It can be argued that Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails are the last remaining big names of the industrial metal scene. Given the exception of German bands, they’re pretty much the only ones still producing music, but even they have turned away from the strong industrial influence of their 90s and early 2000s work. But has the genre been trying to make a comeback over the last few years?
In September of 2014, Motionless in White released its third studio album Reincarnate. The album to date is the best performing release by the band. It also marked the beginning of a new era for the band, as the band increased the presence of their industrial influences. The album features Tim Skold in some tracks; Skold is famous for his work with Marilyn Manson. It has a vast amount of synth driven riffs and electronic sounds popularized by the industrial metal movement of the late 90s and early 2000s. The entire album represents what modern industrial metal can and should sound like.
Motionless in White kept to the genre in their May 2017 release Graveyard Shift. The band decided to forgo a sizable chunk of their metalcore influences on this one and really amp the industrial side of things. Graveyard Shift has yet to perform on the same level as Reincarnate, but it is doing well nonetheless, and the instrumentals are arguably the most industrial thing to hit mainstream metal music in quite some time. Motionless in White is not the only group making the shift to a more industrial sound, though.
In This Moment’s 2012 release, Blood, was a game changer for the group. The album, which was recently certified gold, propelled the band’s career to new heights. Much like Reincarnate for Motionless in White, it also marked the beginning of a new sound for the band. The record had more nu metal and industrial metal influence than any of their previous work, and it also ended up being a massive success. So, naturally, they decided to further explore this new sound.
In November of 2014, In This Moment released their fifth studio album, Black Widow. The CD hit number 8 on the US Billboard 200, 3 on Top Hard Rock Albums, and 4 on Top Rock Albums. It was an instant success, and they, like Motionless in White, incorporated more industrial influence into it. The band placed more emphasis on synth work and industrial style vocals. The result was a modern gothic industrial masterpiece.
The most promising sign of the genre’s revitalization has to be the highly anticipated Heaven Upside Down by Marilyn Manson.
Marilyn Manson stepped away from his more industrial elements after 2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque. From Eat Me, Drink Me onwards, he would keep to the industrial metal vocals, but drop the style from the instrumental side. He did revisit the sound a little for Born Villain, but it just didn’t rank in comparison to that of his earlier albums. The band’s follow-up, The Pale Emperor, definitely lacked industrial influence, but it was a much more successful and well received album than Born Villain. All this being said, we can expect Heaven Upside Down to revisit the industrial style of his earlier works but with a modern revisioning.
Manson has spoke of the album being more aligned with Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals than it is The Pale Emperor. He also spoke of things being cyclical in nature, implying that this album could mark a new phase of the Marilyn Manson discography, a phase that is more in the style of his late 90s and early 2000s work. His statements about the album were confirmed, when he released the “Say10” teaser. The song is essentially Manon’s old school sound but with a modern twist, and it’s perfect. If he sticks to that sound, this album could just be the most successful releases he’s had in over a decade, and it could be the keystone needed to bring back industrial metal.
Photo Credit: Jae Murphy