Pioneering German industrial outfit (whose name translates as “Collapsing New Buildings”) used some traditional instruments, but also employed everything from found metal objects, power tools (the sounds they made and the destruction they could do) and earth elements (fire, water, dirt, wind) in their quest to convey as difficult a listening experience as possible. Frontman Blixa Bargeld was both cool AF and disturbing to watch, singing about everything from his favorite color (“Schwarz,” of course) to sticking voodoo pins in phone books. Neubauten have evolved significantly since their compelling early primitivism, but they’re still capable of turning your blood to Freon. (Fun Fact: They were supposed to be on the cover of AP back in 1987, but a lack of operating revenue grounded the mag that year. —throwback minutiae ed.)
Was there anyone who wasn’t ecstatic or dismayed when the iconic New Jersey horror-punks said they would reconvene for some shows this year? Decades prior to this summer’s dates, going to see the Misfits live was a full-on head rush. But if you got onstage to try to have a dick-waving contest with the band, your ass got flattened by the frontline of Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle. This writer remembers seeing Danzig’s post- ‘fits outfit Samhain play a gig in Pittsburgh, and watching him suppress an overexcited fan. Post-gig, he joked, “If he wooda done that to Doyle, there wouldn’t’ve been enough of the dude to vacuum up off the carpet.”
Yes, a bunch of dudes dressed in all black and topped with executioner hoods seems positively jokey, especially this time of year. And who could possibly take seriously a lead singer (who goes by the name the Curator) whose face is obscured by a wizard’s hat or what looks like a clock or a birdhouse? But there is something genuinely sinister and patently evil about Australian black-metal quartet Portal, whose great-grandparents might possibly be posing with Aleister Crowley in the OG occultist’s photo archives. The freakishly large fingers of the guitarists qualify them to legally change their last names to “Krueger,” without the slightest whiff of irony. Besides, it’s not like any of you are going to burn down a church listening to All Time Low, right?
The iconic industrial-rock/electronic-terror band built their reputation on innovative use of synths and circuitry and the death-defying antics of frontman Ogre. Whether he was decrying animal abuse by mock-defiling a pantomime dog (he’s been a staunch vegan for most of his life) or badly contorting his body and drawing both fake and real blood, the vocalist routinely shook complacent audiences to their core. Skinny Puppy’s vibe has always been positively opaque and their philosophies unflinching, while their music succinctly conveyed the industrial decay they sing about. And they’re still doing it nearly 30 years later. What, you thought life got easier?
Providence, Rhode Island, noise rockers Tinsel Teeth are a pretty great band—driving, furious and punishing (check out their Load Records debut, Trash As The Trophy). However, their original singer, Stephanie, was terrifying in ways that audio alone couldn’t capture. Usually wearing a skimpy negligee, hastily applied makeup, splatters of blood (real, other) and an almost comically large… um… reproduction of male anatomy, Steph had this writer wondering if she had massive psychological issues or was on day three of a six-day meth-fueled bender. No floor was too hard for her to land on headfirst, no dude was too big to take a swing at or kick in the crotch. She could probably have taken three shots from a tranq gun and still come after you like a charging rhinoceros. Too bad she quit. Maybe making dudes lose control of their bowels got boring?