Consequence’s Industrial Week kicks off with a staff list of the genre’s Top 50 albums. Keep checking back throughout the week for more lists, artist-driven content, premieres, essays, and more.
While a handful of rock’s biggest acts have come out of the industrial music scene, the genre has largely remained underground since its emergence in the late 1970s. For every Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein, there are dozens of bands that never broke through to the mainstream. Yet, within the industrial universe, many of these artists are considered legendary acts.
Early pioneers like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire paved the way for an industrial revolution in the ’80s that included Ministry, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, and others. Nine Inch Nails took the genre to new heights in the early ’90s, as Trent Reznor’s mix of aggression and melody resonated with millions of fans.
Over the years, industrial has taken on many forms, from dissonant noise to metal-heavy riffs to dance-club bangers, with a common thread being electronic and mechanical elements that tie them into one singular, yet hard-to-define musical category.
The greatest industrial albums represent the wide diversity that the genre has to offer, showcasing a style of music that continues to thrive, even as it predominantly remains under the radar. Take a trip through Consequence’s picks for the 50 Best Industrial Albums of All Time below.
Managing Editor, Heavy Consequence
50. Front Line Assembly – Gashed Senses & Crossfire
Gashed Senses & Crossfire shows the frenetic capacity of Front Line Assembly, and is a little more eclectic than other albums in their discography. Working with Michael Balch instead of Rhys Fulber this time, Bill Leeb’s vocality was menacingly oppressive when paired with Balch’s approach to synths and percussion. Gashed Senses & Crossfire is appropriately named, as it will certainly leave you feeling like you’re being caught in the crossfires with gashed senses. — Cervanté Pope
49. Die Krupps – Stahlwerksynfonie
This German ensemble would eventually settle into a sound closer to what we would consider traditional industrial but in their earliest incarnation, Jürgen Engler, Bernward Malaka, and Ralf Dörper set loose on their instruments like furious primates. The guitars sound like they are being pulled forcibly apart while the drummer appears willing to reduce his kit to a pile of sawdust and metal filings. And is that a saxophone losing all notion of melody as it wails through this racket? You may find pure enjoyment listening to this album but you might also find that it threatens the structural integrity of your home. — Robert Ham
48. 3Teeth – Metawar
A staple in the goth rock scene in Los Angeles, 3Teeth are one of the modern bands keeping industrial alive. Metawar was produced by Sean Beavan, known for mixing Nine Inch Nails’ first two albums, among other notable releases. This LP goes deep down the industrial rock rabbit hole with dark churning beats, hooky keyboards, and scraping guitars on songs like “AMERICAN LANDFILL,” EXXXIT,” and “AFFLUENZA.” And don’t forget the band’s dark cover of “Pumped Up Kicks.” — Colette Claire
47. Front 242 – Official Version
An album that, even after 35 years, still sounds like a missive sent back to us from a dystopian future. It would give us pause for our potential demise at the hands of our AI overlords if it weren’t so damn danceable. While the arpeggios and electro beats send bodies flying into states of ecstasy, vocalists Jean-Luc De Meyer and Richard 23 bring listeners back down to Earth with visions of BDSM rituals, lethal wounds, and capitalism run amok. — R. Ham
46. Code Orange – Underneath
Underneath sees Code Orange doubling down on their penchant for industrial coatings that made them an early CoSigns artist. Glitchy prelude “(deeperthanbefore)” is a hauntingly dissonant introduction reminiscent of NIN at their most bleakly minimalistic. Later, “You and You Alone,” “A Silver,” “Autumn and Carbine,” and “The Easy Way” maintain those digitized accentuations while delving into some beautiful breakdowns. Conversely, gems such as “In Fear” and “Back Inside the Glass” ooze metalcore magic. Simply put, Underneath is a fluidly flowing amalgamation of Code Orange’s various personas, and with the help of numerous guests, it’s another ambitiously diverse and essential disc. — Jordan Blum