Sounds and Shadows Top Industrial/EBM/EDM of 2020

So many great Industrial/EDM/EBM albums this year. This is a genre that has been expanding and drawing fresh listeners all year. Again I can’t possibly include everything I loved, however these albums were the ones that fired a jolt of electricity into my spine and made my gears churn. These are all artists who had a full release in 2020.

20) Rabbit Junk – Xenospheres – Seattle based EBM/Metal dance explosion has been churning out explosive action movie soundtracks with razor sharp production. This album is swinging a sledge hammer around their heads on a leather cord. The cover of Iggy Pop’s “Kick It” with Peaches singing is worth the price of admission on it’s own.

https://rabbitjunk.com/album/xenospheres

19) eHpH – InfraredColorado band eHpH did this timely politically charged record that really captured the fear and division in the current climate. I think what I loved best were how wide the influences present were. Some melodic and post punk, some bright buzzing EBM. The whole record was full of intelligence and challenges the listener to face their own ideas about where the world is headed.

https://ehph.bandcamp.com/album/infrared

18) Seven FederationsHoly Orders – A wonderous sonic explosion from South Dakota. The vocals just crackle with electric ferocity from exploding transformers. Filthy basslines and wolf growl guitars. this album is the naughty demon on your shoulder whispering to you of sinful roads not taken. They might be the most underrated album on this list. People need to know about this record.

https://sevenfederations.bandcamp.com/album/holy-orders

17) Carrion – Testament Ov The Exiled – This is always such a hard review to write. Carrion is so powerful, so fresh, but just doesn’t fit into any box that makes sense within the mind. This textural terror noise has a level of intensity that demands recognition. How to quantify it I have no idea. Other than to say it is music that leaves you changed, afraid, praying for the dawn. Hide [Adrian] is creating on a level that artists and critics in the next decade may have artful words for. This whole record just leaves me moved and unsure how to describe. Best to bare witness for yourself.

PS: Carrion is already reissuing the album via Brutal Resonance Records, the `Revised Edition ` includes 5 bonus tracks!

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/testament-ov-the-exiled-revised-edition

https://officialcarrion.bandcamp.com/album/testament-ov-the-exiled

16) Corlyx – Together Apart World traveling EDM darkpop couple Caitlin and Brandon with their sophomore offering have captured the glory of pageantry in dark music. Caitlin has a beautiful voice that captivates and builds dreams in your mind. I love the dark LA gutter glamor this band always commands. They have added a level of clarity and refinement for this album and continue to evolve. Get in on the ground floor of these future stars.

https://corlyxngp.bandcamp.com/

15) Rottersand – How Do You Feel Today – The way this German band turns and twists on different axis within the same tracks is reality defying. The echoing chorus’s that have an intelligence and feel of Roger Waters bursting with electronic futurecore explosion. This album is a special journey with peaks and valleys that run the breadth of human experience. It is a modern album that has something for every kind of listener to enjoy.

https://rotersand.bandcamp.com/album/how-do-you-feel-today

14) Trevor Something Deep Wave Data Dark Web Deamons – Florida dance demon Trevor Something might be the sexiest thing I heard all year. The way they capture raw, grinding, sexual energy in sonic form is something of glory. It shakes your bone marrow awake and says you are an animal that hungers for flesh. Buy this record, shake a martini, and have a private dance party with your favorite partner.

https://trevorsomething.bandcamp.com/album/deep-wave-data-dark-web-daemons

13) 11 Grams – Humancide – The super combo of Rob and Simeon put out this long awaited album of everything you ever loved about old school industrial/electronica. It always has a toe over the line while sounding so familiar. Perfect execution and narrative intensity. This record is a rocket jocks sci-fi soundtrack to explore the speed of the stars.

https://11grams.bandcamp.com/album/humanicide

12) SpankTheNun – The Bunker Tapes Volume I – Hard and metal to the floor industrial from Texas. How do you find that line between crystal clear beats and filthy growling vocals? It’s right here. We aren’t reinventing the wheel here, we are greasing the axle to make it spin harder and faster. A bunch of amazing remixes from Blue Ant, Assemblage 23 , Melodywhore, Sapphirra Vee, show the faith and influence that this band commands in the scene.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunker-tapes-vol-i

