Documentary about Nine Inch Nails and industrial music


42 Responses to “Documentary about Nine Inch Nails and industrial music”

  1. Abelard Lindsay says:

    I can follow your argument up until you placing LPD in the fray. LPD is not nor ever has been even remotely “Industrial”. They’re straight up “Prog”. The closest thing to “industrial” Ka-Spel has done is a two-minute stretch in the Tear Garden track “You and Me and Rainbows” and his bit on a Nurse With Wound album. Both Ka-Spel and Silverman have been ripping off Krautrock acts like Can, Faust, and Brainticket for 25 years.

    Tanith, I think you are forgetting such gems as The Pleasure Palace. If that’s not “Industrial” I’ll eat a bowl of piping hot white noise. Right now. Fresh from the Silverman’s MS-20.

  2. Phikus says:

    Hey, I’m not about to knock anyone’s opinion about what is “Industrial” and what isn’t, as it is subjective and somewhat arbitrary. I just thought a few other bands needed to be included in any discussion about this broadly defined set and subset of genres.

    That said, however, to me, by the time Cab Voltaire started making electronica that was getting played in clubs, it was already over. Even Ministry arrived too late. I don’t really see much point in TG reuniting either, other than ca$hing in.

  3. nehpetsE says:

    NIN is “industrial”

    GreenDay is “punk”

    Journey is “heavy metal”

    Shepard Fairey is totally “street”.

    we are in a “recession”

  4. zio_donnie says:

    i wouldn’t say that skinny puppy, NIN or ministry are electro or danceable. actually all 3 have metal overtones.

    there is an 80′s-90′s new school of danceable electro industrial mostly generated by goth bands that crossovered with tecno. Razed In Black, 808 state, Front Line Assembly, Information Society, Infected Mushroom, My Life With The Kill Thrill Cult (of The Crow Fame) come in mind.

    in the 00′s the industrial scene mixed with synth pop, tecno and the house club culure, spawned electro-clash acts like Miss Kittin, Ladytron, Little Computer People, that did without the guitars and where aimed directly at the (alternative) dancefloor.

    during the late 90′s NIN and Reznor where famous in the industrial scene mostly as the guys that scouted Marilyn Manson. Ah the irony.

  5. Tanith says:


    not quite so… TG has played a few gigs in the past half decade. This is, however, their first and most likely last US tour since ’81.

    NYC and Chicago are already sold out but they’re trying to add dates. San Francisco is nearly sold out (i got tix #19-22) and Los Angeles goes on sale tomorrow.

  6. Rob Thornton says:

    I am surprised that no one has mentioned Einsturzende Neubauten.

    I love Suicide and many of the other “industrial” bands are tolerable, but how many other bands used drills and girders in their soundscapes? That’s industrial with a capital I!

  7. devophill says:

    You know what’s really good? Metal Machine Music.

  8. Phikus says:

    Zio Donnie: You forgot SPK, Zoviet France, Dome, Culturcide…

  9. Anonymous says:

    aaaaaand no mention of gary numan. :/

  10. medusa says:

    i think the depeche mode inclusion has to do with their first few albums… by that measure, dead can dance bordered on industrial with the first few songs where they used leaking oil drums filled with water for percussion and assorted sounds. sheffield also produced human league whose single ‘being boiled’ was one of the first modern industrial songs…then, obviously, they went in another direction. unfortunately, industrial came to include bands whose sound could not be defined in some other pre-existing alternative category…back in the day…there weren’t 5,000 subcategories…it was punk, industrial, alternative. i don’t even think ‘gothic’ was used back then…we considered everything from chili peppers (mother’s milk) to the cure to sisters of mercy to wolfsheim to the smiths simply alternative. bands who sounded heavier (tonally) and more electronically driven got lumped into industrial. that started to fall apart about the time nine inch nails arrived on the scene. this is one of those arguments that will never be won but it sure is fun to watch and think about. i just remember how disheartening it was to be at an alternative club (i’m from tampa and we had some from the mid to late eighties,three to be exact) when something like nine inch nails would come on and all of sudden the totally ‘normal’ people we were escaping would start hitting the dance floor. so of course, if you were ‘cool’, you had to immediately NOT like certain bands because the jock you went to high school with was swiggin beer in your club and thinking it was cool to goosestep the dance floor.

