Dark Electronic Music Genres You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


From industrial to EBM and beyond, there are plenty of dark electronic music genres to explore. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to some of the most popular genres and some of the key artists to check out in each one.

Introduction to dark electronic music

What is dark electronic music?

Dark electronic music is a genre that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It combines elements of electronic music, industrial music, and noise music. Dark electronic music often has a dark, menacing, or haunted atmosphere. It is sometimes called industrial dance or industrial techno.

The first dark electronic music groups were Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, and Essex University’s Chaos College. These groups were influenced by the early industrial groups of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Einstürzende Neubauten and Kraftwerk. They also drew inspiration from avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and La Monte Young.

Dark electronic music evolved out of the punk rock and new wave movements of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The early pioneers of the genre combined synthesizers with rock instruments to create a new sound. This new sound was dubbed “industrial” because it was often produced in factories or warehouses rather than in traditional recording studios.

Industrial music quickly gained popularity in Europe and North America. The first industrial music record label was Some Bizzare Records, which was founded in 1981 by British musician Stevo Pearce. Some Bizzare’s first release was Throbbing Gristle’s debut album The Second Annual Report.

The genre continued to develop in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of technological advances in synthesizer technology. This allowed musicians to create more complex sounds and rhythms. In the 1990s, dark electronic music began to fuse with other genres such as ambient, drum and bass, and electronica. This resulted in the creation of subgenres such as dark ambient, dark drum and bass, and dark trance.

Today, dark electronic music is enjoyed by a global fanbase. The genre has spawned countless artists and subgenres. Some of the most popular dark electronic artists include Aphex Twin, Burial, The Chemical Brothers, Nine Inch Nails, Pendulum, Underworld, and Vangelis.

History of dark electronic music

Electronic music has a long and complicated history, with various genres and subgenres emerging over the years. One of the most intriguing and atmospheric subgenres is dark electronic music.

Dark electronic music often has a slower tempo and a more atmospheric feel than other genres of electronic music. It frequently incorporates elements of industrial music, drone music, and ambient music.

The history of dark electronic music can be traced back to the early days of industrial music in the 1970s and 1980s. Early industrial bands such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire pioneered the use of electronics in a dark and atmospheric way.

In the 1990s, a new generation of industrial bands emerged, including Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. These bands brought industrial music to a wider audience but also added a more commercial edge to the genre.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a number of dark electronic artists began to experiment with dubstep, resulting in the creation of dark dubstep. This new subgenre combined the atmosphere of dark electronic music with the Driving basslines and shuffling beats of dubstep.

Since then, dark electronic music has continued to evolve, with new artists incorporating elements of metal, gothic rock, and even classical music into their sound. As a result, dark electronic music is now one of the most exciting and varied genres in the world of electronic music.

Dark ambient

Dark ambient is a genre of electronic music that is characterized by its dark, ominous, or unsettling soundscapes. It often features low-frequency drones, faint melodies, and sparse rhythms. Dark ambient music can be used to create an atmosphere of unease or foreboding, and is often used in film and video game soundtracks.

What is dark ambient?

First things first, what exactly is dark ambient? In the most general sense, it’s a style of electronic music that emphasizes mood and atmosphere over traditional song structure. That said, there’s a lot of variation within the genre, and different artists will emphasize different elements. Some might focus on creating an unsettling or even terrifying soundscape, while others might aim for something more meditative or introspective. There’s no one correct way to make dark ambient music, and that’s part of what makes the genre so interesting.

dark ambient can trace its roots back to the early days of experimental electronic music. Artists like Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream were making atmospheric, textured music with synthesizers and other electronic equipment, and this laid the groundwork for what would become dark ambient. In the 1980s and 1990s, artists like Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil were making atmospheric music with organic instrumentation, and this also had an influence on the development of dark ambient.

One of the most important things to understand about dark ambient is that it’s not necessarily a Goth subgenre. While there is certainly some overlap between Goth and dark ambient (and many dark ambient artists do identify as Goth), they are two distinct genres with different goals and aesthetics. Goth is primarily focused on style, fashion, and aesthetic, while dark ambient is primarily focused on sound and atmosphere. That said, there is a significant amount of crossover between the two genres, and many artists work in both genres simultaneously.

