:Feature: 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time – # 20 – # 2

:Feature: 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time – # 20 – # 2

By: David Schock Vice -President, A&R, Show Promoter and Dj at WTII Records

Here is part two of the 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time featuring songs 60 through 41.

For information of the project and scoring, visit David’s article here.

For part one (songs 101 – 81) of the list click here.
For part two (songs 80 – 61) of the list click here.
For part three (songs 60 – 41) of the list click here.
For part four (songs 40 – 21) of the list click here.

20 – Ministry – So What(1643/24/100) - So What was the second single off Ministry’s 1989 album, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. Along with the first single “Thieves” it marked a hardening of the band’s sound after their initial experiments with industrial on their third album, The Land of Rape and Honey, and though the single didn’t charted, it is rightly held among Ministry’s best songs. The track’s highly political lyrics deal with cultural violence and helped propel the album to #163 in the US and Gold certification by the RIAA for sales in excess of 500,000 units in December 1995.

Where do you even begin? First, you have the Arista release where Arista thought Alien was going to be the next Howard Jones. Then the transition to Twitch and the switch to Warner Bros. while releasing a trail of singles on Wax Trax!. Then the Land of Rape and Honey square hit listeners in the eyes, it wasn’t until In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up Live just before The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste did Ministry and my destiny collide. The impact that Ministry has had on our scene is immeasurable. I once said, while working in a record store at the time, “Al Jourgensen could take a shit on a piece of vinyl and I’ll buy it”. Ministry has been an extremely important band to me and has been one of the defining sounds of my own music. While in the latter years of Ministry’s career it’s been harder for me to get into it, there is no denying old Uncle Al’s importance and influence throughout electronic and industrial music. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

19 – And One – Panzermensch (1682/28/99) - “Panzermensch” (translates into English as “Human Tank” or “Tank Men”) is a hard hitting, EBM/Synth-pop song written and produced by And One, first making it’s appearance on their March 3, 2003 album Virgin Superstar. The song also appears on And One’s October 30, 2009 album, Live ( which is a collection of 38 songs recorded live in concert), as well as their Naghavi’s Selection 97-03 album (simply a 13 track “Best of”). There is one existing remix of the song by Zero42.

Addictive, sing along (even when you don’t speak the language) and filled with car trip memories. Not many songs will make me punch the air with fists clenched but this piece of candy does it. – DeVico, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

18 – Cubanate – Oxyacetalene (1769/27/93) – Cubanate released their album Cyberia in 1995, giving rise to their single “Oxyacetylene”. The very next year, it was featured on Mortal Kombat: More Kombat, a compilation inspired by the movie Mortal Kombat. An instrumental version of the song was later used in 1998 on the video game Gran Turismo.

17 – Nine Inch Nails – Closer (1814.5/24/100) - Released as the 9th official Halo, “Closer” was the second single off the multi-platinum album The Downward Spiral. It became NIN’s most successful song at the time regardless of the profanity laced chorus. The video, directed by Mark Romanek, is also part of the The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) permanent collection.

Anyone around in the mid-90s remembers the exploitive and bizarre music video that went along with Trent Reznor’s homage to sex. A heartbeat drum rhythm with myriads of jumpy synthesizers and provocative lyrics make it an unlikely hit. The dreary, hushed echoes of the melodies make it all the more terrifying and sexual. – Zander Buel, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

16 – Cyberaktif – Nothing Stays (1843/30/98) – In 1990, Wax Trax! Records paid for an album to be made that consisted of former and current members of the group Skinny Puppy. cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel joined forces with Bill Leeb of Front Line Assembly for the short-lived group Cyberaktif on an album entitled Tenebrae Vision, which spawned the single “Nothing Stays”.

all-stars project Cyberaktif probably wasn’t the most inspired thing ever, but in the end they produced at least one hell of a song that is still among my all time favorites. – Davide Mazza, Blank

15 – Leaetherstrip – Strap Me Down (1909/31/100) – From 1992’s Solitary Confinement, Claus Larsen set the tone for EBM releases for the next decade with this track and it’s album.  For many, this was their first exposure to the Danish musician’s work.

It was the first song I wrote for the Solitary Confinement album, and it’s  one of those songs you only write once in a life time. I’m very honored that it has touched so many people all over the world, and it’s still my favorite song to play live. – Claus Larsen Leaetherstrip

14 – Revolting Cocks – Beers Steers and Queers(1968/33/95) - Released in 1990 on the album of the same name, the title refers to a line from the film, Full Metal Jacket. Produced by Al Jourgensen, song became a club hit when released.  The track  includes multiple samples from “My House” by Chuck Roberts.

