Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Industrial/Electronic Scene
Each week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we'll be putting a few quality underground bands in the spotlight in an attempt to get the word out about them. This week I take on bands that fuse metal with industrial/electronic elements.
Over the years this genre has adopted many names: industrial metal, techno metal, electronic metal. The infusion of industrial/electronic elements into rock and heavy rock can be traced back to the late ‘80’s with Ministry and Die Krupps and then followed by Godflesh, Fear Factory. In the early ‘90’s. the industrial scene hit its stride and started branching off on its own. The more popular branches leaned out towards more alternative metal/rock like Korn, Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein. However, there was also a branch with bands like Invincible Spirit and God is LSD who kept the sound distinctly metal. It is this branch of the genre that we will concentrate on today.
It was in the early 90’s when electronic elements also found a way into the black metal scene with the emergence of Norway’s Mysticum. However, Samael best defined it with the “bridge to the future” and appropriately titled “Ceremony of Opposites” in 1994. In the early 2000’s, electronic elements began to be incorporated into power metal with the emergence of bands like Cyberya and Illidiance. This week we introduce three bands with their own distinct sounds: Neurotech, Jesus on Extasy and Octagone.
Slovenia is not known as the hotbed of metal, but the country did produce Neurotech, who represents this week’s strongest band of the lot. The idea for the band goes a way back with the fallout of the black/death metal band Sinbolic, when drummer Andrej Vovk a/k/a Wulf and Nejc Vrecar a/k/a Naur rejoined forces for a new more forward looking and ambitious project. In Neurotech, Wulf does it all: drums, vocals, guitars, keyboards and programing. In January 2008, the band released the first EP “Transhuman.” It combined ultra-heavy guitars with a wall of synthesizers. The band really defined its style with the release of the first full length album in March 2011 entitled “Antagonist.” The album was one of the most underrated and unnoticed albums of 2011. “Antagonist” is a more developed vision of Neurotech. The self-release has huge choruses, choirs and melodies with a dense but fantastic production. Lyrically, the album deals with topics such as anxiety and agoraphobia.
At the tail end of 2011, the band released a new single/EP entitled “Blue Screen Planet,” which continues the evolution of the band. While the single is more geared in synths and programming, Part I (“Axiom”) is a strong number that shows the future is bright for Neurotech. The band is offering “Antagonist” and “Blue Screen Planet” for free at this location and this location, respectfully.
Jesus On Extasy
Germany’s Jesus On Extasy were formed in 2005 by the cousins Dorian Deveraux (vocals/guitar) and Chai Deveraux (backing vocals/guitars/synth/programing). The band combines a mix of techno, gothic, punk, hard rock and metal. The first three LP’s “Holy Beauty,” (2007) “Beloved Enemy” (2008) and “No Gods” (2010) were released through Drakkar Entertainment. The band also worked with German gothic metal (now turned symphonic metal) band Xandria on a remix of the song “Sisters of the Light,” which appeared on “Salome – The Seventh Veil.”
In 2009, the band started to run into a barrage of road blocks: Drummer BJ was forced to leave due to injury. In early 2011, Dorian Deveraux and keyboardist Ophelia Dax departed leaving the band on the verge of collapse. Adding insult to injury, Drakkar Entertainment dropped the band. In October 2011, Chai Deveraux reformed the band with an all new lineup, featuring new lead vocalist Manja Wagner (X-Perience/Illuminate). In October 2011, the band released its most ambitious album to date, “The Clock,” the first of a trilogy of albums about time, transiency, human existential fears.
Octogone is one of the newest and heaviest of the bands in the scene, but little is known of the quartet as of yet. Hailing from Plzen, Czech Republic, the band incorporated electronic elements into influences like Kataklysm, Deicide, Suicide Silence and The Faceless. The result is combined with fresh futuristic melodies of synths, programming and aggressive guitar riffs juxtaposed with guttural vocals from the bowels of hell. The band represents a bright future for the genre.
In 2011, the band issued its debut release “Proelium,” which showcases one of the most unique sounds in metal. Samples can be heard below. Highly recommended songs include “Ghost” and “Wrong.”
Certainly there are more quality industrial/electronic metal bands. So if you'd like to recommend some other good underground industrial/electronic metal bands, please feel free to discuss them in the comments below.
Check back every Monday as we delve into different scenes or genres to unearth some new underground metal bands.
Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.
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