Industrial rock arose at end of the 1970s as a number of rock and post-punk bands started to use synthesizers to add an industrial feel to their guitar-based music. The genre draws influences from a number of sources, including noise music and electro-industrial as well as post-punk and traditional rock music. It is often mistaken for industrial metal, which is a separate industrial genre that did not develop until nearly a decade later.
Early industrial rock was made by a number of bands, including groups such as Killing Joke, SPK, Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Krupps and Test Dept. The work of these bands would later have an impact on the development of the genre and industrial music as a whole. Certain releases by influential industrial metal bands like as Nine Inch Nails can also be taken as examples of industrial rock. Other popular bands that have contributed to the genre in one way or another include Gary Numan, KMFDM, Celldweller and Gravity Kills. The American band Filter has also had considerable commercial success.
Since the genre draws heavily on influences from rock and post-punk as well as the world of electronic music, industrial rock bands often use a mixture of both acoustic and electronic music gear. Some of the most widely-used pieces of music equipment used in the genre are Digidesign Pro Tools, Apple Logic, the Sherman Filterbank, the Kurzweil K2000 and Clavia Nord Lead. The genre features frequent use of effects processors and industrial production techniques to distort recorded guitar riffs and acoustic drums in ways not usually found in other rock music genres.
Similar to industrial metal, industrial rock experienced its peak of commercial success in the 1990s, especially in North America. Since then, popular interest in the genre has faded considerably.