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Electro-industrial is a music genre that emerged from industrial music in the mid-1980s. While EBM (electronic body music) has a minimal structure and clean production, electro-industrial has a deep, complex and layered sound. The style was pioneered by Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, and other groups, either from Canada or the Benelux. In the early 1990s, the style spawned the dark electro genre, and in the mid-/late-1990s, the aggrotech offshoot. [1] The fan base for the style is linked to the rivethead [1] subculture.

A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Recently, academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated.

Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in Chicago.

Electronic body music (EBM) is a genre of electronic music that combines elements of industrial music and synth-punk. It developed in the early 1980s in Germany and Belgium and came to prominence in Belgium at the end of the decade. EBM was generally considered a part of the European new wave and post-punk movement and the first style that blended synthesized sounds with an ecstatic style of dancing.



After the EBM movement faded in the early 1990s, electro-industrial increasingly attained popularity in the international club scene. In contrast to the straight EBM style, electro-industrial groups use harsher beats and raspy, distorted, or digitized vocals. In contrast to industrial rock, electro-industrial groups mostly avoided guitars, other than Skinny Puppy, who used E-Guitar Elements since the mid 80s in songs like Testure or Dig It . [2]

Industrial rock music genre

Industrial rock is a musical genre that fuses industrial music and rock music.

Testure 1988 single by Skinny Puppy

"Testure" is a song by Canadian electro-industrial band Skinny Puppy, taken from its 1988 album VIVIsectVI and released as a single in 1989. "Testure" was the group's first and last song to chart on Billboards's Dance Club Songs, and it was accompanied with a controversial music video.

Dig It (Skinny Puppy song) 1986 song by Skinny Puppy

"Dig It" is a single by the band Skinny Puppy, taken from their 1986 album Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse. Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor once mentioned that the song influenced the first song he wrote, "Down in It". He would, later in his career, go on to admit in interviews that he outright lifted some samples of the song for "Down in It".

Electro-industrial was anticipated by 1980s groups such as SPK, [1] [3] Die Form, Borghesia, Klinik, Skinny Puppy, [4] [5] and Front Line Assembly. [5] [6]

SPK were an Australian industrial music and noise music group formed in 1978. They were fronted by mainstay member, Graeme Revell on keyboards and percussion. In 1980 the group travelled to the United Kingdom where they issued their debut album, Information Overload Unit. In 1983 Sinan Leong joined on lead vocals. The group disbanded in 1988. Two years later Revell and Leong relocated to the United States, where Revell works as a Hollywood film score composer. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, SPK were "at the forefront of the local post-punk, electronic/experimental movement of the late 1970s ... [their] music progressed from discordant, industrial-strength metal noise to sophisticated and restrained dance-rock with strange attributes".

Die Form is a French post-industrial and electronic band formed in 1977-78. The name 'Die Form' means '(the) form/shape' in German, like the Bauhaus diary, and is a play on the English homonym 'deform' and on the French homonym 'difforme' (deformed).

Borghesia is a Slovenian electronic music/rock music group, created in Ljubljana in 1982. The band was formed by members of the alternative theatre group Theatre FV-112/15. Borghesia created its aesthetics using the imagery of what was prohibited, tabooed, and repressed. Their sound is often compared to that of other groups in the period such as D.A.F., Manufacture, and Front 242, whom many cite as the chief instigators of the Electronic Body Music label used to describe such music.

Prominent electro-industrial groups of the 1990s include Mentallo and the Fixer, Yeht Mae, Velvet Acid Christ, KMFDM and Pulse Legion (U.S.); [7] Numb and Decoded Feedback [8] (Canada); X Marks the Pedwalk, Plastic Noise Experience, Wumpscut, [9] [10] [11] Haujobb, [12] Forma Tadre, and Putrefy Factor 7 (Germany); Leæther Strip [13] from Denmark; [14] and early Hocico, Cenobita and Amduscia from Mexico.

Mentallo and the Fixer is the project name used by Texan electro-industrial musicians Gary Dassing (Mentallo) and Dwayne Dassing from 1988 to 1999, and by Gary Dassing alone from 1999 to the present day. The band has several releases on the American record label, Metropolis Records. They are named after two Marvel Comics characters.

Yeht Mae was an electro-industrial band from California which began in 1988 by vocalist and keyboard programmer Jeremy Daw. Daw was later joined by vocalist Lynda Sterling and released two self-distributed cassette demos. Their first CD "1000 Veins" was released by the British gothic/industrial label Gymnastic Records whose albums were pressed in Germany.

Velvet Acid Christ (VAC) is an electro-industrial band based in Denver, Colorado. The band was formed in 1990 by lead vocalist, musician, and producer Bryan Erickson, and later featured various ex-members of Toxic Coma. The project gained limited popularity in Europe's underground nightclub scene during the mid-1990s with the compilation Church of Acid (1996) before expanding into other markets in the goth and industrial subcultures. The band's discography includes 13 albums, the latest being Dire Land (2015).