If you’re looking to get into dark ambient, there are a few things you should know. First off, it’s important to understand that this genre is all about atmosphere. The best way to get into it is to find an artist whose atmosphere speaks to you on some level. If you’re looking for something eerie and unsettling, try Lustmord or Rosegarden Funeral Party. If you’re looking for something more meditative or introspective, try Alio Die or Huun-Huur-Tu. And if you’re just looking for something cool and weird, try Demdike Stare or The Hafler Trio. Once you find an artist whose atmosphere speaks to you, dive in deep and explore their entire catalog. Chances are good that you’ll find other artists who create similar atmospheres that you enjoy just as much (if not more).

And finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. Dark ambient is a very diverse genre with a lot of room for experimentation. There are no rules governing what does or doesn’t count as dark ambient, so feel free to try out different sounds and see what sticks with you. You might be surprised by what you end up liking (and disliking).

History of dark ambient

The history of dark ambient is intertwined with that of industrial music, since both emerged from the experimental music scene of the 1970s. Industrial music was inspired by the harsh, industrialized sounds of early 20th century factory work and urban decay, and was pioneered by artists such as Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, Cabaret Voltaire, NON, and Zoviet*France. These artists created music using a wide range of sonic material, including found sounds and field recordings, as well as traditional instruments and synthesizers.

In the 1980s and 1990s, industrial music began to fragment into a number of more specialized subgenres, one of which was dark ambient. This style is characterized by atmospheric, slow-moving soundscapes that often evoke a sense of dread or unease. Dark ambient artists such as Lustmord, Rapoon, Coil, and Coph Nia have sought to create music that is both deeply unsettling and strangely beautiful.

If you’re looking for something new to explore in the world of electronic music, dark ambient is a great place to start. With its blend of industrial textures and eerie atmospheres, it’s sure to send chills down your spine.

Notable dark ambient artists

Dark ambient is a genre of electronic music that features dark, sinister, or industrial sounds and atmospheres. It is often characterized by shifting drones, found sounds, and unorthodox instrumentation. Dark ambient artists often explore themes of isolation, decay, and despair.

Notable dark ambient artists include:

-Conrad Schnitzler
-Current 93


What is darkwave?

Darkwave is a subgenre of industrial and electronic music that emerged in the late 1970s. The term was first used by British music magazine Melody Maker in 1979 to describe the music of German band Kraftwerk. Darkwave is characterized by a blend of electronic and guitar-based pop music with lyrics that deal with dark or introspective themes.

The genre reached its peak in popularity in the early 1990s, but has since seen a decline in popularity. Nevertheless, darkwave continues to be produced and performed by a small but dedicated community of artists.

If you’re interested in exploring darkwave, here are ten essential albums to get you started:

1. Kraftwerk – Autobahn (1974)
2. Tangerine Dream – Phaedra (1974)
3. Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene (1976)
4. Vangelis – Blade Runner Soundtrack (1982)
5. Depeche Mode – Black Celebration (1986)
6. Front 242 – Official Version (1987)
7. Sisters of Mercy – Floodland (1987)
8. Clan of Xymox – Medusa (1991)
9. ASP – Zaubererbruder (1996)

History of darkwave

The term “dark wave” was coined in the late 1970s to describe a set of underground music genres that became popular in the 1980s. These genres were a reaction against the synth-pop and new wave sounds that dominated the music scene at the time.

Dark wave artists used synthesizers, drum machines, and distorted guitars to create a dark, atmospheric sound. The lyrics often dealt with themes of despair, loss, and betrayal.

The dark wave scene was primarily centered in Europe, especially Germany and Belgium. Some of the most famous dark wave artists include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, and Depeche Mode.

While dark wave never achieved mainstream success, it has had a significant impact on electronic music genres that came after it, such as gothic rock and industrial music.

Notable darkwave artists

Not all darkwave music is created equal. In fact, there are several different subgenres within the darkwave umbrella, each with its own unique sound and aesthetic. If you’re new to darkwave, or just looking to branch out into new sonic territory, here are five dark electronic music genres you need to know.

1. Coldwave

Coldwave is a subgenre of darkwave characterized by its cold, often militaristic sound and themes of paranoia and social alienation. Prominent coldwave artists include Liaisons Dangereuses, The Klinik, and Noise Unit.

2. EBM (Electronic Body Music)

EBM is a subgenre of industrial music that combines synthesizers with traditional rock instrumentation to create a driving, danceable sound. Notable EBM artists include Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, and Kraftwerk.

3. Industrial Rock

Industrial rock is a subgenre of industrial music that combines elements of rock music with industrial brutality. Notable industrial rock artists include Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, and Marilyn Manson.

4. Goth Rock

Goth rock is a subgenre of post-punk that combines the darkness of gothic rock with the aggressiveness of punk rock. Notable goth rock artists include Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, and Bauhaus.

