David Stubbs puts on his ear protectors and picks out 10 crucial releases that no industrial music collection can be complete without
‘Too Many Cocks Spoil The Breath’
(Play It Again Sam, 1987)
The 1987 album from the Belgian meta-hi-NRG combo was a fistful of fun, and boasted the finest pun in the industrial genre since Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Something Came Over Me’. It’s amazing that these extremists lasted as long as they did – from 1981 to 1991. The perfect, radical sub-specimen of the decade.
‘Beers, Steers And Queers’
(Wax Trax!, 1990)
Years ahead of ‘Brokeback Mountain’, Revolting Cocks caught the homoerotic subtext of the Wild West with this yee-hawing, hardcore minimal anthem to hard drinking, hard riding and hard fucking. It was a ramrod provocation to scandalise the censorious and squeamish of all political persuasions.
‘Sex Unter Wasser’
Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, aka DAF, were brutalist satirists of Eurovision, the Berlin Wall and Germany’s Nazi heritage, but there was always a strong dose of unorthodox sexuality lubricating their metal rhythm broadsides, not least on this sinuous, thrusting offering.
‘Mind The Perpetual Intercourse’
Although Skinny Puppy’s core message to humanity was anti-vivisection, their music could also be heard as a crushing, hyper-sexual meld of flesh and metal, as evidenced on their 1986 debut, a complex masterpiece of electro-goth and Cabaret Voltaire-type neo-funk robo-beats.
The Young Gods
(Organik/Wax Trax!, 1987)
From their debut album, the rock ‘n’ roll legend is rebirthed in the kiln of modern technology. The Young Gods sampled classic rock, burning away its hoariness and preserving its essential juices, and no more so than here, on this reanimation of the spirit of Led Zeppelin.
‘More & Faster’
(Wax Trax!, 1989)
This classic Wax Trax! release captured the industrial-sexual kinetic/ethic of the Hamburg-based KMFDM, an outfit led by multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko. An accelerationist anthem, ‘More & Faster’ throws everything into the mix, from rotorblades to what sounds like a mechanised glitter-beat.
(Wax Trax!, 1988)
Londoner Raymond Watts’ Wax Trax! project is one of the more under-regarded ventures of the industrial age. With its gothic arches, ‘Scumsberg’ is from the ‘A Poke In The Eye… With A Big Stick’ album and exploits the vertical gulf between the sacred and the profane, its high columns coated with oily guitar sleaze.
‘Body To Body’
(New Dance, 1981)
The epitome of electronic body music, with sex as an almost martial, insurrectionary act, to be carried out with the utmost rigour. There are nods to DAF in the roving backbeat of this 1981 single and there’s also a hint of JG Ballard about the car crash skid with which the track opens.
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
(Wax Trax!, 1991)
“Sex is perverted and sick,” intones the opening sample from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult’s 1991 underground hit, a grinding, shadowy, funk-soiled, noir-ish tour through the city’s demi-monde that seems to posit sexual freedom as a liberating act in uptight America.
From ‘20 Jazz Funk Greats’, this has Genesis P-Orridge playing the role of a cold-blooded sexual coercive and shows once more that there was something ultimately didactic, not simply amoral, about the industrial preoccupation with sex. As the clock ticks and the bass drips like a pipe in a dungeon, we’re exposed to a dark truth…