Industrial rock is a musical genre that fuses industrial music and punk rock. Industrial rock spawned industrial metal, with which it is often confused. The early fusions of industrial music and rock were practiced by a handful of post-punk groups, including Chrome, Killing Joke, the Swans, and Big Black.
Industrial rock artists generally employ the basic rock instrumentation of electric guitars
and pair it with white noise
blasts, electronic music gear
and drum machines
). Guitars are commonly heavily distorted
or otherwise effected
. Bass guitars and drums may be played live, or be replaced by electronic musical instruments or computers in general. Industrial rock frequently incorporates the sounds of machinery and industry. This sound palette was pioneered by early 1980s artists (SPK
, Einstürzende Neubauten
, Die Krupps
, Test Dept
, and Z'ev
), who relied heavily on metal percussion
, generally made with pipes, tubes and other products of industrial waste.
was created in the mid- to late 1970s, amidst the punk rock revolution and disco
fever, and was epitomised by bands such as Throbbing Gristle
, Cabaret Voltaire
, and SPK
. Within a few years, many other musical performers were incorporating industrial-musical elements into a variety of musical styles.
Some post-punk performers developed styles parallel to industrial music's defining attributes. Pere Ubu's debut, The Modern Dance, was described as "Industrial". So was San Francisco's Chrome, who mixed Jimi Hendrix, The Sex Pistols and tape music experiments, and Killing Joke, considered by Simon Reynolds as "a post-punk version of Heavy metal".
Others followed in their wake. The NYC band Swans were inspired by the local No Wave scene as well as punk rock, noise (particularly Whitehouse, as well as the original industrial groups. Steve Albini's Big Black followed a similar path, while also incorporating American hardcore punk. Big Black has also been closely associated with post-hardcore and noise rock. The Swiss trio The Young Gods, who deliberately esquewed electric guitars in favor of a sampler, also took inspiration from both hardcore and industrial, being equally indebted to the Bad Brains and Foetus.
Industrial rock's first commercial success might be attributed to Killing Joke's fifth album, Night Time
. It won a silver sales certificate
(60,000+ units sold) by the BPI
largely on the strength of club favorite "Love Like Blood".
Industrial rock's true commercial breakthrough took place with the rise of industrial metal: Ministry and Nine Inch Nails.
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