Visiting Front 242 website (one of my favorite electronic bands), I found this cool list, made by REGEN (specialized electronic music website), nominating the “10 best Industrial albuns off all times”! If you like electronic music (Iindustrial) take a look!
Solutions for a Small Planet (1996)
Haujobb’s third album saw the duo of Daniel Myer and Dejan Smardzic moving away from their harder industrial roots toward a lighter sound that was no less intense, but more beat-heavy, mixing in elements of more progressive electronica such as drum & bass and IDM. In many ways, Solutions for a Small Planet would act as a precursor for the more experimental modes Myer would explore with his other projects like Architect, but songs such as “Rising Sun,” “Distance,” and “Nature’s Interface” demonstrate Haujobb’s propensity for complex beat structures and strange atmospheres, topped off by Myer’s android-like vocals. A truly forward-thinking release that still holds much appeal even more than a decade later, Solutions for a Small Planet may not be the most aggressive Haujobb release, but is certainly one of their most creative.
9 ) VNV Nation
As the founders of the style that would come to be known as futurepop, VNV Nation blended elements of industrial, EBM, trance, and synthpop and their album Empires was the ultimate culmination of this mix. With songs that were full of pompous militarism and classical grandeur, yet possessing melodies as endearing as anything heard in synthpop, and topped off by Ronan Harris’ lyrics that went from being dark and condemning to hopeful and forgiving. From the mournful tone of such songs as “Standing” and “Arclight” to the harsher, darker moods of “Darkangel” and “Kingdom,” Empires is still highly regarded as VNV’s best album. Produced with little more than two low-quality samplers and the now legendary Access Virus, Empires is perhaps the most easily accessible record in VNV’s discography, but as such is also perhaps the most influential.
8 ) Nine Inch Nails
The Downward Spiral (1994)
One can’t deny the influence of Nine Inch Nails in helping to bring industrial music into the mainstream consciousness. Trent Reznor’s flirtations with merging artistic expressions with pop appeal came to their utmost with The Downward Spiral, a concept album detailing a central character’s descent into suicide through a life of debauchery. Compared to Pink Floyd’s The Wall, songs like “Reptile,” “Mr. Self Destruct,” and “March of the Pigs” pummel the listener with crunchy guitars and scathing atmospheres, with enough musical intricacy to underlie the subtly more complex production and arrangements. Besides that, it yielded such hits as the melancholy turmoil of “Hurt” and the now classic “Closer,” which gave us perhaps the catchiest and most overplayed expletive-laden chorus in history… “I want to fuck you like an animal!”
7 ) Nitzer Ebb
That Total Age (1987)
Nitzer Ebb’s debut album is still widely regarded as one of the best examples of the classic EBM formula: repetitive bass lines, simplistic but strong drum programming, and Douglas McCarthy’s sparse slogan-like vocals, evoking a punk-like energy that was as catchy and danceable as it was pompous. That Total Age laid the groundwork for the “thump-thump-thump” beats that would pervade in the underground electronic scene for many years to come, as songs like “Join in the Chant,” “Murderous,” “Let Your Body Learn,” and “Violent Playground” would become dance floor fixtures for many a DJ set list. These days, it’s rare to see a debut album prove to be so influential and withstanding the test of time, but Nitzer Ebb’s That Total Age still sets a high standard for industrial dance music today.
6 ) Chemlab
Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar (1993)
Considered by many to be THE coldwave band, Chemlab’s debut album after their 10 Ton Pressure demo EP is still regarded as the band’s ultimate output. From the savage energy of “Suicide Jag” to the grating textures of “Rivet Head” to the groovy rhythms of “Chemical Halo,” Chemlab touched on a style of industrial rock that was at once coldly mechanical yet as raucous and as sexy as anything by The Rolling Stones. Balancing catchy hooks such as those found in “Codeine, Glue, and You” with the experimental noise of the “suture” tracks, which have since become a staple of Chemlab’s recorded output, Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar doesn’t see Chemlab at their most daring, but it does see them blasting out a full force assault of machine rock that would soon be imitated by even the mainstream during the ’90s.
