I’ve been a huge fan of the electronic music scene from psychedelic house music to crushing industrial guitars. But these are some of the bands I have loved over the years that let me enjoy being in a dark place and soothed me back out when I needed it. Which seems weird to say, but we can’t be happy all the time. And we can’t be depressed and moody all time either, or at least I can’t. If it works for you, so be it.
10. Machines of Loving Grace – Gilt (1995)
Knowing my love for Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, and pretty much all things dark, loud, and grotesque, someone recommended Machines of Loving Grace to me. At the time, I couldn’t find anything except for their newest album Gilt in my local record haunt, but shortly after they were featured on the Crow soundtrack, the selection improved, even if they only had three albums before the band broke up. Still, those three albums were pretty damn good. Gilt was my first exposure to them, so it’s the one I included here.
9. Front 242 – Front By Front (1988)
I first encountered Front 242 because I knew a music taste-maker who had friends in various cities around the world who would send him music. It wasn’t always a hit with me, but he introduced me to some pretty amazing bands. Front 242 was one of them, and the album Front By Front was where it all started for me. Personally, 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off were two of my favorite albums from them, but FBF still really pops.
8. Skinny Puppy – Rabies (1989)
I have to admit, it took me quite a while to get into Skinny Puppy. I’m not really sure why. They checked pretty much every music box that I liked, but for some weird reason, I just couldn’t get into them. That changed with Rabies, which was the first album I really enjoyed from them (and I heard it in the mid-90s, well after it had been out for years). And once they clicked with me, I could go back and enjoy their previous albums that hadn’t clicked before. Our brains are weird, and I have no real way to explain it.
7. Front Line Assembly – Tactical Neural Implant (1992)
This Canadian industrial band hit my radar because of Skinny Puppy, even though I couldn’t get into them. It was formed by a former band member (Bill Leeb), and when I heard Tactical Neural Implant, their sixth album, I really dug it. In fact, I ordered all of their previous ones that I could get a hold of as well. Now they’re all available on your streaming music platform of choice.
6. Stabbing Westward – Wither Blister Burn & Peel (1996)
In the midst of the rest of these bands, and without including groups like Nine Inch Nails or KMFDM, it does feel a little strange to include Stabbing Westward. I had discovered them in an article related to Nine Inch Nails, and unfortunately a bit later a tour fell apart with some bad blood between NIN and SW. Fun fact, though, when a friend and I saw Nine Inch Nails in 2013 at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Vegas…and then while exiting the concert, we walked by Vinyl, a secondary music venue where we caught Stabbing Westward. They even joked that they finally got to play with Nine Inch Nails.
5. Coil – Love’s Secret Domain (1991)
I really love Coil. It started as a weird experiment and ended up being quite a cool little band…which became a full-time experiment. I have a friend who recorded a ton of live concerts, and had like a million Coil concerts. He burned me several disc cases full of awesome Coil concerts. Ah piracy memories…
4. Nitzer Ebb – That Total Age (1987)
I have no idea where I first heard of Nitzer Ebb. It could have been Alternative Nation or 120 Minutes or from one of my musical taste-maker friends. But as soon as I heard them, I knew I needed to hear more. They’ve had 14 major releases, and have been included on a number of soundtracks, most prominently the Saw series.
3. Die Krupps – I (1992)
I discovered Die Krupps from a collaboration with Nitzer Ebb. Unless I hit up somewhere like MODified Music in Salt Lake City, it wasn’t likely I would find music like Die Krupps anywhere. Often, I wouldn’t even know exactly where to look. I would order anything I could from Budget Tapes & Records back in my hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, but for the rarer and weirder selections, it was difficult. And often costly since some of the distribution channels were limited in the boonies.
2. Genitorturers – 120 Days of Genitorture (1997)
I first heard the Genitorterers when they covered “I Touch Myself” by Divinyls. After loving that cover, I had to pick up the only album I could find in my little podunk town: 120 Days of Genitorture. I knew the reference to 120 Days of Sodom, but I had yet to see it since nowhere around me carried it in their video shelves, and ordering VHS tapes was quite expensive, especially for art flicks.
1. Sister Machine Gun – Metropolis (1997)
Like many of the bands here, I’m not sure where I first heard them, and Sister Machine Gun falls into that category. But I was listening to them for quite some time before the release of Metropolis. It was probably from their single “Burn” from the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, which is where most people discovered them. But it was Metropolis where I really took notice because they made a break from Wax Trax and started their own independent production studio to release Metropolis. And it was a banger of an album, and probably my favorite full album by SMG.