Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Industrial Metal Top 10

In my interview with eyeswithoutaface, I made it a point of saying "Mixing industrial/electronic influences into extreme metal isn't new, but the results are usually underwhelming." Usually, but not always: Here are ten albums where the combination worked, and then some.


Godflesh - Discography

No other band made mechanical metal the way Godflesh did, and no other band will, despite the number that tried. The album artwork for Selfless says it all: A nerve cell growing on a microchip, the ultimate mix of cerebral intent and cold, clinical power.


Red Harvest - Sick Transit Gloria Mundi

"Cold" is a feeling that Norwegian bands are no doubt familiar with, but Red Harvest's mix of black, death, doom and industrial was cold in a way none of their peers in Oslo had attempted before. It's no wonder that one of their most vocal fans was Emperor's Samoth.


Ministry - Psalm 69

While Ministry's place in the metal world may be debatable (I remember a friend haughtily informing me that they weren't a metal band because "they don't compose their songs like metal bands" - whatever the fuck that means), there's no arguing that metal was in abundance on their signature album. From the industrialized thrash of "Hero" and "Just One Fix" (with its "South of Heaven" sample at the end) to the plodding doom of "Scarecrow" (and the Pushead shirt that went with it), Al Jourgensen was clearly embracing his hesher roots.


Crawl - Earth

Crawl (formerly Bleed) are almost completely forgotten, which is a shame - their first album, Earth, is an incredibly heavy mix of Godflesh, Napalm Death, and early Fear Factory that deserves to be heard. They released one more album, 1996's Construct Destroy Rebuild, before splintering into various bands that never broke out of Wisconsin.

Thorns - S/T

In 2001, the man who is often credited with creating the style we think of as "True Norwegian Black Metal" (by no less an authority on the subject than Satyr) returned to the scene he helped shape with a vision of the genre that was colder and more unfeeling than anything that came before it. In some ways, it heralded the end of black metal's second wave, and helped usher in a new period where genre fidelity gave way to new forms of creativity. Pity it didn't last.

Pitchshifter - Infotainment?

History may not look back on Pitchshifter kindly - in their early years they were written off as Godflesh plagiarists, and they squandered whatever good will they accrued in the underground with a failed bid for major label success (and some pretty dire pop records). But on their third album, they made a conscious attempt at doing something new, melding drum & bass with metal and hardcore. And while it's questionable how well it's aged, it was definitely exciting at the time.


Misery Loves Co. - S/T

It might seem like mixing Entombed and Ministry is a no brainer, but to my knowledge the only ones who ever attempted it were Stockholm's Misery Loves Co. Their first self-titled album was a shot in the arm for the genre, and its popularity in the UK probably led to Earache's strange mid-90's fixation with electronic rock. But don't hold that against it.


Dødheimsgard - Supervillain Outcast

DHG made the first conscious attempt to meld black metal with electronica, with the groundbreaking 666 International; its follow up, Supervillain Outcast, was even more anarchic, taking strange liberties with the style in creating an album that never lets the listener feel at ease.


Samael - Solar Soul 

As eclectic and fearlessly experimental as their countrymen Celtic Frost, Samael ditched black metal just as it was becoming profitable, moving into avant territory by mixing in goth, industrial, and Middle Eastern melodies. An amazing album, even if it occasionally gets too Rammstein for my tastes.


OLD - Formula

Though they started off as jokey grindcore, the one-time Old Lady Drivers finished off their career with Formula, a droning, often disorienting album that takes elements of metal and industrial to come up with something new. I can honestly say I've never heard another record like it, and that's the best endorsement of all.

Dreams of Consciousness was voted the best metal blog of 2012 by the editors of Dreams of Consciousness metal blog. See for yourself.