17 Best Industrial Metal Bands

Heavy riffs and electronics...

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17 Best Industrial Metal Bands

Industrial metal is a musical genre that draws from industrial music and heavy metal. It is usually centered around repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. The style became increasingly commercially successful in the 1990s. Subsequently, it is most well-known in various European permutations.

And if you're ready to dive into the genre, we prepared a special list of 17 greatest industrial metal bands - check out it below!

And before starting here are honorable mentions:

  • 16Volt
  • Bile
  • Black Light Burns
  • Celldweller
  • Clawfinger [later albums]
  • Crematory [later albums]
  • Cubanate
  • Dååth
  • Dagoba
  • Dead World
  • Deadstar Assembly
  • Dope
  • Eisbrecher
  • Filter
  • Front Line Assembly [some albums]
  • Genitorturers
  • Gravity Kills
  • Hanzel und Gretyl
  • Killing Joke [some albums]
  • Megaherz
  • Mnemic
  • Mortiis [later albums]
  • Mushroomhead [industrial metal + nu metal]
  • O.L.D.
  • Orgy
  • PIG
  • Red Harvest
  • Revolting Cocks
  • Skinny Puppy [some albums]
  • Spineshank
  • Stabbing Westward
  • Sybreed
  • Tanzwut
  • The Kovenant
  • Turmion Kätilöt
  • White Zombie
  • Zeromancer

And here's the actual list:

17. Die Krupps

Die Krupps were one of the first industrial bands who caused interest from the fans of heavy music. Actually, Die Krupps themselves provoked a clash of electronic and metal genres, recording in 1992 a whole mini-album of their industrial versions of classical Metallica songs. Critics worldwide hail them alongside Kraftwerk and Einstürzende Neubauten as pioneers of electronic and industrial music.

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16. Deathstars

Deathstars are a Swedish industrial metal band formed in 2000. In fact, they grew out of of 1993 founded black metal act Swordmaster, featuring former Dissection drummer Ole Öhman ("Bone W Machine") and guitarist Emil Nodtveidt ("Nightmare Industries"). But then the completely changed their image and musical direction and became Deathstars.

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15. Powerman 5000

Powerman 5000 were formed in Boston in 1991 and known for their own mix of industrial metal and nu metal. Lesser known fact, but frontman Spider One (Michael Cummings) is the younger brother of Rob Zombie (Robert Cummings).

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14. Oomph!

Oomph!, formed in Germany in 1989, are considered the pioneers of the German "Neue Deutsche Härte" movement, fusion of hard metal music and industrial sounds.

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13. Samael

Although Swiss Samael were originally founded as black metal band in 1987, since the mid-1990s onwards they incorporated electronic sounds into their music which and later went on full industrial metal.

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12. Static-X

Static-X were formed in Los Angeles in 1994. The line-up fluctuated over the years, but always held constant with band founder, frontman, vocalist, and guitarist Wayne Static. Static-X are widely known for mixing industrial metal with nu metal.

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11. Pain

Sweden's Pain started out as a hobby project for atmospheric death metal band Hypocrisy frontman (and prolific music producer) Peter Tägtgren, whose idea was to fuse metal with electronic influences.

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10. Pitchshifter

Pitchshifter initially known for the early industrial metal sound with downtuned guitars and the use of drum machines and being cited as one of the originators of the genre. With later albums the music became more melodic and punk-influenced, and the band eventually gained attention with their 1998 release "www.pitchshifter.com" for its fusion of electronic music like drum 'n' bass with metal and rock, which has been compared with other electronic groups like The Prodigy.

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Originally formed in 1984 as industrial rock/electro-industrial metal band, later KMFDM became heavier, incorporated a lot of metal elements into their sound. Critics consider KMFDM to be one of the first bands to bring industrial music to mainstream audience.

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8. Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie (born as Robert Cummings) was the former lead singer for the rock/metal group White Zombie, and later became a successful solo artist, disbanding the group after his first solo album, the 1998 release "Hellbilly Deluxe," sold more in the first week than any of the band's albums ever did.

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7. Strapping Young Lad

Originally Strapping Young Lad were started in 1994 as a one-man studio project of Devin Townsend. By 1997, he had recruited permanent members; this line-up lasted until the band's dissolution. SYL are known for mixing industrial metal with the elements of death metal, thrash metal, black metal and progressive metal.

