The best industrial-rock tracks are all about the beats and the noise. Our video of i-rock songs from the ’90s pays homage to the units that were pushing themselves (and their hearing) to new extremities. Discussions of musical movements from different eras are often colored by saccharine feelings. As much as we love the genre, it’s still feels menacing to get nostalgic about. Maybe someone’s best memory of this scene is the time they got too close to the PA during Ministry’s set at Lollapalooza. And instead of a shirt, they brought home tinnitus.
The industrial-rock community isn’t as massive as it used to be. But its stans are mighty. That’s why we feel the need to explain our sonic and semantic position toward the genre. This APTV video obviously leans mainstream in terms of songs and bands that acquired larger audiences. (If anybody wants to pitch a list where we can put this on it, we’re all ears.) We choose to differentiate the genre with the suffix “-rock” in order to separate the people on this list from other progenitors that are more abstract and less linear.
While the artists mentioned here are closer to rock music than industrial’s precursors, the attitudes still prevail. Some of them made stylistic left-turns to achieve success. Others still refused to add guitars to their mix. These industrial-rock tracks do have a sonic breadth. No one is slavishly ripping each other off. The differences are there. The unfortunate metaphor that comes to mind is the idea of the virus that continues to mutate. (Sorry about that.)
These 10 industrial-rock tracks can still polarize audiences. They can fill a club floor or soundtrack the most lugubrious moments. We’re still uncertain why the genre didn’t have a wave of success stories similar to the artists at the top of the list. Perhaps it’s a reaction to the genre’s dystopic sounds and lyrics. Given everything wrong on the planet today, there’s an industrial-rock song that prefaced it decades ago. (Or right now.) Industrial may not be for everyone. Then again, maybe it is and you just haven’t come to terms with it yet.