5 ) KMFDM
“KMFDM doin’ it again!” So was the phrase born in the first track, the now legendary “Light,” still a staple of the German industrial collective’s powerful live shows. From the catchy riffs and danceable EBM electronics of that opening track to the furious thrashing energy of “A Drug Against War,” to the grinding rage of “Blood,” to the self-deprecating humor of “Sucks,” and finally to the apocalyptic grandeur of “A Hole in the Wall,” Angst is perhaps KMFDM’s finest record in an impressive discography. Featuring the core lineup of Sascha Konietzko, Günter Schulz, and En Esch, and displaying their ever present mix of German and English lyrics and vocals with underscores of sociopolitical commentary, the Ultra Heavy Beat was never stronger than it was with Angst.
4 ) Einstürzende Neubauten
Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. / The Drawings of Patient O.T. (1983)
Their name translates roughly to “Collapsing New Buildings,” and no name could be more appropriate for these German industrial masters. Never ones to stoop to convention, using everything from power tools to ordinary household objects to metal pipes, and mixing in some guitars and Blixa Bargeld’s incendiary voice, Einstürzende Neubauten’s second album is perhaps their bleakest effort to date. Inspired by the artwork of schizophrenic artist Oswald Tschirtner, the music on Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. shows the band pushing into new territories of sonic exploration that arguably led to what we now know as dark ambient. And if you need proof of the album’s gripping and disturbing atmosphere, “Armenia” is still a mainstay in the group’s live performances after 25 years.
4 ) Ministry
The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989)
While their previous album, The Land of Rape and Honey brought guitars into the mix, it was The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste that solidified Ministry’s groundbreaking mix of heavy metal guitars with mechanized rhythms. Incorporating live drums with programmed beats, augmented by conservative yet noticeable synthesizer accompaniment, and over a bedrock of shredding metal guitars, Al Jourgensen’s chainsaw vocals on such tracks as “Thieves,” “Breathe,” “Burning Inside,” and “Test.” Far from a one-trick pony, slower more ambient tracks like “Faith Collapsing,” “Dream Song,” and “Cannibal Song” also made their way into the mix, marking The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste as one of Ministry’s most aggressive and influential efforts that would define the bulk of their creative output from then on.
2 ) Skinny Puppy
Too Dark Park (1990)
Skinny Puppy established a reputation early on for their theatrical live performances and powerfully disturbing imagery. As each album sounded different, but marked a progression in the band’s development toward even more nightmarish soundscapes, Too Dark Park marks a beginning and an end for Skinny Puppy, with 10 songs that retained some inklings of musicality, while also pushing the boundaries into the audio hell that would be their next album, 1992’s Last Rights. Beginning with the cacophony of “Convulsion,” and leading into the paranoid bass lines of “Spasmolytic,” the ecologically dismal “Nature’s Revenge,” and the decrepit barrage of “Reclamation,” Too Dark Park yields one of Skinny Puppy’s most masterful mixtures of intricate song structures and complex audio collages that for many has yet to be surpassed.
1 ) Front 242
Front By Front (1988)
As one of the purveyors of the style of industrial dance music we all know as EBM (right down to being the originators of the term), Front 242’s 1988 album Front by Front is arguably their most renowned, containing one of the most revered underground dance floor hits, “Headhunter.” Never before has counting to four been so darkly infectious, still being played in clubs two decades later, and ever the live staple for the band. Other hits include “Circling Overland” (which was covered by VNV Nation early in their career), “Im Rhythmus Bleiben,” and “Welcome to Paradise.” From the pounding drumbeats to the viciously addictive synthesizers and bass lines to Jean-Luc de Meyer’s piercing lyrics and vocals, Front by Front showed the Belgian quartet establishing the groundwork for the next generation of industrial dance music.
Extract from REGEN MAGAZINE website.