Industrial Metal is a musical genre that mixes industrial music with various subgenres of Heavy Metal, using rhythmic and repetitive guitar riffs, samplers, synthesizers or sequencers and distorted vocals. From the origins of Industrial Metal, we can mention the bands Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Oomph!
In Germany, where it was created almost simultaneously by Godflesh, Industrial Metal took on some characteristics, such as guttural (or rather, semi-guttural) vocals, dissonant power chords, very low tuning and feedback; all of this marked by programmed electronic drums.
In recent years, Germany has offered its own “take” on the genre, the Neue Deutsche Härte (“new German toughness”). Previously led by KMFDM and currently by Rammstein, these bands are influenced by Metal and German electronic music, having their shows in a Punk style, using the most varied computerized devices.
The style had its first commercial traction in 1992, when Nine Inch Nails’ album Broken and Ministry’s Psalm 69 went platinum in the US, although Ministry’s album took three years to reach that milestone. Both groups were nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 1992 Grammy Awards, with Nine Inch Nails winning. Two years later, Nine Inch Nails released the album The Downward Spiral, released at 2nd place on the chart and which received four platinum records.
Following the success of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson emerged onto the scene. His live performance and transgressive aspect are sometimes more talked about than his own music.
Industrial Metal reached its peak of commercial success in the mid-1990s. Albums by the biggest industrial Metal artists were frequently released at the highest points of the Billboard 200, such as Fear Factory’s “Demanufacture”, Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar”, and Nine’s Inch Nails’s “The Fragile”.
However, many industrial Metal albums have charted well on Billboard, such as Filter’s Short Bus, Rammstein’s “Sehnsucht”, Orgy’s “Candyass”, and Static-X’s “Wisconsin Death Trip”. At that time, Trent Reznor, the best-known artist of this movement, was chosen by Time magazine as one of the most influential Americans of 1997.
There is a recent tendency to call Industrial Metal crossover, which is a corruption of its original meaning: bands from the 1980s that mixed Hardcore with Thrash metal, like Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, S.O.D., Agnostic Front, Suicidal Tendencies, etc.