13 – Acid Horse – No Name No Slogun(1992/34/98) - Acid Horse’s sole single, “No Name No Slogan”, was released on Wax Trax! Records in 1989. This short-lived band consisted of members of Industrial music’s elders, Ministry and Cabaret Voltaire. As with many Ministry side projects, the musicians all took on pseudonyms for this release: Al Jourgensen (Alien Dog Star), Chris Connelly (Gallopin’ Scorpiosaddlebutt), Bill Rieflin (Biff), Stephen Malinder(Tennessee King), and Richard H. Kirk (Harold Sandoz).

Another Al Jourgensen jam, this time with Revolting Cocks singer and ex Fini Tribe member Chris Connelly who has gone on to quite a career himself. Connelly’s voice in my opinion was always the perfect compliment to Jourgensen’s music and when Chris left both Ministry and RevCo some of the chemistry and magic also left Al’s music. This is a crowd pleaser in any room though. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

12 – The Normal – Warm Leatherette(2090/28/100) - Released in 1978, “Warm Leatherette” was the b-side to the single “T.V.O.D”, which was the only single released by Daniel Miller’s project, TheNormal. It has been covered many times over the year, the most well known being Grace Jones on her 1980 album of the same name. Trent Reznor, along with Peter Murphy, Jeordie White and Atticus Ross performed the song live during a radio show in 2006. The song has also been performed live by the likes of Duran Duran and Laibach.

11 – 1000 Homo Dj’s – Supernaut (2165/40/100) - In 1990, the side project of the band Ministry, 1000 Homo DJs, released their cover version of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut” on an EP of the same name.  While many believe that the vocals on this EP’s version of the remake were done by Trent Reznor (NIN), Al Jourgensen insists that the vocals that were used were his own.  The song was later released on a Nine Inch Nails bootleg, Suck, with Reznor’s vocals being used, and on Black Box – Wax Trax! Records:  The First 13 Years in 1994, listed as “Supernaut (Trent Reznor Vocal Version)”.

Best band name ever! And one of the better covers ever recorded. – Mary Bauer, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

Al Jourgensen and Trent Reznor have to be the two super stars of the genre and the mainstreams go to guys when painting a face on our beloved love of synths and guitars so it makes sense that this collaboration sees the top of the list. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

10 – Clock DVA – The Hacker (2261/34/100) - Clock DVA’s song “The Hacker” was released in 1988, on an album of the same name.  Nearly a decade later, the song was released as part of Wax Trax Records’ compilation album, Black Box.

The song that got me hooked on electronics. Cold as ice, technologic as you can get, this is still one of the finest examples of cyber-music ever, from the cover art to the video to the dedication, til the very last beat and Adi Newton’s whisper. – Davide Mazza, Blank

9 – Bigod 20 – The Bog (2267/39/95) - Sire Records signed the German EBM group Bigod 20 in 1990, and released the band’s single “The Bog”, which contained the guest vocal track by none other than Front 242’s Jean-Luc De Meyer.  The track, which featured a strong Front 242 influence, became a dancefloor favorite around the world.

8 – KMFDM – Godlike (2274/37/97) - Originally released in 1990 on the album Naive, GodLike has been reissues twice; once in 2008 as a limited edition 7′ vinyl and then again in 2010 to commemorate the single’s 20th anniversary. Interesting note: the original CD single included a cover of the Osmonds, Crazy Horses.

Face it, this was a going to be a hate/love relationship. So stop complaining if not all the dishes were cleaned and accept that KMFDM re-wrote the strain of metal guitar melded with EBM/Industrial. Just keep shaking your asses. You know you will when know one is looking. – DeVico, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

I know I’m taking the easy way out but it’s nearly impossible to write about one song in a bands catalog that has had such an impact on a scene. KMFDM have always kind of been the poster child for the European industrial scene. Two scary looking guys from across the pond playing speed metal riffs (well later on that is) to huge dance beats talking about ripping the system. KMFDM played up the mystery of their name and help build an image around themselves. I belive the first time I ever saw them was for the video “Money” on 120 Minutes and En Esch was in a trench coat (YEARS before the Colorado slayings) and fishnets rolling around on a pier and acting extremely effeminate. I was confused, shocked, scared and in love all at the same time. I never looked back and dove head first into the world of KMFDM and decided to rip the system along side them. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