  11. zio_donnie says:

    true. Einsturzende Neubauten are probably the epitome of industrial if you take the term literally, i dare say that the term industrial music was invented just to describe what they do. but some would argue that EN are avant guard-experimental. i guess that in time the term industrial was used to include all drum machine-goth-postpunk-tecno- metal bands leaving EN outside since they are nothing of the above.

    BTW i saw them live in Berlin, interesting experience but not what you’d call danceable or even music for that. they are more conceptual artists than a real band.

  12. Anonymous says:

    anybody read that? i always thought that TG invented the term industrial music?

    btw, if you read that description, it is correlates quite well with what mr. rezzo is up to these days

  13. zio_donnie says:

    @ arvinclay

    indeed we probably have a different story line here. i don’t write off skinny puppy as not danceable at all. i was just refering to a more mainstream dancing scene since names like depeche mode came in.

    my defining of industrial is purely academic and probably 15 years late. there was no clear line between genres when i went to clubs. usually they played a mix of what you would call today post punk-goth-dark-death-industrial

    typical playlist:

    christian death, bauhaus, sisters of mercy, the cure, nosferatu, fields of the nephilim, theatre of hate, skinny puppy, merry thoughts, tuxedo moon, whores of babylon, siouxsie and the banshees, terminal power company, suspiria, big electric cat, cabarait voltaire, clock DVA, cocteau twins, swans, danse society, front 242, front line assembly, sex gang children, alien sex fiend, flesh for lulu, march violets, Xmal Deutschland, the fall, skeletal family and whatever cleopatra records passed at the time

    so for me and where i used to live at the time “industrial” was not a genre per se, just a subgenre of the post-punk/dark/electro scene.

    (btw i am still searching for vinyl/cd of prophetess and the aviator if you have something you are willing to sell mail me. i would appreciate even a copy/mp3 since i’m stuck with my old maxell cassetes of those)

    PS: i own the entire depeche mode discography so i am not talking about their recent crap. they could be included to the industrial genre (black celebration comes to mind) but so could new order or big black and the birthday party if you want to stretch it. but the DM were always more pop oriented. just see their masterpiece (IMO) “violator”. it was engineered by house music and ultra famous dj François Kevorkian

  14. says:

    um, test dept [in addition to the previous mentions of en]?

  15. says:

    hey i saw en do a crazy public walkway performance at expo 86 in vancouver. people didn’t seem to know what to think, but i loved it.

  16. Ian70 says:

    What is this.. first we were NIN-bashing in the comments and now it’s “I know more industrial bands than you know”? Do spare us all, please.

    We all know industrial, evidently. We also all know what we like and don’t like. Just because I can’t stand to listen to EN or LPD or TG doesn’t mean I would call them anything than what they are: industrial bands. I adore SP and FLA and KMFDM but I’m not about to say that they’re more or less than any other band. So deal with it; the genre even includes NIN. For some, it -especially- includes NIN.

    Purists = Fundamentalists.

  17. Tanith says:

    @ 36

    sounds like noisy krautrock to me but i can see where it could be argued that is was “industrial” sounding. the few noisy moments of LPD does not define the band for me. there are twenty prague springs for every encore une fois.

    i’ve listened to lpd/ka-spel for 24 years and this is the first time i’ve seen them referred to as industrial music.

    but hey, i still think of dri as a punk band. differing opinions help the world go round.

  18. pinkeeestrange says:


    Throbbing Gristle reunites for their first show(s) since 1981.

    I know I won’t.

  19. ian_b says:

    I always hoped Trent Reznor’s film debut would be in “Year Zero – The Musical”

  20. arvinclay says:


    You and I must have a different history of industrial music. Puppy’s first proper release came in 1985. That album’s blend of horror and mutant new wave re-invented the genre from that point out.

