A Thinking Person’s Guide to Industrial Music

Like any musical genre or subgenre, trying to fit an artist into a specific sound is a difficult task, and one that’s often fraught with debate. For the sake of argument and against our better judgement, Wikipedia defines industrial music as “a style of experimental music that draws on transgressive and provocative themes,” which could mean a number of things, save for the fact that we know that the slogan “Industrial Music for Industrial People” was coined for the band Throbbing Gristle’s Industrial Records label, and for that Throbbing Gristle should be considered the original industrial band. 

After reading Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensenthe memoir penned by the lead singer of the popular band that, along with Nine Inch Nails, helped bring industrial music to the masses, I started thinking about not only what a surprisingly good book, but also how many of the artists and bands connected to the industrial tag brought art, literature, and philosophy into their work in a way no genre that came after punk has been able to do as well. From the Singularity to science fiction and a heaping dose of William S. Burroughs, here’s a handful of iconic industrial albums, and a few newer ones they influenced.

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20 Jazz Funk Greats, Throbbing Gristle

Throbbing Gristle are the original industrial band, and 20 Jazz Funk Greats is their best album, which should really be considered a work of high art.