Industrial music is one of the most varied musical genres, carrying with it a myriad of different styles and influences. This can make it one of the most daunting to try to get into, just because it is hard to know where to start. But the following list offers some guidance as to what albums or artists provide a nice base to ease oneself into a genre as big as industrial music.
‘20 Jazz Funk Greats’ by Throbbing Gristle - Early industrial
Don’t be fooled by the title of the album, “20 Jazz Funk Greats” is strange, disjointed and an excellent introduction to industrial music. Throbbing Gristle’s sparse electronic grooves are perfectly offset with haunting and somewhat beautiful industrial soundscapes. Infused with stinging percussion and hypnotizing vocals, Throbbing Gristle’s first record is a must.
‘Nail’ by Foetus- Post-industrial
An album far more influenced by no-wave or post-punk than metal, Foetus’ sophomore album “Nail” brings a lot to the table. The album offers slow and methodical percussion and vocals that sound like someone trying to pass a kidney stone. The album also feels somewhat like a prank, where the first track is an instrumental orchestra that sounds far higher in production than anything else on the record.
‘Horse Rotorvator’ by Coil - Post-industrial
One of the biggest names in industrial music is Coil’s album “Horse Rotorvator,” introducing more rhythm into the genre. The album also feels almost like a horror film, with many of the vocals sounding like they were performed in a room with a lot of echos. And while the almost directionless instrumentals may seem daunting, there are beautiful guitar and piano sections that act as diamonds in the rough.
‘The Land of Rape and Honey’ and ‘The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste’ by Ministry - Industrial metal
This is the only entry on this list that is actually two albums. Ministry’s third and fourth albums are some of the most important records in industrial and industrial metal. Transitioning away from synth-pop, Ministry offers almost two hours of hardcore pumping action. Both albums also introduce more samples which would become prevalent in sub-genres of industrial metal in the 1990s.
NIHIL by KMFDM - Electronic body music
One of the most unapologetically fun albums in the list, KMFDM is a trip into the realm of electronic body music. A subgenre of industrial that brings in elements of dance and disco to the industrial sound. So, the sound on “Nihil” is a lot faster and sounds like it would be played at a dance club where everyone wears black leather. The lyrics fly by at a breakneck speed that leaves listeners with their hair blown back.