11) Caustic – A Succession Of Repetitive Beats – Our only double album winner in this genre is Matt Fanale. The return of Caustic and their DIY punk rock mentality with witty and humorous electronic slither is a breath of fresh air in the modern genre. The song Stale Semen, Shame, and Video Games is a poignant slam of the Incel culture. Make me dance and make me think. This is what Joe Strummer trained us for.

https://caustic.bandcamp.com/album/a-succession-of-repetitive-beats

10) Sapphira Vee – The Mask – The smoky and subtitle voice of Sapphira Vee from Rochester NY has been tearing up the airwaves the last two months. A slow drink of whiskey in sonic form. It’s slow and grinding full of personal reflection and self realization. I had a small part guest vocal on this album and it’s a point of personal pride that I was involved with such a powerful release this year. I’ve bought multiple copies of this record to send to friends. This is a great example of why trip hop is the highest evolution of music.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/

9) Kanga – Eternal DaughterLA based artist wields this sonic saber like a charging cavalry officer charging by on a horse slashing on both sides. It’s that effortlessly cool beauty blended with icy dance beats. I’m not sure what category to put this in beyond excellent.

https://kanga.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-daughter

8) Grabyourface – Sea – Every once in a while some album comes along that is so fresh and honest you sit up in your chair and just feel something new. One of those artist that grabs hold of their own ribcage and rips themselves open to let you in on the guts and grime of everything inside them. This album forces you to feel things, to confront and absorb the empathetic tone within yourself.

https://grabyourfacengp.bandcamp.com/

7) Klack – Probably – The Wisconsin EDM sensation that brings together Matt Fanale (Caustic) and Eric Oehler (Null Device). I’ve watched this project grow and blossom and this album really hit the perfect stride and balance of their styles. It’s clever, it’s electric, and the single Faith In Me is a glorious jam that could have been on a Depeche Mode album in the late 80s. I love when you hear a collaboration and can hear how much the artists respect and care about each other. It can’t be faked and this album brims over with it.

https://klack.bandcamp.com/album/probably

6) The Joy Thieves – A Blue Girl – Chicago superband led by drummer extraordinaire Dan Milligan has been garnering much deserved respect in Industrial circles. The way he blends old school Industrial with organic hard rock is an energy which is contagious. The contributor list is impressive and so long I won’t add everyone but names like Chris Connelly, Jullian Beeston, and Ania Tarnoska are just a few highlights. The title track is a slamming cut for the ages. If you don’t know about the next Pigface you need to get on board this train.

https://thejoythieves.bandcamp.com/album/the-joy-thieves-a-blue-girl

5) Klute – Queer For SatanClaus Larson of Leatherstrip unleashed this gorgeous record of furious destruction and sensual magnetism. This year must have been one of the toughest things a person can go through for him and that unbridled emotion pours forth in a firehose of pain and fear. If you love Leatherstrip (and how could you not) this album is top of the game.

https://leaetherstrip.bandcamp.com/album/queer-for-satan

4) Stoneburner – Beauty Is Terror – Steven Archer has had multiple releases this year, all great. His ability as an artist and multimedia creator really is the top of the game for DIY synthesis of audio and visual. To me this record was the highest evolution of his style thus far. It’s hard, world view, narrative, intelligent music that conjures images like you are reading a novel. The single “Are you here the way I’m here” is a steampunk electrocore time travel head flip. This album truly pushes the boundary of what is possible in thought and feeling. You need it.

https://stoneburnerofficial.bandcamp.com/album/beauty-is-terror

3) ESA: Electronic Substance Abuse – “Burial 10 – EBM music is not my cup of tea. However, anything done at the top of the game is easy to know when you hear it. This album is hard, filthy, and so full of nuclear radiation it is impossible to not stomp your feet and dance to. The concept, power, and delivery are peerless in their execution. Add to that guest performances by Jo Hysteria, Cainlin Corlyx, and Lecture and you have one of the breakout album experiences of the year. This is one of those records I could listen to 100 times and hone in on a different detail each one.