    To write them off as not danceable because of their “metal overtones” sounds to me like you have heard a VERY small sampling of their music. I couldn’t imagine a goth club from my early days with out hearing Addiction, Assimilate, Worlock, Digit, Grave Wisdom, Testure, or Deep Down Trauma hounds. The were the poster children of industrial dance!

    Furthermore take a re-listen to early depeche. Many of the production techniques (and for that matter tonal qualities) would be utilized by many of the bands that you listed.

    (I also cannot abide by somebody that would write of puppy but name drop a completely derivative band like VAC. WIth out skinny puppy there would be no bands like VAC!)

    If there are any happy mutants out there looking to get into some hot metal machine music action I implore you to look into Skinny Puppy. They are the unsung influences of modern electronic music.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if there’s some kind of geographical or temporal schism in the understanding of what constitutes industrial music (UK/US) – probably still is (who becomes the appointed judge on handing out labels for musical styles? – judgement is retrospective and those first coining a phrase may fade to obscurity before acceptance of phrase)

    First UK widely distributed/advertised NIN album was Pretty Hate Machine – 15 second adverts after Casey Kasem read UK top 40 hits parade featured the only interesting part of the album, subsequent purchase lead to disappoint in realising the rest of the album was depeche mode esq. depressing ballad over drum machine loop. Early Ministry album was just as bad. Nin remixes better.
    Surely Nin is a mile away from throbbing gristle etc even if the difference is embarrassing commercial realities. Trent Rezneor seems to have a keen eye for the acceptable edge of technology lead rebellion – e.g. “leaking” of memory sticks/album downloads etc,
    Not sure TG etc would consider album sales etc important?
    Liked TG, Psychic Tv and Foetus – rest is just pop with an atitude – bout time Boingboing looked at TG Thirwell? – Make an interesting guest blogger.

  22. ill lich says:

    I dunno . . . it always seemed to me that calling NIN “industrial” was like calling Black Sabbath a “blues” band.

  23. J France says:

    If I were still 19, i’d be flaming at least half of these comments.

    22: Suspiria!? *snorts* They were house music dressed in…. bad. As much as I love that remix of Assasin Soul, they’re just awful. EBM at best, shitty goth music at worst.

  24. aldasin says:

    Really, a documentary that posits NIN as the pinnacle of industrial music is misguided at best.

  25. caldrax says:

    can coil get a handclap?

  26. Anonymous says:

    i do love nin´s albums and i saw them live 3 times.

    about the industrial sound genesis…everybody forgot heroes-low-lodger bowie´s berlinese trilogy? i think that was around 1977…

  27. Tanith says:

    @ 32

    I can follow your argument up until you placing LPD in the fray. LPD is not nor ever has been even remotely “Industrial”. They’re straight up “Prog”. The closest thing to “industrial” Ka-Spel has done is a two-minute stretch in the Tear Garden track “You and Me and Rainbows” and his bit on a Nurse With Wound album. Both Ka-Spel and Silverman have been ripping off Krautrock acts like Can, Faust, and Brainticket for 25 years.

    @ 34 – “I don’t really see much point in TG reuniting either, other than ca$hing in.”

    at $28.50 a ticket I think I’d call it ¢ashing in.
    honestly, I think the past few albums they’ve released (both studio and live) have been fantastic and I’m thankful they’ve combined forces again.

  28. gATO says:

    Ah, the infamous and often-abused “industrial” label… looks promising, in particular the Genesis interview, but the cover art is horrendous.

  29. Ernunnos says:

    “Black Sabbath and the blues uprising” wouldn’t be an unreasonable documentary. Particularly if blues had been a little-known genre up to that point. NIN may not be quintessential industrial, but Trent certainly took it out of the niche.

  30. 5000! says:

    …Throbbing Gristle. Cabaret Voltaire, Depeche Mode, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, NiN, and others.

    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong,

    Can you tell which thing is not like the others

    By the time I finish my song?

    Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
    Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
    If you guessed this one is not like the others,
    Then you’re absolutely…right!

