Industrial music is back at full force, courtesy of human/machine demolition crews like Youth Code, 3TEETH, Street Sects, HIDE and Anatomy. Which is fine by us at Revolver because we love this shit, from its Nineties heyday to its modern incarnations. So what is the greatest industrial band of all time? We asked you, our fans and followers, and got a slew of fascinating responses across social media. First-wave pioneers such as Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten got votes (and they fucking should), as did later practitioners including Fear Factory, Static-X and Frontline Assembly, but not enough to make the Top 5. So who tallied the most ballots? Find out in the ranked results below.
The U.K. city of Birmingham has birthed some of heavy music's greatest, most groundbreaking bands — Sabbath, Priest, Napalm Death and, of course, Godflesh, arguably the heaviest, gnarliest, most soul-crushing/soul-expanding of the lot. From 1989's Streetcleaner to 2017's Post Self, Justin K. Broadrick and G.C. Green have conjured up transcendentally brutal music, so regressive it's progressive. If love is a dog from hell, Godflesh are its keeper.
"We wanted to fuse machines with our own handmade music," Rammstein guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe told Live aus Berlin way back when of the earliest impulse behind the band. "The idea was to make monotonous, slightly boring heavy music," drummer Christoph Schneider added, slightly tongue in cheek, in the same interview. From that germ of a mission statement (also not a bad description of industrial music, in general), Rammstein have become an international rock behemoth, fearlessly incendiary, both in terms of inciting public controversy and setting off hair-raising amounts of pyro. Du hast? Nein. Wir lieben.
Applying the "industrial" label to the Nine Inch Nails multi-genre, multimedia machine in 2018 may be a bit of an undersell, but there's no denying their role in rocketing the genre to a wide audience in the Nineties. Trent Reznor's mastery for melding electronics and guitars to create disturbing yet seductive vibes was, at one point in time, unmatched — as evidenced by pure wreckers such as "Wish" or "Somewhat Damaged," as well as the twisted dark pop of "Closer." Few acts have aged as well, thanks to Reznor seeing industrial as a foundation in which a prism of moods and sounds are possible.
No one who heard the fey Brit-accented synth-pop of Ministry's 1983 album With Sympathy could have imagined what the band would become — no one except for main man Al Jourgensen perhaps. In less than a decade, by 1992's mystifyingly platinum-selling ΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ (a.k.a. "Psalm 69"), Ministry would be putting in a serious bid to be the most dangerous and debauched band on the planet, abrasive, experimental, drug-fucked and otherworldly. Trent Reznor and Rob Zombie wanted to be Al, but the world could only handle one such maniac — and it still barely can even do that.
Vancouver's Skinny Puppy is fucking grotesque, and we wouldn't have it any other way. From the band name to the bizarre costumes of frontman Nivek Ogre, the long-running industrial band paved the way for EBM (Electronic Body Music), creating a whole new genre and garnering legions of followers. From "Assimilate" to the now, Skinny Puppy have excelled at creating post-apocalyptic music readymade for the dance floor, proving that you don't need a guitar to conjure sonic darkness.