This track evolved out of an earlier version which was named GOD-LIGHT, the main lyrics are essentially the translation of an outro-duction we delivered after each show on the 1989-90 tour we did with Ministry, our first ever appearances in the US. - Sascha Konietzko (Käpt’n K) – KMFDM

7 – Nine Inch Nails – Head Like a Hole (2353/32/100) - The 3rd official single from NIN, this song peaked at #28 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts when it was released in 1990. It was also the first NIN song to chart on the Hot 100 Singles Chart. It has been played in almost every live set, usually in the encore or closing out the show. The video appeared on Beavis and Butthead in 1993. And, if you listen closing, you will hear the song playing in the background of a party scene in the 1990 film “Prayer of The Roller Boys”, which starred Corey Haim and Patricia Arquette.

Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe… industrial music? Really? Yes really, all from the mind of one Trent Reznor. The whiney little hanger-on as I had Al Jourgensen describe him once went on to be the face and the voice of our entire genre to those on the outside looking in. From his dreadlocked Martin Atkins cameoed video for Head Like a Hole to his microphone licking missing scene mega super hit Closer (how many pop songs have a chorus that starts out I want to fuck you like an animal?). Trent did what only a very few others had ever done before (take note Al and company have won Grammy’s too and were nominated for an Oscar for their song Bad Blood on the A.I. Soundtrack). But Trent took it to the next level, creating a brooding artist and tortured soul mystique that all the girls loved, until of course he got clean, got sober, got married and got muscles. But this list with out Mr. Reznor and with out NIN would be absolutely incomplete. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

Some songs are overplayed because they’re hot for the time they’re released. Some are simply classic and deserve the million plays. What’s even more impressive is this was Pretty Hate Machine’s first track, and that makes it a freakin’ MISSION STATEMENT. Trent basically threw a big-ass gauntlet into the ring that said “I’m here. Try and keep up,” and the majority of the scene has been trying to catch him ever since… – Matt Fanale, Caustic

I am not the most devoted NIN fan, but only an idiot wouldn’t see some talent in Mr. Reznor. Among many greats, this is probably the song that started it all for NIN and the one I remain the most affectionate to. – Davide Mazza, Blank

Wow, still relevant today! God money, I’ll do anything for you… – Mary Bauer, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

6 – Front Line Assembly – Mindphaser (2339/32/97) – The first single from what is universally hailed as one of Front Line Assembly’s best releases, 1992’s Tactical Neural Implant, “Mindphaser” helped confirm FLA as one of the premiere electro-industrial acts.

FLA has been such a fixture in the scene for so many years influencing so many creative minds. Bill Leeb has always been in command of the ship but he’s also churned out some marvelous collaborators who’ve gone on to create some amazing work themselves like Rhys Fulber, Chris Peterson and now Jeremy Inkle. Atmospheres that are so rich you can nearly taste them with your tongue. Harsh brutality in the lyrics of the world we live in and at times sampling the likes of Pantera. FLA has created a history all it’s own and a depth of catalog that most artists pray to have the end of their career. There is also no stopping them, the last record Improvised Electronic Device had one of their best tracks in years with “Angriff” and it’s subsequent remixes. – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

“Mindphaser”, our most famous song and video. All the stars lined up on that one. The video era was in full force like MTV and we were able to incorporate a Japanese Sci-fi film to make a state of the art Bladerunner type video to go with a real classic FLA track, where I think me and Rhys hit full stride, where a good hook and new technology converged to make it important at that time. Our only song-video to get on regular MTV rotation. – Bill Leeb Front Line Assembly

5 – Ministry – Stigmata (2801/35/100) - Was the first single from the 1988 album, The Land of Rape and Honey.  The song was featured in the 1990 sci-fi film, Hardware, which starred Dylan McDermott, Iggy Pop and Lemmy from Motorhead. In the scene, the
song is performed by GWAR though and not Ministry.

