are supposed to evoke a kind of " catacomb ambience".

The name Death Industrial was initially used by Roger Karmanik, label founder and operator of Cold Meat Industry , for the Brighter Death Now project and over time it was expanded to include numerous other artists of the label, who stylistically range between Power Electronics and Dark Ambient and ritual music moved. It is now also in use for cross-label artists. Some important artists from the death industrial environment are:

  • Archon Satani
  • Atrax Morgue
  • Bad Sector
  • Brighter Death Now
  • Coph Nia
  • Frozen Faces
  • The Gray Wolves
  • In Slaughter Natives
  • Lille Roger
  • Machine room 412
  • Megaptera
  • Melek-Tha
  • Mental Destruction
  • Morthond
  • Negru Voda
  • Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio
  • Stratvm terror

Derivative forms

Furthermore, overlays with other genres, especially with the post-punk environment, were characteristic. This overlap can be found among others with artists like Skinny Puppy or the early Death in June .

Due to stylistic interactions, there were several cross-connections to artists from the Neofolk genre. This fact may also be based on the early activities of Boyd Rice , who published material as early as 1975 with his anti-records , which proved to be groundbreaking for both industrial and neofolk. The experimental avant-garde and neofolk projects such as Current 93 , Nurse With Wound or Death in June looked for further possibilities of expression with the help of post-industrial trends.

Through multiple crossings with other styles (e.g. rock music and metal ), a generation emerged in the USA and Canada that was already far removed from the classical authors. From the end of the 1980s, these new styles , known as industrial rock and industrial metal , also arrived in the mainstream through artists such as Ministry or Nine Inch Nails . The strong emancipatory potential of the original industrial movement increasingly gave way to a pure shock aesthetic. From the intellectual foundations ( media theory , perception research, “economic guerrilla”) only fragments have been preserved as a rule. John McRobbie, operator of the Mute Records sub -label The Gray Area , which specializes in the re-releases of early industrial works, has a similar view:

“When Monte Cazazza and Throbbing Gristle coined the term industrial music, it meant something completely different from what the music industry interprets into it today. I like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, but I don't see the slightest connection to Throbbing Gristle, SPK or the early Cabaret Voltaire. The industry coined a term of a type of music that was never under their control. Punk lost its expressiveness as soon as industry got involved. That never happened to industrial. He always withdrew from the mainstream. And those bands that pretend to belong or are involuntarily thrown into this pot have nothing to do with it. "


Electronic Body Music (EBM) emerged from a fusion of industrial and electronic punk music ( DAF , Die Krupps ) , which in turn influenced numerous subsequent music styles, including techno in Europe.

Different cultural trends currently exist within the post-industrial scene. While part of the scene generally supports the exchange with the Neofolk culture, another part strictly rejects contact with it - due to its political controversy. Regardless of this, however, both subcultures are inextricably linked on a music-historical level.

Influence on other subcultures

With the emergence of IDM , Hardcore Techno , Drum and Bass , Glitch and Clicks & Cuts in the 1990s, there were several artists who referred to the industrial environment and to the emergence of other genres such as breakcore , rhythm 'n' noise or Industrial hardcore contributed. In projects such as Autechre ( Incunabula , 1993), Aphex Twin ( Selected Ambient Works Vol. II , 1994) or Biosphere ( Patashnik , 1994), for example, there are more dark ambient elements. However, the direct influence of earlier artists from the dark ambient environment is controversial.

Around the same time , parts of the black metal scene became aware of the post-industrial environment , occasionally in connection with the Swedish label Cold Meat Industry . Examples of this are Abruptum (whose "anti-music" already took over death-industrial elements in the late 1980s), Darkspace and Vinterriket . A convergence of both scenes can also be seen in the joint appearance of the compilation Souvenirs from Hell , on which bands such as Ulver , Blood Axis and Magus Wampyr Daoloth's projects NAOS and Diabolos Rising are represented.

The contemporary classical composer Moritz Eggert was inspired by Industrial for his drum concert Industrial for metal parts and large orchestra.


