Friday, December 25, 2015
Top 10 Industrial Albums of 2015
Industrial is getting it's own top 10 list this year. While this list took a little more searching and broadening of the definition than the goth list did, it's hear for your reading enjoyment none the less. Some of the projects carrying more of a edm vibe, but that is nothing new since so does Skinny Puppy these days. Some rock out more than other and a couple are more rooted in rock than electronic music. The stark atmosphere of industrial was one of the most important qaulities an most are ranked by what I listened to the most this year. If you want a listen most have review links there was only one I never got around to reviewing. So here are our top 10 Industrial albums of 2015.
10-Chant : "Brave New Apocalypse"
This is more of an honorable mention, since I did not get to spend much time with this one. They were impressive when I saw them live, obviously the album can not pack the same punch as the live show, but it's a decent substitute. Fans of older Nine Inch Nails...Pretty Hate Machine era, will really dig these guys.
9-Prodigy : "the Day is My Enemy"
Never got around to reviewing this one. These guys have aged well and adapted to the times, not just trying to re-kindle the fire starter. While their energy is more industrial than many of the sounds they make, if I remember the 90s , they got played in industrial clubs so they belong here.
8-God Module : "Prophecy"
Dark ebm with distorted vocal that typifies the post-90s industrial. There is plenty of Skinny Puppy influence , but also moments most suited for the dance floor. Its aggressive without being heavy as metal. Production wise everything is on point. The vocals sit where they need to and the beats are dirtied up enough to not sound poppy. These are dark anthems for goth clubs in the wee hours before last call.It is more like aggressive edm to me, but if that where industrial music wants to go, that's cool there is room for different brands and these guys do a good job of it.
7-Ego Likeness : "When the Wolves Return"
My primary experience with Ego Likeness has been from Dragon-con and some of the State of the Goth Scene panels, their music taps into a very dramatic and romantic vein of dark-wave. One thing that gives them the edge is the use of of guitar to give the pulse of the songs more drive. The sultry syrup of her voice drips off the banging synths. If you are into dark wave their is more to like than not on this album, I give them big props for not just ripping off Faith and the Muse or Siouxsie , but still acknowledging those influences. If you are already a fan it might be their perfect album.
6-Pinkish Black: "Bottom of the Morning"
The new one from the Fort Worth synth drone duo, who really defies most genres , but that won't stop me from trying to peg one onto there dark brand of synth drive post-punk. On their debut for Relapse Records , the vocals are even more prominent coming out from behind the wall of murky effects and over driven synth swirl that dominated previous releases. Due to this the lyrics are more discernible than previous releases. Before you are too quick to compare them to Joy Division they are much more like a darker version of "Obscured by Clouds " era Pink Floyd. I read one review of this album where Mike Patton was brought up and I wonder what album they were listening to.If anything there is sometimes more of a Josh Homme feel to the melodies. They take on a heavier drive with "Special Dark" that finds their singer dropping down into a more ghoulishly goth croon. It's pretty murky even with the hammering pulse of sounds like a bass, but knowing these guys is more likely over driven synth. If you are a fan of their previous work, they have not sold out by a long shot. If you have never given them a listen, this album is a decent entry point.
While it was an enjoyable listen , I was not blown away by their first album, however Their second album gets off to a much more industrial start. I like this more than the first album since its darker. Even the samples that begin bubbling up from behind the jagged guitar sound like they could have been on a 90s Neurosis album. A vast improvement from the first album and I want to hear them dig further into the darkness on the next one.
4- Die Krupps: "Metal Machine Music"
If bands like KMFDM have become to edm for you, here is an industrial album that makes no bones about it and kicks you in the teeth like its 1990. Before you try to compare them to Rammstein, take note that these guys beat them to the punch by ten years. I first became aware of the band after they put out a Metallica tribute album in the 90s . Then in the 2000s when it seemed every year another industrial tribute to something was coming out , these guys showed up on their fair share of those. There riffs have remained just as tough, and benefit from better production today's technology allows. This album will sucks you in and weaves a sonic world around you that finely tuned, well composed industrial music can. These guys are not just pushing buttons and tossing samples around.
3-the Soft Moon : "Deeper"
I was so impressed by the first glimpse of this band that I had to hunt their label down.The album starts off with very industrial ambiance. The first single "Deeper" is pretty damn dark, it might remind you of "Pretty Hate Machine" era Nine Inch Nail, though these guys have put a glossy glaze of weirdness over that formula. the vocal arrangements tend to be more chanted and droning than anything Reznor does. They have a really good and dense synth sound that has the metallic edge of a guitar to it.Fans of bands bands ranging from Cold Cave to Skinny Puppy can find something to move them on this album. Overall it's a pretty incredible listen.
3-Author&Punisher : "Melk En Honing"
Following "Women & Children" the bar is raised pretty high. Tristan Shore has been a one man wrecking crew when it comes to industrial by making music using a a complex system of home made machines fitting for the genre. The first thing I notice is the vocals are not as distorted as pervious albums. He still has Godflesh like grit to his voice. It is dark and doomy with something that sounds like Arabian wailing floating over the droning rumble.This album was worth the wait there are a few moments that have to grow on me, I think this album is heavier than his last. He doesn't make the same album twice and retains the sonic intensity and his way of doing things .
1- Health :"Death Magic"
I first questioned some of the reviews where this project referred to as industrial, they seemed more like edm with a dark and dirty slant to it and a kick , but Industrial ? Well it took many listens to convince me of this. This is their sixth album and it's been five years in the making, so no wonder they have become masters at layering some clever vocal melodies over yearning grooves to create some hooks that sink into your brain and pull you along for the ride. The first hint it might just be industrial came in the tribal pound of drums that open " Men Today" that has some noise to it , while the sounds assembled are cool , for an album with such emphasis place on sex and drugs it feels sometimes like foreplay with no climax.Until the subtle hooks are latched into your brain. There's an old 80s dance feel to "Flesh World" the androgynous are very fey in the same manner of Sliversun Pick ups or Savage Garden. There are some glitch ridden sounds thrown into the sonic jumble. I have always wondered if the remixes are going to sound better than the originals , then why not just make the original songs sound like that in the first place? Well the solve that by making "Flesh World" sound like it has already been re-mixed. This album made me want to go back and dig up their earlier stuff, which I was unable to do since I was so hooked on this one.