You’d think that a guy who writes a music blog would be an expert in music, but you’d be surprised. I’ve spent most of my life believing I was a fan of Industrial Music. I love bands like Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Marilyn Manson and Rammstein. I also enjoy, to a lesser degree, KMFDM, Skinny Puppy, Lords of Acid, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and others of the same persuasion.
Of course a lot of this has to do with my personal interpretation of what industrial is. If you ask me for my definition I will tell you this:
This to me defines Industrial Music. The main thing is the noises in the background that sound like hydraulic pumps, but there is also the guitar tone. To me industrial doesn’t just conjure up the thought of music, but also cul-de-sacs on the outskirts of towns filled with factories. I’ve always thought of industrial through bands like NIN, Ministry and Fear Factory and the rhythms of the machines I run at work.
I’ve been aware that there were opposing views for a while, but those views were never more apparent than at the Cleveland Music Fest 2013’s Goth/Industrial night. Most bands eschewed the idea that Industrial is a sub-genre of rock or metal and instead found it to be a sub-genre of techno (or electronic dance music if you want to be a dick about it).
You know, I can’t argue about which view is right or which is wrong. I’ll be happy to step back and say I’m more a fan of rock with electronic elements. I tend to think of rock bands as composed of vocals, guitar, bass and drums. If you want to throw a keyboard or saxophone in there I’m fine with it, but I don’t understand the idea that a person programming a lot of noises into a computer and then singing over it on a stage constitutes performance. I guess I’m a bit of a purist there, but it seems to me like the lower the chances of a mistake the more life you take out of a performance. If your band is just drum machines and keyboard loops coming out of a PC I find it extremely hard to take it seriously. At a certain point it just becomes DIY karaoke and I don’t know if I’m supposed to take ecstasy and rave or mosh.
I like Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and Aphex Twin, but I can’t tell the difference between Ambient, House, Acid House, Trance, Breakbeat, Drum and Bass, Industrial or any of the other countless styles of techno.
No, I don’t know what the hell Dubstep sounds like and I don’t know it when I hear it. This
may have quite a bit to do with me not actually caring so please stop trying to explain it to me. When it comes to dubstep I feel like an old man hearing Elvis in the ’50’s. It’s all noise to me and I’m sure it will all be a passing phase.
I keep referring to a band from Cleveland called VENT as ‘Hardcore.’ This term may have been correctly used to describe them in the late 80’s/early 90’s when bands like Suicidal tendencies, Bad Brains and Corrosion of Conformity were considered Hardcore. Now the term requires the modifier “punk” after it (Hardcore Punk) so as not to confuse it with a genre or music featuring metalcore, skacore,emocore and numerous other -core styles as well as bands like Every Time I Dies, Bleeding Through, Atreyu and As I Lay Dying and seems like a bit of an insult to me.