forum: *** industrial culture

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comment :: What is going on with EBM/Industrial music?
I don't go out clubbing and find most of my new music these days through recommendations, reviews, etc. As a result I have no real comprehension of where the industrial scene is going or what it looks like nowadays. If anyone could give me their impression I'd be very appreciative...


I was introduced to industrial music in the late 80s through NIN, Front242 and Ministry, etc. At the time aggressive music in the mainstream was pretty much all guitar based (metal, grunge, etc) so these bands were fairly mind-blowing in their primarily electronic sound and as a consequence they had a massive effect on the musical landscape before being assimilated by the rock mainstream. Industrial music circa.1989 looked and felt nothing like the original wave of industrial music circa.1981 (yes I know TG started way before this) and was made for quite different reasons and using a fairly different set of processes. Move forward another 10 years to 2001 and what people call industrial music is different once again and much more fractured with labels like Ant-Zen and Hands going in one direction while Futurepop-type bands going somewhere else. Every generation is different and the industrial "scene" has evolved many times.


This next bit is from my old-school industrial blog at

and sets out what I consider a very rough shape of the scene as it used to be. (at least as I understand it ...)

1st Wave Industrial starts in the 70s and ends somewhere in the mid-80s and comprises the originators of industrial music and includes Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, SPK and Einsturzende Neubauten. It often has a performance aspect to the music.

2nd Wave Industrial is synonymous with the emergence of industrial music into the mainstream in the late eighties and includes Nine Inch Nails (deal with it), Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly and Front 242.

3rd Wave Industrial marks a radical shift away from the dominant industrial rock of the early 90s towards computer generated, electronic acts and back to the underground. The definition is much fuzzier than for the first and second wave but includes Haujobb, Black Lung, Mlada Fronta, Download, and Converter. Iím not sure about VNV Nation and their ilk. Are they still industrial? And what about Neofolk and Martial Industrial types? Perhaps there should be a 4th Wave but Iím not convinced industrial is as much of a coherent movement as it once was. making the whole wave analogy a bit redundant.
posted by: benscreever on 2010-03-23 07:46:23
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comment :: re: What is going on with EBM/Industrial music?
I agree somewhat. It's definitely very vague, but I mean, it always was, but now it is more so.

Even in the 70s and 80s there were a lot of grey area bands and scenes like the 80's no wave scene and bands like the screamers and nervous gender and suicide and chrome and 70s and 80s krautrock like can and neu!....

Hell, to me, a lot of noise rock like Cop Shoot Cop and Big Black and Swans have industrial aesthetics to....

That's the problem with labels; theyre necessary but always a bit flawed...
posted by: Royce Icon on 2010-03-27 14:44:57
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comment :: re: What is going on with EBM/Industrial music?
but to get more to the point of your post, I really cant say I know whats going on with the current scenes, or "waves".

I mean, i rarely go to clubs either. I just know theres a shit load of different scenes within scenes, from harsh noise micro labels to shiny EBM and synth pop to every kind of techno and whatnot... its all one big musical wasteland man...

there's good stuff to be found in every direction, but like with all music and art, the majority of it sucks.
posted by: Royce Icon on 2010-03-27 14:49:45
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