  31. prodpoke says:

    i’m a huge fan of both the industrial genre and nine inch nails, but i definitely don’t think NIN whould be the poster child for the industrial movement, neither is that a good picture! xD

    and TG, Cabaret Voltaire, Skuppy barely skim the surface of industrial. i’m tired of shallow documentaries, how about the GOOD stuff that a fan of industrial music can chew on?

  32. tlang says:

    You guys are genrists.

  33. neuralien says:

    @Ill Lich, Black Sabbath did start out as blues band.

    Nine Inch Nails is indeed an industrial band but would be more correctly labeled as industrial-rock. Industrial music is, like most genres of music, full of sub-categories, some closer to the original sound than others. Sub-categories like aggrotek and rhythmic noise maintain the original musical aesthetics. Others like EBM and futurepop infuse danceable, melodic hooks and trance influences into the music. Then you have stuff like industrial-rock and NDH which are more amenable to mainstream music.

  34. zio_donnie says:


    so true. tho’ i like some of the NIN stuff they definetely are neither the first nor the best industrial band. they certainly are one of the most hyped.

    i’d say that Suicide are one of the first industrial bands together with Chrome, Throbbing Gristle,Cabaret Voltaire, Front 242 and possibly even the Sisters Of Mercy (tho’ they went more electro ending inventing the whole Goth genre).

    Depeche Mode i wouldn’t call industrial (more electro and synth pop) and Skinny Puppy and Ministry came later on.

  35. Tanith says:


    “industrial music” was from good ol’ Monte Cazazza. Of course he can be thought of as the 5th Beatle in the TG story.

  36. Phikus says:

    Did you guys miss this part?

    This new era would run its own course and influence greatly an American drift in the mid-1980s towards a home-grown, danceable variety of electro-industrial rock, with the remarkable Nine Inch Nails at its heart and soul.

    Old School=Industrial
    New School=Electro-Industrial

    I don’t have a problem with this, as far as labels go.

  37. zio_donnie says:


    granted suspiria pretty much sucks (tho’ i like the “new dress” cover). shitty goth yes, but house they ain’t.

    and if i were still 19 i would never post a comment in a blog(even if i could). i would probably be at a pub with other geeks discussing the new wave of british heavy metal or how second generation californian punk sucks. i still remember the days when Green Day and The Offspring where the latest poser punk bands to rip-off Agent Orange, Bad Religion and TSOL.

    on the other hand i have a girfriend now.

  38. ill lich says:

    We need some discipline in here.

  39. zio_donnie says:

    “(who becomes the appointed judge on handing out labels for musical styles? – judgement is retrospective and those first coining a phrase may fade to obscurity before acceptance of phrase)”

    in the old times labels where handed out by the “hipster” music press (NME,Maximum RnR,Metal Hammer etc) and the random fanzine. there were so much new stuff going on that new genres were born and died in matter of days or with a single album (WTF is shoegazing? LOL). labels kinda died out after the internet took over. too many opinions i guess, and none with the authority to impose a largely accepted term.

    moreover today’s bands are so cross-contaminated and conventional that there is hardly a need for new labels. the best you can get nowadays is like this band sounds “joy division-ish” or something. that’s why i stoped buying music mags. seems that the 00′s are poor in innovation. last relevant labels i’m aware of are grunge and nu-metal.

    and even the old labels are so diluted as to include avril lavigne under the “punk rock” genre. interest in music has shifted from the content to image. if you look punk you are. in the 80′s you were just a poser and you got beaten for cashing in.

    back to (industrial) namedroping:

    Die Form

    Nitzer Ebb

    Terminal Power Company


    Velvet Acid Christ

    LARD (ministry with jello biafra on vocals)

    Leather Strip

    Suicide Commando

    Loosely associated:

    Legendary Pink Dots, Danse Society, Siouxsie And the Banshees (Juju and The Scream), Fields of the Nephilim

  40. Takuan says:

    sorry, all my latex is at the cleaners.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I’m just new in this whole thing so-called industrial. I like the beats and the riffs. I listen to what I can download. I’ve never been to a gig because most of them were when I was not even born. Do names really matter? These were pretty interesting comments to read on.

Leave a Reply