Trace Amount Picks 7 Essential Industrial Albums | Revolver

Trace Amount Picks 7 Essential Industrial Albums

Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy and more
trace amount annalie bouchard 2022 PROMO live 1, Annalie Bouchard
photograph by Annalie Bouchard

If you're a fan of modern-day industrialists like HEALTH, Author & Punisher and Youth Code, you need to know Trace Amount. The one-man project of Brooklyn's Brandon Gallagher — a prolific musician and visual artist who's played in hardcore bands like Old Wounds and Coarse — the band specializes in harsh, glitchy, confrontational industrial music, as heard on the debut album Anti Body Language, released in April by Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato and visual artist Jesse Draxler on their label Federal Prisoner.

For Gallagher's part, he draws sonic inspiration from a wealth of cyborg influences, from old-school pioneers to new-school fusionists. With that in mind, we asked him — ahead of Trace Amount's June tour with White Ring and Bestial Mouths — to highlight five essential industrial albums, and he did us two better. See his picks below.

Front Line Assembly - Caustic Grip (1990)

It's hard to do a Top 5 Industrial list and not lead off with Front Line Assembly. They have a massive discography, but I think Caustic Grip is where it really all came together. The energy captured on this record is second to none. Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber is an incredible duo and combined have contributed to a ton of really incredible industrial/electronic albums. This would always be the first record I'd show someone trying to get into "proper" industrial.
Fave Tracks: "Force Fed"

Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park (1990)

Late Eighties/early Nineties Skinny Puppy is the best era — no question. Rabies, Too Dark Park, Last Rights is the prime of their career. I've written about Too Dark Park before and it's influence on Trace Amount, so for the sake of changing it up, I almost went with Last Rights this time around ... but Too Dark Park is THEE industrial record. Everything about it is so unhinged and raw, but the songs are incredibly catchy at the same time.
Fave Track: "Morpheus Laughing" or "Spasmolytic"

Qual - The Ultimate Climax (2018)

My friend Larry, who doubled as a TM/road dog on a lot of tours I did, was a huge fan of Lebanon Hanover and would play them a lot on long overnight drives, but it wasn't until years later that I would discover William Maybelline's (one half of Lebanon Hanover) project Qual, and more specifically his second record, The Ultimate Climax. I was so intrigued by the cover and was obsessed from there. This record has everything you could want. "On My Death Bed" sounds like a dystopian Jock Jam, "Sea of Agony" has the most unsettling synth lead, and "Take Me Higher" is an Eighties after-hours banger. It's so grimy and raw, but the songs follow a pop road map so they're super catchy.
Fave Track: "Take Me Higher"

Noise Unit - Strategy of Violence (1992)

This record is awesome ... no-frills, brutal Industrial at its finest. A classic from a really strong era of industrial, championed by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. The drums are an auditory assault the entire record, and the synth textures are really blistering which makes it a fun listen at high volumes. It has everything I love about Front Line Assembly, but it's just way heavier and aggressive. The ending of "Kick to Kill" makes me want to mosh and also run through a wall.
Fave Track: "Assault" or "Carnage"

Author & Punisher - Krüller (2022)

I know this album came out this year, and you're like how the fuck could this be one of the greatest industrial albums of all time? I've already listened to it a thousand times. Krüller, to me, is just a next-level masterpiece, and I think it really set the bar high for what industrial can be moving forward because I truly think it's a limitless genre. It's so good and a solid listen all the way through. This record feels the most like his live shows, with an added touch of melody and brightness that wasn't necessarily there on previous records. My favorite element of Author & Punisher is the rhythmic aspect and how actually punishing it is and that is absolutely present on this record. Also, how sick there's a Portishead cover slipped in like that?
Fave Track: "Misery"

Honorable mentions:

Ho99o9 - Cyber Cop (2018)

I think this EP is a total embodiment of what Ho99o9 is. All of the horror rap, but also the sampled out industrial influence. "Mega City Nine" is so grimy and just a straight anthem, but then there's tracks like "Forest Fires" and "Delete My Browser History" that are more experimental. They've always had really cool percussive elements, which I think is what separates them from being just a hip-hop group and more in that industrial crossover.
Fave Track: "Forest Fires"

Youth Code x King Yosef - A Skeleton Key in the Door of Depression (2021)

I think this record is criminally overlooked for how good it is the entire way through. It has everything you love about Youth Code — the Nitzer Ebb-fueled arpeggiation and Sara Taylor's abrasive vocal delivery — but is tweaked by King Yosef, whose hip-hop style production comes into play. This is a go-to record for the gym.
Favorite Track: "Burner"