Spot welding the sounds of Industrial and Metal music personifies some of the grittiest parts of middle America. Industrial music broke out in the mid-1970s with sparks of punk smacking up against electronics and ambient Rock n’ Roll. Industrial was also one of the first popular music genres to explore technology as a medium to deliver its sound.

Metal has some of the most devoted concert and consumer brands in all of popular music. Often characterized by loud drums and distorted guitars, metal emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s through the commercial successes of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. The working-class suburb of Aurora was forever immortalized as a metal nirvana in the 1992 hit comedy film “Wayne’s World.”

The legacy of Wax Trax! Records in Chicago, Ministry, and Disturbed have influenced a new generation of musicians. Wax Trax! opened in 1978 in Lincoln Park as a go-to store for punk and power pop vinyl. By 1981 it established a small Wax Trax! label and its release of Ministry’s “Cold Life” created the industrial imprint that remains today. The store is long gone but in 2014 the label was reborn by Julia Nash, daughter of the late co-founder Jim Nash.

The Chicago metal band Disturbed has sold more than 17 million records worldwide, making them one of the most popular bands of the genre’. Lead guitarist-keyboardist Dan Donegan started Disturbed in 1994. A native of suburban Oak Lawn, Donegan is a self-taught guitarist, having fused fusing rock with dense metal.

In 2000 Disturbed released “The Sickness,” its debut studio album. It has since been certified five times platinum for shipments of over five million copies in the U.S. And Disturbed is still going strong. Deploying a heavier sound that harkened back to its roots, the band’s December 2022 release “Divisive” debuted at number 3 on the Billboard magazine Rock Album Chart and number one on the Alternative Albums Chart. There’s no argument that Industrial and Metal have put some of the most passionate noise in Illinois.

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