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6. Fear Factory

Fear Factory were formed in Los Angeles in 1989. Over the course of their career they have evolved from a succession of styles, combining death metal, groove metal, thrash metal, with industrial metal. Fear Factory proved to be enormously influential on the metal scene, especially in the mid- to late-1990s.

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5. Marilyn Manson

Balancing between industrial rock and industrial metal, Marilyn Manson are without a doubt one of the most famous names on the list. Marilyn Manson is widely regarded as being one of the most iconic and controversial figures in heavy metal music, with the band and its lead singer influencing numerous other groups and musicians, both in metal-associated acts and also in wider popular culture.

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4. Godflesh

Godflesh were formed in 1988 Birmingham, UK by Justin Broadrick (guitar, vocals and programming) and G.C. Green (bass). They are highly regarded as one of the founders of industrial metal; their music is widely regarded as a foundational influence on post-metal as well.

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3. Ministry

One of the most influential industrial metal bands, Ministry were formed in 1981. Originally a new wave synthpop outfit, Ministry changed its style to become one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the mid-1980s. Ministry found mainstream success in the early 1990s with their fifth studio album "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs" (1992).

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2. Rammstein

Definitely the most known industrial metal band, Rammstein were formed in 1994 in Berlin, Germany. The whole "Neue Deutsche Härte" subgenre was coined by the music press after the 1995 release of Rammstein's album "Herzeleid." The band has sold over 35 million albums worldwide.

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1. Nine Inch Nails

As both a songwriter and producer, NIN's mastermind Trent Reznor changed the whole industrial metal genre, melding the typical loops and samples with a more fortified rock edge, bridging the gap between both worlds. Nine Inch Nails has been nominated for thirteen Grammy Awards, and won twice for the songs "Wish" and "Happiness in Slavery" in 1992 and 1996, respectively. In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time magazine's list of the year's most influential people, and Spin magazine described him as "the most vital artist in music".

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Feel free to share more industrial metal bands in the comment section below.