  • Ant-Zen
  • Type Concrete
  • Artware Production
  • Banned Production
  • BloodLust!
  • Cause for concern
  • Cold Meat Industry
  • Cold Spring
  • Come Org
  • Cyclic Law
  • Dark Vinyl Records
  • Drone Records
  • Extremes
  • Fetish Records
  • Freak Animal Records
  • Galakthorrö
  • Industrial Records
  • LAYLAH Anti-Records
  • Ladd-Frith
  • L. White Records
  • Loki Foundation
  • Malignant Records
  • Membrum Debile Propaganda
  • Minus having
  • Nature & Art
  • Necrophilic records
  • Noise Museum
  • Old Europa Café
  • Open wound
  • Power & Steel
  • Practice Dr. Bearmann
  • RRRecords
  • SSS Productions
  • Self Abuse Records
  • Slaughter Productions
  • Soleilmoon Recordings
  • Sounds for Consciousness Rape
  • Staalplaat
  • State type
  • Steinklang Industries
  • Sterile Records
  • Susan Lawly
  • Tesco organization
  • Zero Cabal


See also

Commons : Industrial  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Z'EV - Acoustic Phenomenae .
  2. Laibach Biography. VH1 .com, accessed April 4, 2011 .
  3. ^ Richard Wolfson: Warriors of weirdness. In: The Daily Telegraph , September 4, 2003.
  4. Blood Axis . An interview with Michael Moynihan. In: The Heretic , No. 10, October 1994.
  5. ^ A b Zach Dundas: Lord of Chaos ( Memento of March 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  6. a b c d e f g Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe . Neofolk and backgrounds . 2nd Edition. Index Verlag 2007, p. 31.
  7. a b Industrial Culture - FACTRIX interview at .
  8. ^ Industrial Music For Industrial People. Part 2. In: Black Musik-Magazin , issue no. 19/00, spring 2000, p. 51.
  9. The History of Industrial . Part 2. In: Zillo music magazine , issue no. 10/96, October 1996, p. 72.
  10. Promotion for the album The Goddess Who Could Make the Ugly World Beautiful by Morthound. In: Glasnost Wave magazine , issue 44, November 1994, p. 6.
  11. Aeterna Musikmagazin , issue 5, winter 1994, p. 9.
  12. ^ Ambient Industrial: Option Magazine , Issue 71, Sonic Options Network, 1987, p. 19.
  13. ^ Mike Gunderloy, Factsheet Five , Issues 32-36, 1989.
  14. Ambient Industrial: Promotion of the TypeToken label for the Stone Glass Steel albums, SPIN Magazine , November 1993, p. 153.
  15. Martin N .: Zero Kama: Live In Arnhem . The singing bone .
  16. ^ Leonard Cohen: Coil . In: A Rough Guide to Rock . The Definitive Guide to More than 1200 Artists and Bands . 3rd edition: expanded and completely revised. Rough Guides 2003, p. 215.
  17. ^ A b Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe . Neofolk and backgrounds . 2nd Edition. Index Verlag 2007, p. 283ff.
  18. Endsal: Halo Manash: Se Its En. The birth of music from the spirit of shamanism. In: Nonpop. October 20, 2014, accessed October 23, 2014 .
  19. ^ Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe . Neofolk and backgrounds . 2nd Edition. Index Verlag 2007, p. 252.
  20. a b c d e f Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe . Neofolk and backgrounds . 2nd Edition. Index Verlag 2007, p. 30.
  21. El_Nico: Ljubljana: An Introduction To Laibach. In: Nonpop. September 3, 2012, accessed September 3, 2012 .
  22. ^ Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe . Neofolk and backgrounds . 2nd Edition. Index Verlag 2007, p. 255.
  23. a b Aarne Kinnunen: Post-industrial pop - not for posers . In: Legacy . No. 66 (05/06) , 2010, pp. 147 .
  24. Michael We .: Megaptera: Nailed On Vinyl. After a break of 15 years - new songs! In: Nonpop. September 22, 2014, accessed September 26, 2014 .
  25. ^ Richard K .: In conversation with Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio. In: Nonpop. October 22, 2012, p. 1 , accessed on November 19, 2012 : "To be happy is the moral meaning of our life."
  26. The History of Industrial . Part 3. In: Zillo music magazine , issue no. 11/96, November 1996, p. 40.
  27. Zombie, MD: Abruptum - In Umbra Malitae Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebrarum. August 8, 2005, accessed February 1, 2010 .