Since the mid-1990s, some electro-industrial groups added guitars and became associated with industrial metal; other groups, e. g. Skinny Puppy, Download, Gridlock and Haujobb, have incorporated elements of experimental electronic music styles like drum and bass, IDM, glitch and other electronica genres.

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

Skinny Puppy band

Skinny Puppy is a Canadian industrial music group formed in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1982. The group is widely considered to be one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. Initially envisioned as an experimental side project by cEvin Key while he was in the new wave band Images in Vogue, Skinny Puppy evolved into a full-time project with the addition of vocalist Nivek Ogre. Over the course of a dozen studio albums and many live tours, Key and Ogre have been the only constant members. Other members have included Dwayne Goettel (1986–1995), Dave "Rave" Ogilvie, Mark Walk (2003–present), and a number of guests, including Bill Leeb, Al Jourgensen (1989), and many others.

Download is a Canadian electronic music group formed by Dwayne Goettel and cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy in 1994. The initial lineup also included Off & Gone's Phil Western and Mark Spybey of Dead Voices on Air, but has since been particularly fluid, with Key and Western being the only constant members following Goettel's death. Download's music has been described as post-industrial, drawing from the band's genesis as part of Skinny Puppy but also sharing common stylistic ground with such artists as Aphex Twin and Autechre. The primary instrumentation common throughout their albums is a blend of synthesizers and sampled instruments; the music is particularly centered on elements of percussion and rhythm.

Conceptual elements

Electro-industrial groups tend to feature themes of control, dystopia, and science fiction. Electro-industrial groups sometimes take aesthetic inspiration from horror films, including The Exorcist [15] and the work of Roman Polanski, [16] and the science fiction films Blade Runner and Alien .

A dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as "not-good place" and is an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his best known work, Utopia, published 1516, a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty.

Horror film film genre

A horror film is a film that seeks to elicit fear. Initially inspired by literature from authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. The macabre and the supernatural are frequent themes. Horror may also overlap with the fantasy, supernatural fiction, and thriller genres.

<i>The Exorcist</i> (film) Groundbreaking 1973 American horror film

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name, directed by William Friedkin, starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller. It is the first film in the Exorcist franchise. It follows the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempts to win her back through an exorcism conducted by two priests.


Dark electro

Dark electro is a similar style, developed in the early 1990s in central Europe. The term describes groups such as yelworC [17] and Placebo Effect, [1] and was first used in December 1992 with the album announcement of Brainstorming, yelworC's debut. [18] The style was inspired by the music of The Klinik and Skinny Puppy. Compositions included horror soundscapes, and grunts or distorted vocals. yelworC were a music group from Munich, formed in 1988. They laid the foundations of the dark electro movement in the early 1990s, and were the first artist on the German label Celtic Circle Productions. In subsequent years, dark electro was displaced by techno-influenced styles such as aggrotech and futurepop. [1] Other groups to practice the style included Das Ich, amGod, Nurgul Jones, Trial, early Evil's Toy, Mortal Constraint, Arcana Obscura, Splatter Squall, Seven Trees, Tri-State, GGFH ( Disease ), and Ice Ages.

Johan van Roy, singer of Suicide Commando Suicide commando johan van roy.jpg
Johan van Roy, singer of Suicide Commando


Aggrotech (also known as hellektro), [1] is a derivative form of electro-industrial with a strong influence from the hardstyle/hard trance music (straight Techno bassdrum and oscillator sounds, especially Supersaw leads from Roland JP-8000) that first surfaced in the mid-late-1990s.

Aggrotech typically employs aggressive beats, prominent lead synth lines, and lyrics of a dark nature. Often, vocals are distorted and pitch-shifted to sound harsh and synthetic and static and glitching effects are added. Aggrotech musicians include AciDrome, Aesthetic Perfection, Agonoize, Alien Vampires, Amduscia, Cenobita, Chiasm, Die Sektor, Combichrist, Dark Liner, Das Ich, Dawn of Ashes, Detroit Diesel, Dulce Liquido, DYM, Feindflug, Flesh Field, Front Line Assembly, Funker Vogt, God Module, Grendel, Hocico, iVardensphere, Nachtmahr, Panic Lift, Psyclon Nine, Reaper, Suicide Commando, Tactical Sekt, Tamtrum, The Retrosic, Ritual Aesthetic, Unter Null, Virtual Embrace, X-Fusion, among many.

See also

Related Research Articles

Hocico band

Hocico is a Mexican electro-industrial duo.

