This type of music goes by many names: EBM, electro-industrial, dark electro, hellektro or my favourite, aggrotech. It's a dark and heavy subgenre of industrial music. You may know about industrial through some industrial metal bands like Nine Inch Nails or Pain (the best). Industrial itself is already a subgenre of electronic, so we're currently at least three levels deep in musical inception. I mean, just check this crap out. Electronic music is crazy! Just as a side note, clicking 'aggrotech', 'dark electro' or 'electro-industrial' on that Wiki page all link to the same place.
The timeline of the emergence of these genres is pretty confusing since they're often referred to as the same thing. Industrial music began in the early 1970s, around the same time as metal itself. Then EBM spawned off of it a decade later in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the awesome electro-industrial was created. Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s, dark electro and aggrotech appeared. To be honest, I still can't tell the difference between electr-industrial, dark electro and aggrotech. What I do know though, is that these guys have been making deliciously heavy music for about as long as metal bands have been doing the same thing.
So why should a metalhead care about some obscure electronic genre? Well for starters, it's metal as fuck. These guys focus on making the heaviest and harshest electronic music possible. Vocals are usually screamed, the lyrics are about typical metal themes like horror, anarchy and being awesome, and the music itself is complex and layered. Some bands even throw in down-tuned guitars when they feel like making a song extra metallic. While genres like industrial metal bridge the electronic-metal gap from the metal side, aggrotech bridges the gap from the electronic side. I would even go as far as to say that this is the most metal music you'll find outside of the metal genre.
One interesting thing is the countries that aggrotech comes from. South America (Mexico included) as a whole is a big exporter of this sweet sweet music. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I'm expanding my global repertoire of music by listening to this stuff. It's a place with a very scarce amount of metal bands. The second biggest aggrotech base I've found is located in Germany. These guys make both awesome metal and aggrotech. I think it's just because the Germans are so naturally aggressive. What a lovely language.
Another interesting thing is the online presence, or lack thereof, of these bands. There's no online repository like metal-archives to find profiles on everyone. The closest thing is vampirefreaks, which you can find the majority on. The only problem is that vampirefreaks doubles as a gothic social media site, which is its main focus. With the lack of functionality on its band pages, it's less effective than Myspace, and that's saying something. The only viable form of information seems to be the band's official website (if they have one) or their Facebook page. You'd better hope they update it semi-regularly. Practically none of the bands have a dedicated Youtube page, and neither do any of the labels. While Youtube is still the best place to find this music, almost every single video is some crappy slideshow that a kid put together in Windows Movie Maker. It's like a time machine to 5 years ago.
Here's a list of some of the better aggrotech bands I've found. Man I love lists...
- God Module
- Suicide Commando
So turn up the bass and throw on some aggrotech tunes. This is an awesome genre that deserves more attention than it's getting. It's something that's not too far from metal yet a nice change every once in a while. Check it out!