Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music

by Brett Stevens
May 21, 2013 –

assimilate_a_critical_history_of_industrial_music-s_alexander_reedBilling itself as “the first serious study published on industrial music,” a new book entitled Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music has gone to press in an attempt to uncover this cryptic genre that has directly contributed to much of heavy metal’s approach to both percussion and topic matter.

Finding it difficult to unite a genre that stretches from Einstürzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle, and Skinny Puppy to Ministry, VNV Nation and Godflesh, author S. Alexander Reed explores a “network of ideologies” which are traced through industrial music’s attitudes and practices. In particular, he analyzes its troubling side, such as its “ambiguous relationship with symbols of totalitarianism and evil.” Like metal, industrial plays with the dark side, and this book attempts to uncover the relationship between that dark side and positive attributes found in the music.

Citing thinkers like “Antonin Artaud, William S. Burroughs, and Guy Debord,” the author creates a hybrid between a history and an explanation of industrial music, presenting a viewpoint that will probably not make it onto the evening news, but might stimulate the curiosity of those who like extreme music and appreciate its relevance in darkening days.

The book is available for pre-order on its Amazon page.

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5 comments

  • bitterman

    Having been to goth clubs where they play this music non-stop, it’s safe to dismiss just about all of this as bad dance music. Most of it sounds like The Terminator soundtrack with faux-angst vocals over it anyway. Artists such as Throbbing Gristle, NON, or Whitehouse is barely listenable (boring, repetitive one-mood background noise). Godflesh built their songs from clear intentions, not dance beats or propaganda laced noise (at least initially), which is why Streetcleaner has more substance (purpose) than any mid 90s Cold Meat Industries or Relapse/Release records abominations (like Merzbow) or the bad dance music with the futuristic twist (Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly,… take your pick, same difference).

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  • Nord

    Godflesh is as much ambient and metal as it is industrial. Ice Ages is pretty cool too, but is once again more metal in song structure than anything. Mentallo and the Fixer – Revelations 23 album had it’s moments. Sick minded stuff by yelworC – Brainstorming (album), Mortal Constraint – The legend of deformation (album/demo), Intoxication – Braindammage (demo) are all pretty cool and increased my ball/vir content by approx 25% in the absence of any good metal, ambient or classical or whatever.

    Reply
  • AsinineUsername

    Listen to The Grey Wolves and Genocide Organ, assholes, or are you too used to guitar-pop music?

    Reply

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