Industrial music is a genre of experimental music that emerged in the mid-1970s. Its basic components are semi-acoustic and include the use of electronic instruments as well as unusual objects such as metal rods and pipes, and rigged power tools. It incorporates noise, tape manipulation, drones, metallic timbres, monotonous rhythms evocative of machinery, and similar "factory floor" aesthetics. Traditional instruments are sometimes used, but usually in non-traditional ways. Vocals, if present, tend to be either disaffected or angry. Lyrical content tends to embody dark themes, as well as protest, tension, uncertainty, and the like. As with many alternative styles, it generally eschews pop melodies, virtuosic solos, and romantic themes.
Industrial has always had a fragmented identity, not having anywhere near as cohesive a sound as most other electronic genres, and it has long had a love/hate relationship with dance music. In its early years (mid-1970s to mid 1980s), industrial music was partly rhythmic but rarely danceclub-friendly, and was predominantly a product of the heady British, Australian, and European art-school scenes.
After the split of Throbbing Gristle in 1981, Industrial music spawned several subgenres that have been described as Post-industrial music. This includes genres such as Power Electronics (Whitehouse), Ambient Industrial or Dark Ambient (Lustmørd), Martial Industrial (Laibach), Ritual music (Zero Kama), and Electronic body music, a genre that combines Industrial elements with early Electro-punk (DAF). Many of these styles have their own entry on Discogs.
In the mid and especially latter half of the 1980s, bands from the New Wave/SynthPop scene such as Ministry adopted elements of Post-industrial music (e.g. EBM) and Rock music and laid the foundations of Industrial rock.
The music documentary Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay released 2015, traces the origins of industrial music featuring interviews with many of the genres founders including Throbbing Gristle, Sheffield’s prolific Dada inspired band Cabaret Voltaire, award-winning soundtrack composer Graeme Revell of SPK, noise music pioneer Boyd Rice of NON, Test Dept, Clock DVA, Re/Search fanzine’s V Vale and Z'EV.