The Top 10 Greatest Industrial Metal Albums Of All Time

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Dominant in the 1990s, the sound of industrial metal has been making a comeback in recent years. Here are our selections for the best records the genre has to offer


       10. HALO – Body Of Light

A colossal record of limitless depth and weight, Australian duo HALO unleashed a monolithic testament of terror on their 2003 album, Body Of Light. While the marriage of rock and industrial music usually skews toward death metal, punk, or dance music, HALO opt for a different approach by leaning into atmospheric doom. It’s a haunting exercise in empty space and low-end worship that could sit just as neatly in the world of death industrial ala Cold Meat Industry as it does alongside Godflesh or fellow Australian doom dealers Disembowelment.


  1. Dead World – The Machine

As far as meat and potatoes industrial metal goes, Dead World’s second album, The Machine, is a trip to Peter Luger’s Steakhouse. While their first record was a worthy slab of electronica infused death metal, The Machine is an exercise in cold, economic groove. It’s a masterclass in how unsettling a record can be when you combine drum machines, catchy riffs, and vocals delivered with a menacing whisper.

  1. O.L.D. – Lo Flux Tube

The world of extreme music owes a lot to James Plotkin and Alan Dubin. In the years before they redefined doom as part of the band Khanate, James and Alan changed the face of grindcore with their band O.L.D. (acronym for Old Lady Drivers). On 1991’s Lo Flux Tube, the duo teamed up with former Nirvana and Soundgarden member Jason Everman to create a mind-bending odyssey of industrialized madness. The record defies any kind of easy categorization, touching on breakneck grind, dance floor-ready beats, and psychedelic riffage for a trip straight to hell. If the presence of revered avant-garde composer John Zorn on saxophone in the title track doesn’t give you an idea of what you are in for, nothing will.

  1. Pitch Shifter – Industrial 

Years before they condensed their name into one word and played Mortal Kombat-approved nu-metal, Pitch Shifter was a balls-out industrial death metal band. On their 1991 debut (aptly titled Industrial), Pitch Shifter crafted a towering monument to misanthropy and self-hatred that would leave even the most jaded headbanger shaking in their boots. Impossibly heavy death dirges over horrific mechanized rhythms and lyrics as simple and acute as “I hate you motherfucker” change Industrial from what might look like a simple metal record on paper into a bludgeoning tool.

  1. Ministry Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs

At one point, Ministry was a well-respected synthpop band. After flirting with metal for several records, Psalm 69 saw Uncle Al and the guys’ full transition from America’s answer to Depeche Mode to the cynical, dopesick maniacs they are now known for. Through incorporating elements of thrash and rockabilly, Ministry managed to eclipse the guitar-driven dancefloor anthems of The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste to create something entirely new and horrific (well, new if you aren’t a Big Black fan, but that’s another article).

  1. Nailbomb – Point Blank

After realizing that they both lived in Phoenix, Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Alex Newport of Fudge Tunnel got together and casually played some music. At the urging of Max’s wife, Gloria, the duo set out to make a record. The result was Point Blank, a sonic maelstrom of raw hardcore and sample driven industrial madness. Assisted by Sepultura bandmates Iggor Cavalera and Andreas Kisser, as well as Fear Factory’s Dino Casares, Point Blank seamlessly invokes similar feelings to both Discharge and Skinny Puppy at their finest. A masterpiece made all the more special by its one-off nature. The band played two shows in two days for the 1995 installment of Dynamo Open Air and promptly ceased to exist.

  1. Killing JokeKilling Joke

The primordial ooze from which all industrial metal came, Killing Joke’s self titled 1980 debut album is the undisputed bedrock of the genre. Charting a darker, heavier path than their contemporaries, Killing Joke’s wholly original approach to post punk yielded an apocalyptic classic of driving riffs, propulsive rhythms, and churning electronics. Songs from this record have been covered by everyone from Metallica to the Foo Fighters. The first and one of the best of all time.

  1. GodfleshStreetcleaner

Justin Broadrick, having helped create and perfect the grindcore genre with his work in Napalm Death, inadvertently helped create and perfect the industrial death metal death metal genre with his work in Godflesh. Streetcleaner (as well as the self titled ep and Tiny Tears) are almost the polar inverse of Napalm Death’s Hatred Surge demo and side a of Scum, subverting the breakneck riffs and blasts of the latter with crawling mechanical beats and universe pummeling bass. The result is a harrowing sonic nightmare that set the standard for industrial metal to this day. As heavy as it gets.

  1. Nine Inch NailsPretty Hate Machine

It had to show up somewhere. Hard to believe that within two years, the assistant engineer and maintenance man of a studio in Cleveland would take the world by storm and catapult metallic industrial rock into the mainstream. On the strength of his demo, Trent Reznor signed a contract with independent label TVT Records. Trent Reznor’s meticulous sampling, ferocious riffs, and a mastery of analog synths yielded a landmark album that flawlessly incorporates propulsive industrial, hook-driven metal, and emotive synthpop totally unique unto itself. The world hasn’t been the same since.

  1. Fear FactoryDemanufacture

A genre defying milestone and one of the finest records of the last 30 years, Fear Factory set a new benchmark for the burgeoning alternative metal movement with Demanufacture. The speed of Raymond Herrara’s drumwork is without peer or parallel, and Burton C. Bell’s stunning hooks are flawlessly rendered with his trademark growl to clean vocal modulations. Throw in Dino Cazares earworm riffs and soaring electronics at the hands of Front Line Assembly’s Rhys Fulber and we are granted with the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming AI apocalypse.

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