Nivek Ogre Canadian singer

Nivek Ogre is a Canadian musician, performance artist and actor, best known for his work with the industrial music group Skinny Puppy, which he co-founded with cEvin Key. Since 1982, he has served as Skinny Puppy's primary lyricist and vocalist, occasionally providing instrumentation and samples. Ogre's charismatic personality, guttural vocals and use of costumes, props, and fake blood on stage helped widen Skinny Puppy's fanbase and has inspired numerous other musicians.

Metropolis Records Music label in the USA

Metropolis Records was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1993. The label releases material in the electro-industrial, synthpop, future pop, darkwave, and gothic music genres, although it is open to releasing any genre of dark alternative music, whether electronic-based or post-punk.

Mera Luna Festival music festival

The M'era Luna is an alternative music festival that encompasses a number of different styles such as metal, future pop, aggrotech, synthpop, gothic rock, dark wave, and ebm. It is held annually on the second weekend of every August, in Hildesheim, Germany at Flugplatz Hildesheim-Drispenstedt, a former British Army airbase.

<i>Remission</i> (EP) 1984 EP by Skinny Puppy

Remission is a 1984 EP by Canadian electro-industrial band Skinny Puppy, their record label debut and first release with Nettwerk. The 12-inch EP originally featured with six tracks, then, a year later in 1985, it was released on cassette with five additional songs that lengthened the release to a full album. This expansion became the default version of Remission.

Amduscia is an aggrotech band from Mexico consisting of Polo Acevedo, Raul Montelongo, and Adrian Ruiz.

Haujobb musical ensemble

Haujobb is a German electronic musical project whose output has ranged drastically within the electronic music spectrum, from electro-industrial to ambient and techno. They have become a staple crossover act, bringing several forms of electro into the mainstream industrial music world.

Power noise is a form of industrial music and a fusion of noise music and various styles of electronic dance music. It should not be confused with "power electronics", which is not influenced by electronic dance music and is closer to harsh noise. Its origins are predominantly European.

Decoded Feedback band

Decoded Feedback is a Canadian musical project which incorporates styles of electro-industrial and aggrotech. The duo currently releases music on the North American distributor Metropolis Records, and the European record label Out of Line.

Cenobita is an aggrotech/cyberpunk band based in Mexico City, created in 1994 by Claus Bita and former band member Omar Flo (vocals).

yelworC is an electro band from Germany.

Forma Tadre is a German musical project that can best be described as electro with a feel of soundtracks and ambient but has also been categorized as industrial or electronic body music. The only member of Forma Tadre is Andreas Meyer, also known as Andy Meya.

Inquisition (song) 1992 single by Skinny Puppy

"Inquisition" is a song by Canadian electro-industrial band Skinny Puppy. It was released as a single on March 24, 1992 in advance of its host album, Last Rights (1992). The B-side "Lahuman8" was created at the request of the Québécois contemporary dance group La La La Human Steps.

Ritual Aesthetic is an American industrial band founded in 2013 based in Denver, Colorado, United States.

Youth Code

Youth Code is an American EBM duo, formed in 2012 by Sara Taylor and Ryan George in Los Angeles, California. The duo's musical style, following the model of early Wax Trax! Records, has been described as industrial music infused with "hardcore angst." Following their self-released Demonstrational Cassette in 2012 and a chance meeting with Psychic TV, Youth Code were invited to release their first single, "Keep Falling Apart", through Angry Love Productions. Since then, they have released two full-length studio albums, an EP, and two additional singles.

Cold Therapy is an Electro-industrial / dark electronic music project from Poland, founded by Jacek Wolański in October 8, 2012. Music of Cold Therapy is known for its dark and atmospheric sound - "A soundtrack to the dark side of your mind”.


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  2. "Electro-Industrial". Allmusic . All Media Network . Retrieved April 13, 2017.
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  5. 1 2 Manny Theiner, "Local Electro-industrial duo Prometheus Burning turns up the heat", Pittsburgh City Paper, November 29, 2007. Access date: October 24, 2008.
  6. Metropolis Records, Velvet Acid Christ bio. Access date: October 24, 2008.
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  8. Jez Porat, Chain DLK, June 21, 2005. Access date: October 24, 2008.
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  11. "Claus Larsen fronts one of Europe's leading Electro-Industrial bands." Mick Mercer, The Hex Files: The Goth Bible, Woodstock: The Overlook Press, 1997, p. 24.
  12. Tim DiGravina, Mind review, Allmusic. Access date: December 23, 2008.
  13. Tim DiGravina, Bites review, Allmusic. Access date: December 23, 2008.
  14. Metropolis Records, yelworC bio. Access date: October 24, 2008.
  15. Zillo Music Magazine · Issue No. 12/92 · Album announcement of "Brainstorming" · Pages 43 · Germany · December 1992. The term was repeated in a review of the same album in Zillo Music Magazine · Issue No. 2/93 · Review of the album "Brainstorming" · Pages 49 · Germany · February 1993.