Industrial music has been underground for most of its three decades of existence. And the artists who inhabit it would love for it to stay that way. But sometimes a musical genre contains a break out artist who can simultaneously reinvent, revitalize and reel in hundreds of thousands of new fans into it. For industrial music, that artist was Trent Reznor and his Nine Inch Nails.
The important history of industrial rock before Nine Inch Nails, the artists who influenced Nine Inch Nails, along with a verbal biography of NIN’s leader Trent Reznor is the main focus of this long but extraordinary DVD entitled: Metal Machine Music: Nine Inch Nails And The Industrial Uprising.
It features numerous rare live clips of premier industrial artists including Einsturzende Neubauten, Ministry, Throbbing Gristle, Skinny Puppy, NIN and pre-NIN Trent Reznor as well as extensive interviews about their impact on industrial music with NIN biographer Tommy Udo, ex-NIN member Richard Patrick (1989-1993), ex-NIN drummer Chris Vrenna (1989-1997), Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle, and journalists from Metal Edge and Revolver magazine, among others.
In the DVD, you learn from Throbbing Gristle’s P-Orridge that a depressed economy in England, construction outside its surroundings and a desire to create a type of original music that incorporated disturbing art was what inspired his group’s sound and performance in the mid-‘70s, the same period punk rock came into being. In fact, true to punk rock/DIY form, TG made it a point to play without a drummer, which was an unoriginal instrument to P-Orridge and instead used special effects and homemade tape-based samplers to create much of its sound, which the group called “industrial” via its own label (Industrial Records).
TG’s self-created sound proved inspirational to later industrial acts and its label, along with Mute Records, finally gave a home to similar experimental industrial acts (Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Einsturzende Neubauten), according to the narrator. A black-and-white photo of the latter group in the DVD standing in front of machinery further illustrates its true industrial creations.