Monday, April 28, 2008


Question: I discovered Earache back in \'00 not through the extreme metal bands you\'re famous for, but through the more electronic based artists like Mortiis and Pitchshifter. It was actually The Berzerker that got me interested in death and grindcore. Industrial-based bands are generally few in proportion to the amount of metal bands on Earache... do you still look for bands of that ilk these days? From:

Answer: yeah Earache had a few years when i was a massive fan of the industrial-metal genre..Ministry and also The Prodigy were the bands that opened my eyes to the power and flexibility that electronic drums allied to guitars can produce.The production on their albums was pure power..mainly because it was digitally derived. Nowadays we have less bands like that- berzerker was the last one - and also the less extreme Society 1 (matt zane pictured with hooks in flesh)- because the style of the scene is changing fast and in some ways the electronic drum sounds themselves seem dated, to my ears at least.New recording techinques mean that analog acoustic drum sounds can be as powerful as digital these days- and infintely more varied aswell..meaning digital drum sounds are pretty much passe.


Unknown said...

the use of a drum machine does not make a band industrial, much like the use of a distorted guitar does not make a band metal. i don't think most people who took interest in industrial did so because of the "power" of electronic drums. for me personally, it was about a different sound and different kinds of rhythms.. something that made me nod my head rather than want to bang it.

in the case of classic industrial bands, i think the drum machine reflects their influence from 80s electronic music and early EBM like Front 242. bands like Frontline Assembly and Haujobb have a long history in industrial music, and some of their albums have a lot of guitar-rhythm on them.. but for them it is more of a rhythmic or sometimes atmospheric instrument, so you won't hear any solo wanking. i have seen both of these bands perform live with acoustic drummers and it just does not fit with their sound at all.

it really is not fair to call The Berzerker industrial. they're just trying to make grindcore or death metal with a drum machine. it sounds like a sterile gimmick to me.. or at least the way they approach it just sounds tasteless.

Godflesh is a terrific example of an industrial metal band. justin was not trying to make Napalm Death with a drum machine, instead he was going in an entirely different creative direction. the extremity of that sound was in the thick ambience and darkness, with the drum machine just creating this suitable cold industrial aesthetic that was different than anything else on earache.. at least until Pitch Shifter ripped them off (not a bad job either) on their early albums.

my last case in point being Mick "the Human Tornado" Harris, who was this insane drummer and yet, as Scorn, branched off into ambient and dub industrial sounds using a drum machine.. and never once trying to make a blastbeat on it. it's just a different sound.

sorry for rambling on!

Digby said...

hey Andrew,

Thanks for your insightful comments- all the bands you mentioned were cool,and i signed a few of them in the 90's when it was fresh, but my perspective is that i've watched the scene progress from the 80's F242, Ministry beginnings to the latest 2008 NIN, and you know what- after 25 years, the genre has hardly progressed at all!!Wheres the evolution?

Whereas the once-new sampling/drum machine technology gave unbounded creative freedom to the artists who embraced it, the same reliance on such processed sounds is now its downfall,its actually restrictive, and counter-creative, in my opinion.

I guess after 20+ years of listening to the style, my tastes have moved away from the processed sound..when you mention berzerker sounds 'sterile'- i maintain its because hearing the EXACT same drum sound for 45 minutes is a little tiresome on the ears.

I think we are discussing two different things here- you are discussing the creative brains behind the acts mentioned, i am talking more about the sonics of the productions, and how the restricted palette of electronic instruments, and lack of dynamics in the resulting recorded sound, makes the genre lack the cutting edge and so appear quite dated.I guess i'm just a born again analog evangelist, who wishes Mick Harris would dump the sampler and get the drum kit out again!! ;-)

Actually you missed out the best of the Earache Industro-metal acts of the mid-90's period-MISERY LOVES Co.They were a class act from Sweden.

Unknown said...

Misery Loves Co's self-titled album is one of my all-time favorites from Earache! unfortunately i could never get into their follow-ups. i had to mention Godflesh though because i think that was the genesis of industrial metal.. though it sounded like a unique genre in itself rather than a meeting of two.

yes i apologize for going a little off the "industrial metal bands" topic but i seem to have this knee-jerk reaction when people want to call a band "industrial" simply because they use a drum machine.

you're right that there really is no evolution in industrial these days.. every band on Metropolis records sounds pretty much the same since VNV Nation brought forth the futurepop sound.. and ever since then it's been attack of the clones.

Anonymous said...

You should try EWIGKEIT- 2 albums on Earache are vaguely industrial- well it has electronic componeents but its a rock album. Terrific and highly original...sadly the band never toured much, and split up.