https://esangp.bandcamp.com/album/burial-10

2) The Jean Marc Lederman Experience – Letters to Gods and Fallen Angels – For all those wondering where are the albums touching on a higher artistic ideal in the modern age. This is it. The Belgian artists who’s resume has touched some of the most prolific music to occur in the electronic era has compiled a group of guest singers both legendary and future stars and ask them to write a letter to God or a fallen angel. The responses follow the course of human mysticism and discovery. This album is a true journey of thought and expression that touches on a myriad of styles and ideas. It’s been a long time since a record made me think and feel so much. Do yourself a favor and take this adventure.

https://wool-e-discs.be/album/wed077-letters-to-gods-and-fallen-angels

  1. Pig – Pain Is God – Some people had a punk rock phase in their angry youth. I had an industrial one. A big part of that was Raymond Watts. KMFDM and <PIG> was a remind that Industrial music could mean something else. That it was a music of synthesis between electronic dance beats and any other style you could imagine. Here he is reborn the swine lord persona with a heady blend of of gospel, hard rock, and neon gutter grime. This record was the open gate between my 2020 self and my 1993 self. A DeLorean that connected me to my ego and my wisdom. A glorious return for the master of swine.
See our interview with Raymond Watts here

https://pigindustries.bandcamp.com/

I didn’t include singles in this list. However important mentions: Silverwalks, Melodywhore, and Der Prosector.

https://silverwalk.bandcamp.com/

https://melodywhore.bandcamp.com/

https://derprosector.bandcamp.com/

It’s Friday Night, I’m drinking Tepache. What am I listening to ?

Silverwalks – This Philly based EDM Soothsynthers have a new single out called Lantern. Holy shit does it slap hard with what I call desert power. Has a bit of that swirling sandstorm Gary Numan “My Name is Ruin” Flavor. It’s poignant with both a political and spiritual feel. The standout version to me was #1 the (Kynos) mix. This is straight up money lender table flipping revolution in dance form. Out end of June on Distortion Jim Semonik’s label.

https://silverwalks.bandcamp.com/

Daniel Joseph McCullough of Silver Walks

Bedless Bones – My favorite band from Estonia off Cold Transmission Music. New album out 6/5/20 but you can hear a few singles now like Ostara and Sad and Alone (Wytchdoktor remix). I recently talked about this band in the video podcast with IAMTHESHADOW as Kadri Sammel does a track with them. This is thunderous rolling ritual dance music. I love her captivating vocal cadence and the heavy slamming club bass. I hope this album really puts them in the public attention where they belong

https://bedlessbones.bandcamp.com/album/after-malaise

Charn – Our very own Hunter Hunter has this project out with a series of bonus tracks. Ever since I met them I have been captivated by this broken toy organ grinder from hell lofi sonic explosion that rocks like a tiny ship on giant waves between pop beauty and terrifying nightmare. Charn is not a series of club hits, it’s an experience. An experience I continue to be surprised and impressed by.

https://charn.bandcamp.com/album/always-winter-never-christmas-bonus-disc

Pilgrims of Yearning– As we draw closer and closer to their June 26th release this Boston MA band continues to impress. It’s a post punk fuzz fest of tip toe cadence vocals and choppy upstroke guitars. This latest music video In God You Trust erupts with energy like napalm out of a fighter jet.

https://pilgrimsofyearning.bandcamp.com/album/forsaken-lands

Normoria – Swedish stomp Synthwave sent to me by Dj Sonic Szilvi. This track is a real boot stomper. She has a powerful voice with an almost retro Grace Slick ring. Great job with the lyrics and laser focus intent. This is music to get shit done to.

https://normoria.bandcamp.com/track/the-cost-of-freedom-2

New Haunts – English darkwave with outstanding vocals by Alice Sheridan. A real dancing around a roaring bonfire with flickering shadows and trees. Due out June 5th. I love these flowing synth lines that keep you guessing where they are going next. Powerful transitions and soulful delivery. Heartbreaking delivery of storyweaving lyrics, a true throwback soul born out of time. I’ll be watching this band closely.

https://newhaunts.bandcamp.com/

Blak Sunday – Ok I was done for the night but when some badass old school death rock comes down the pipe I’m going to talk about it. It’s a deep grooves and thick ass guitars. Dark sinister crooning vocals and a breakneck pace. Sign me up.

https://blak.bandcamp.com/album/blak-sunday