Assemblage 23

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Assemblage 23
Assemblage 23 at Nocturnal Culture Night in Germany 2018
Assemblage 23 at Nocturnal Culture Night in Germany 2018
Background information
OriginExton, Pennsylvania, United States
Electronic body music
Years active1988–present
Accession Records
MembersTom Shear
Paul Seegers
Mike Jenney

Assemblage 23 is an electronic act from the United States, currently based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1988 by Tom Shear who writes the music and lyrics and does the recording himself. Live performances are supported by Paul Seegers on keyboards and Mike Jenney on drums.


1980s–1990s (pre–Assemblage 23)[edit]

Prior to starting Assemblage 23, Shear experimented with music under the name Man on a Stage, beginning in the early 1980s. Most of Shear's music at this point was instrumental, as he lacked the confidence to sing; the quality of the music itself was highly questionable by his own admission. Shear eventually began to add vocals to his music; at the same time, Shear was also playing bass in a live band called the Advocates.

Assemblage 23 was officially born in 1988, after Shear experienced the industrial dance music played by an opening DJ for Depeche Mode. The style of this genre deeply impressed Shear; he believed he had finally found the sort of sound he wanted for his music.[1] Even so, the project was more of a hobby for Shear at this point; it took until 1998 for Assemblage 23 to gather enough positive acclaim to attract the attention of record labels.

Late 1990s – early 2000[edit]

Shear signed a deal in 1999 with the Canadian label Gashed! for a full-length album (Contempt, released in November 1999). Contempt ranked #42 on the DAC Top Albums of 2000 chart in Germany.[2] A second album, Failure, followed in March 2001 and was released by Gashed in North America and Accession Records in Europe. A single from Failure, "Disappoint", was released on Accession in October 2001 and ranked #42 on the DAC Top Singles chart for 2001.[3] The song dealt with Shear's sense of loss after his father's suicide on October 28, 1999, and features a sample from the film In the Line of Fire.

After falling out with Gashed Records following Failure, Shear signed with US label Metropolis Records (US) later in 2001; Metropolis re-released Contempt and Failure in November. A remix release, Addendum, was also released in November only on Accession. By this point, Assemblage 23 had become fairly popular within the EBM genre and closely catalogued alongside the "futurepop" genre, which Shear himself characterized — possibly tongue-in-cheek — as "mostly people who can't sing, over 90s-era trance patches."[4]

The third album, Defiance, was released in October 2002 on Metropolis and Accession, preceded by the single "Document", in September of that year.

Assemblage 23 released a fourth album, Storm, in October 2004 with singles "Let the Wind Erase Me" in August and "Ground" in November. "Ground" spent eight weeks on the DAC Singles chart peaking at #2.[5]

Mid 2000 – present[edit]

In March 2007, Assemblage 23 released a new single, "Binary", which debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard US singles chart, preceding the album Meta, released in April 2007.

Also in 2007 saw the release of "Early Rare & Unreleased"[6] which is a collection of 14 Assemblage 23 tracks taken from the years 1988–1998. In 2009, "Early Rare & Unreleased Volume Two" was released.

Assemblage 23 performed at Montreal's Kinetik Festival in May 2009. In September 2009, Assemblage 23 released the single "Spark," followed by its sixth studio album Compass.

On June 12, 2012, Assemblage 23 released the album "Bruise."[7]

The album "Endure" was released on August 28, 2016, and, in October 2016, Assemblage 23 began a nationwide tour in support of the album.[8][9]

The latest album, "Mourn", was released on September 11, 2020.

Band members[edit]


Demo cassette[edit]

  • Demo, Fall 1998 – (CS demo) 1998 – no label

Studio albums[edit]

  • Contempt – (CD album) 1999 – Gashed! • (CD album) 2000 – Accession Records • (CD album) 2001 – Metropolis
  • Failure – (CD album) 2001 – Gashed!, Metropolis, Accession Records
  • Defiance – (CD album) 2002 – Metropolis, Accession Records • (CD album) 2005 – Irond
  • Storm – (CD album) 2004 – Metropolis, Accession Records • (CD) 2005 – Irond
  • Meta – (CD album) 2007 – Metropolis, Accession Records, Irond
  • Compass – (CD album) Oct. 2009 – Metropolis, Accession Records, Irond
  • Bruise – (CD album) June 2012 – Metropolis, Accession Records, Irond
  • Endure – (CD album) 2016 – Metropolis
  • Mourn - (CD album) 2020 - Metropolis

Remix albums, EPs[edit]

  • Addendum – (CD) 2001 – Accession Records

Early, Rare, and Unreleased collections[edit]

  • Early, Rare & Unreleased 1988–1998 – (CD, Ltd. Edition) 2007 – 23db
  • Early, Rare & Unreleased: Volume Two – (CD, Ltd. Edition) 2009 – 23db


  • "Disappoint" – (CD, Maxi) 2001 – Accession Records
  • "Document" – (CD Maxi) 2002 – Accession Records
  • "Let the Wind Erase Me" – (CD Maxi) 2004 – Metropolis, Accession Records
  • "Ground"– (CD Maxi) 2004 – Metropolis, Accession Records
  • "Binary" – (CD Maxi) 2007 – Metropolis, Accession Records
  • "Spark" – (CD Maxi) Sept. 2009 – Metropolis, Accession Records

See also[edit]

  • Nerve Filter, a side project by Shear.
  • Surveillance, a side project by Shear.
  • Helix, a side project by Shear and Mari Kattman.


  1. ^ "A23 Beginnings". Archived from the original on January 5, 2009.
  2. ^ "DAC Top 50 2000". Trendcharts oHG. AMC Alster Musik Consulting GmbH. 2001. Archived from the original on February 11, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  3. ^ "DAC Top 50 Singles 2001". Trendcharts oHG. AMC Alster Musik Consulting GmbH. 2002. Archived from the original on February 10, 2002. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  4. ^ Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 296. ISBN 9780199832583. OCLC 1147729910 – via the Internet Archive.
  5. ^ "DAC Top 100 Singles 2005". Trendcharts oHG. AMC Alster Musik Consulting GmbH. 2006. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  6. ^ "Early, rare and unreleased Assemblage 23 tracks compiled". Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  7. ^ "Official Assemblage 23". Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  8. ^ "Assemblage 23". Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Assemblage 23 - Endure". Retrieved March 23, 2020.

External links[edit]