61 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That moment when you know almost all the bands in the top 17 AND honorable list and realize you must like yourself some Industrial Metal... 
    Cherry Vulpine
    Not even one mention of Celldweller? Seriously? I guess being a solo project doesn't allow him to qualify as a "band" but both NIN and Ministry made the cut so this should qualify:
    Also Sybreed should have made the list, anyone who's heard them would understand. =\
    You can also add previous Klayton's bands like Circle of Dust etc... 
    Agreed, Sybreed and Celldweller should absolutely be on this list. Fuck, even Mick Gordon deserves a mention at least.
    Godflesh, SYL, FF, Ministry, KMFDM, Rob/White Zombie, Samael... All great industrial bands.
    Everyone should do themselves a favor and check anything Gary Numan (yes, the guy from the 80ies) has released since about the mid-90ies. He has just gone heavier and heavier and darker and darker. Some things get better with age.
    It's glorious!
    Love the German stuff. Love me some Rammstein, Megaherz, und Eisbrecher (which is a guy from Megaherz after he left the band .)
    Everytime someone mentions Eisbrecher the picture of my ex-gf comes to my mind...fuck.
    Was her name Eisbrecher? Did she like Eisbrecher? Does she work as an Eisbrecher? I have so many questions.
    She was a hardcore fan of eisbrecher and pretty much all the industrial metal bands with some exceptions. Since I broke up with her I haven't be able to listen to rammstein beside other bands....and when her friend who used to be my best friend finished our friendship, she was a huge fan of NIN, and I stopped listening to them since then.
    Man... I understand you - and I feel for you. But... Music is Music first of all, no matter who listens to it, it translates the feelings of its creator, musician. I have no right words for this - but I hope you understand me.
    I can relate to that. It's been 2 years now and I'm long over it, but certain songs/bands instantly bring me back to a very dark time right at the end of the relationship just because I happened to listen to them at that time.
    Vicryl 2.0
    Stabbing Westward deserves a mention too. in fact Darkest Days is a fine record. still love it  since i got it 17 years ago.
    If you have ever played Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, you'll remember this one.
    Wow, been a long time i heared this song, never knew who did it, forgot ever checking it out. Thanks man, brings back old memories
    Check out the newer stuff under the name The Dreaming.
    Vicryl 2.0
    thanks for suggesting. i heard some tracks of The Dreaming before but didnt like it so didnt bother and i actually forgot about them till you mentioned it. listened to a couple of songs again and im starting to like some of them. but i just miss the moodiness of Darkest Days. that record is one of my all time favorites. 
    I agree with your assessment, The Dreaming nails the fast stuff but misses the slower moody side of old Stabbing Westward.
    Having listened to every band on this list, im pretty unimpressed three guys weren't featured. Great band.
    I like this list, it's versatile. However, I personally would've squeezed in Dååth in there somewhere. Other than that, it's really good.
    If you're gonna squeeze Daath in there, you have to also include Dark Tranquillity, no?
    Little surprised Stabbing Westward didn't make the cut.
    They did that ONE song that was the theme song for a Duke Nukem game, i remember from when i was a kid. That was pretty cool. The chorus, anyway, the verse lyrics are cringe beyond belief. The Thing I Hate, i think it's called. But apart from that, everything i've checked out by'em has been rather shiat.
    That game was the best. I remember playing the first level over and over and over on this one demo disc before we finally got the game. It never got old.
    HELLO EVERYONE. BLACK LIGHT BURNS. WES BORLAND ON VOCALS AND GUITAR, DANNY LOHNER ON BASS, JOSH FREESE ON DRUMS, AND JOSH EUSTIS ON KEYBOARDS. that first album of their is one of the best cd's I've ever bought in my life. then afterwards, everyone left except for wes. shouldn't have been a problem, but then he made the band sound like the strokes on a roller coaster...or something. no more heavy riffs, too much jokiness.  but anyway, that first black light burns album, cruel melody, is musical genius. no matter what genre you play, you need that album. calling it industrial is an insult to all the other flavors that are touched on there, like box by mellowdrone and hail to the thief by radiohead.  seriously, everyone here needs to buy a physical copy of that album. and add them to this list. 
    Cruel Melody is one of my all time favorite albums, but Black Light Burns isn't industrial metal.
    Yeah, "Cruel Melody" is just mindblowing album - although I personally like all Black Light Burns' records - for me Wes is a really talented and crazy (in a good way)!
    Vicryl 2.0
    had some high expectations on that album due to Lohner and Freese. Unfortunately, my expectations werent met. kept my CD for a year and had it exchanged for a Massive Attack CD. i was happy though that the guy who i gave it too still enjoyed it. just wasnt for me.
    Really love both Massive Attack and Black Light Burns
    No Black Light Burns? I know they only made 3 albums but the debut matches some of the best NIN's records in quality
    I am very disappointed stabbing westward are not on this list. I know typically they didn't have as much mainstream success as NIN and others but they still sold over 4 million albums (got this from an interview on youtube, can't find the link sorry), they toured with Depeche Mode, had countless songs in soundtracks for video games and movies and Chris Hall still remains one of the most original vocalists I have heard. I still feel to this day they did not get the recognition they deserve.
    I'm amazed that White Zombie only gets a mention while PM5K and solo Rob make the list. #ShakesHead
    One band I always liked thats not metioned on here that i think should get some love is Deadstar Assembly.
    wtf? No young gods ...
    Personally I'm a fan of The Young Gods, but they never played industrial metal - only industrial rock and electronic/ambient (later)
    If you like these you may also like: 1. Zardonic 2. Angelspit 3. Atari Teenage Riot 4. Cyanotic 5. Rabbit Junk
    I mean my only issue with this list is Strapping. For me at least, Strapping Young Lad are one of those that fit best into the umbrella of Extreme Metal, but above the genres that make up that term like thrash, doom, speed etc etc.  Much like say, Meshuggah, you just call them an Extreme Metal band because although they have elements of other genres, they are just too unique in their sound. SYL blended elements of thrash, death, prog, industrial, and even grind and black metal in some tracks.  City is definitely the most industrial, but still, that thing has crazy double kick, blasts beats, death metal riffing etc all over the damn thing. They defy being put into one genre to my ears anyway, just too broad in their sound
    Pretty much anything Devin touches is in the genre of "Devin Townsend". It could be heavy or soft or electronic or death metal or prog, but it's never just one of those things. It's Devin Townsend.
    Top Ten 1.Slipknot 2. Tool 3. Linkin Park 4. Dr Dre 5. Foo Fighters 6. Megadeth 7. Metallica 8. Slipknot 9. Elvis 10. Busta Rhymes