5. Dark Ambient

Dark ambient is a subgenre of ambient music that emphasizes atmosphere over melody or rhythm. Notable dark ambient artists include Lustmord, Robert Rich, and Thomas Koner.


Industrial music is a dark, often disturbing genre that conjures images of cold, desolate factories and urban decay. It’s a genre that is both experimental and aggressive, and it’s one that you need to know about. Industrial music is characterized by its use of found sounds and samples, and its often distorted and glitchy aesthetic. If you’re looking for something new and dark to explore, industrial might be the perfect genre for you.

What is industrial music?

Industrial music is a dark and often pessimistic genre that arose in the late 1970s. It is characterized by a Heavy Metal-influenced sound and a variety of other experimental noises and effects. The Industrial music scene is closely allied with the Punk subculture, and many of its early pioneers were former Punk musicians.

The industrial music genre has its roots in the late 1970s with bands such as Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten. These bands were influenced by the heavy, distorted sounds of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, as well as by the experimentalism of avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen. They began to experiment with using industrial machinery and techniques to create their music, hence the name “industrial music.”

In the 1980s, industrial music evolved into a more polished and commercialized sound with bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. This new wave of industrial metal was more accessible to mainstream audiences, but it still retained the dark, edgy themes of earlier industrial music.

Today, industrial music is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to a new generation of bands who are carrying on the tradition of dark, experimental sounds. If you’re looking for something different in your musical diet, then industrial music might be just what you’re looking for.

History of industrial music

The history of industrial music is often traced back to the early 1970s, when a group of English musicians began experimenting with Noise and avant-garde electronics. These artists, who came to be known as the pioneers of industrial music, include Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, and Kraftwerk.

The industrial music scene really began to take off in the 1980s, however, when a number of influential labels and artists emerged from Europe and North America. These labels and artists helped to popularize the genre and expand its sonic palette. Some of the most important names in industrial music include Front 242, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails,Skinny Puppy, and VNV Nation.

Since the 1990s, industrial music has continued to evolve and grow in popularity. New subgenres have emerged, such as power noise and dark ambient, and new artists have brought fresh perspectives to the genre. Today, industrial music is more popular than ever before, with fans all over the world.

Notable industrial artists

Industrial music is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 1970s. It was initially developed by artists who were exploring the use of new technologies, such as synthesizers and drum machines, in order to create new sounds. Industrial music has since evolved into a number of different subgenres, including industrial rock, industrial metal, and cyberpunk.

Notable industrial artists include Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Marilyn Manson, and Rammstein.


EBM, or electronic body music, is a style of industrial dance music that combines elements of punk rock, new wave, and synth-pop. The genre was developed in the early 1980s by Belgian and German bands such as Kraftwerk, Front 242, and Nitzer Ebb. EBM is characterized by a heavy, pounding bass sound, robotic or machine-like vocals, and a dark, often gloomy atmosphere.

What is EBM?

EBM, or electronic body music, is a type of dark electronic music that emerged in the early 1980s. EBM is characterized by its heavy, driving beats and its use of synthesizers to create a feeling of unease or even menace. Early pioneers of the genre include German bands like Kraftwerk and D.A.F., as well as Belgian act Front 242.

Since its inception, EBM has been through a number of different phases and sub-genres, with new artists constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the genre. Today, EBM is still going strong, with a vibrant community of artists and fans all over the world.

History of EBM

EBM, or electronic body music, is a genre of music that combines elements of industrial music and synth-pop. The style is typified by a heavy use of repetitive beats and basslines, as well as vocoded or distorted vocals.

The origins of EBM are often traced back to the early 1980s, when Belgian group Front 242 released the song “Body to Body.” However, the genre did not gain widespread popularity until the release of Nitzer Ebb’s album That Total Age in 1987.

Since then, EBM has undergone a number of changes and been adopted by a variety of different subcultures. In the 1990s, the style became associated with the goth and rave scenes, and more recently, it has been taken up by the industrial metal and electro-industrial scenes.

Despite its underground status, EBM has had a significant impact on pop music; artists like Lady Gaga and La Roux have cited Front 242 as an influence, and groups like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson have incorporated elements of the genre into their own sound.

Notable EBM artists

EBM, or electronic body music, is a genre of dark electronic music that emerged in the early 1980s. The style is typified by a heavy use of synthesizers, drum machines, and vocoders, as well as a proclivity for dystopian themes.

Notable EBM artists include Front 242, Nitzer Ebb, Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy, and VNV Nation.

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