The first time we had an “Industrial Dance Night” in Greensboro, NC was the same month this song came out. I was alone on the dance floor but I did not give a damn. I escaped the creepy swingers who were unsure of my gender and I just kept doing my best Siouxsie Sioux losing her mind dance. (Damn, we had a great times 80’s) – DeVico, COMA Music Magazine Contributor

There are few songs that I can state changed the way I viewed, or rather listened, to music, but “Stigmata” is one of them.  It was my junior year in High School, I had just gotten my freedom in the form of a Ford Escort and a driver’s license, was making new friends  and this was when I encountered Ministry: my “gateway” artist into the world of industrial.   The opening electronics, pounding drums, heavy driving guitar riff and then that incomparable scream from Uncle Al combined to grab me like few songs had done previously.  Ministry presented something totally different than the David Bowie and New Order I had been obsessed with up to this point. – William Dashiell Hammett Senior Editor, COMA Music Magazine

4 – Skinny Puppy – Assimilate (2814/36/100) – Remission was originally released as a vinyl EP in 1984 by Nettwerk. The first CD release was in 1987, when Remission (along with the extra track “Glass Out”) was combined with the 1985 album Bites to form the release Bites and Remission on Nettwerk in 1987. A similar release called Remission & Bites was also released on Play It Again Sam in Europe during the same year. Finally, in 1993, Remission was released separately on CD, with some alternate versions of tracks from the Bites era added to extend the playing time to album length. Random Fact: Tom Ellard of Severed Heads lent a hand to the production of Assimilate, which became one of the band’s first underground hits.

Skinny Puppy – Can I just leave it at that? The name alone should say it all. Perhaps one of the most beloved of all the industrial bands of all time. They have flawlessly transitioned from decade to decade always recreating their sound yet maintaining what makes them unique. They’ve had their ups and down. Losing Dwayne was a huge loss to them, the recording of The Process and the eventual collapse of the band and their strong return to form with The Greater Right of the Wrong. Skinny Puppy has endured more than most and while they continue to perhaps be the most famous underground band their legion of loyal fans continue to follow them and support them. Now Ogre has branched out into an acting career and cEvin is making electronics they still find time to come together to create some of the most sonically unique music available to us and they continue to be a fan favorite. LONG LIVE SKINNY PUPPY! – Gabe Wilkinson – Microwaved/COMA Music Magazine Contributor

3 – Skinny Puppy – Worlock (2998/42/100) – “Worlock” was the second single from the album Rabies released in 1990. The song uses a guitar sample from The Beatles song “Helter Skelter”, as well as a vocal sample of Charles Manson singing the song. The album version, featuring Jourgensen’s electric guitar work on several tracks, drew mixed reviews, although the single became enduring favorites among many fans.   A video produced for “Worlock”, featuring spliced-together footage from dozens of horror films, and a statement denouncing censorship of the genre by the MPAA, was circulated widely as a promotional and bootleg item.

Although the puppies probably released more groundbreaking stuff, my favorite is still this one. The incredibly amazing blend of melody, atmosphere, samples and their trademark weird sounds scream ‘masterpiece’ from start to finish. The final crescendo still gives me goosebumps, and I heard the song for the first time like, you know, in 1989. – Davide Mazza, Blank

2 – Nitzer Ebb – Join in the Chant (4055/49/100) – Released in 1987 on the group’s That Total Age ablum, this track with the pounding bass rhythms and barked vocals was a huge hit for the Essex, England EBM legends. The song reach #9 on the US Dance Charts!

Join in the Chant was my gateway drug to EBM/industrial. Simple, forceful, and machine-like in repetition but still completely engrossing and never boring. NE shows how subtlety in sequencing and lyrical flow can keep a listener hooked. They make it look easy, but you try and do it with any degree of success. Have fun failing.

Oh, and nobody randomly yells better than Douglas McCarthy. That bastard. – Matt Fanale, Caustic

14 thoughts on “:Feature: 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time – # 20 – # 2”

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  2. Love the list. Brings back wonderful memories. Your description of Stigmata and it’s effect on you sounds very similar to mine. Only I had a junky Ford Maverick and was just starting High school.

  3. re: #20 – there is so much wrong information in this that it really knocks your credibility down quite a bit. First off, the first and only single from “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste” was Burning Inside. So What was never released as a single. And “In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up” was after TMIATTTW, half its tracks are live versions of tracks from that album. If you were listing to this stuff then you would know this. And if not, it’s really not hard to look up.

  4. What’s your source for the image of the “So What” ‘single’? I have never seen one of those before.

  5. The only single release I know of is a 7″ Flexi that came as a freebie in a 1990 issue of Reflex magazine, but that doesn’t count as a ‘real’ single. The information above is definitely incorrect.

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